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OP: Maori Food and Cookery

OP: Maori Food and Cookery


David Fuller
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If it’s something off the beaten path you’re looking for, this might be a good one for you. In 1952, David Fuller moved from his native Britain to New Zealand, settled there, married a Maori woman named Kapua-ite-Rangi, raised six children, and devoted himself to learning the history and practice of a food tradition very different from what most of us have ever encountered. 

Ranging from religion to the realities of a not-very-forthcoming environment, he researched food sources, hunting and gathering methods, and often unfamiliar techniques of preparation—all from the period preceding the first contacts with European explorers and colonizers. 

Needless to say, the exposure to plants and animals introduced by the new arrivals had some early influences, but Fuller is studious in noting such “imported” ingredients and calling particular attention to those that were originally available to the Maori.

Following a substantial historical and cultural introduction, Fuller provides, in a form cookable in the contemporary kitchen, about 90 recipes. Included are selections of breads, vegetables and seaweeds, meats (these are heavily post-European), shellfish, sea fish, freshwater fish, birds, and a variety of berries and other fruits, mushrooms and fungi, beverages, and what he refers to as “chewing resins” (we might say “gum”). 

From mussel soups to fern sprouts and boiled wild pork with watercress, to herb-smoked eel and Captain Cook’s own recipe for native beer, this is all quite different and interesting. Some ingredients will surely not turn up in your local Shop-Rite, but it is all well worth your time to see how they do it 9000 miles or so from our part of the globe.

This book was published in New Zealand in 1978. An attractive little unused hardcover in Near Fine condition with a Near Fine dust jacket, it contains both decorative drawings and 16 pages of black-and-white, primarily archival, photographs from New Zealand libraries and museum collections. From what we can determine, a first edition.

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