Hi, I'm Jenn Grainger, here's a few of my photos and stories if you want to know a little about my life, food memories and what inspires me.
This picture was taken at Lord Howe Island. When I came home from Santa Cruz, California, and back in Sydney, I was not happy about being home. I saw a job on Lord Howe Island. Within the week, I was there. Free to pick up and move at a moments notice. That's freedom!
still life 02
When I took this photo, a major life changing event was impending. I wanted my life to stand still. In this picture, you see a 'still life with pomegranates'. I see change 'coming ready or not! It all turned out well but I did not know then. Oh ye, of little faith.
We arrived with a few moments to spare to marvel at the Taj Mahal at sunset. I took this photo as a man strolled by carrying cowpats on his head. Sometimes life is about timing. Seize the moment.
When I prepare to go to a new country, I find the places I want to eat first. Then I find the accommodation. I booked this restaurant in Amsterdam weeks before, and to this day it's still my favourite dining experience.
Georgia, my daughter, sent me this photo of her from Morocco. It was taken in the Atlas Mountains. It snowed overnight, and the next morning the blossoms were covered in ice crystals. Every day is a gift from nature.
The most charming street I've seen. Copenhagen is a stylish city, and this street was only tiny, but it's perfect in every way. Boutiques with my favourite things, gorgeous cafes and a gallery or two, pottery, plants, flowers, books and more. I'd like to live on this street.
It's perfectly reasonable to have a 'cafe day' in Istanbul or where you live. Starting with coffee first thing. A walk and then breakfast with a second cup. Shopping before lunch in our third cafe. Then a galley or two, a bookstore, and you're ready for tea and cake in your final cafe.
In 2016 I started to transition to a 'mostly' plant-based way of life. Travelling or even out for a day becomes a quest searching for Vegan cafes and restaurants with plant-based friendly food. My travel experiences help me search and find cool cafes. It is an adventure, and it's getting easier.
There is no language barrier for art or food. You can be as creative as you like, creating a painting, take a photo, or cook something amazing, and people will know something about you. Berlin had the best street art, and I have to say the best cake. Here is a picture I took of the street art with cake.
I remember watching the man on the fishing boat. I wondered what it was like for him to have the good fortune to be out in this blue water. I made a promise to myself when I took this photo. It's an image I look at every day. You see a boat, blue water and mountains. I see a dream I'm pursuing.
When I took this photo in Byron Bay, it reminds me Australia is as beautiful as anywhere in the world. I love to travel, go to creative cafes, take photos and live a simple healthy life. Georgia, my daughter, lives in opposite hemispheres. When it's summer here...
It's winter in Berlin. Georgia and I send each other photos of what we are cooking and everyday life experiences; it helps us feel connected. Taking care of ourselves, the people we love and the world we live in. Keeping it simple and real.
Many weekends my cousins escaped boarding school to stay with us. Mum made a feast and polished the meal off with lemon meringue pie or my favourite 'lemon delicious pudding'.
Mum had a very quirking habit of saving recipes from magazines that filled a big draw to the brim. All loose, in no order, and at 96, she is still cutting out recipes. The important recipes from friends and family she managed to write or stick in a book. It still exists today! This 'sacred family recipe' book is even included in her will. She's left to my brother along with her 'Country Women's Cookbook'.
All the pages have turned brown. It's almost falling apart, and one or two pages 'might be missing'. I know for sure the lemon delicious pudding page is missing because it's neatly stuck into my sacred book. [Don't worry, he'll never read this]
My childhood era was in the days of a milkman home delivering milk in glass bottles, and we shopped at a little local butcher and greengrocer. Everyone was on a first-name basis, and shopping was a social occasion.
I lived through the excitement of giant supermarkets popping up in key suburbs. Over the years, the shelves fill up with twenty-five brands of the same thing, all competing for attention, and the long list of ingredients get more suspicious.
However, at home, Mum still cooked everything from scratch, except for the little brown box of Gravox she learned to love.
I started cooking at around sixteen by practising 'on' my friends'. I had dinner parties when the 'oldies' were away.
The kitchen was a complete disaster, with cooking equipment piled up high and dishes were left until the morning. Dinner was never served until ten pm when everyone was starving.
I'm pleased to have started cooking for people while I was very young. It taught me to have a sense of humour about my cooking failures. One night I presented a legendary cooking failure for my guest amusement. A large spoon stood upright in cement that was supposed to be gravy. Mums little brown box of Gravox came in handy that night.
I taught myself how to cook from a small paperback. 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking By Julia Childs. It was probably the first edition. I could make bearnaise sauce and chocolate mousse to perfection.
In my twenties, I left french cuisine for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It all started after I spent a week with a Jordanian family in San Francisco.
Then I moved to Santa Cruz, and I helped out at a deli. I made Reuben sandwiches on Rye which were far more exotic than the salad or vegemite sandwich I grew up on in Australia. I spent a year in the US and lived with hippies; I affectionately named it my 'brown rice and hairy legs phase'.
Returning home to Australia took a job on Lord Howe Island. It was my decompression between living in the US before returning to Sydney. My job at Pinetrees guest house was in the kitchen, and I prepared the vegetables for 85 guests. John, the chef, was from Cypress, and I still remember his egg and lemon soup.
Eventually, settled back into life in Elvia Bay, Sydney. Now I had my own kitchen again and ventured into cooking Middle Eastern food.
My bible, "The Complete Guide to Middle Eastern Cooking, is three decades old, well-loved and almost falling apart. With oil and spiced stained pages containing my best cooking memories.
Food, recipes, family dinners or celebrations are deep in our psyche, and the memories shine bright. Our heritage or family traditions infuse the food we eat and share. Food culture transcends our borders and beliefs.
Today Australia is a multicultural food mecca with outstanding produce. Like Tel Aviv and the Creole areas of the US, food fusion creates a new vibe. The first people of Australia share bush their heritage ingredients to infuse flavours thousands of years old.
My transition to becoming plant-based meant I had to leave most of my childhood foods behind. Now I create new memories and recipes with my passion for plant-based global heritage recipes. I'm a home cooking foodie, not a professional so I don't have a reputation to protect or follow in the footsteps of traditional cooking. Which leaves me open to experiment and even share my mistakes!
Lifestyle Precinct is my journey, a legacy, and a way to be an activist ~ in my own small way. Join me and other home cooking enthusiasts.