Thursday, December 27, 2012

The City Tabernacle Senior Girls Missionary Union Cookbook

Most of my Grandma's cookbooks went to my Aunts (and rightly so!) but a few scrappy books that no one wanted remained in her kitchen draw.  When looking through these last few, sad looking books I discovered one that caught my attention.

The front cover has long ago been lost, as has the back cover, but the title page is still intact.

"The City Tabernacle Senior Girls Missionary Union  (Wickham Terrace, Brisbane) Book of Tested Recipes"

Given that my Grandmother lived in Ipswich, I don't think she would have attended the Senior Girls Missionary of Wickham Terrace and I don't know the book came to her, whether she bought it through her own church or if it was gifted to her.


How old is it?
The National Library of Australia has a copy listed in it's catalogue however it says it is only 84 pages long while my copy is 98 pages.  It also doesn't have any advice on the year of publication other than a suggestion that it is in the 1900s.

There are a few hints within the book itself, such as an advertisement which has prices in pounds (decimalisation occurred in Australia in 1966) and the phone numbers listed for companies are four digits with a letter in front, eg. B2155 (the letters were removed from Brisbane phone systems by 1962).  

I'd date this earlier than the 50s though because of ads which are selling range ovens more in the style of the 20s through to early 40s rather than the more modern-looking 50s ovens.  (Ad from page 2 of the booklet below)

Personally, without any further research I'd peg it somewhere in the decade from 1935 - 1945.

Why bother? 
Firstly, I like baking.  I also like baking and cooking recipes from days (or even centuries!) gone by.   I think tasting foods is an interesting way to experience the past.  I also enjoy seeing recipes which are unchanged over decades or even hundreds of years.

But I also thought that it would be a tragedy for this little book to go into the bin because every recipe in the book was submitted by a Queensland woman - and each recipe has the donor listed beside the title of the recipe.  

How sweet to know I am eating biscuits that were a personal favourite of H. O Young or trying the Russian Caramels that Mrs M Illman thought were the bee's knees (enough to incite her to add the recipe to this collection!)   I think it's a lovely bit of Brisbane's history which deserves better than a short trip to the tip.

I also like the thought of baking recipes that my grandmother made, using her rolling pin and bowls (which I also saved from the kitchen at the same time). 

Why mention it here? 
I've decided it would be a bit of fun to cook each of the recipes from this little book and to share the recipe, my results and maybe take the time to ponder about the recipe donor.

Knowing how fickle I can be with projects, I won't promise that these will be regular - not can I promise that I will cook through the whole book...

But hopefully it will be a bit of fun along the way. 

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