Historical research is a curious thing. You find a fleeting reference or snippet of information that prickles your interest about a place, a person, an object or an incidence, then find yourself chasing leads that might shed more light on the subject. In this case, it is the mystery of Governor Arthur Phillip’s ‘French cook’.
Nicola Teffer, curator of the Celestial City exhibition, is our guest blogger this week, giving us an insight into the ‘ladies who lunched’ in the late nineteenth century…
Sydney in the 1870s was no place for a lady. Not only were there no public toilets for women, the city offered few places where they could eat and drink. Pubs were off-limits, and cafes, oyster saloons and cigar divans were a bit too racy for girls keen to protect their good reputations.
Nicola Teffer is curator of Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story, showing at the Museum of Sydney until 12 October 2014. Sydney’s Chinese story is intrinsically linked with food. The Chinese community has supplied, served and inspired hungry Sydney-siders from market gardens, merchants’ shops, street hawking businesses and Quong Tart’s tea rooms, synonymous with Sydney in the late nineteenth century. Nicola joins The Cook and the Curator as guest blogger, relating food stories prompted by the Celestial City exhibition.
Quong Tart, celebrated in the Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story exhibition currently showing at the Museum of Sydney, played a significant part in Sydney’s colonial history. The exhibition explores many aspects of Quong Tart’s life, but he is famously remembered for his tearoom establishments, which helped revolutionise casual dining in the city in the late 1800s. Continue reading
But of all dishes ever brought to table, nothing equals that of the steamer. No one can tell what a steamer is unless it has been tasted: it indeed affords an excellent repast. Australia, Henry Melville, 1851.
Following Scott’s cry of Tallyho! last week, and the focus on wild game, we salute the kangaroo (yet again), colonial style. Continue reading
Here at the Cook and the Curator conversations often have a circuitous feel to them. This week a chat about Mrs Rawson’s 1879 Queensland Cookery Book and recipes for stewed bandicoot (to the incredulous horror of our colleagues who were listening in) ended up with the taxidermed trophies in the front hall at Rouse Hill House – and the broader topic hunting in the 19th century. Continue reading
Currently at various Sydney Living Museums Houses we’re running a series of night time tours, where you can see the houses as their original occupants saw them lit by candle and lamplight. Which raises the vexing question of just HOW should you light the historic dining table? Continue reading
Long Life to that House on the Hill of Rouse! … for comfort peace and mirth,
…and oh the goodly Cream & Pies the Ham – the Fowls – the Custard,
The Rolls & Eggs – that cooked themselves – & don’t forget the Mustard
The Oranges & Marmalade – the Medlars & the damper…. Continue reading
From the edge of the trees the Gadigal people watched as the strangers of the First Fleet struggled ashore in 1788. This installation by Janet Laurence and Fiona Foley symbolises that first encounter. Wander through trees embedded with materials and language evoking the layers of memory, people and place.
Museum of Sydney, built on the site of first government house, is in part, a monument to the commemorate first contact between British colonisers and Sydney’s Indigenous Peoples. The Edge of the trees art installation on the museum’s forecourt and interpretive displays in the museums help relate Aboriginal Peoples’ part in Sydney’s story – past and present, and NAIDOC week celebrations in Sydney continue to celebrate each year. Sydney Living Museums is hosting a NAIDOC open day at Rouse Hill House and Farm this weekend. Continue reading
Now that we’re expert in the fine art of roasting, lets try our hand at broiling! Continue reading