Meet Clementine Day of Some Things I Like to Cook
Clementine Day is a talented, multidisciplinary maker that runs Some Things I Like to Cook; an evolving project that draws a meaningful connection between food, people, and play. Interested in exploring the emotional relationship between the heart and the stomach, and the human connections that are formed over food, Clem works on collaborative, creative food projects with friends and creatives across Melbourne. Clem's an absolute delight, and we're thrilled to stock Clem's self-published cookbook, Coming Together, at Daily Good.
Tell us a little about yourself - who are you, where are you based and what do you do?
I’m Clementine Day (you can call me Clem) and I’m a self-taught, Melbourne-based home cook sharing food and recipes via my project Some Things I Like to Cook. I come from a background in Fashion Design and my current day job sits within fashion education, working predominantly within the practical, hands-on components of pattern-making and construction. I love to work with my hands and I think this informs a lot of the ‘joy’ I get from cooking. I’m not a very good recipe follower, I tend to cook more intuitively - tasting and changing things as I go. I work on a number of fun projects via Some Things I Like to Cook and released a self-published cookbook last year titled Coming Together. I’m working on some smaller, zine-like recipe projects to share in the future, but I am also working on bringing a little community jam project to life soon called Some Jam.
What led you to create Some Things I Like To Cook and then Coming Together? Can you share a little something about your journey?
To be honest, I had no big vision or dream for Some Things I Like to Cook when I started it. I had always loved cooking and had wished it was something I could pursue, but my cooking style doesn’t suit working in a commercial kitchen (read - high-pressure environment) and I wasn’t interested in going into catering - So I felt kind of lost as to how it could be a ‘thing’ for me. I really love playing with food and exploring the emotional connection between the heart and the stomach - cooking for my loved ones feels like such a symbolic representation of the love I have for them. I’ve always made-up recipes, which I normally write down in notes in my phone to follow at a later date. When I was working from home last year, I had a lot more time to spend cooking, and so I started an Instagram account for it, honesty just to provide my friends and family an ‘opt-in’ for my food content, as it was starting to flood my personal account. I started to share bits and pieces of what I was cooking, and people started to request the recipes, so I started to share them. I was finding myself sending a lot of my ‘notes’ recipes to people via dm, so I made a website to put a few of them in one place for people. Then one thing led to another and I made a book - I think Coming Together was really a bit of a coping mechanism for me, I had a lot of grief to process last year, amongst the challenges of the pandemic, so it was quite overwhelming. I just hurled all of my energy into making this book and it was a huge learning curve for me. I’d never done anything like it before, so it was such a big challenge and it’s been equally baffling and lovely to see more and more people following along. You really put a lot of yourself into this kind of work, so it feels very vulnerable and scary at times to share it - Sometimes I do feel a bit of imposter syndrome as I don’t consider myself an ‘expert’ - always a student, occasionally a teacher and all that. However, I’m really proud to be a home cook and I feel so warm and fuzzy when people take the time to make one of my recipes and share their feedback with me.
How do you like to start and end your day?
I wake up pretty early, about 6am most mornings and jump straight in the shower. My partner and I do a quiz while we eat breakfast together every morning, nothing fancy, often scrambled eggs or some yoghurt and fruit with a filter coffee. When I can, I like to go for a swim or do some yoga or pilates before work too. After work, I come home and then do cooking work - admin, replying to emails, writing recipes, editing recipes, testing recipes and photographing them, packing books, printing shipping labels, and spreadsheets. On Sundays, I often cook a big dinner for us, and we eat the leftovers for dinner throughout the week - which suits me just fine while I’m busy like this. If there’s food I’ve made for Some Things I Like to Cook, we eat that. Thinking about it, breakfast and dinner really book-end my days. After dinner, we cosy up on the couch with our two kittens and a big mug of tea and watch a show or movie. Sometimes we play a board game or listen to a new album together (if I don’t have to do more work).
How do you practice self-care; through rituals, movement, mindfulness, or by doing things you love?
This is something I’m really having to redefine for myself at the moment. As Some Things I Like to Cook has grown, and whilst I still work full time - I’m working upwards of 70-80 hours a week and so finding time for self-care has been a bit of a struggle for me, and I’ve found myself really burnt out lately. I’ve had to make some changes to the way I work, learn to say ‘no’ a little more and really check in with myself everyday to make sure I’m not taking on too much. I’m hoping to build up Some Things I Like to Cook so I can step away from my day job a little more, even just 1-2 days a week less, but it’s hard to monetise this kind of thing and I’ve got bills to pay. I work best when I have balance, and for me that means having enough time to spend with my friends, my partner, myself, my body. My favourite thing to do, which always does a good job of getting me out of my head and into my body - is dancing. I try to dedicate time to it once or twice a week - it’s also a great workout. I just do it alone in the kitchen lol.
Do you have a philosophy around food?
Food should be fun! I have a lot of friends that talk about their experience with cooking as something anxiety-inducing. Some people find comfort in following recipes, and others find it stressful. I think everyone can be a good cook, I think a big part of it is about learning to trust your senses and your intuition, taste along as you go and cook food that you like to eat. I don’t think it should be taken so seriously, mistakes are fine! They’re good! You learn from both wins and losses in the kitchen. I really love to cook for people, a lot of my drive in the kitchen is really about expressing my love and hoping that people enjoy it on the side.
You’re a Melbourne-based foodie with impeccable taste - tell us your favourite local spots for coffee, food and drinks?
I am completely obsessed with La Pinta at the moment. I almost don’t want other people to know about it because it’s getting harder and harder to drop in for a meal without waiting as the masses cotton on, but I truly think everyone should experience a meal here. It will do wonders for your longing for a European holiday, as that’s exactly what it feels like. I don’t buy coffee out, but I buy all of my beans from Assembly because they are deliciously yummy and really well priced. I love a good bakery, my favourites are Oven Street Bakery, Wildlife Bakery, All Are Welcome and Monforte Viennoiserie. Also, I had a meal at Sunda Dining last weekend and PHWOAH! A must-try!
What practices do you have for living a more considered and sustainable life?
I’m really passionate about sourcing local, ethical and sustainable produce, learning to grow my own food and dealing with my own food waste through composting to create as much of a closed-loop system as I can from home - I’ve found it really empowering and have managed to grow and compost an awful lot of stuff for someone with only a tiny courtyard. Growing your own food and buying everything else from local growers and makers at markets keeps single-use plastics out of the picture and is also really fun. I try my best to carry these values across everything I consume, but we still have a long way to go. Whilst it’s pretty easy these days to go out and buy food or clothing that has been produced sustainably, and ethically and has a transparent business model, there are many areas where that’s still really hard to find. Doing your research is important, so that we can direct our money to support businesses that are doing things we want to see more of.
What local, small brands, businesses and creatives do you love and support?
I love to get down to my local farmers market and buy produce directly from growers, where I can - it’s also fun to get to know them and catch up with them each week or fortnight, they always have great tips on what’s good and I’m forever learning from them. Buying wine from local makers, which we are so lucky to have so many in this area. Boomtown and Jamsheed are two of my favs. I buy most of my beer from Wildflower and Regent Cellars. When it comes to buying ‘things’ - Holly at HB Archive has an exceptionally sustainable and transparent model, and makes beautiful wardrobe staples that she makes herself in her studio. Mostly for clothing I make my own clothes or buy second-hand from op shops. I really love homewares a lot, and try to support local ceramicists and makers, some of my favourites are: Softedge Studio, Petley, Claudia Lau, Ella Reweti, Walk in the Park, Klay Studio, Salad Days. Saint Francis Place for skin/hair/body products. This list will get too long so I’ll leave it there.
What are you currently reading / listening to / browsing / watching?• Currently reading Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett for the second time because I really love it and it really sucks me in and gives me a break from the outside world.
• Listening to my own playlist Music To Bake To.
• Watching Taskmaster, which is just fun comfort food TV for when I need to wind down.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m trying to finish everything book related and tie up some loose ends for recipe jobs I’ve been struggling to fit in so I can dedicate some time to some new ideas and play around with some foodstuff for a while. I have a couple of fun lunch shoots coming up with friends and will be working with some new people and photographers on those which I’m really looking forward to.
Lastly, where can we connect with you?