How high?

Jellies creams and sweet dishes

Jellies, creams and sweet dishes in Mrs Isabella Beeton, Mrs Beeton's book of household management, Ward, Lock & Co, London, circa 1880. Sydney Living Museums R89/80

How ‘traditional’ does something have to be before it becomes tradition? High tea, as an entity, has been around for over 150 years, but the ‘traditional high tea’ that we enjoy today, with delicate sweet and savoury morsels, bears little resemblance to high teas 100 or even 50 years ago: it was a meal, usually taken in the evening. Continue reading

‘At home’

Thorburn family tea service and manuscript recipe book

Thorburn family tea service and manuscript recipe book in the Eat your history: a shared table exhibition, 2014. Photo © Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

On the first Monday of each month the Thorburn sisters, Belle (Annabella), Kate (Jessie Catherine), Georgina and Tot (Kennina) entertained ‘At home’ at Meroogal. ‘At homes’ were something of an institution from the 1880s and survived well into the 1920s. Continue reading

The ritual of tea, 1930s style

Table set for tea on the side verandah at Meroogal

Table set for tea on the side verandah at Meroogal, facing Worrigee Street. Photo © Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums

Scott’s coffee conversation about ‘proper’ coffee prompted me, an avid tea drinker, to pop the kettle back on and enjoy a fresh cup of tea. Yes, we’ve discussed tea before, for the convicts in New South Wales’ first settlement, the colonial Regency, and at Quong Tart’s tearooms in the 1890s, but his week I’m taking us to tea in northern Tasmania in the 1930s. Continue reading

Our daily bread

Our daily bread

Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

One of my greatest challenges in presenting our culinary past to museums audiences is working out what form foods took – what they looked like, their colour, shape and texture – when we only have written accounts to go by, and many of those offering only scanty detail. Continue reading

The daily bread oven

Baking oven and kneading trough detail

‘Baking oven and kneading trough’ (detail) from Charles Tomlinson, Illustrations of useful arts, manufactures, and trades, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, [1858]. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums RB 331.76 TOM

Now that your dough has had a chance to rise it’s time to heat the oven and get baking! Continue reading

There is only so much cabbage soup I can eat, now what?

In the kitchen at Vaucluse House

Cabbage in the kitchen at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

We’re gearing up for our FREE! Autumn Harvest celebration at Rouse Hill House and Farm this weekend, and we’ve been foraging through the Rouse Hill family cookery books and manuscript recipes to bring you a taste of life at Rouse Hill during colonial times and in the early 1900s. Inspired by the Harvest program, resident foodie, Jacky Dalton has been experimenting with tradition the of preserving cabbage Continue reading

Previously on the menu