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’.
Nicola Teffer, curator of the Celestial City exhibition, is our guest blogger this week, giving us an insight into the ‘ladies who lunched’ in the late nineteenth century…
Sydney in the 1870s was no place for a lady. Not only were there no public toilets for women, the city offered few places where they could eat and drink. Pubs were off-limits, and cafes, oyster saloons and cigar divans were a bit too racy for girls keen to protect their good reputations.
Nicola Teffer is curator of Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story, showing at the Museum of Sydney until 12 October 2014. Sydney’s Chinese story is intrinsically linked with food. The Chinese community has supplied, served and inspired hungry Sydney-siders from market gardens, merchants’ shops, street hawking businesses and Quong Tart’s tea rooms, synonymous with Sydney in the late nineteenth century. Nicola joins The Cook and the Curator as guest blogger, relating food stories prompted by the Celestial City exhibition.
Quong Tart, celebrated in the Celestial City: Sydney’s Chinese story exhibition currently showing at the Museum of Sydney, played a significant part in Sydney’s colonial history. The exhibition explores many aspects of Quong Tart’s life, but he is famously remembered for his tearoom establishments, which helped revolutionise casual dining in the city in the late 1800s. Continue reading
But of all dishes ever brought to table, nothing equals that of the steamer. No one can tell what a steamer is unless it has been tasted: it indeed affords an excellent repast. Australia, Henry Melville, 1851.
Following Scott’s cry of Tallyho! last week, and the focus on wild game, we salute the kangaroo (yet again), colonial style. Continue reading