March 20 ...
I had no idea that La Trobe ever visited the
“No where is the stomach of the traveller or visitor put in such constant peril as among the cake-inventive housewives and daughters of
He must have found it a startling contrast when he arrived in
Naturally, in view of La Trobe’s comments, today must be a comparative cake-day. The first genuinely American cookbook was published by Amelia Simmons in 1796, just about the time that the baking-soda and baking-powder type leavening agents came on the scene. Here is a nice cake from her book.
Six pound of flour, 2 pound honey, 1 pound sugar, 2 ounces cinnamon, 1 ounce ginger, a little orange peel, 2 teaspoons pearl-ash, 6 eggs; dissolve the pearl-ash in milk put the whole together, moisten with milk if necessary, bake 20 minutes.
The first genuine Australian cookbook was published in 1864, seventy-six years after the first batch of convicts arrived. It was written by a Tasmanian politician called Edward Abbott, and was called the English and Australian Cookery Book: Cooking for the Many as well as the Upper Ten Thousand. It was an eccentric book, only ever went to one printing, and never had a chance against the English Victorian cookbooks (particularly Mrs Beeton’s Household Manual) brought by the later free settlers. The recipes are a strange mix of ‘Australian’ recipes (not popular in the colony, where the standard was everything from ‘Home’, and recipes lifted from other sources. Here is a very classic cake from the book:
Plain Sponge Cake.
One pound of flour, one pound of sugar, and eight eggs. Beat the yolks and the whites separate sufficiently, then add the two together, and put in the sugar. Whe mixed, add the flour by degrees; a few drops of essence of lemon is an improvement. Butter a dish and bake.
Tomorrow’s Story …
Good Friday Buns.
Quotation for the Day …
A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in
The "six pounds of flour" always throws me a bit. These cakes were enormous! But, I guess it was a matter of big families with big appetites.
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