Thank you all for your comments and support following my last post! You’ve given me a lot of ideas, and I really appreciate knowing that so many people are reading and being part of this community.
I’ve felt much perkier today, and mostly the fortnight isn’t too bad, and some things are really lovely.
Food has been one of the nice surprises. There are numerous recipes in NZ newspapers of the time, and daily menus given in lots of newspapers, so it was pretty easy to do my food research. I was a bit dubious about the menus (So much meat! So many brassicas! So few spices!), but, by picking ones that sounded a little more interesting and appealing, even within the constrains of the time, and winter food, I’ve actually been very pleasantly surprised.
One of the happiest finds was the amount of vegetarian menus and vegetarian recipes available in New Zealand newspapers of the 1910s. Vegetarianism was quite a popular fad, and was sometimes recommended for invalids. I haven’t relied too heavily on them, but have used them as a guide for substituting butter for lard etc. in recipes.
It’s also been nice to fully set the table, nicely pressed tablecloth and all, and sit down to eat with Mr D. Generally we just eat in the lounge (partly because I generally have the dining room table occupied by crafting stuff…)
Here is one dinner I made, closely based on this menu published in the Dominion (a Wellington newspaper) in September 1913. I used the curry recipe give in the menu, and sourced recipes for the other items from other newspaper articles:
Brown Onion Soup (halved). The recipe is from 1917, but closely matches ones from earlier cookbooks, I just chose to follow this one as it didn’t call for a dozen onions to start with!
My reaction: yum, yum! I love this and would happily eat it again!
Mr D’s reaction: you didn’t actually expect me to like this? (I knew he didn’t like raw onions, but he’s usually fine with cooked ones. He just wants them to not be THE flavour of a dish)
Curried Venison and Rice (substituting venison for mutton, and brown for white rice)
My reaction: better than I thought. Needs more spice. Not sure about the apples.
Mr D: It’s nice. A bit different. (I don’t make a lot of curries)
Boiled Swedes (rutabegas)
With salt and pepper.
Despite their oft-terrible reputation, we both liked them. Neither of us grew up with swedes, so they have novelty appeal. I actually make a swede recipe as part of my Thanksgiving table, much to the amusement of Mr D’s family, who do NOT see them as celebration food!
Also, they weren’t BEIGE! The one major problem with 1910s food is it is all beige!
NZ had a major apple overload in the autumn/winter of 1916, because a shortage of available ships kept growers from exporting their crops. Cooks were urged to incorporate apples into as many dishes as possible (note the apples in the curry), and apples featured largely in many desserts. The pastry portion of this dessert would have been a bit of a luxury: the price of flour had gone up almost 1/3 since the war started.
I added sultanas (raisins) to my baked apple, as there are many baked apple dumpling recipes of the time that include them, and followed a period short-crust pastry recipe, with the addition of wholemeal flour, which was encouraged both for its ‘wholesomeness’, and due to the price of white flour.
My reaction: This is a 1916ism I can happily live with!
Mr D’s reaction: Can I have the second half of yours?
My reaction: No! Mine!