A day in the life of food writer Carter Were

The author of two deeply personal cookbooks invites us into her home in Federal, Australia, and takes us along on a family beach trip.
Carter Were 16x9 hero

The first edition of Carter Were's Cookbook is difficult to get your hands on. It sold out almost instantly and further editions don't stay in stock for long. There's now a sequel, photographed by Carter's sister Harry. Both books are inspired by their childhood in New Zealand and Carter's time living in Greece and near Byron Bay in Australia.

The second book is printed in Italy and is as much of a design object as a practical cookbook, with paper cut-out covers and hand-stitched spines. Alongside recipes, you'll find photos of Carter's home life, with her children helping out in the kitchen. We asked Carter and her partner Jack Crowther to document a day in their lives, shortly before the birth of their third child. 

‘We live in the countryside and Brisbane – a big city – is two hours' drive from us. We live a slow life and enjoy simple pleasures. Life is so fleeting and I want to do things that make me happy and my family happy. My oldest daughter, Patience, likes to go surfing with her dad, Jack. There are many beautiful beaches here; they're all beautiful, depending on the way the wind is blowing.’

‘The first thing I do every morning is kiss my babies. Jack and I have a coffee together. We make it on the stovetop and have it with warm milk. A perfect day for our family is to wake up to a sunny day and make our way down to the beach with some friends. We stay all morning, until someone gets tired or hungry, and then spend the afternoon at home.’

‘I started the first cookbook when I was pregnant with Patience, and the second one when Dorothy, my second, came along. I'd always wanted to work on something with my twin sister Harry. We speak multiple times daily. She lives in New Zealand and I live in Australia. She takes amazing photographs, so we came up with the idea for a cookbook – something tangible that we can have forever.’

‘The beach is the main reason we choose to live where we do. The weather is warm all year round – it does get cold in winter, but it's often sunny and dry and you can still swim. The beach we were swimming at here – while we were waiting for our son, Digby, to arrive – is called The Pass. It's in Byron Bay, which is about a 30-minute drive from where we live in the hills.’

‘I've found that pregnancy and the slow post-partum period of spending lots of time at home are when I like to cook most. It's calming for me – it keeps my hands and my mind focused on something other than the baby, and it allows me to feed myself, my family and my friends.’

‘I'm not a chef – I don't even call myself a cook. For me, cooking is more about the process and using my hands to create something. The food I cook is simple and it suits a busy life with kids. I don't think elaborate food necessarily tastes better. A few ingredients can make the nicest meal – I think, for me, cooking is more about enjoying the time in the kitchen.’

A version of this article was first published in Courier issue 50. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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