A long and eventful career in the kitchen – L’Echo


President of Liberation Larder, Liz Jackson. Photo tree fairy.

When she was just 16, Elizabeth Jackson was kicked out of a home economics class — not because she burned a pot or had a collapsed sponge, but because she made a black wedding cake. ‘I had a bad start. There was nothing wrong with the cake. They just didn’t like my idea of ​​a bit of goth on the cake. You know, it was something in 1960.’

Thus began a long and eventful career in the kitchen.

Jackson graduated as a metalworker in his home town of Wollongong before heading north and landing at Upper Main Arm. “I have a scientific background. Cooking is a science, absolutely. Especially with pastry and cakes, you have to be very demanding. There are basic formulas, and you need to have the basic formula right before you can veer off in another direction and be creative.

Plan an escape

Jackson took a degree in metallurgy and then left town. “I had not planned to stay in Wollongong. I worked at the steel mill and waited – planning my escape. Plot out!

“I had friends who moved here from Wollongong and it seemed like a good idea at the time. So I stumbled here really, by chance.

Liz is an accomplished cook in all areas, but says cakes and pastries are her thing. “It’s my chemistry. That’s what I really like. It’s my favorite thing, but I like to experiment by doing other things. I think that’s what’s so fabulous about Mullum. It’s a melting pot of so many cultures, just like Australia in general, because we can get anything we want here in terms of ingredients.

“When I was young it was European with an Eastern European influence. Now we have all the Asian things and the Middle Eastern influence. I think we learned to mix and match flavors, because we have a cultural melting pot here.

Liberation Pantry

One of Jackson’s interests these days is her volunteer work at Byron’s Liberation Larder, where she currently serves as president.

“I am semi-retired. I had my own business in Byron, and I had two knee replacements, and I just couldn’t keep doing 100 hours a week. So, I sold my business and was at home, tinkering in the garden for about three months, and I missed the camaraderie and the team in a kitchen, and I just missed being under pressure. Because, you know, I’d had 40 odd years in the kitchen. So I offered to volunteer and I’ve been there since 2013.’

Reduce food waste

Along with years of contributing to the community by cooking breakfasts at the community centre, Liz says now the Liberation Larder mainly reduces food waste. ‘I just made a huge rescue at Splendor in the Mud. We have vegetables, milk, cheese, butter, meat, lots of chicken and beef burgers, heaps of eggs and potatoes – I haven’t added it all up yet but it looks like we got over three tonnes – and that’s just myself and other volunteers – in our cars.

‘It’s funny because I used to make food at festivals. I used to do artist catering at Bluesfest, and now I’m on the other side of the fence. On the first day, I talk to all the merchants – I’ve been doing this for quite a long time so a lot of them know me.

“What we did, because we have so much, I have links with other agencies and we brought up all these agencies with the flood relief – so I contacted Jamie who leads the consortium of centers of Evans Head neighborhood. We met her in Byron and filled up her refrigerated van. She was taking him straight to Coraki, Wardell, Woodburn – all those communities. And then I gave a lot to the Uniting Church because they do the FoodBox – and I have even more. I still have plenty of fruit to offer. We have a cold room and freezers, but we don’t have enough room for tons. And also, with stuff that’s mostly fresh, I want to release it right away. I want people to be able to eat it.

Lunches and frozen meals

Jackson says now Wednesday breakfast has moved to Fletcher Street Cottage, they do lunches on Mondays and Thursdays and they distribute meals and frozen goods.

“We treat around 200 people a week and service is really, really important. We’ve always had a problem with homelessness in Byron County, but now we have an underclass of people who have lost their homes. I mean, you only have to walk down Argyle Street in Mullum to see how many empty houses there are, and everyone in that situation has kind of disappeared.

Liz was affected by the floods herself – she is currently having her own house repaired. But she loves the area; she has been here for 50 years and has no intention of leaving.

We have to adapt

‘I do not want to go. It’s my house. I think you just have to adapt. Climate change is real and even if we stop doing what we are doing today, the damage is already done. The best result we could have would be to slow it down a bit.

Jackson’s drive to cook hasn’t waned, and her early expulsion from home ecology hasn’t stopped Liz from learning — she’s been studying on and off for the past ten years. “I did pastry stuff. I’m going to Sydney at the Australian Patisserie Academy and did a few things at Wollongbar TAFE. I took a chocolatier course and a few other pastry courses. There are no days that I don’t want to cook, but some days I can just make avocado on toast, but you know, there will be zatar…’.


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