I remember as a young child being fascinated by the alchemy that would take place in my home kitchen. My mother would take a few simple ingredients out of the pantry and combine and heat them in a certain way. Then, almost out of nowhere, a warm plate of Anzac biscuits would be sitting on the counter. Once unpalatable and reminiscent of sawdust, some oats and desiccated coconut were transformed into an edible embrace. I ate them just as homesick ANZAC soldiers (the name stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) had in World War I, and just as my mother had growing up in small-town New Zealand in the 1960s. Eating them felt like I was engaging with something persisting and transcendent, like I was witnessing an eternal flame. And yet, even as a child, I would...

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