Margaret Fulton has never been a frills and frou-frou kind of woman.
Instead, the doyenne of Australian cooking, who has released 25 cookbooks, has always been drawn to practical, earthy designs – even when they weren’t fashionable.
This Scandinavian aesthetic of clean lines and strong colours runs through her new cookwear collection for Myer.
“I’ve been very lucky in my life, I was invited to the Scandinavian countries, particularly Finland where I became very interested in Arabia and Marimekko,” she says.
“The things they designed spoke to me. A lot of times it was something quite new that I hadn’t seen but I liked it immediately, whereas I admired what some of the English and German manufacturers were doing but didn’t want to own them.”
Australian taste in the 60’s was about floral Royal Doulton patterns and Margaret is proud that she introduced her readers to new designs, as well as new tastes.
“There was a design called Ruskia, which was just a brown motley plate, which I loved and because I started using the Finnish wear, which against all Australian natural tendencies at the time, they started to sell and then sold very well.”
Margaret used an Arabia bowl in her first cookbook, which was released in 1968, and she still has it so she wanted to design her range with longevity in mind.
“Kitchen design is important, you want to get something that you’ll love when you’re 90. I still love my mixing bowl and I wanted to make things that you are going to use,” she says.
“I didn’t want designs on the cups, just have them plain and then they can mix in with almost anything on the table. Even though they are muted, the strength of the colours are definitely there. I’m not shying away from a certain boldness and there’s lots of earthiness to them as well.
“It will encourage you to use it and won’t matter that it won’t go with even the dolliest or rosiest design. It would make then seem not so bad to me.”
Practicality was also important to Margaret and she put her years of experience to good use, creating products that are “very functional and not too fiddly.”
“Everything should be a delight to use. You need to think about whether you can put it in the dishwasher or is it going to scratch in the sink?” she says.
“Everyone needs an easy roasting rack that doesn’t need too much scrubbing. This one was based on one that I bought in the 60s, it’s designed so there aren’t too many wires so it’s easy to clean.”
The collection is also all about rounded shapes, which according to Margaret are not only pleasing to the eye but make washing up a breeze.
“When you’re cooking, you don’t want corners, everything gets stuck in them,” she says.
“The dishes are also smooth and shiny inside which also makes them easy to clean and the matte outside gives it a lovely texture.”
Other practical pieces include an all-marble pastry board, which stays cool, and a handle-less rolling pin.
“That way you can get your hands in it, you can feel what’s happening to your dough,” Margaret says.
This story was first published in Home magazine, The Daily Telegraph, on September 27, 2014