One of the best things in life is to sit around the dinner table with family and friends enjoying a simple meal made with fresh, homegrown ingredients.
That's according to celebrity chef Annabel Langbein who was in the Ponsonby Rd Paper Plus store on Monday to launch her latest cookbook.
Her book, Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures, is beautifully photographed with a range of recipes, all made with produce from her own garden in Wanaka.
"I grow it all," she says proudly.
But this isn't just a pretty cookbook.
Ms Langbein was compelled to write it because she passionately believes we all need to slow down to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
And that includes growing your own vegetables.
To celebrate the launch of the book, Paper Plus carried out research on New Zealanders' behaviour and attitudes towards home-grown produce.
According to the study, it showed almost 80 per cent of respondents eat home-grown produce at least once a month - but 20 per cent of those that didn't say it's because they don't have a garden.
"There's a real movement, even if you don't have a lot of room, to want to grow something, just to feel connected, so that even if you only have a pot you can grow an amazing amount of food out of it," she says. "It's not hard."
Ms Langbein fits a lot into her busy life.
Apart from writing and self-publishing her own cookbooks and producing her own television series, she is also on the board of the Sustainability Council of New Zealand.
She says the council is involved in all sorts of advocacy to ensure New Zealand has a sustainable future in food production and resource management.
"People look to us for being this really clean, green place and it's making sure we live up to that promise and we can deliver it," she says.
That strong commitment to sustainability and home-grown food ties in with her conviction that simple pleasures are becoming more and more important in our lives.
"For so long we've valued people's success around money.
"What we think of as a good life is changing more and more to being around creating memories that you can take forward in life and pass on," she says.
And what is Ms Langbein's favourite simple pleasure?
"My husband bringing me a cup of tea in bed in the morning," she laughs.
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