Australian Food Icon Maggie Beer

‘Nothing is hard about writing a cookbook, except for it taking time,’ says the accomplished Maggie Beer as she speaks over the background classical music from her home in the iconic Barossa Valley.

This classic house-hold name is coming to Mildura for the 2019 Writers Festival to speak about her latest food project and to treat festival goers to a meal made in collaboration with local celebrity cook, Stefano de Pieri. ‘I’m not letting the cat out of the bag because we haven’t refined the menu yet. But it will be beautiful and seasonal and yes, hearty and wholesome and with a real Italian edge!’

Whilst the menu may not be set just yet, for Maggie, creating delicious food is an intuitive process that comes easily and is repeatedly reflected in her popular cookbooks. ‘I merely get produce that’s in season and I have a loose idea; then I just cook and someone takes notes behind me. So that’s how I do it.’

Inspired by her love of sharing ideas and her passion for writing, Maggie explains that ‘I always write why I’ve cooked this or why it’s relevant to me. It has to be personal. I never write a recipe without a personal introduction, if you like.’

Like Maggie’s diverse tastes in food, she is a self-described avid reader with ‘incredibly diverse tastes’ and a particular ‘love of contemporary Australian literature.’

When prompted about what recent books Maggie has been enjoying, the well-prepared author was ready. ‘I just I knew you were going to ask this! I’ve made a list.
The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose. I also enjoy quite a few women authors, like Tara Westover, Anne Tyler and Kate Atkinson. This is only half of them that I have just finished reading and half of them I have ready to read. I’ve been a reader all my life!’

To find out more about Maggie in person come and see her at this year’s Mildura Writers Festival.

Maggie Beer, phone interview with Jessica Cornish, 16 May 2019

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