Seasons upside down
How life in the opposite hemisphere brought the inspiration to create "Snowy Foodie".
Living seasons upside down, when moving from the other side of the world, can be interesting to say the least! It doesn’t always make sense, especially when comes Christmas, Halloween, Easter... Adapting to a different lifestyle, culture and climate can be very challenging but enriching as well. From the province of Québec in Canada to the Snowy Valleys of New South Wales in Australia, I still get the four seasons cycle but at the opposite time of year. Winters are milder but that does not mean more comfortable... In fact my body has never had to fight the cold temperatures as much I do now (but that’s inside the house of course)! Due to extreme heat waves and droughts, Australian bushlands each year are at risk of fires, but with global warming records have been increasing. In summer 2020, renamed the “black summer”, was an unimaginable event and the scariest experience I’ve ever lived before... Snake and big spider encounters were nothing compared to this. So, I much prefer spring and autumn (how “fall” is called here) as these seasons are so much fun in the garden and also just gorgeous, safer and comfy! I will elaborate more about each season in the southern hemisphere in time, but in Australia, season transitions are defined differently than in the northern hemisphere. In the tropical north, there are only two seasons, the dry and the wet (not including the notorious “build-up” I was told about). But across most of the country, including and the zone that we live in, spring is officially starting on September 1st, summer on December 1st, autumn on March 1st and winter on June 1st.
Seasons are a great direction for my home studio food photography and recipe development, so this is a slow process. It usually takes me at least two years to complete a recipe with photos, as many of them are only done once or twice in the same season. For many reasons like budget, availability, time and nutritional balancing, I often have to wait a while before doing a new test. If I mess it up, which sometimes happens, the recipe goes in the “next time” pile and that often means the following year. Harvest photos are made as the produce comes up and once I get the recipe finalized (or close to be), I can start propping, shopping, styling and cooking the real thing to make the final shots. I have to time the sessions with weather forecast as I am mostly using natural light. All the fresh produce pictures presented here are from my backyard, the family farm, friends gardens or bought from a local grower. There is such a difference with supermarket fruits and veggies and the look and taste of homegrown or locally grown fresh examples. I still buy some from grocery shops for our everyday meals but mostly buy the ones in season that I don’t have in the garden. It takes a lot of time for a backyard food forest to be fully productive (and it is in good in progress but I’m not there yet). There are many benefits to eating seasonal: such as encouraging the reduction of ones carbon footprint, supporting local growers, eating food that is richer in vitamins and taste, saving money and so much more.
I love the idea of consuming food in harmony with the garden and what is in season as a choice of menu. Maybe in my previous life in the city, for many reasons, this did not count as much. But in this one, I never really eat zucchinis and salad vegetables in winter. It’s too cold for cold food and after eating those veggies everyday for most of the summer, I really don’t mind a break (especially zucchinis!). Same with pumpkins, I’m only cooking those in cold seasons and there is no way I’ll want any others until the next round. A warm soup or an oven baked dish in summer, not very interested… However, I have respect to cultural traditions. Most Australians families celebrate Christmas with a hot roast meal, at lunch (which means right in the heat of a summer day at around 35C). When in Oz do as the Aussies do! During the down period of holidays, my homesickness is remedied by exploring versions of Québec traditional dishes with a summer twist. This is how the idea of reproducing both adapted and fusion recipes came up and I’m really having fun with this concept of food fusion creativity. When I think of it, it is almost like living eight seasons a year! Change of season brings new beginnings, many memories, different ways to dress-up, activity switches and variations of the food we eat. Growing food is one of the best ways to connect with each season and one thing’s for sure, by learning and practicing most of it in this Australian climate, this is one thing that does not feel strange to me here at all. In my garden and by writing this blog, I’m feeling at home all year long!
Snowy Foodie recipes are published and categorized by seasons.