Showing posts from January, 2021

Wartime cooking and rationing in New Zealand

Times of crisis cause us to pay more attention to what we are cooking and eating. No matter what is going on in the world, meals are still a necessity. During the lockdown period of 2020, some of us were lucky and able to enjoy devoting more time to food preparation and returning to slower ways of cooking  - the luxury of making our own bread rather than buying it – while others were faced with the difficulties of putting food on the table while unable to work, or finding supermarket shelves stripped bare of necessities by panic shoppers. In past times of crisis, food has been equally central to people’s experience. During the First World War and the following decades, New Zealanders, like much of the world, faced a time of austerity. Cookbooks from this period underline the need for ‘economy,’ making food go further, and letting nothing go to waste. Elsie Gertrude Harvey. The “peace” recipe book : every recipe has been tested and is guaranteed economical. 3rd edition. Printed by N.Z.

Food for thought: nutrition

“ Many people pass through life with a closed mind and an open mouth; and when it comes to food it is never too late to start or restart learning ." (Corene Walker M.D., quoted in Vegetarian living NZ , vol.76: no.3, 2020.) One of the goals of our Food for Thought exhibition was to encourage critical thought around how we have eaten in Aotearoa and Tāmaki Makaurau.  " Very much to the fore in public thought today is the matter of healthy living ." (Elizabeth Gregory and Elizabeth C.G. Wilson, from Good nutrition , 1940.) This is just as true today as it was 80 years ago. We now live in a world where nutrition information panels are required by law to be on food labels. We think both about what is desirable to eat not only from a culinary point of view but from the nutritive properties of the food too.  Rather than trying to provide a history of nutrition in Aotearoa, I attempted to select a few items from our collections which reflected ideas of the time about nutrition.