A realistic, no-nonsense meal architect, human digestive enzyme, professional nutritionist, TV host and former personal trainer are all the titles Rosie Mansfield currently goes by. But with a new cookbook now available on store shelves, Mansfield can now add ‘published author’ to her growing list of titles.
Food Hacker, published by Penguin, is Mansfield’s new cookbook and has been designed to assist general busybodys and those without the patience for time-consuming recipes, find simple yet nutritionally sufficient meals that are delicious and, above all, easy to make.
Producing the book has been a year-long project for Mansfield who is excited to reach a new and wider audience.
“It’s [been], quite hectic sometimes, but a lovely process”, said the debut writer. “It’s like you’re building a legacy, and leading a legacy when you write a book.”
In determining the type of crowd her book might attract, Mansfield knew there were already “millions of cookbooks investing in long recipes” but acknowledged that for many busy people, conditions may not allow them any time to prepare healthy meals.
“[T]here was a gap in the market for those who wanted quick meals, and we still need more books for quick meals, because we are busy people,” she said.
‘Busy people’, from Mansfield’s perspective was not just restricted to working professionals. She also intended for Food Hacker to be easily accessible for Australia’s population of local and international students.
“I really had you guys in mind when I was writing this book”, the current host of Channel 10’s Good Chef Bad Chef said.
“Students sometimes they try to save money, they have very small or shared kitchens, and food is not the first priority.”
Stripped down to the bare essentials, all recipes provided in Food Hacker feature less than 10 ingredients and should not take more than an hour to make. Mansfield’s cookbook is divided across 12 chapters, with each section dedicated to basic kitchenware and products found in any household (including a mug, foil, sandwich bag or a blender). The only tool you’ll ever need to produce your meal, aside from your ingredients, is designated by whichever chapter title the reader is on.
When asked about her favourite recipe in her book, Rosie chose nachos in a sandwich bag as her to-go dish. Tortilla chips, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, corn kernels, cheese, yoghurt, coriander and chilli are all you need for this extremely simple meal which ideally would only take five minutes to make. Easy-to-make and no-cleaning-required, this sandwich bag meal can also serve up to for four people!
In addition to helping Australia’s ‘busy people’ save money and time on meal preparation, Mansfield also wants to emphasise how clean eating and attitudes towards food can lead to physical health benefits and also improve one’s mental wellbeing.
“Nutrition is a great way to start”, she said. “We need to look after our body, we need to look after our mind, we need to go to the gym, we need to do our mind exercises.”
“I’m always encouraging that as well through my food, so my perception is ‘whatever you put in your mouth will affect your mental health’. So I am all for promoting that.”
This philosophy is also reinforced on Mansfield’s website where she says, “We are not in control of many things in our life, but the wonderful thing is we do control what goes into our bodies.”
So while convenience and budgeting are important for the busy, Mansfield’s book also serves as a reminder that there is always a need to address the shifting perspectives around the kind of food we as a busy society collectively choose to include in our everyday lives.
“Traditional cooking will always be there”, Rosie added, “but we also need to adapt to how we’re growing as a nation.”
And if adapting means making cooking more accessible to those without the time to spend in the kitchen, then Food Hacker might just be for you.
Check out Rosie Mansfield’s new book Food Hacker from Penguin Books Australia or your local bookstore. You can also log on to Rosie’s website for more food hacks, food plans, blogs and consulting services.