Harbour Kitchens: New incarnation for Lyttelton cookbook

Matthias Blattner proudly displays his partner Andrea Solzer's contribution to the Harbour...
Matthias Blattner proudly displays his partner Andrea Solzer's contribution to the Harbour Kitchens: Another helping community cook book. Photo: John Cosgrove
Cookbooks, like flavours and tastes, come and go with the times.

They are seen either as celebrations of a chef’s creative skill in the kitchen or as a fundraiser for hundreds of schools or community organisations around the country.

For Lyttelton, there has only been one cookbook of note, and 12 years ago it started its long life in the small coastal community, a lifespan that saw three reprints due to its high demand both here and overseas.

Now there is another helping of Harbour Kitchens, celebrating Lyttelton, its food, and people.

A year and a half ago a small group of Lyttelton artisans and school mums got together to look for an alternative to their annual Peninsula art auction, on hold due to Covid restrictions.

From that meeting came the idea to publish a second version of the popular book.

Editor Gaynor Stanley said she knew of the book,  it had been sent to her years ago as a gift earlier when she was working in Sydney.

“We wanted to recreate its unique style and keep its winning formula showcasing the essence of the community here in Lyttelton,” she said.

“We kept the format of the original but added in more seasons – party and lockdown, then came the huge job of compiling it all.”

Stanley said they had a tough job initially finding the recipes.

“First up it was a famine then a feast as the community got behind the project,” she said.

“We eventually short-listed them down from hundreds of submission to about 150 and then started the long process of taste testing, photographing and laying out the book.”

Creative director Kim Hickford worked on the original book and said it’s more than a cook book.

“This book is the port on a plate, and it represents living in this vibrant community we have here,” she said.

“There were many thousands of hours of work undertaken by many, many kind and helpful volunteers who gave their time and talents to make this a special view of the community that is Lyttelton.”

The entire project was a fundraiser for the Lyttelton Primary school.

At the launch last week in Lyttelton, the school principal Brandan Wright said the project was very good example of a community pulling together.

“I’m staggered at what the community here can achieve.”

“In today’s world, schools are always challenged to find extra funds to support our children learning and this book will help us enhance the outdoor learning space at the school,” he said.

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