Lamingtons, custard squares, and cheerios: Artist identifies 'traditional' New Zealand spread favourites

Celebrating classic Kiwiana and tempting teens into reading is what the Annual book series is all about.

A bold and lovable miscellany of everything from poems to comics to games to posters, it's so popular, the past two editions sold out and became instant classics.

Today's release of Annual 3 features over 50 local contributors teaming up to excite young readers - it's playful, smart, and packed with fun.  

The Traditional Big Spread of Aotearoa NZ by Giselle Clarkson.
The Traditional Big Spread of Aotearoa NZ by Giselle Clarkson. Photo credit: Annual Ink

The previous release, 2017's Annual 2, even stirred up controversy after its 'Common Household Biscuits & Slices of New Zealand' divided households, pitting friend against friend over what should and shouldn't have made the cut.

"NO CUSTARD SQUARE?" decried one Reddit user, leaning heavily on the shift key.

"How you can have a Squiggle Top and not have a Toffee Pop?" asked another.

"Too much caramel in that caramel slice," piped in an obviously confused poster, because the phrase "too much caramel" isn't a thing.

One was even trans-Tasmanly offended by a seemingly benign inclusion: "I proclaim raisin biscuit to be officially an Australian biscuit."

However, some were simply happy to declare their love for long-time favourites: "Louise Slice is my jam."

And, of course, nothing sells manchester like controversy, so an official tea towel of the biscuits and slices was produced and is now sold on the Annual's website.

For Annual 3, the artist who fired up the biscuit and slice furore, Giselle Clarkson, has revisited the food theme with 'The Traditional Big Spread of Aotearoa NZ'.

Is she ready for the, um, feedback for her latest creation?

"I'm a bit more prepared this time around," Clarkson told The Project. "It was so unexpected last time, but I know what I'm in for now."

She's not terribly worried about items some may feel were tragically ignored because, one day in the future, there'll be an Annual 4 to make things right.

"The last time there were big complaints about the missing custard square and lamington on the poster," Giselle said. "I put them on this one, so I hope that keeps everyone happy."

The Project's Jeremy Corbett celebrated the inclusion of the mushroom vol-au-vent on the current "Big Spread" design, recalling fond memories from his childhood and the countless events where they were served up.

"I'm sorry, that's the one I didn't know," Clarkson confessed.

Ah, well.

Despite the maelstrom of malevolent munchers eager to point out what they feel she got wrong, Giselle said she's ready to tackle more "common food" controversy in the future.

"We could do 50-cent mixes, takeaways, lunchboxes," Giselle told The Project. "I mean it's endless, right?"