A few years ago I started illustrating the food choices of female cyclists - a playful project celebrating the ritualistic lifestyle and culinary culture around the bike. This summer, in collaboration with Kitchen Press Publishers, we'll launch the first book born from that concept.
Eat Bike Cook features 19 stories from the saddle remembered through the food that fuelled them. Fi, our chef, has then created 40 cycling recipes inspired by these tales.
As well as providing inspiration on easy and tasty ways to fuel for days on the bike, Eat Bike Cook is a celebration of the female cycling community: of the great chat in a cafe mid-ride, of the handful of Haribos that gets you through the last 25km and the shared beer and burger at the end off the day.
Below is my catch up with Kitchen Press on all things Eat, Bike, Cook.
Q: Hi Kitty, so was there an illustrator or illustrated book that really inspired you?
A: One of my first creative obsessions was Penny Crayon – a fictitious animated character from the 80s/90s. She had the enviable superpower of transforming anything she drew into reality. Over the following years, I soaked in inspiration from everywhere – my mum’s fine art, photography, typography, graffiti or my young niece’s fantastically fearless creations. I discovered the witty world of Waldo Pancake. Through to the emotionally sharp Charlie Mackesy. There’s reference points everywhere but it’s often been a simple and truly innate love for putting pen (a good thick one) to paper supported with playful social commentary, that was my motivator.
Q: What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?
A: The kitchen is a superb room in the house. Whether it’s cooking to music or chatting to my boyfriend Joe whilst we are cleaning the dishes, it’s a space bursting with possibility and taste. I’m not the most sophisticated cook – even though I enthusiastically try to be – so my cooking utensils are relatively simple. In fact, in our current London flat, I’ve selfishly taken up 30% of it with a coffee corner. Filter machine, espresso machine, grinder, V60 and a collection of French presses. Those items mean so much more than coffee, they’re symbolic of a daily moment of pause and simple focus that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.
Q: Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to bike to?
A: My favourite audio during a ride is good conversation – when else do you share hours of thoughts and a listening ear without distraction. If I’m by myself, what I enjoy varies incredibly. I’m quite a patchwork quilt of interests – from EDM (electronic dance music) to americast (the BBC podcast). A short commute is often fuelled with fast beat music whereas long adventures lend themselves to a podcast. I’ll choose one that discusses a perspective or subject I’m deeply interested in (eg How I Built This) or have zero idea about (eg a 3 hour Joe Rogan with Elon Musk).
Q: If you could bike and refuel anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?
A: This is one of my favourite questions because it instantly evokes a spectrum of visceral memories. There’s one specific location that holds an incredibly fond spot in my heart – a humble restaurant in Palma de Mallorca that my boyfriend (Joe) and I stumbled across after a long mountainous day in the sun. We savoured crisp cold shandies and the saltiest home made chips we’ve ever tasted. I’m pretty sure they were cooked in magic sauce, or maybe the special ingredient was the conditions and the company. It was perfection, wrapped up in après surroundings – tired legs, salty food and sharing a sense of reward with a loved one.
Q: Do you have any interesting pre-ride rituals you could share with us as advice for the budding riders out there?
A: Pre-ride rituals are an escape before you begin moving. Over ten years ago, I self printed my first book of life advice entitled ‘Oats taste better when soaked overnight’. That’s still the best guidance I can give – soak those oats, slowly brew that coffee and read up about where you’re about to ride (and make sure there’s sufficient ingredients waiting in that fridge you’ll dive into when you get back).
Original interview Kitchen Press: source.