Margaret Fulton – still in style at 93!
An icon of Australia’s culinary landscape, Margaret Fulton was the first and greatest of the Australian celebrity cookery writers. As World War II was coming to an end, our cuisine became more influenced by availability of new and interesting produce. But it was Margaret Fulton, through her magazine columns and later her cookbooks, who showed Australia how to cook in new and exciting ways. A passionate traveller, she is credited with being one of the first people to bring international cuisine to the Australian table.
Born in Scotland, Margaret arrived in Australia in 1927 as a three-year-old. She started out as a secretary at the Australian Gas Light Company but quickly moved on to become a cooking demonstrator. She thought herself lucky to get the job as she could get into the demonstration kitchens where you taught people how to cook with gas and this is what solidified her passion for cooking.
In 1968, while working as food editor at Woman’s Day, she released The Margaret Fulton Cookbook. After its initial print run of 30,000 copies sold out, Fulton’s cookbook went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies.
Since then, she has authored more than 20 books. In 1983, she received the Medal of the Order of Australia and in 1998, she was added to the National Trust of Australia’s list of Living Treasures. Although she is no longer quite as hands-on in the kitchen she remains a member of the Human Nutrition Foundation Committee and is a long-time supporter of Greenpeace.
Her latest honour was bestowed by InStyle Magazine in March this year, at the age of 93, where it has been said she “stole the show” at the awards ceremony held in Sydney. She had the crowd in fits of laughter and was given a standing ovation as she took to the stage to accept the Lifestyle Award as part of the ‘Women of Style’ Awards run by the iconic magazine.
The magazine quoted her as saying, “I’ve been showing women how to bake a scone and how to keep a man; yes, that comes into it because it’s all part of life. I’m 93 and I still love life and I’m going to keep on loving life and my friends and people I meet because it’s just the way to go”.
The InStyle and Audi Women of Style Awards honour Australia’s inspirational and innovative women, across nine categories, including Arts & Culture, Beauty, Business, Charity & Community, Entertainment, Fashion, Lifestyle, Science and Sport.
According to the many profiles written about her over the years, for Margaret Fulton, the great pleasure of cookery writing was to bring good food into ordinary homes. She was never interested in writing for an elite. Instead she concentrated on ‘bringing magic’ into everyday living through better every day eating.
The Australian Living National Treasure would still be recognised by many a home cook as altering his or her approach to the Australian staple of ‘meat and three veg’.
Both in her career and personal life, Fulton has sought out the ‘good life’. “I’m such a show off,” she said on stage at the InStyle awards ceremony.