“I’ve always been about heritage and history when it comes to food, ever since my very first cookbook with the blank chapter in it,” says Julie Goodwin. “Even in my memoir, I plead with people to record their history, to write down their recipes, to cook from those old recipes because I think if we're connected to our history, we’re connected to the world, to the people around us.”

This idea – that respect for the past creates and preserves important connections in the present – underpins the Ballarat Heritage Festival, which runs from May 17 to 26. Joining the party at Sovereign Hill’s food-focused Heritage Harvest Weekend (May 25 and 26), Goodwin, Darren Purchese (The Great Australian Bake Off) and Tim Bone (Good Chef Bad Chef) are gathering to share the joy of the culinary past. Across the weekend, the trio will be cooking live, taking part in Q&As and chatting with visitors and, while their recipes are still under wraps, Goodwin will no doubt be mining her own formative food memories.

“I grew up in the ’70s and the ’80s – the ‘meat and three veg’ era,” says Goodwin. “I remember learning how to make pikelets, standing on a chair next to my mum at the stove. I remember my nan making those and some afternoons I’d go to her place after school and the smell of that butter in the pan is really evocative for me, it just takes me straight back there.”

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While Goodwin is a devotee of preserving recipes from the past (that blank chapter she mentioned, from cookbook Our Family Table, is left for readers to add their own), there’s a more holistic connection to be maintained. Among the time capsule backdrop of Sovereign Hill, there’s a chance to reflect on the way our relationship to food has evolved beyond the dishes we eat.

“Back when my nan was young and raising her family, she and her sisters had these beautiful veggie patches,” says Goodwin. “If we really wanted to reincarnate anything that our grandparents used to do, it would be raising it up out of the earth yourself, leading to that seasonality and that glut that you get – ‘I’ve got too many tomatoes, what do I do?’ Which leads on to those beautiful old crafts of pickling and preserving.”

Alongside Goodwin, Purchese and Bone, there will be more than 30 local food and drink producers at Sovereign Hill on Heritage Harvest Weekend, transforming the village with a market of local crafts and produce, traditional cooking demos, kids’ activities and cooking sessions from the Country Women’s Association. Sovereign Hill’s traditional activities – like gold panning, coach rides, candle dipping and rare trades demonstrations – will round out the heritage-focused weekend.

Among the fun of the activities and the chance to taste some of our region’s history, Goodwin is hopeful that visitors will find inspiration to preserve and pass on their own stories. “I hope that people feel a little bit inspired,” she says. “Not just to cook what they’ve seen, but also to spark those conversations with members of the family, to make sure that your heritage, your history is being recorded so that it can be passed on and that you're sharing those stories amongst each other that bring that history to life for you.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Sovereign Hill.