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From Nutrition to Glamour: The Australian Women’s Weekly’s cookery editors, 1933-1970.

History Australia | 2022

Abstract

This article explores the influence of The Australian Women’s Weekly’s ‘cookery experts’, or food editors, from the 1930s to 1970. Until the end of the Second World War, the magazine’s cookery editors were highly trained experts in the field of domestic science and they shared their extensive knowledge of nutrition, economy and cookery skills with their readers. After the war, the magazine’s focus shifted. The Weekly’s food editors became anonymous, and they started advising their readers how to cook increasingly glamorous, cosmopolitan, ‘modern’ cuisine. Despite acknowledgement that the Weekly influenced Australian domestic cuisine, the experiences and contributions of the Weekly’s food editors have received little scholarly attention. This article intends to recover the history of the Weekly’s cookery editors; exploring the way that their professional backgrounds, as well as societal trends towards modernity and consumerism, influenced the Australian palate.

Commendation - Jill Roe Prize 2020

This is a skillfully-crafted essay that uses the changing profiles of cookery experts employed by the Australian Women's Weekly between the 1930s and the 1970s to trace shifts in Australian domestic cuisine. Written with verve and confidence, it sheds new light on the eclipsing of trained female nutritionists in the shift towards glamour in the marketing of Australian cooking.

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The Imitation Game: Mock Foods in the Australian Women's Weekly, 1933–82

Abstract

This article explores the rise and demise of mock food in Australian food culture by analysing recipes drawn from the pages of the Australian Women's Weekly. Mock foods were approximations and substitutions for ‘the real thing’ and were especially popular during the years of austerity and scarcity generated by the Great Depression and World War II. The fluctuating popularity of these foods, including mock chicken and mock cream, reveals the shifting cultural importance of various foodstuffs to the Australian diet. Their appearance also demonstrates the remarkable ability of Australian domestic cooks, especially women, to adopt, adapt and innovate, an important attribute of Australian food culture.

Winner - Ken Inglis Postgraduate Prize 2018

‘The Imitation Game’ takes us on a lively and fascinating journey into the domestic kitchen to explore culinary practice and Australian food culture.  Through an examination of the rise of mock food recipes and cooking in the mid-twentieth century, the author extends our understanding of food history in Australia, demonstrating the innovative and imaginative culinary practices of home cooks. Deftly applying a methodology that draws upon popular periodicals, recipes, statistical data, and nutritional discourse, the author convincingly reconstructs and contextualises food practices to reveal the considerable symbolic and cultural importance of certain high-status and highly-desired foods in Australia in the twentieth century.  This essay is a valuable and original contribution to the historiography of Australian food. 

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'Six o'clock is late enough': the 1947 New South Wales liquor referendum

Abstract

This article considers the outcome of the controversial 1947 New South Wales liquor referendum. As part of proposed reforms to liquor legislation, the New South Wales government asked the people to decide whether evening trading hours for hotel bars should be extended from six o’clock to either nine or ten o’clock. Early closing was retained with a significant majority, despite widespread recognition that early closing had created a problematic binge-drinking culture. Drawing on newspaper articles, letters to the editor, advertisements, trade journals, parliamentary records and temperance literature, this article will examine why there was such extensive public support for six o’clock closing in 1947. It will focus in particular on the role of two seemingly opposed groups – the temperance movement and the trade union movement – in the campaign to retain early closing, revealing surprisingly similar arguments used by these groups during their campaigns. The article argues that mid-century notions of restraint, moderation and respectability perpetuated public support for restrictive liquor legislation, and that temperance and trade union groups successfully capitalised on these notions in their campaign for six o’clock closing.

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