A spring in our step!

Bountiful produce in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm.

The kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Photo © James Horan

There’s much to celebrate this month, from the launch of Sydney Living Museums: Food, through to ongoing preparations for our exhibition – PLUS we’ve been shortlisted for another award! It’s a banquet of events that celebrates Sydney’s food history – and you’re invited!

This week at Sydney Living Museums we launched SLM: Food, a 6-month celebration of events from talks to tastings, tours to dinners that celebrate Sydney’s food history.  There are programs just for kids, chefs talks, baking sessions and croquet – washed down by a specially brewed peach braggot (more on that one later). Click on the link and discover whats on the menu across our properties, museums and cafes. There’s also an early bird special: a series of events come with a free pass to visit any of our properties when you book before Monday, 16 September – look for the chicken silhouette.

Eat your history: a shared table exhibition.

Photo © James Horan

The centerpiece of SLM: Food is the Eat Your History: A Shared Table exhibtion, which opens its doors at the Museum of Sydney on September 28th, and runs through till the 9th of March. We’ve already given you some behind the scenes teasers.

The way to a city’s heart is through its stomach. In this brand new exhibition, Sydney Living Museums invites you to take a fascinating stroll through eight historic homes that capture the different ages of Sydney’s food culture from 1788 to the 1950s. From the farmhouse-kitchen comforts of Elizabeth Farm to the splendour of Regency dining at Elizabeth Bay House and the atomic-age modernity of the Rose Seidler House kitchen, nothing reveals Sydney’s rise from convict colony to cosmopolitan city as deliciously as a look behind our kitchen and dining room doors.

For the past few weeks we’ve been filming, editing, finalising text, wiping up collapsing jellies and exploding vats of calves feet (now that’s a story in itself!) and generally running around like the Rouse Hill chickens at feeding time getting the final details right. The exhibition design by our colleagues Kieran Larkin and Anne-Louise Falson is just fantastic. Over the next few months Jacqui and I will be hosting a series of curator floor talks as part of the series, and the long suffering Alysha Buss (who kept us sane) will be giving her own insights as to putting on an exhibition dedicated to food.

A drum-roll please maestro! And the nominations are…

We’re extremely excited that The Cook and the Curator has been nominated in the Multimedia History category for the NSW Premier’s History Awards! (I have to admit I had to be scraped off the ceiling when the email arrived). The Judges’ comments were extremely flattering:

The Cook and the Curator: Eat Your History is an ingenious and engaging website and blog that brings the Sydney Living Museums’ historic houses to life through a kind of edible rediscovery of what the former inhabitants imbibed and consumed. recipes, anecdotes, artifacts, fabulous research and surprising facts all channeled through the past and present of the Historic Houses to make a delicious mix which is decidedly ‘moreish’. The website (produced and designed by Jay Smith and Sarah Christensen prospectively) is attractive and user-friendly.

The passion of both Jacqui Newling, The Cook, and Scott Hill, the Curator, for this endeavor is infused throughout the project and the tone is one of eager exploration and discovery, which is infectious for its audience. we learn, care of Mrs Beeton’s Household Management for Colonial Families, that convict staff tears (or ‘lachrymations’) are a potential, if tricky, substitute for salt in damper; an experiment with a volunteer ‘scullery maid’ (an assistant curator) is  apiece of colonial history that is hard to prise from one’s mind. The project is a pleasure and a delight to partake in.

The awards are announced next Wednesday as part of History Week.

Still room for more? This month on the menu there’s also pigs, peaches – and pirates! Arrrr!

The Cook and the Curator in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm.

The Cook and the Curator in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Photo © James Horan