Shattered remains

Reconstructed bottle fragments found at Rouse Hill House.

Reconstructed bottle fragments found at Rouse Hill House and Farm. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

The history of Rouse Hill House and Farm is recorded in many ways: in text, in photographs, in the landscape, structures and their contents – and in the archaeological remains that dot the site. These humble glass fragments evoke the site’s earliest European occupancy. Continue reading

A treasure trove of cookery books

Emma Rouse's Beeton's book of household management

Emma Rouse's Beeton's book of household management, 1863. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums R89/79

Through most of the nineteenth century, Rouse Hill House was the social hub of the district and the Rouse family regularly played host to formal society dinners, long luncheons and sociable tea parties, plus major family events to celebrate birthdays, weddings and Christmas. Continue reading

100 years of Commonsense Cookery

Commonsense cookery book, early 20th century

Commonsense cookery book, early 20th century. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums R89/76-1

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Commonsense Cookery Book – a book that has a special place in many a cook’s heart – including mine. No matter how many trendy, glossy, gourmet, exotic, quirky,  best-seller or big-named chef’s cookbooks you find on a good cook’s bookcase, there’s usually a comparatively diminutive Commonsense Cookery Book there too. Continue reading

Marching onwards

View of Rouse Hill House

View across the carriage loop at Rouse Hill House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Here at the Cook and the Curator we’re bidding a fond farewell to Eat Your History: a shared table exhibition which closed on Sunday after six fantastic months at the Museum of Sydney. We’re also gearing up for another busy series of posts, as we visit Rouse Hill House and Farm, welcome in Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story and bake an Easter treat. Continue reading

Discover some sneaky secrets

The Cook and the Curator in the Eat your history exhibition.

The Cook and the Curator in the Eat your history exhibition. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Join us on Sunday March 9 for our final behind the scenes floor talk at Eat your history: a shared table at Museum of Sydney at 2pm. The Cook and the Curator will take you through the exhibition and reveal some of the quirkier elements of the displays. Continue reading

Best served chilled

Peach gin cobblers by Trolley'd at Vaucluse House.

Peach gin cobblers by Trolley'd at Vaucluse House. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

The latest in the Real Food – Old Ways series at Vaucluse House delved into foraged foods and cocktails. We all enjoyed our drinks chilled with chunks of ice chipped straight from the block, and this raised the question of how drinks were chilled before refrigeration. You’ll be surprised how! Continue reading

A cheerful kitchen

Pots and canisters wallpaper, c1970.

Pots and canisters wallpaper (detail), c1970. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums, gift of Chee Soon & Fitzgerald L2008/241

If books are the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘library’ think again! Our library, at The Mint in Macquarie Street Sydney, is also home to a rich collection of material relating to the history of house and garden design and interior furnishings. Far from just having books, The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection includes architectural fragments and garden ornaments, soft furnishings and trimmings, wall and floor coverings, manufacturers’ trade catalogues and sample books.  Curator Michael Lech is guest blogger this week, peeling back the layers of  time to reveal past tastes in kitchen decor. Continue reading

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