Tucked away under the lemon-scented gums and melaleuca trees between Canning and Rathdowne streets, sits Carlton North Primary School, affectionately known as Lee Street. Open since 1873, our old buildings stand proudly with the flags flying high above them, and the casuarinas and kangaroo grass surround the playground.
We are a small, culturally diverse community – 300 children and their families. Many children ride their bikes to school and others walk, shouting hi to each other as they wander through the village, returning their books back to the Carlton Library as they go.
Here at Lee Street, we love to eat! We love to cook; we love our local cafes and restaurants and produce stores. We love the farmers and makers who bring their goods to the farmers market, held onsite. We love to grow food too – giant rosemary bushes pop out of front yards; intensely scented mints and myrtles flourish in the school’s edible Indigenous Garden; community vegetable gardens overflow with snow peas and parsley. Lemons dangle into laneways and cumquats shade verandas.
You’ll often find us at Curtain Square, relaxing and sharing snacks and drinks with groups of friends. Birthday parties abound with circles of family, cakes and sweet treats. Kids foraging for figs to sell in their shop games, running on the grass, swinging, climbing trees, riding, scooting and laughing.
Each year we hold the Great Lee Street Fete – a gathering of all the community, to eat, perform, laugh and play at school for a whole day.
This book was created first and foremost as a fundraiser, drawing together recipes and stories from local families, as well as the many wonderful cafes, restaurants, bars and food stores that surround our school. Dreamed up over coffees and kitchen tables in past years, it became a reality in a year when many families found themselves working and learning away from the school environment and unable to come together for our much-loved annual fete.
We shared recipes, created art at our kitchen tables, cooked in our homes and collected hundreds of photos, many of which you will see within these pages.
Somehow, with the power of our beautiful community, we made a cookbook.
We hope it will bring great food, connection and joy to your table.
Love, Lee Street