Another year gone

The year in review from the Cook and the Curator. For individual image credits see related stories within the blog

As 2016 reaches its crescendo and we confront the past week’s washing up pile, we’ve had a look at the most popular posts for the past year. Can you guess what topped the list?

A year in review

There were raspberry fools for April Fools Day, meat souffles, curried bananas, SO MANY SAUSAGES!! at TedX (seriously, there were so many sausages!!), ginger and cardomom, cayenne peppers, we went hunting for chow-chow, baked bread, chomped on spinage, chugged cider, collared eels and explored the diets of the women who called the Destitute Asylum at the Hyde Park Barrack home.

We looked at salt and pepper, bone plates, folded lotus napkins, went to harvest festivals at Rouse Hill and Elizabeth Farm, and wrapped up the year with puddings, puddings and more puddings. In May our book Eat Your History – Stories and recipes from Australian kitchens was highly commended in the National Trust 22nd Annual Heritage Awards! We welcomed guest authors Mel Flyte and Kim Connor, and bade farewell to fellow curator Helen Curran.

A freshly collared eel and an eel dish from the Rouse Hill collection. See the blog post ‘To collar an eel’ for image and collection credit details

Our own favourite posts

What were our favourite posts? For Jacqui highlights were Mrs Sarantides’s humble susou-ka-kia meatballs being served at The Sydney Opera House for TedX, sampling eel cooked in paperbark at Elizabeth Farm’s Eel festival, which celebrated that house’s rich indigenous heritage, and then exploring the Australian International Exhibition of 1879-80 in its ill-fated garden palace as part of Jonathan Jones’s barrangal dyara (skin and bones) Kaldor Art Project 32:

Australian International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-1880 at the Garden Palace. Image courtesy State Library of Victoria. Call # 24590

For me I think it was going off in search of the elusive ginger preserve chow-chow, while the post that generated the most conversation from colleagues in corridors was on the ‘best ever table gadget’ – grape scissors.

The individual ‘bunch-let’ of grapes, held securely by the blades. Photo (c) Scott Hill for Sydney Living Museums

Cooking with spinage was my close runner up, if anything because it had a cartoon of Maria de’ Medici professing her admiration for the leafy green, and because we actually served it at the dining table:

Maria de Medici loved her spinage! Detail from a portrait by Frans Pourbus or Scipione Pulzone. Source: Wikimedia used under creative commons license.

People’s choice

So what were our most popular posts in 2016? Student hunger (boom-tish! I’m here all week, try the veal) for information on convict life brought in a plate of hominy from 2013’s convict breakfast, along with First Fleet Fare.

Cooking over the fire at 'Redcoats and Convicts' at the Hyde Park Barracks.

Cooking over the fire at ‘Redcoats and Convicts’ at the Hyde Park Barracks. Photo © Leo Rocker

Honourable mentions go to Quong Tart’s tearooms, the Commonsense cookery book, cooking pulses, those intriguing bone plates and grape scissors.

And the most popular post? Yes, for the 3rd year in a row and to our continuing amusement, it’s How to sterilise a jam jar!

Happy New Year from all at The Cook and the Curator, and we’ll be back in 2017!