From the shed to the kitchen

Jude Gamble likes to make sure the shearers and other wool harvesting staff under her care at Dion Morrell’s Lawrence site are well fed. As well as two large meals, she also makes smokos and lunches for them. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARA
Jude Gamble likes to make sure the shearers and other wool harvesting staff under her care at Dion Morrell’s Lawrence site are well fed. As well as two large meals, she also makes smokos and lunches for them. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARA

Jude Gamble’s day starts at 3.30am and often finishes about 7.00pm.

Her shopping list includes 10 trays of eggs a week and she uses two and a-half dozen every morning. She uses 2kg of bacon, 10 loaves of bread and 8 litres of milk a day.

She buys in 12 litres of cream a week, as well as 10kg lots of scone and muffin mixes, and the odd trailerload of potatoes.

All that is is used to feed about 30 shearers, woolhandlers and pressers.

Ms Gamble and partner Mark (Mouse) Robertson sold their Lawrence-based Robertson Shearing business to Dion Morrell, of Alexandra, about a year ago, and now they work for him.

She had worked in the sheds as a woolhandler and presser as well as shearers’ cook most of her life.

‘‘I have been doing it for 26 years and I decided it was time to slow down a bit,’’ she said.

‘‘I enjoyed the pressing but my back is fused and now I am in the cook shop.

‘‘I still go pressing on a self­tramp presser sometimes.’’

One of Jude Gamble’s evening meals included roast lamb, with mint sauce and gravy, roast pumpkin, kumara and potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce, and potato bake. PHOTO: JUDE GAMBLE
One of Jude Gamble’s evening meals included roast lamb, with mint sauce and gravy, roast pumpkin, kumara and potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce, and potato bake. PHOTO: JUDE GAMBLE
Ms Gamble has to have the tucker boxes ready by 5.00am, and breakfast is ready 10 minutes earlier.

‘‘I am pretty good with time management these days.’’

Some like a continental breakfast, while most prefer a large meal with sausages, eggs, bacon, baked beans, corn fritters and fried potatoes.

Later she will make sausage rolls or other pastry goods, as well as baking.

‘‘However, buying biscuits is cheaper because of the price of butter,’’ she said.

Evening meals include various roasts, copious quantities of potatoes and vegetables and sometimes pudding.

There is often cold meat, salads, or curries, lasagne, and potato bake with cream.

Ms Gamble sometimes has a Chinese food or fish and chip night, and the shearers enjoy building their own burgers.

‘‘They love mutton chops and some farmers might kill us a wild pig.

‘‘While I tend to vary it [the menu] you can’t please everybody.

‘‘Apart from the contractor’s wife, the shearing cook is right at the bottom of the food chain.

‘‘They are always moaning about the cooking but they can go elsewhere if they want.’’

She does not believe in food waste and uses everything — leftovers are converted into lunch or toasties.

Ms Gamble does not have to deal with allergies or food intolerances, as far as she is aware.

‘‘I haven’t come across any vegetarians, as shearers have got to have meat.

‘‘I treat them all the same.

‘‘There is nothing I dish up that I wouldn’t eat myself and they know it.

‘‘I make birthday cakes, depending on how good they have been to me.’’

Outside of work, Ms Gamble belongs to the Lawrence Lions Club.

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz 

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