There is one thing sure to be found in every Aussie home. I’ll give you a hint: it is a book.
If your first guess was the Bible, a natural choice, it is an incorrect one.
It is, in fact, a cookbook. The Country Women’s Association, guardian angels of women and children all over this sunburnt land, publishes a cookbook. Actually, each state’s organization publishes their own. Western Australians have been clutching a dark blue book with white lettering now for 75 years. This was a lifeline for rural and remote families who needed resources and reassurance which could not be found close at hand.
And while there still are families in remote areas – indeed, much of Western Australia is “remote”- modern technology has closed the distance. Still, the familiar blue book remains in memory and in practice an integral part of Australian living. People can quote you the page number of their family favorite [“page 109, Chocolate Sauce Pudding”] , they’ll want to make sure the Yorkshire Pudding recipe [page 56] is right or the real name of Lemon Fizz [Lemon Swiss, page 140]. Microwave instructions have brought it up to date.
It’s not all recipes. Starting on page 379 are special hints on banishing cockroaches (boric acid), washing sparkly glassware (lemon juice in rinse water), cleaning wine stains (tomato juice) or curing warts (lime powder). For the still self-sufficient remote resident, there are instructions on how to make soap and weave doormats from “motor tubes”. Want the instructions for Dry Tanning sheepskins? Look it up on page 385.
You’ll be pleased to hear that it has an international section. I find it rather …interesting…that recipes such as Chop Suey, American Hamburger and a two ingredient (?!) Waldorf Salad are included in the American section. A rather interesting window on how Australians view our cuisine.
And a rather interesting book.