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Open Post: What's been happening in your world?

If you’re new to Open Post, here’s how it works. We tell you a story from our week, and then you tell us what’s happening in yours.

Well hi, long time, no Open Post!

I’ve been busy, you see. I’ve gone back to work in a permanent job in an ad agency (my first in 15 years), I have three kids in three schools and my first picture book has just been published. Also, and related, I am reasonably sure I’m losing my mind.

Now, where was I? Yes. We were talking about the cost of dental work for dogs.

No, no, I was writing Open Post! That’s right! And I wanted to write about food, mainly because it’s my favourite topic, but also because that’s what my new picture book is about.

Specifically, it’s about food that’s prepared as a care-gift for someone. My book is called ‘A Curry For Murray’. The illustrations are the most lovely thing about it – gorgeously drawn by Lucia Masciullo. It was Lucia’s idea to break the dishes down into ingredients – looking for a way to get kids interested in food other than nuggets and noodles? This could be it!

mamamia open post
A Curry For Murray by Kate Hunter and Lucia Masciullo is published by University Of Queensland Press. Image: supplied.

Anyway, our book is about a little girl who whips up a Rogan Josh for her elderly neighbour, Murray, whose wife Maureen, is in hospital. Word soon spreads about Molly’s success at the stove and soon she’s cooking up all sorts of dishes for people in need. Spinach Maloney for Sam Maloney (he has a sore tooth and can’t eat anything crunchy), a soft-boiled egg for Mrs Gregg (poor woman has a cold), then hordes of people who are either poorly, lazy or greedy – including the Faraway Prince who demanded savoury mince – are queuing for Molly’s cooking.

Want more? Try: Kate Hunter: 8 reasons why stir-fry parenting works.

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Being the laziest of writers, I didn’t have to dig too deeply to unearth this story. It found me. My younger daughter Sally said the words, ‘Let’s make a curry for Murray when we heard our neighbour (Murray’s) wife (you guessed it – Maureen) was ill, so we wasted no time in cracking open the Patak’s. And I had an idea for a story. (Of course Molly is really Sally she’s a little miffed I changed her name, but there’s simply no food that rhymes with Sally, except trevally, and that was never going to work in the narrative).

Author Kate Hunter.

It was such a joy to write this story, and not hard, because it’s true – and not simply the event that inspired it. Cooking for those who are having a tough time is what people do. They always have and I hope they always will

It’s heartening that while the world seethes with violence, most people don’t hesitate to help out their friends and neighbours. Often it’s nothing big, it doesn’t have to be home-made, but the fact that someone’s kind enough to drop over some muffins for kids’ school lunches, or some spag bol to stick in the freezer makes a bad world seem better.

Last year, when our family lost a friend suddenly, another friend (who didn’t even know the fella who’d died), brought us a still-hot roast chicken because she guessed we might not be up for cooking. ‘Eat it now,’ she said, ‘Or shove it in the fridge, or chuck it in the bin once I’m gone – I don’t care, I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you.’

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We call it comfort food for a reason. Image via istock.

It’s the most basic of ways to help someone, to cook something, and the fact that it’s the first thing offered (even by a little kid) makes me believe we’re hardwired for kindness and it’s cruelty that’s the aberration.

What’s been happening in your world? Bring me up to speed!

A Curry For Murray by Kate Hunter and Lucia Masciullo is published by University Of Queensland Press. You can buy it at bookshops and online at

thekidsbookshop.com.au or

booktopia.com.au or

readings.com.au

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