‘Eat Your History; Stories & Recipes From Australian Kitchens’ by Jacqui Newling (New South) What a wealth of information this book is – and so well written with helpful and fun, light-hearted comments and tips. I loved the concept; Newling is the resident gastronomer of the Sydney Living Museums (formerly Historic Houses) and this book is the result of her findings in the kitchens and in recipe books from all 12 properties dating between 1788 and 1950 that the SLM look after. Did you know that, at one stage, there was such a glut of peaches that pigs were released into peach orchards to eat the fallen fruit? What fun! That oysters that we eat were almost a throw-away bi-product of oyster shells which were so needed for mortar in building products? That during wheat restrictions the governor would invite people to dinner and to ‘bring your own bread’! How about that in 1839, ice was imported from frozen lakes in Boston, USA and that just over 50% arrived in Sydney still frozen. It was so popular that they repeated the exercise the very next year– and we worry about food miles now! I loved learning about Australia’s oldest known olive tree (1805 at Elizabeth Farm) and that Apple Charlottes were named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, and were created to reflect her beauty and humble style. It was intriguing to read about the importance of native foods and of Victory Gardens during World War II. I was intrigued to hear that dinner was often served at 4pm then tea drunk at 7pm and bed at 9pm! Who knew? Descriptions of just what exactly is meant by corned beef, devilled eggs, milk cream, pease, maize, kedgeree, sago pudding (stay with me) were welcome having been bamboozled since childhood about these delicacies. There were even recipes from the eras and from the recipes books of the SLM properties – this, my friends, really is a fascinating book. Read it. You won’t be sorry.
Buy a copy of this book here.
Fun times styling this photo for Karen Anderson.