Blazing saddles!

A Victorian style luncheon featuring a saddle of lamb (right). Photo © Jacqui Newling for Sydney Living Museums

Now rarely seen in its traditional form, a saddle of lamb or mutton was a prestigious cut of meat that was highly fashionable on colonial tables in the late 1800s. Continue reading

When did the chicken cross the divide?

Farm manager Lawrence with his chicken entourage at Rouse Hill House and Farm. (c) Scott Hill, Sydney Living Museums

Farm manager Lawrence with his chicken entourage at Rouse Hill House and Farm. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Chicken consumption has increased exponentially in Australia since the 1950s, when it was still a select, and for many families, special occasion or luxury food. Thanks to modern production techniques, chicken is now one of our cheapest meats [1].  Not only have chickens reduced in price, the ones we generally buy today have changed in size, form and flavour when compared with the chickens our grandparents were eating. Continue reading

Let’s talk turkey – brush style

Australian Brush-turkey (Alectra lathami) Photo Graham Winterhood 2017 via wiki commons.

While the now ubiquitous native ibis – affectionately (??) known as ‘the bin chicken’ – has made its mark as a Sydney icon in the delightful Alphabetical Sydney Creative Lab at the Museum of Sydney, the ‘brush’ turkey is enjoying its own share of media coverage, as it encroaches upon inner Sydney’s suburbs… Continue reading

A search for Mrs Gaffney, c 1890s, Tamworth.

Mrs Gaffney's date and nut cake from Eat your history, stories and recipes from Australian kitchens. (SLM and NewSouth Publishing, 2015). Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Regular readers may remember we’ve been on a quest to identify some of the contributors the Meroogal manuscript recipe collection. The recipes appear to date from the 1890s. We do feel we might be on the right track Continue reading

The convict diet

Historical reenactors assemble outside Hyde Park Barracks. Photo © Fiona Morris for Sydney Living Museums

According to Francois-Maurice Lepailleur, a convict living at the Hyde Park barracks in 1840, “You don’t starve but you’re always hungry.” So what did convicts eat at Hyde Park barracks in the when it was home to over 600 male convict workers at any one time?
Continue reading

A gourmet in the gold mines

Butcher's shamble, nr. Adelaide Gully, Forrest Creek. S.T.Gill.National Library Australia. Rex Nan Kivell Collection ; NK586/15

If I was going to do a ‘Julie and Julia’, the book I’d want to work through is Modern cookery for private families, first published 1845 by Eliza Acton’s (1799-1859). It is written with eloquence and grace, and with practical descriptions of mid-1800s English cookery.
It was sold in bookshops in the colony, and was the ‘go to’ cook book for prospector William Howitt, in the Ballarat goldfields in 1853.  Continue reading