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
Now that you’re assembling your summer salads you’ll of course be looking for decorative bottles in which to keep your vinegars. Pass the cruet! Continue reading
We recently hosted a Regency-style breakfast in the grand dining room at Elizabeth Bay House as a “money can’t buy” experience for the literacy charity, Room to Read. The offer included a personalised gastronomy-focused tour of the House followed by a breakfast which was based on the menu plan given to Maria Macarthur in 1812, Continue reading
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’.
Currently at various Sydney Living Museums Houses we’re running a series of night time tours, where you can see the houses as their original occupants saw them lit by candle and lamplight. Which raises the vexing question of just HOW should you light the historic dining table? Continue reading
By the end of the 19th century an entirely new form of dining had taken over the fashionable table. Forget the Francaise, join us as we dine a la Russe! Continue reading
While many Sydney-siders gather around the harbour for New Year’s eve celebrations, New Year’s Day was often spent in public celebration in colonial times in the form of a foreshore picnic. Montagu Scott’s extraordinarily detailed depiction of such an event gives a brilliant ‘snapshot’ of revelers and their antics in 1870. Continue reading
Servant ‘butchers’ dinner guest!
In putting on the dishes and taking them off, I shall observe to you a few things, as many accidents have occurred through inattention and want of care. Thomas Cosnett, The Footman’s Directory, and Remembrancer; or, The Advice of Oneimus to His Young Friends. (London, 1835)
With the second course finished, it’s time for some precision table acrobatics as we re-set the table for dessert. Continue reading
Famous for ‘evicting’ his mother and father and unmarried sister from Elizabeth Bay House in 1845, William Sharp Macleay (1792-1865) remained as master of the house for another 20 years. Continue reading