Annabel Karmel Interview
“Guru of babycare”
“Any mother who does not have at least one of Annabel’s books in her kitchen, well thumbed and splattered with food, should waste no time in putting that right.”
The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner
Annabel Karmel is the world’s leading expert and best-selling author on Baby and Children’s food and nutrition. Since 1991 she has written 14 books selling over 2 million copies worldwide.
Hello my name is Annabel, well actually I have three names Annabel Jane Elizabeth - I have never been sure whether my Mum thought she was having triplets and didn’t want to waste all that time looking for names in the Baby name book or she just couldn’t make up her mind...
When I sat down to think about what to write here I wanted it to be a little more interesting than the usual boring biogs you sometimes read.
I tried to think about the sort of questions that I would ask if I’d met someone for the first time and wanted to get to know them. I guess this is a bit like a blog more than anything else?
If anybody can tell me where the word “blog” came from, I would be interested to know.
This is my first shot at this and would really welcome your feedback. I want to make my site your site so if a lot of you keep asking the same thing I’ll make sure both the question and answer gets put up.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school in London. One of my classmates was the daughter of the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes - so, on Sports Day my father never wanted to be in the parents’ race; however my classmate was much in demand for the three legged race!
...and I hated Domestic Science and English
How life changes!
Was writing books your 1st choice career?
When I finished school I was a musician and singer - I played the Harp. I am sure that my parents encouraged me to play the Harp because they knew that very few boyfriends would want to help me carry the instrument around and that would keep me focused on my work!
Anyway I soon learned how to use my powers of persuasion or carry it on the bus!
As a musician I was lucky ? I think that I must be one of the few people that have performed with the likes of Liberace, Denis Waterman, Queen Elizabeth and Boy George!
I played with Liberace in Las Vegas, appeared as Cinderella in Pantomime with Denis Waterman and Rula Lenska, made a video with Boy George and then crossed the Atlantic as a musician and cabaret artist on the QE2.
I even had a recording career and the records are still available if you want to hunt them down at car boot sales, on ebay, or a charity shop!
What made you write your first book?
My experience as a mum. First losing my daughter Natasha who was born healthy but died at 13 weeks from a viral infection. Then when Nicholas was born a year later I felt quite vulnerable when he didn?t eat properly. I wanted to give him a good start in life and the only books I could find had very boring bland recipes. No one had really explored the truth about what babies should and could eat and I started making up recipes that were both delicious and healthy. My aim was to get more mums to give their babies fresh food.
Do you think that your career as a musician has helped you as an author and a chef?
Being a musician you have to be dedicated and disciplined, you have to practice, you have to learn your notes and you also learn to be slightly experimental in terms of playing musical variations within a theme and then sticking with the “piece” until you get it right. So the dedication and discipline required as musician helped me to get my first book finished and eventually published ? I was rejected at least 15 times until Random House agreed to publish me.
It is without doubt the musician in me that gives me the flair to experiment with food and develop new recipes.
Nothing overly fancy; just food that the whole family loves to eat.