The Northern Territory news Sat 16 Apr 2022
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
54 LIFESTYLE Saturday April 16 2022 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Here are Stephanie Alexanders top tips for tapping into the simple pleasures of food and family. SCHEDULE IT IN The return of the sit-down meal was one of the positives to spring from the pandemic, with an Australian Institute of Family Studies survey showing that the trend towards working from home increased the amount of time that people spend sharing meals. However, as weeknight activities return to full swing, many families may again find it unrealistic. Alexander suggests prioritising at least one special family meal each week. Be prepared to ask questions and to really listen to the news and doings Since peeling her first apple in her mothers kitchen in the 1940s, Stephanie Alexander has seen the tables turn in Australian households from cooking and eating being the family glue, to home kitchens simply serving as a quick fuel-stop. However, according to the restaurateur-turned-cookbook author and food educator, the magic that can happen in a kitchen is timeless and worth prioritising. The kitchen, and dining table, are where the best things happen, Alexander says. Good food. Good talk. We can appreciate each other, show affection and interest. We can all contribute something so that it is never an effort, and always an anticipated pleasure. Not only can a focus on food help bring the family together, it will also form the foundation for lifelong healthy eating. Laura Albulario STEPHANIE ALEXANDER Calling dinner time Respected chef Stephanie Alexander says Easter and holidays are perfect for using food and mealtimes to form your family glue cooking that are important to each other, she says. Maybe cook some special food. It will only work if it is enjoyable for all concerned. TELL THE STORIES Alexander says the lore attached to beloved family recipes can be just as tantalising as their taste. Share the stories behind recipes, the people who created them, and the occasions when theyve been served, and theyll do much more than fill hungry bellies. There is real power in a family favourite, especially if it has a story attached, Alexander says, recalling her fathers reverence towards his mothers baked apple sago. It was fascinating because we loved our mothers version my grandmother was no longer alive and we could never find out the difference. Like her own kitchen bible, The Cooks Companion, Alexander says she prefers cookbooks that are storybased. I want to know why as much as how to do it, she says. START EARLY The seeds of Alexanders cooking career were planted at the age of nine, when she would help her mother peel apples for a pie. She says entrusting children with simple, age appropriate tasks will make cooking second nature, filled with positive associations. It could just be choosing a plate or tablecloth, picking herbs or flowers for a table setting or helping to mash the potatoes. Be encouraging. My first tarts were very lopsided and my cakes were flat as a pancake from using the wrong flour, but my mother praised my efforts. SIMPLE FUN Ask for childrens input into what they would like to eat, and turn a simple lunch into an adventure by packing it up for a picnic in the park, or even in the backyard. I wouldnt want to fill the holidays with too many planned activities, Alexander says. Keep a well-filled fruit bowl in view, bake a cake together and prepare some great sandwiches. EMBRACE VARIETY Never give up on a vegetable. Just because carrots were rejected one day doesnt mean they should never be offered again, Alexander says. The more they encounter, the broader their palate will become. Engage them, encourage them but do not insist on eating things they do not like. Being involved in the process from vegie patch to plate can help. Alexanders passion for healthy, hands-on food experiences is behind the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, currently supported by a partnership with Coles, which has seen gardens and cooking programs pop up in 2000 schools and education centres across Australia. For more detail, visit kitchengardenfoundation.org.au J ournalist and author Jacinta Tynan explains why she is turning to tapas one of the ancient principles of yoga not in the interest of shedding kilos but of shedding herself. Oh, the lengths Ill go to for spiritual growth Ive given up chocolate. For two weeks. This notable sacrifice down from a family block a day to zero isnt in the interests of shedding weight but of shedding myself. Im following the ancient spiritual discipline known as tapas, and the idea that relinquishing something we cant do without makes way for something far more impactful: the opportunity to get closer to our truth. Like most core spiritual practices, were doing this already without realising it. We surrender preferences for a higher priority, like foregoing sleep to feed a baby or abstaining from alcohol to own the morning. But when we practice tapas, were consciously choosing sacrifice and discipline for no other reason than to acquire inner knowing. In our acts of altruism were replenishing the soul. And so I find myself chewing my nails instead of Maltesers. Im eschewing my greatest vice and its not easy. Its not so much about chocolate but what opens up if I apply discipline what yogis call heat to override my head. When we wrangle our mind, its no longer in charge. Far from being restrictive, tapas frees us to make choices. It gives us self-knowledge and creates space for transformation. As Playschool host and yoga teacher Rachael Coopes puts it: A mind in control is free. I remind myself of this when Im back at the fridge reaching for the Cadbury. In my resistance, I feel resentful, on edge. But heres what I notice: I crave chocolate when Im alone or feel alone. Its a substitute for joy. Ive found myself filling the void from my uncensored snacking with being productive and present. Im reading more and getting out. By delaying gratification, Ive created space for other things to flourish. WELLBEING How the spiritual discipline of tapas can free your mind
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