Bread and dripping, an ‘institution’

Kim Connor's homemeade bread and dripping made using 19th-century methods. Photo © Kim Connor

Kim Connor is currently undertaking an internship at Hyde Park barracks as part of her research project ‘Feeding the confined’ for her honours studies in archaeology at Sydney University.  Kim’s particular interest is the diet of the women at Hyde Park barracks when it was the Immigration Depot and the Destitute Asylum between 1848 and 1886. Kim is our guest author this week, as with true gastronomic gusto, she not only reads about the types of food that the women ate, and how it was prepared, she attempts to recreate some of the food to support her thesis. What was the food like? Was it enough? And for today’s story – just how bad does bread and dripping taste? Continue reading

Pantry pickles

Pickles in the pantry cupboard at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney living Museums

Latoya Schadel shares one of the pleasures of working in the Vaucluse House team:

I just love our days at Vaucluse House when we begin the working day with a walk through the bountiful kitchen garden. Sometimes, when produce is at its peak, our gardeners bring us a basket full of goodies to sample. Continue reading

There is only so much cabbage soup I can eat, now what?

In the kitchen at Vaucluse House

Cabbage in the kitchen at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

We’re gearing up for our FREE! Autumn Harvest celebration at Rouse Hill House and Farm this weekend, and we’ve been foraging through the Rouse Hill family cookery books and manuscript recipes to bring you a taste of life at Rouse Hill during colonial times and in the early 1900s. Inspired by the Harvest program, resident foodie, Jacky Dalton has been experimenting with tradition the of preserving cabbage Continue reading

Ladies who lunched

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW

The Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW by Freeman Bros Studio, 1892. State Library of NSW ON 219/96

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.

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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

Yo ho ho and 45,000 gallons of rum!

Serving punch, watercolor with pen and brown and gray ink over graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, blued white, wove paper .

Serving Punch, Thomas Rowlandson, between 1815 and 1820. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection,

For many of us, rum, or brandy perhaps, is the (bottled) spirit of Christmas! And Christmas isn’t Christmas at our place without Rum balls (recipe below). But a couple of hundred years ago in this colony, rum was universal. Our guest blogger this week is Fiona Starr, curator of Hyde Park Barracks and The Mint. Continue reading

Fiona Starr

Fiona Starr, with visitors enjoying the displays at the Mint on Australia Day.

Fiona Starr, with visitors enjoying the displays at the Mint on Australia Day. Photo © Narelle Spangher / Monde Photo, for Sydney Living Museums

Fiona’s love of history is hereditary – passed on by her mother and grandmother, each interested in colonial Australian history, genealogy, and world history, with a passion for visiting and learning about heritage sites around the world. Continue reading