I like food. I like history. At university, if I’d known ‘food historian’ was a profession, maybe I’d have tried to be one. Instead I’m an amateur at both.
Some of my favourite childhood memories are of watching my grandmothers cook. They were both accomplished cooks of what I’d call the plain, Anglo-Australian farming tradition. They each lost their mothers at early ages and would have been young women starting out during the Great Depression. I suppose they learned to cook from the other women around them, from what they read, and from trial and error. Right up until the time I remember them in the 1970s, they both clipped and saved recipes out of newspapers and magazines, and made do with the ingredients they had. Feeding a hungry farming family wasn’t a hobby, but an essential skill of survival.
I wish I’d asked them more about how they learned to cook when they were alive. Instead I browse through old recipes in Australian books, newspaper and magazines, interested in what they and the women before them had to work from. It’s interesting to see how people ate (or aspired to eat) and what’s changed about the way we approach food and cooking. Often things have changed less than you might think. This blog is really just me thinking about some of this out loud.
When I’m not puddling around in old recipe books and newpapers, I work on digital content. You can find me doing that at lindycoverdale.com.au