Culinary delights from 1917

Everything old is new again. Or so it would seem with lots of things getting a 21st century revival including sustainability, reducing food-waste, hand-made, and foraging wild foods (not that any of these things had ever really gone away).

So maybe now is the time to grab your aprons and revisit some recipes from the past.

Early last century The Press published a column with the delightful title Women’s Corner – where all matters for insertion were to be sent to the Lady Editor for consideration. While other pages of the newspaper were filled with stories of the War this column provided readers with news of weddings, who’s wearing what, who is visiting whom in the district, some news and anecdotes from overseas, and sometimes a recipe of the day.

And what recipes they are, a seemingly never ending array of pies, puddings, fritters and rissoles! Light on instruction – I think everyone just knew how to make pastry – the recipes offered us such delights as Orange Roly-Poly, Banana Pie, Rice and Meat Rissoles, and Russian Pie.

On the cooking radar around this time of year in 1917 were Baked cheese and potato cake, apple fritters, cheese pudding, Rabbit and Macaroni pie, date pudding and this recipe.

WOMEN'S CORNER. Press, 29 June 1917
WOMEN’S CORNER., Press, Volume LIII, Issue 15940, 29 June 1917 , CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

I’m not sure how easy it will be to source the ‘pollard’ – a byproduct of flour milling – or what else I could use it for since the only other pollard based recipe I came across was ‘Phosphorized Pollard for Poisoning Rabbits’ from the Bay of Plenty Times.

If you don’t find any of these 1917 recipes tempting you can find other culinary delights from New Zealand in our catalogue including Ladies, a plate.

Or borrow one of our many food related magazines.

Taste   Dish   Recipes + New Zealand   Delicious

And check out our New Zealand Cuisine Booklist for more titles. Bon appétit !

Follow our tweets from @100chch to discover life and events 100 years ago in Christchurch and Canterbury.

Breathe in – twenty fifteen. Breathe out – twenty fourteen

Cover of Breathing LessonsWhat better time of the year than the very start of a new one to reassess who we are and who we would very much prefer to be. This year I am throwing my focus onto things that I am not doing right, in the hope that this will be the year when I finally get myself sorted.

Let’s start with breathing. Can you believe it – something this basic and I got it all wrong.  Turns out it’s not as simple as inhale/exhale, and if you do it properly, good breathing can sort out all your life problems. You can read about how to breathe although it does feel a tiny bit silly. On a more practical note, The Press (December 16th 2014, p. A14) informs of a breathing course in Christchurch, and it may well come to that. But if all else fails, you could just immerse yourself in a good fiction book like Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler or Breath by Tim Winton.

Cover of I'll Have What She's HavingWhat’s more, I have also been eating incorrectly, but it’s not strictly speaking my fault. Oh, the conflicting instructions I have been given: eat butter, don’t eat butter, eat margarine, don’t touch margarine – eat butter again. Watch out for sugar, go vegan, lower your salt, up your roughage, eat 5 days a week, fast two, never fast, eat small meals all day, eat Ancient Grains (whatever they may be). The library has an amazing array of food books: here’s a selection already published in 2015. I’m so worn down by it all though, that I’m falling back on the Taoist option of Winnie the Pooh and eating whatever I like.

The final indignity is that I’m apparently not blogging correctly either. An entire issue of Mollie Makes (Blogging: The guide to Creative Content*) is devoted to this topic and I fail on most counts – possibly because blogging is one of the few things I don’t over think. I can summarise blogging in 50 words: get an idea that has your brain wired – this usually happens at 2am. Make the naive leap of faith that if it interests you it will also captivate others. Write the entire thing in your head. Go back to sleep, wake up, bash out a draft, submit it. Move on. Mollie Makes, on the other hand, takes 178 pages packed full of admittedly very good tips.

So here’s what I’m going to do: take a deep breath, eat exactly what I like, and blog on. That’s my 2015 – all done and dusted.


*To find Mollie Makes: Blogging: The guide to Creative Content in the catalogue, click on View subscription and availability details and look for call number 745.5 MOL BLOGGING 2014.

Food Thoughts

Michael Pollan is my current favourite writer and I can’t wait to read his latest book, In defence of food.

I came across his first book, Second Nature: a gardener’s education, by chance and loved it. Pollan is a former journalist, and now professor of science and environmental journalism at UC Berkeley. He is also a hugely informative, entertaining writer who will take a theme (gardening, building, food, eating) and follow it totally. He builds, he gardens, he farms and as he does so he thinks about what he is doing, why we (or at least Americans) do things one way and not another. Pollan is a true polymath and a joy to read.

He spoke at the Auckland Writers’ festival earlier this year and there is plenty of information about him on the internet, but the best way to get to know his ideas is to read his books.

The whole topic of food supply is very hot right now – see Jamie Oliver’s two shows that recently screened on TV and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as well as Pollan’s own Omnivore’s Dilemma: the natural history of four meals, not to mention most of the feature articles in the latest NZ Listener. Although I love Kingsolver’s fiction I found this book difficult to get into. Maybe it’s because it was written in collaboration with two other people.