|Image BFA 2014|
I was hunting for an 'authentic' gingerbread recipe this morning. The first place to look was in our old cook books. The baking is no further ahead but I hope you enjoy these images from one of my favourites.
In 1900 the Metropolitan Gas Company, Melbourne published 'Cookery Class Recipes'. Mrs Isabella Ross, their celebrity queen of gas powered cooking, wrote the recipes.
Distilled to an essence Mrs Ross' ethos sounds something like this:
Fresh is best. Produce travels from the garden to the chopping board. That's it.
Work with the seasons - enjoy the bounty of summer and preserve the surplus. Her readers did not expect fresh courgettes or strawberries in winter.
Be prepared - planning ahead reduces waste.
Get creative- with 'left overs', with opportunities to experiment
Prepare your basics in bulk.
Of course you can - have a go. Trying just one new thing can be the basis for a whole new repertoire.
I like that recipe for outside the kitchen as well. The anachronistic part is that the book was peppered with advertisements for instant sauces and food supplements - sound familiar? It became a proven format used throughout the 20th century.
This publication carried an advertisement for Phosphatine and a special selection of recipes using the product at the end of the book. Produced by a Belgian company, Phosphatine contained calcium phosphate - and still does. It is a brand still popular in Europe today as a food supplement and iron rich tonic. It's reputation for offsetting the effects of poor diet made it a staple in many households during the Great War and the Depression years especially.
By the 1920's the brand had taken a different tone, reflecting the 'talkies' influence on popular culture.
|Artwork by J Miller, Huttons Promotional Poster|
The great expansion of Empire under Queen Victoria forms the background to much of the advertising of this turn of the century period. Here patriotism and loyalty to 'Home' is encouraged in the purchase of pantry staples.
Which brings us back to gingerbread - here is Mrs Ross's recipe
PMCID: PMC3278747 Phosphate Additives in Food—a Health Risk
Eberhard Ritz, Prof. Dr. med.,*,1 Kai Hahn, Dr. med.,2 Markus Ketteler, Prof. Dr. med.,3 Martin K Kuhlmann, Prof. Dr. med.,4 and Johannes Mann, Prof. Dr. med.5
'One important step would be to inform physicians and the public thoroughly about the potential risks to cardiovascular and renal function arising from dietary phosphate consumption. Phosphate has long been known to elevate the cardiovascular risk in dialysis patients, but analogous effects have only recently been shown in persons with moderately impaired renal function (of whom the number is growing) and even in persons with normal renal function (6, 7, 23). The changing age structure of the population, with ever more elderly people, further deepens the implications of this problem for health policy, as does the high prevalence of “diseases of civilization,” such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and coronary heart disease, that damage the kidneys and accelerate the age-related decline of renal function. The link between phosphate and progressive renal failure was already suspected and investigated in the early 1980s (24, e10).'