When I first met Alice ‘in Frames’ Zaslavsky, I originally wanted to know what her “top tips” were for eating like the environment actually mattered. I was curious: what does the kitchen of the food editor at The Weekly Review look like?
Small fridge, big difference
We start off at where all the good stuff lives: her small fridge. What’s the deal with that exactly? It forces Alice to shop small, which means she chucks out less food. “Having a small fridge has really helped because we can’t buy too much food, and naturally that keeps things fresh.” I mentally note that she probably has a smaller power bill too. Smart. Far too smart.
The next little appliance to catch my attention is the Thermomix, which Alice keeps on high rotation to whizz up bits and pieces in the fridge into soup. It’s part of her guiding philosophy to eat everything she buys, rather than deferring to recipes all the time. “And if you’re not sure if something will work – everything tastes good with eggs, butter, or bacon.” We mirror her grin on this one.
Her juicer takes the “eat the whole food” philosophy a step further, being the receptacle for “dodgy fruit” while the Thermomix churns up sorbet from overripe fruit. Back in the fridge, a jar of watermelon rind pickles awaits for a cheese feast. And for apples, well, I have to say I’m a little surprised when she downs the core too. “Extra fibre,” she says, before casually revealing the next thing to blow my mind in her freezer.
In an ice cube tray are home-made cubes of concentrated chicken stock, made from leftover bones (and yes, she also makes bone broth). Her small freezer means she prefers to reduce the stock down – a trick she learnt from legendary Michelin star chef Walter Trupp, who taught her how to cook. “If you’re going to eat an animal, respect it and use everything right?” That can also mean embracing offal, which she’s not afraid to eat (or add to her homemade dog food for her pooch Leopold).
Speaking of dogs, Alice’s job eating her way around Melbourne means she’s a pretty keen doggy bagger too, extending the meaning of BYO to include her own container. And she’s always surprised when people overlook leftovers. “What most people don’t realise is that if you’re eating out, a lot of that food has been pre-prepared – they’re basically leftovers in a way. If you start to look at food like a chef – chefs actually don’t like to waste food because it’s bloody expensive. So think like a chef and start looking at leftovers more like pre-prepared bits and pieces.”
On growing up
Like many of us, Alice lives in an apartment, so it’s not as straightforward to grow her own veggies. But she does employ the services of Clo’ey, her closed loop electric composter that churns food scraps into fertile soil. “There’s something pretty damn magical about handing over this soil to my parents in law at Fallu Farm, and then getting this beautiful organic produce in return,” she says.
It’s at this point that I start feeling pretty damn good about the world (and not just because #fallufarm includes plenty of pics of Leopold the dog). Because all these little actions are more than the sum of their parts. She’s literally cultivating a small community from stuff that most people would normally chuck in the bin. Her kitchen is not just a place where food is stored, made or saved. It’s a space for her to figure out what change can look (and taste) like.
Meet more inspirational people making our food system better for us, our environment and Aussie farmers.
Images courtesy of Alice.