Food from the US of A to you

Honey Child Home Cooking

Homesick and appalled by what Australians think of American food, Honey Child was forged.
Toni Rands, Chef and Owner of Honey Child’s Creole Catering, is a West Coast All-American gal. Her dad’s job with the United Nations meant she lived lots of places but calls Las Vegas her home in the States. Her grandmas hale from Texas and Louisiana. Think Creole and Texican, and you’re off to a good start.
Married in 2008 to Tasmanian, Nicholas, she found her way to Hobart via Sydney which was not a place for a big open heart like Toni’s.
I did not enjoy. It was dirty and the people weren’t very friendly and I’m ‘Hi y’all!’ friendly and sociable. And I’m officially an adult because bad manners just make me angry. There’s some great things going on in Sydney but I lived in great big ol’ Las Vegas and had a wonderful job and a wonderful life. If I was going to come across the world I wanted squeaky clean pristine and there’s nothing better than here, it’s like clean, it’s pure, it’s green and the fruits and vegetables are amazing.

Cooking is in her DNA and it holds a crucial place in her family’s history.
We’ve been through our ancestry and the short version is throughout the late 1600s to the current day, all the women in my family have been prolific cooks or artisans of some way. We earned our freedom through great cooking my great grandmother told us at every family reunion.
Her Mother would make these certain dishes and sell them on the street and she got enough coins to buy her papers and that gave her her freedom which led her to buy property.
We’ve always had a really strong matriarchal thing in our family and all our success is due to the hard work of women. It’s either been because of nursing, cooking, we had a couple of hat makers, and the like, we’re just that kind of people.

The story behind her food is rich in her heritage and her values. The table she has shared with the generations of women who came before her was laden with high sacred dishes. Here’s a taste:
Gumbo, a rich stew of seafood, meat and vegetables from Louisiana, is always served for a big celebration during the year.
A plate of greens at New Year’s represents folding money. Think prosperity, wealth, fortune, and independence.
White cake which represents the sweet blessings of God, hold them in your mouth and recognise the good things that have come to you.
Black-eyed peas are always on the New Years table too, so you can see your way through the year and make good choices.
And something full of fat and decadence, to carry you through the year represented the richness of the earth.
The Two Girls met Honey Child at MONA Markets, see our post here.
Inspired, we discovered the Snug Markets where you’ll find Toni cooking the last Sunday of the month.
This was last week’s lunch menu:
Black Bean “Notchos” and Burritos was the very popular Vegan option.
Shoyu Chicken – Toni describes it as a bit like sweet and sour chicken with teriyaki, done the skinny way, roasted not fried.
I find that if you want to have a real full meal experience you always have to have dessert and if you have a fat-assed and heavy meal you don’t want to eat dessert!

Lemongrass, five spice and ginger slow cooked steak. Sliced thinned this beef is slow cooked for about 11 hours and then warmed it in a aromatic gravy. It was served over a saffron and cilantro rice and it comes with a Chinese Hawaiian cucumber salad and daikon radish and carrot pickles.
She tells us that since MONA the pickles have taken off like Halley’s Comet but they were a ritual before they were an awesome accompaniment.
I only made the carrot pickles because at our first market I wanted to honour both my grandmothers and we had a very creole sandwich and a Mexican mole sauce and we looked at it and I thought it needed something and I knew my granny Ivy would love something spicy. She was the Mexican/Native American/Black Gramma from Texas.

And for dessert there was a Nectarine and Berry Cobbler with whipped cream and a Banana Pudding Cup.
Toni laughs about her banana puddings, for her it’s the essence of simplicity and family.
It’s like ‘the’ dessert. You can’t have family gatherings without banana puddings. It’s a very simple dessert that tastes damn good. I only started cooking it out here because I was home sick. I missed my family. It was like Memorial Day the last day we had the Markets on so I made it. It’s like a pared down trifle. It’s layers of eggy vanilla custard, bananas and shortbread with whipped cream on top. But you let it sit overnight so the shortbread breaks down, so it’s like a velvety Tiramisu type situation.
Snug Markets was Toni’s entrée into professional cooking in Australia. She figured winning over the less adventurous eaters would be the sign she was on the right track. She certainly has a loyal following of locals and Honey Child looks to be the success story of these markets.

If you want to check out Honey Child know this.
The Tony and pop up partner, Meegan aka Sweet MacQueen partnership are heading north for a weekly Supper Club which will start in early May at the Bagdad Community Hall.
You can also find them at the boutique Flourish Markets, at the Newtown Scout Hall on Main Road quarterly. The 2014 dates are 2 March, 1 June, 7 September and 7 December.
Honey Child and Sweet MacQueen exclusively cater for Pay It Forward TAS fundraisers.
They cater parties, meals, and events and they’re also leasing a food van for the winter months so keep your eyes peeled.
And today’s scoop, they’re part of the MONA Winter Feast line up.
Find out more about Honey Child here and the collaboration with Sweet MacQueen here.