Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Suffragette Food.

Today, May 23rd

The state of South Australia was the first in the world to give women the right to vote. One of the pioneers of the feminist movement in the country was Louisa Lawson, the mother of the famous bush poet Henry Lawson, and a poet and publisher in her own right. On this day in 1889 she addressed the founding meeting of the Dawn Club in Sydney, which she had started – a women’s club which encouraged debate and discussion on a variety of issues relating to women’s rights. The first meeting was at Forresters Hall, but subsequent meetings were held at a variety of tea rooms around the city. Many of the tea rooms were owned by a Chinese immigrant called Quong Tart – a man who understood discrimination all too well, but who ultimately became ‘as well known as the Governor himself’ for his business and philanthropic activities in Sydney.

Louisa Lawson’s sisters around the globe were fighting the same fight, and a major fund-raiser for many groups was the production and sale of cookbooks – an idea that would have made many militant feminists half a century later shudder in horror. Thankfully, the movement has moved on, and it is perfectly possible to be a feminist who cooks today. Not that Louisa would have had a choice (and feminism is about choice after all). Her life was not luxurious – at times it was very hard, and she undoubtably knew how to cook. I do not know if she contributed to any cookbooks, but she would surely have admired her sister-publishers who did. In her honour I give you three recipes from The Suffrage Cookbook, published in America in 1915.

Pie for a Suffragist's Doubting Husband.
1 qt. milk human kindness
8 reasons:
White Slavery
Child Labor
8,000,000 Working Women
Bad Roads
Poisonous Water
Impure Food
Mix the crust with tact and velvet gloves, using no sarcasm, especially with the upper crust. Upper crusts must be handled with extreme care for they quickly sour if manipulated roughly.

Suffrage Angel Cake (a la Kennedy)
11 eggs
1 full cup Swansdown Flour (after sifting)
1 ½
cups granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch of salt
Beat the eggs until light - not stiff; sift sugar 7 times, add to eggs, beating as little as possible. Sift flour 9 times, using only the cupful, discarding the extra flour; then put in the flour the cream of tartar; add this to the eggs and sugar; now the vanilla. Put in angel cake pan with feet. Put in oven with very little heat. Great care must be used in baking this cake to insure success. Light the oven when you commence preparing material. After the first 10 minutes in oven, increase heat and continue to do so every five minutes until the last 4 or 5 minutes, when strong heat must be used. At thirty minutes remove cake and invert pan allowing to stand thus until cold.

Suffrage Salad Dressing
Yolks of 2 eggs
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of tarragon vinegar
1 pinch of salt
Beat well ; cook in double boiler. When cold and ready to serve, fold in ½
pint of whipped cream.

I particularly like the first recipe.

Tomorrow's Story ...

The Gentlemen's Club.

This Day Last Year …

We featured Seville oranges.

Quotation for the Day …

There are plenty of women capable of choosing good husbands (or, if not good when chosen, of making them good); yet these same women may be ignorant on the subject of making good pie.
[From Recipes Tried and True. Compiled by the Ladies' Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church, Marion, Ohio; 1894

1 comment:

edward said...

Interesting compilation of 'recipes' although the important point here is that things have definitely improved since those days in Old Sydney. It's a good thing too!