The old boiler

Celebration meal, part of the recreation of a symetrical a la Francaise setting, filmed for the Eat Your History exhibition

Boiled fowl, part of a meal filmed for the Eat Your History exhibition. Photo © Sydney Living Museums

In this, the KFC and BBQ’d chicken age, where even good quality cooked chooks can cost less than a fresh chicken to prepare at home, it seems extraordinary that on the most elegant tables in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was an open preference for boiled fowl. Continue reading

Fowl play!

Davros the rooster and chickens at Rouse Hill House

Davros the rooster and chickens at Rouse Hill House. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide! BOOM BOOM! Okay that was far from im-peck-able. You could say it was egg-stremely bad! But how can I resist an egg-cellent yolk to introduce our new series of posts dedicated to the chicken and the egg! Continue reading

How to host a Regency breakfast

Regency breakfast hams and figs

Regency breakfast at Elizabeth Bay House. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

We recently hosted a Regency-style breakfast in the grand dining room at Elizabeth Bay House as a “money can’t buy” experience for the literacy charity, Room to Read. The offer included a personalised gastronomy-focused tour of the House followed by a breakfast which was based on the menu plan given to Maria Macarthur by her godmother,  Continue reading

Avoiding a baked back

Detail from a dining scene from Judy March 25th 1868

Detail of a dining scene from 'Judy', March 25th 1868, showing a chair back in use. Reproduced from John Gloag, Short Dictionary of Furniture, Allen and Unwin, London, 1972

If you’ve sat near a roaring fireplace you’ll know that you can get a tad cooked. While pole screens were an option in the drawing room, when dining there was another quick fix: introducing the chair screen. Continue reading

The de Maliez mystery – in search of the governor’s French cook

A drawing of first Government House, Sydney, showing the surrounding gardens, water and meeting of Aboriginal and European peoples.

Governor's House at Sydney, Port Jackson 1791 by William Bradley. State Library of NSW Safe 1/14

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’.

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Ladies who lunched

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW by Freeman Bros Studio, 1892. State Library of NSW ON 219/96

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.

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