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

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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Bake or roast? Now there’s a question.

Australian kitchen in Mrs Beeton's book of household management, circa 1880

View of an 'Australian Kitchen' (detail) showing a bottle jack in use, in Mrs Isabella Beeton, Mrs Beeton's book of household management, London, circa 1880. Sydney Living Museums R89/80

During one of the floor talks for Eat Your History: a Shared Table a conversation started at the curio wall regarding a piece of kitchenalia you never see anymore, the bottle jack, and a very old question indeed: do you bake, or do you roast? 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

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

The feast continues

Burleigh-ware trade plate advertising willow pattern, c1935

Burleigh-ware trade plate advertising 'Willow-pattern' crockery, c1935. Private collection. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Treat yourself to talks, tours, tastes and hands-on workshops

Now that we’ve all recovered from a month of festive feasting, February has something to offer every foodie. Continue reading