Cookbooks visit Bingara

June 1, 2009

No matter what your taste, you’re sure to discover something delicious within the free Australian cookbooks travelling display, open at the Bingara Public Library.  It has been there since the middle of May and will remain for a little longer.

Using colourful reproductions from the State Library of NSW’s unrivalled collection of original cookery books, Australian cookbooks reveals a vibrant and fascinating culinary story about food trends and curiosities from the 1860s to the present day.

"The first known Australian cookbook broke away from the traditional English fare with a mix of some wonderful localised dishes with ingredients like black swan, emu, kangaroo and wombat,” says Pat Turner, Australian cookbooks curator.

The State Library holds a rare edition of this first volume, The English And Australian Cookery Book (1864), by Tasmanian parliamentarian, Edward Abbott. “Cookbooks provide a fantastic social record of the time and document the impact of food on war, celebrations, the Great Depression and migration and new technology (eg. fridge and microwave),” says Ms. Turner.

“For example, war cookbooks had recipes for meatless dishes because of meat rationing, and during the Depression cookbooks focused on preserving fruit and making jams because people were growing fruit in their own backyard.”

The State Library’s extensive collection of cookbooks, including rare international editions, is regularly enhanced thanks to substantial donations from John Hoyle.   A selection of cookbooks from the State Library’s State Reference Library collection is available via inter-library loans.