Making the connections

Have you ever thought about the fact that we are the only species that cooks, asks Deanna Copland.

So many don’t. We seem to be living too fast for slow cooking, yet cooking is all about connection.

As Michael Pollen in his series, Cooked so eloquently said, the shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of family life, the place where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilisation: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending.

I recently shared a post to my business Instagram which I felt was a timely reminder when people have been feeling isolated and divided.

It stated: Discussions are always better than arguments, because an argument is to find out who is right, and a discussion is to find out what is right. Ideas and opinions, in my humble opinion, make us interesting. Humans need connection and company so a shared meal is a wonderful way to bring us back together and the warmer weather definitely adds to the enjoyment.

Dee is a naturopath and nutritionist living in Dunedin. You can find her on Instagram at dee-licious-nutrition.

Easy summer salad

Serves 8


3 bunches asparagus

2 lemons (juiced and divided)

8 free-range eggs

½ cup light olive oil

1 Tbsp seeded mustard

8 cups arugula/rocket leaves

1 cucumber (diced)

4 stalks green onion (sliced)

2 avocados (peeled and diced)

½ cup goat cheese (crumbled)

1 cup quinoa/ brown rice (cooked and cooled)

Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)


1. Hard boil your eggs and set aside to cool.

2. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Fill a pot with 2 cups water, half the lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, add the asparagus and cover. Let cook for 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus out of the water, run under cold water for a minute and then slice into 1-inch pieces.

3. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and chop eggs into quarters.

4. Create the dressing by combining olive oil, mustard and remaining lemon juice in a jar and shake well.

5. In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, cucumber, green onion, avocado and quinoa. Drizzle dressing evenly across and season with sea salt and pepper. Mix loosely with clean fingers to combine.

Top with the chopped asparagus and hard-boiled eggs. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

Optional: serve as is or with chunks of hot-smoked salmon or grilled chicken breasts.

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