Our senses of taste and smell have this incredible power to pluck us up and instantly transport us back to a certain time or place. That’s why food can be such a transformative experience. So, when I miss home—like I have been—I cook! So, where’s “home,” you ask?
Waikanae Beach, NZ (where we spend our Xmas)
If you’ve ever read our backstory, you may have noticed a mention about how I’m a “transplanted Kiwi”—well that’s how us New Zealanders refer to ourselves. And it’s all because of the curious little flightless bird that is unique to New Zealand!
Did you know?
- The kiwifruit got its name from resembling our national bird: the kiwi. (They both share a fuzzy brown exterior.)
- In New Zealand, we call the fruit, “kiwifruit,” and the bird “kiwi.”
Funny story: Someone once asked me if we ate kiwi in NZ, I instantly imagined a family sitting down to a dinner to eat our beloved but endangered bird vs. the fruit, ha!
There are a few things I can only get when I go back home, and you better believe I stock up on my favorites. So, what’s my suitcase jam packed with? My Top three are:
- Marmite: A food spread that’s salty, yeasty and strong. It’s been a staple of NZ kitchens and breakfast tables since 1910. It has a distinct “love it or hate it” flavor and it’s packed with good-for-you vitamins.
- Manuka honey: Produced in New Zealand by bees that have pollinated the native manuka bush. It’s said to have many health benefits, including antibacterial qualities.
- Chocolate Fish: A marshmallow fish covered in chocolate. The chocolate fish has been entrenched the haloed halls of Kiwiana since 1930.
Marmite on crumpets, a chocolate fish and a pot of honey.
So, let me give you a taste of “home sweet home” by telling you a little about some of my favorite comfort foods—most of which aren’t exactly healthy, but comfort foods rarely are, right?
Pull up a seat and dig in!
- Crumpets with Lewis Road Creamery butter and marmite…mmmm!
- A Flat White (a term coined by Kiwis) paired with a slice of ginger crunch, (shortbread biscuit with ginger icing). So delicious, it’s totally worth taking a pause in the day to enjoy.
- Pie! Nothing beats gravy, veggies and chicken wrapped in lovely buttery pastry!! I do try and eat this with a salad…really, I do.
- Roast lamb, roasted kumara (a.k.a., sweet potato), and Brussel sprouts!
- Pavlova, topped with whipped cream, passionfruit and kiwifruit!
A flat white & Ginger Crunch. Roast lamb with kumara and roast veggies.
Speaking of lamb and pavlova…
Dessert or ballerina? New Zealanders believe the pavlova is named after the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. As the New Zealand story goes, the chef of a Wellington hotel at the time created the billowy dessert in her honor, claiming inspiration from her tutu. Word to the wise: Don’t talk to an Australian about this!
- Holy sheep! There are 5 times as many sheep in NZ as there are people—wild, right?
It’s these creature comforts that bring me back home. With each bite, the distance melts away, both because of the familiar flavors and the thought of loved ones back in NZ enjoying the same tastes and smells in their homes.
So, for all my friends out there feeling a little homesick, I hope this post acts as a lovely reminder that no matter where you roam, your heart (and taste buds) can take you back home!
For any fellow Buffalonians craving a piece of home, checkout Hometown Herd they create Buffalo-themed goodie bags. It’s a great way to spread Buffalove to friends and family near or far!