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In Every Bite Takes You Home by Gaye Weeden and Hayley Smorgon

By Laura McKinnon
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every bite takes you home by Gaye Weedon and Hayley Smorgon

every bite takes you home by Gaye Weedon and Hayley Smorgon


Every Bite Takes You Home is a uniquely presented cookbook that puts a new spin on sourcing recipes: from asylum seekers who now call Australia home. It tells the stories of sixteen migrants who have either arrived in Australia recently, or who have come to call Australia home over time.

Every Bite Takes You Home follows on from the authors’ previous works, Cooking from Memory and Cooking From The Heart, in which they recorded the recipes of migrants who came to Australia: important cultural memories that we need to preserve.  

Every Bite Takes You Home is fantastic in the sense it does not follow one particular cooking style, but brings us a broad range of recipes, all true to their sources.

The authors have gone to great lengths to ensure the recipes can be faithfully and easily prepared, as well as ensuring the recipes are accurate and as authentic as possible.

As long as you use the right ingredients and take the time to follow the recipes strictly you can get a lot of joy out of creating the dishes in this book; your kitchen will take on the aromas of a foreign land and excite your taste buds!

The asylum seekers, and of course their recipes, come from a number of areas: Afghanistan, Cambodia, DR Congo, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet and Vietnam. And this turns out to be a fantastic range and variety of inspiring meals. Knowing the story behind the people sharing the recipes also gives the food a somewhat emotive touch, somehow making the food feel a bit more personal. This is in stark contrast to some of the more clinical recipes found in some cookbooks nowadays.

What are some of the standouts? It is hard to choose but here goes.

  • From Abshiro Farah of Somalia we get to try Somali Chapati (traditional bread) which is both easy to make, delicious, and can go with many different types of meals. We also get a doughnut that is flavoured with cardamom and that presents beautifully.
  • Desh Balasubramaniam of Sri Lanka shows off a tasty Kaffir Prawn Curry
  • Hien Vo of Vietnam treats the reader to a Deep-fried Salt and Pepper Squid
  • Kazem Karami provides a popular Iraqi dessert called Sesame Delight (which is exceptionally easy to create)
  • Alwal Madut of the Sudan offers a hearty Chicken and Spinach Stew as well as an amazing African Custard

The range of food is extensive; even better is that your taste buds will tingle with the turn of each page, particularly if you like adventure and trying something different. Sweet Biscuits from Afghanistan; Lemongrass Soup from Cambodia; Bamboo Shoot Stir-fry from Myanmar; Bolani (vegetable-filled flatbread) from Afghanistan; Steamed Buns from Tibet – I could go on!

If you like trying different foods, and if you also like practical and easy-to-handle recipes, then Every Bite Takes You Home is an essential purchase.

It might also help in knowing that all of the author and publisher profit from sales of the book will go to supporting asylum seeker support centres and organisations. It is not often a cookbook with genuine heart comes along, however this is one such example.

This is one of the better cookbooks released over recent months; it would be an asset in any cook's collection and would most definitely make a great gift.


Every Bite Takes you Home is published in Australia by Ilura Press (Melbourne, 2015; hc, 246pp). It can be purchased direct for A$62 (includes donation) from Ilura Press at  »


  • Melbourne (VIC)

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March 10th, 2016
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