The ritual of tea, 1930s styles

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


Bread to strengthen mans heart

"Bread to strengthen mans heart", frontispiece in Eliza Acton, The English bread-book for domestic use, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, London, 1857. Google Books

In these days of supermarkets, bakeries and bread makers we can easily forget how the simple act of baking bread has been a feature of life for thousands of years. Continue reading

Insider stories

Cookbooks research

Jacqui Newling researching in the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

My current research project (the outcomes of which will be revealed in the coming months – watch this space) has seen me revisit some wonderful personal accounts from Australians who lived ‘ordinary’, but to us, extraordinary, lives.  Continue reading

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