Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

How the gym is like cheese…

12 Oct
Cheese

A picture of raw milk Camembert here is so much better than a pic of me doing BodyStep. Trust me.

Last night in the gym, somewhere between the three-knee repeater and that tricky turnkey step, it occurred to me that BodyStep was to pasteurised milk cheese what freestyle step was to raw milk cheese.

Well, what do you think about in the gym?

Anyway, this thought was so profound, I nearly fell off the step. Allow me to explain. BodyStep, like BodyPump, BodyCombat and a number of other made up compound words, is a standardised fitness class developed by Les Mills International, a New Zealand company, available to gym goers in 90 different countries. It means that it doesn’t matter whether I’m in Manhattan, Milan, Mexico City or right here in Melbourne, one of their 90,000 certified instructors will teach me pretty much the same class.

By taking the choreography and music of the routine out of the hands of the local instructor, the Les Mills classes are examples of globalised, homogenised products, examples of what some academic types call the McDonaldization of the world. And it has its benefits. It’s been developed and tested by experts so it’s effective and safe. Also, as a gym goer, I know exactly what I’m getting and that’s ok because, overall, I think it’s a pretty good experience, though, sometimes, it can be quite boring too. Now, to alleviate this boredom, there is some local variety, as obviously the instructors bring their own personalities to the job. For example, the woman who took my class last night barely spoke and used mime to demonstrate what she wanted us to do. It was weird, though nice not to listen to “Strong body, strong mind” and all those other stupid things they yell at you while you’re sweating away as only a pig should. Once a set routine has been in circulation for a while, the instructor is allowed to mix up the songs so they can make a new routine out of old routines, also demonstrating a certain degree of local creativity.  These local differences are like McDonald’s serving specific menu items in different places, like the Teriyaki McBurger in Japan or the Lakse wrap served in Finland.

Now, here’s the cheese bit: It’s like pasteurised milk cheese because by making cheese with pasteurised  milk you kill off not just any bad stuff, you’re also killing off much of the local flavour of the milk, what the French call the terroir. Though it should be noted that the degree to which the local flavour is destroyed by pasteurisation is much debated and contested. Still,  just as your local BodyStep instructor can’t decide the actual moves or music of your routine, your cheese is without much of the bacteria that make it “of the place”. The result is your cheese is now a standardised and safe product. Sure, just like your instructor can teach in an individual style or mix up different routines, you can introduce local variety by following different methods and producing different styles, and while this might result in a perfectly satisfying cheese, it’s not likely that such a cheese would ever surprise you with its flavours or, conversely, be really bad.

Speaking of really bad, on Tuesday I took a freestyle step class for the first time with Pierre. Dear, sweet, French Pierre, who before the class promised me it would be “tres” fun, came up with the routine all by himself. And while Pierre was a “local” instructor and therefore came up with a “local” routine, it’s worth pointing out that he is also French, and that would’ve also factored into what he came up with. Now Pierre’s class was difficult. Really difficult. Pierre himself fell off the stage at one point, eliciting gasps of concern from most of the class but, I’m ashamed to say, a gleeful smirk from me – that will teach him for putting together the world’s most convoluted step routine! Pierre’s class was just too challenging for most of the participants and it was not safe.  Kind of like a bad raw milk cheese – sure it’s made with local, individual flavour, as the milk has not been pasteurised, but it’s not safe and could result in sickness, even death. However had Pierre’s class been better, it would’ve been like the raw milk Camembert I ate in Paris earlier this year – not just safe to eat, but unexpected, exciting and hitting taste heights I had not thought possible.

While I’m on the topic, I feel Zumba, the class that urges you to “ditch the workout, join the party”, is worthy of mention. It’s interesting not so much because it’s another globalised format, but because of the way it appropriates the dances and traditions of other cultures to create a new form. In this way, it acts like a cultural translator, making it possible for an Italian-Australian woman in Melbourne to try different styles.  Nothing is sacred, one minute you’re salsa-ing like a Latin goddess with skin the colour mocha, as Ricky Martin might say, the next you’re pretending to wave away a bull, matador-style and then all of a sudden you’re jumping around like a Bollywood princess trying to look beguiling, but really looking like you just ate a really hot curry. Zumba, however, is problematic for me to think about at any great length for the simple reason that it sounds far too much like Zumbo, which reminds me of cake, something I feel drastically in need of after all this gym talk… macaron anyone?

Australia’s first Italian cookbook – MIA

2 Apr

Every so often you make a discovery. Something you think no one else knows. This makes you happy, so very, very happy.

Being a PhD student is a bit of a drudge most of the time. There are books to find, notes to take, references to record, forms to complete and reading, so much reading, some of it interesting, much of it leading to a lifelong hatred of anyone whose name comes prefaced by the words “French philosopher”.

But when that moment happens, the point of a new discovery, you forget about the references and the forms, you even forget that your annual salary is below the poverty line, and you think it’s all worth it. For you are now making a real contribution to your field. It’s you they are going to reference and your name they are going to struggle to spell correctly in EndNote or Mendeley (For the record: C-A-M-M-A-R-A-N-O).

This happened to me quite recently. It was good for a bit. And then it all went to shit. Here’s how it unfolded:

Working at the State Library of Victoria, I was examining a 1930s cookbook called the First Australian Continental Cookery Book. While the book says its about European cooking, there seem to be more Italian recipes than anything else, and after I read:

It is time for Australians to realise, in fact, that what one may call Mediterranean cookery has much to offer them. Italian cookery, for instance, embodies ideas, aims and methods that have not only been ripening for literally thousands of years, but have been doing so under climatic conditions far more closely resembling those of Australia than do the British.

I somehow deduced this book had to be written by an Italian. In fact, I half thought it might be my Uncle Tony. But with no author listed, I looked into the publisher – the Cosmopolitan Publishing Company – and found that the same company published a bunch of other Italian-related books. Dig just that bit deeper and guess what, the company is run by a group of Italian migrants who also published the principal fascist newspaper in Australia, Il Giornale Italiano.

This is seriously good stuff. I’m feeling pretty great about what I’ve found, and then the cake gets iced. By the same publisher, I find in the NLA’s catalogue, published in the 1930s as well, La Cucina Continentale. I think I may well have just stumbled upon Australia’s first Italian cookbook. All I have to do is go to Canberra and check it out.

La Cucina Continentale

Happy days! La Cucina Continentale in the NLA’s catalogue.

So off to the nation’s fine capital I go. When I get to the NLA, I become a member, request the book and spend 45 minutes looking at the exhibition next door while some hairy librarian type – they are always hairy – fetches it for me. I log back into the computer to check the status of the book, but see just one word – Missing. I think I stop breathing for a second. Missing. I go and tell the nice, bearded man (see, I told you they are always hairy) behind the desk. It’s the only known copy in the world, I say in not my usual calm way, and it just can’t be missing. He tells me that I am wrong – it can be missing. But, I say, no, it really can’t. Nice man gets the feeling this could go on all day so he tells me to go home and request an official investigation. This happens, and two weeks later the official investigation sends me a lovely email in which, it concludes, the book is not just missing now – it’s officially missing.

Excellent.

So now, dear reader, in a bid to save this discovery from the dustbin, I am launching an appeal to find La Cucina Continentale. If you know of it, or anything about it, I would love to hear from you. You know where to find me. Please, because I really want to be in EndNote…

La Cucina Continentale missing

Not so happy. La Cucina Continentale is now officially missing.

Bibliography:

  • Cappello, Anthony. “Italian Australians, the Church, War and Fascism in Melbourne 1919-1945.” Masters’ diss.,Victoria University of Technology, 1999.
  • Cresciani, Gianfranco. Fascism, Anti-Fascism and Italians in Australia, 1922-1945. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1980.
  • First Australian Continental Cookery Book. Melbourne: Cosmopolitan Publishing Co. Limited, 1937.

Eating in Hong Kong and Cambodia

4 Feb

So yes, Lamingtons and Lasagna has been missing in action. She went to Hong Kong and Cambodia on holidays, and she wanted to post while she was away but the combination of her innate laziness and the glory of vacationing in a land where the average price of a cocktail is $2.50, meant she never got around to it. She’s back now, but before she can resume with her usual food history-esque babble, and start writing in the first person again, she feels the need to share a few photos. Like this whole cow on a spit:

Cow on a spit in Siem Reap

Duck on Spit in Siem Reap

Yes, that’s right, so it was a skinny cow, but in Siem Reap this outdoor restaurant was a car wash by day and a barbecue joint by night. It served us up two tasty plates of barbecued beef, one rotisserie duck, an assortment of vegetables and condiments, and a litre of the local beer for the princely sum of $8. At that price, Luggage Boy (LB) and myself spent the entire meal contemplating our imminent retirement to Cambodia.

Yumi

29a Street 288,  (between Monivong and St 63), Boeung Keng Kang, Phnom Penh

Still in Cambodia, I couldn’t resist this description of  a Japanese izakaya run by an English chef in Phnom Penh. So LB and I headed away from the bright lights of the city’s riverside – where most of the tourists can be found – to the small but chilled out Yumi where we enjoyed excellent pumpkin gyoza, finger lickin’ ribs and a deconstructed banoffee pie made with the fantastic local bananas which I am still thinking about. Good doesn’t describe it.

Pumpkin gyoza at Yumi, Phnom Penh

Yakitori ribs at Yumi, Phnom Penh

Banoffee at Yumi, Phnom Penh

Australian Dairy Company

47 Parkes Street, Kowloon

In Hong Kong now, the Australian Dairy Company in Kowloon has nothing to do with Australia and everything to do with what Hong Kongers like to eat for breakfast. There’s a queue outside and the place is packed with white-shirted men seating and serving at a furious pace. The macaroni soup with industrial ham is really blah but the scrambled eggs are beyond awesome. And while I shouldn’t admit my love of peanut butter and condensed milk on thick slices of over-processed over-white bread, I think I just did. Also, the Hong Kong tea will put hairs on your chest. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Queue outside Australian Dairy Co, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Frantic pace at Australian Dairy Co, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Scrambled eggs at the Australian Dairy Company, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Soup from Australian Dairy Co, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Wang Fu & Dumpling Yuan

 65 Wellington Street, Central & 69 Wellington Street, Central

There are so many decisions one needs to make in life. Work or Uni? Marriage or singledom? Children or carefree happiness? But, for me, the really important question is: Beijing dumplings or Shanghai dumplings? In Hong Kong, I confronted this dilemma at Wang Fu for Beijing and Dumpling Yuan for Shanghai, conveniently both located on Wellington Street in Central. In conclusion, Shanghai wins – the wrapper is that bit thinner, that bit more delicate, which means you can really taste the superb pork-based fillings. However, the Michelin Guide, which led us to these establishments, is wrong on one count – under no circumstances should you ever eat a mutton dumpling because there’s a reason nearly nobody eats that anymore.

Enjoying Wang Fu dumplings

Wang Fu Beijing dumplings

Dumpling Yuan dumplings

Tim Ho Wan (Mong Kok)

8 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok

Speaking of Michelin, like every so-called foodie worth his or her salt, LB and I waited outside Tim Ho Wan – the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant – for about two hours. The hype around this place is big, so by the time we got in there we were expecting the seventh heaven of dim sum. Not surprisingly, it could not deliver – the food was great, but not amazing, although the Chiu Chow style steamed dumplings were outstanding. I ordered way too much, though all this meant was that we got to eat Michelin-starred barbecued pork buns for breakfast. Not a bad way to start a day at all.

The queue outside Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok

Steamed dumplings at Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok

Inside the dumpling at Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok

Barbecue pork bun at Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok

Chicken feet at Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Salisbury Road, Kowloon

Alright, so it’s touristy and it’s kitschy and properly rich people would never ever do it, but afternoon tea at Hong Kong’s Peninsula is just fun. So I recommend it. Especially the macaroons at the end.

Macaroons at The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong

Afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong

Yung Kee

 32-40 Wellington Street, Central

And, on our last night in Hong Kong, the roast goose at Yung Kee. With LB taken down by a stomach bug, it didn’t look like we were going to make it. But, brave soldier boy that he is when it comes to his belly, he rallied and did not regret it. Gamey, fatty and so full of flavour, all stomach bugs were forgotten as we finished our trip on what can only be described as a roast goose high. One of the best things I’ve ever eaten. .. ever. The way all trips should end, really.

Goose at Yung Kee

Outside Yung Kee

Crimes against pizza – 3. Banana pizza

14 Nov

Someone, maybe this guy, once put pineapple on a pizza and, for some strange reason, it stuck. The Hawaiian is a much derided but long-established pizza tradition. At the Australian Women’s Weekly, some bright spark thought they might have the same success with bananas, and so they put salty fish, savoury tomatoes, stringy cheese and sweet bananas together on a buttery bread base. It did not stick, it just stunk, and, as a result, is our third documented case in the crimes against pizza series…

Banana pizza

Crime number 3: Banana Pizza

Accomplice: Australian Women’s Weekly, in a special Banana Cook Book, which may, or may not, have been advertorial.

Date of crime: Wednesday 25 February 1970

Modus Operandi:

Yeast Dough

1 ½ cups plain flour
pinch salt
½ oz. compressed yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 oz. butter or substitute

Filling

½lb. tomatoes
1 small can anchovy fillets
little milk
1 dessertspoon oil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 small onion
¼ cup tomato paste
4 oz. grated gruyere cheese
2 medium bananas

Yeast Dough: Sift flour and salt into bowl, add sugar. Dissolve crumbled yeast in warmed milk, add beaten egg. Stir yeast mixture into dry ingredients, blend well. Cream butter and work it into the dough. Cover bowl and stand in warm place 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Press dough into 9in. pie plate or on to base of 9 in. sandwich tin.

Filling: Peel and slice tomatoes. Soak anchovy fillets in a little milk ½ hour; drain. Heat oil in frying pan, add chopped onion and oregano fry 2 to 3 minutes. Place tomato slices in centre of dough. Arrange peeled and sliced bananas in a ring round edge. Spread tomato paste over them. Sprinkle with fried onion and grated cheese, arrange anchovy fillets on top. Bake in hot oven 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Evidence: See image above. Plus this quote:

Banana Pizza, a new variation of this popular dish, combines the good flavor of bananas with cheese, tomatoes, and anchovy.

Verdict: You can make the presentation as pretty as you like, but once you’ve spread bananas with tomato paste you’ve gone rogue. The banana pizza is guilty of badly imitating an already dubious trend – that of combining fruit with savoury ingredients, as well as claiming such a concoction to be edible.

Sentence: Rehabilitation. Get rid of the fish, cheese and tomato paste, replace with nutella, chuck bananas on top of it and call it a dessert pizza. Not traditional, but, unlike the previous incarnation, actually pretty delicious.

See more Crimes against pizza

Bibliography:

  • “Banana Cook Book.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25 February 1970, 127.

Helmut Newton’s perfect cheese photography

24 Oct

When I think of photographer Helmut Newton I think of fashion. More specifically, I think nudie, rudie Vogue-like fashion. Which is cool, if you like that kind of thing, but I prefer food, in particular cheese.

So I did not expect the man responsible for (potentially not workplace-friendly)  this and this to be taking photos of this:

Perfect Cheese Co Parmigiano

And yet Berlin-born Newton, who served in the Australian army and became a citizen of our fine country in 1946, is credited as the photographer of the 1955/6 Perfect Cheese Co. Silver Anniversary souvenir booklet:

Perfect Cheese Co Souvenir Booklet

You might know the Perfect Cheese Co. better as Perfect Italiano which is what it became in 1996. But, back in the 30s, way before it was part of multi-national Fonterra, the Perfect Cheese Co. was a small family-run operation started by one Natale P Italiano and his lovely wife Maria. Here they are, photographed by Newton:

Natale and Maria Italiano, Perfect Cheese CoBy the time this booklet came out, the Perfect Cheese Co. was known throughout Australia and was doing very well for itself – having increased production from 2,000 pounds in 1930 to 900,000 pounds in 1954. According to Randazzo and Cigler, the company is also credited with pioneering sheep-milk production and producing the first pecorino cheese in the country.

The souvenir booklet – which you’ll find at the State Library of Victoria  – is well worth seeking out. In both English and Italian it shows just how close the Italianos were to the Italian migrant community they primarily, but not exclusively, served. Who else would have a Catholic priest write the dedication to what is essentially a marketing exercise?

At the same time, they weren’t limited by the dairying traditions they knew from the old country. Amongst the mozzarella and the ricotta, you’ll also find fetta in brine, kasseri and grated cheese in little packets. More evidence to support the fact that success in the food industry for Italians in Australia came from adapting to a new market, not exporting food traditions wholesale.

As for Helmut Newton, who knew you could go from fetta to fashion (or pecorino to near-porn) in the span of a single lifetime…

Bibliography

  • Helmut Newton Foundation . “Biography.” Helmut Newton Foundation. <http://www.helmut-newton.com/helmut_newton/biography/> (24th October 2011).
  • Perfect Cheese Co. Perfect Cheese Co. – Silver Anniversary 1956, South Melbourne, Vic. : Freelance Press,1955.
  • Randazzo, Nino & Cigler, Michael. The Italians in Australia, Melbourne : AE Press, 1987. 

Cooking with my nonna – carciofi

24 Aug
Nonna makes carciofi

Nobody makes carciofi like this woman, my grandmother.

When I tell nonna that most artichoke recipes call for a lot of the leaves to be cut off, she looks disgusted.

“It’s waste. Waste! People have too much money! They didn’t live through the war. We ate potato peelings. The peelings of the potatoes!”

Nonna is showing me how to make artichokes – carciofi –  the way she has always made them, with breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and not much else. Nothing, well nearly nothing, gets cut off and thrown away.

“Just the top of the leaves where they are really hard. And the stalks. Though you can cook them too.  Everything else is good. What do you think? We’re Americani! No.”

As I ponder nonna’s obsession with Americans and wealth – not a day goes by where she doesn’t mention their wasteful, extravagant ways – she shows me how to open up the artichoke with my hands and sprinkle a mix of breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and parmesan into each one.

As always, the question of quantity comes up. How much breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and parmesan?

“Tania, you always ask this question. You need as much as the artichoke needs. Use your eyes in your head to see!”

“But nonna, I can’t write that in the recipe, people won’t understand. And then they’ll ring me and abuse me for giving them a recipe that doesn’t work.”

“Pah! Just write ‘It needs as much as it needs’. They will understand. What are they? Stupid! Basta with this question! No more ‘how much’, ‘how much’…”

Nonna stuffing artichokes

Stuffed artichoke

Nonna moves the stuffed artichokes into a pan. She apologises.

“Sorry, sorry, see there should be seven artichokes, because seven fit. Five is no good. Too much space.”

Nonna is a serial apologiser. It’s like her diabetes – a disease. She always does it in English too. It is never “mi dispiace” but always “sorry, sorry”.

I take a photo. Nonna isn’t happy with the five artichokes in the picture. She grabs two stalks and puts them in the empty spaces.

“Better… but if only I had seven. Sorry, sorry.”

Artichokes in the pan

Five artichokes in the pan

As browned fried garlic is poured over the carciofi and they are put on the stove with a little water to cook, I notice how much else nonna has made for dinner.

She has already prepared chicory and roasted red peppers, the fish is in the oven and broccoli soup is bubbling away.

She tells me she is going to put ravioli in the soup.  I gasp. My father will have (another) heart attack. Ravioli, in the world of Romano Cammarano, does not go in broccoli soup. It will be a controversial move on nonna’s part.

But she likes “fantasia”- imagination –  in cooking. And she will do whatever the “fantasia” tells her.  It’s telling her to put the ravioli in the soup. I warn her about Romano.  She shrugs and puts the ravioli in the soup.

Later, predictably, Romano Cammarano turns his considerable Roman nose up at the dish. But nonna has been true to the “fantasia”. That is what is important here.

Nonna pours garlic over artichokes

Artichokes with garlic oil

The carciofi are cooked when a leaf comes clean out of it and you can easily scrap away the breadcrumby, artichokey goodness at the bottom of each leaf with your teeth.  You do this over and over, making a pile of discarded leaves on your plate, till you get to the payoff for all your hard work – the heart.

Some unscrupulous members of your family might try to steal the heart. This is an offence and should be dealt with severely.

Nonna tests artichokes

Carciofi cooked like this might be the last bastion of true wogginess.

I notice funny looks from my colleagues when I eat them at my desk, piling up the waste paper basket with artichoke leaves. I guess I will never work at BHP.

Also, when non-Italians eat at nonnas, they never touch the carciofi. Pasta, wild greens, eggplants, sausages, salami, prosciutto? Yes, please, no problem at all. But carciofi? No, thank you, I’m very full, and the thought of all that teeth scrapping and greasy fingers is just too, well, woggy  I guess…

This, however, is not a problem. It just means there’s more carciofi for me.

Pile of artichoke leaves

Nonna’s carciofi

  • 5 artichokes, hard leaves at the top trimmed and stalks cut off
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs, more or less
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Olive oil
  1. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan and salt and pepper.
  2. Open up the leaves of the artichokes with your hands and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over them, making sure you get plenty between the leaves. Place the artichokes in a snug pan with high sides.
  3. In the meantime, fry the garlic in a considerable amount of olive oil till it browned. Pour the garlic oil over the artichokes.
  4. Put the pan over medium heat and pour in enough water to come half-way up the sides of the artichokes, add a pinch of salt, and half cover with a lid.
  5. Cook until a leaf comes away easily from the artichoke. It should take about 45 minutes. Or less. Or more. Don’t let the water dry out – add more if you need it. And remove the lid to dry them out if there’s too much water.

Australian ricotta – Part 2

9 Mar
Dairy Board Ad

It's a carnival of Australian cheese and ricotta is well and truly on the float. From The Australian Women's Weekly 10 October 1973.

The 1970s open for ricotta with still more advertising from the Australian Dairy Board who are seemingly obsessed not only with making sure that we know it is “Australian Cheese. The most protein for the least money”, but also how on earth to pronounce it. Say after me everyone: ri-co-tta. Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

Perhaps it’s understandable that the ADB was keen for us to have a firm understanding of what ricotta was, because in the 70s and 80s, the cheese suffered from a bad case of SMD – schizophrenic media disorder – especially in The Australian Women’s Weekly.

First it was bad for our heart. In a 1975 article entitled A Doctor’s Advice on How to Avoid a Heart Attack, Dr Irving Levitas, the man who made sure smoking was never the same according to the author of the article, makes it clear ricotta is bad news:

There are a number of cheeses made with skim milk, including mozzarella and a Norwegian cheese called Jarlsberg. You don’t have to stop serving lasagna, for instance; just substitute skim-milk mozzarella and leave out the ricotta cheese.

 In 1977, however, the Australian Dairy Board (those guys again), made us an offer we couldn’t refuse:

 We promise to keep your food interest high, your calorie intake low with these tasty and delicious Dairy ideas.

 Ricotta was part of the promise and the ad suggests eating ricotta as a dip or mixed in with fruits like strawberries, pears, pineapples or melons.

Diet Dairy Foods

Dairy dieting with ricotta. From The Australian Women's Weekly, 7 December 1977.

Ricotta’s status as a diet friendly food seems to explode from this point onwards. If you wanted to follow the diet plan in How to be Forever Thin in 1976 you could have “1 medium size serving of ricotta or cottage cheese”.

In a 1981 Weight Watchers article trumpeting foods which were “off the banned list and on the programme”, you were allowed 1/3 cup ricotta cheese with a ½ cup of  grapefruit segments, a slice of toast, a teaspoon of margarine and a beverage for breakfast on Day 6.

While ricotta was firmly entrenched by the early eighties as the dieter’s friend, we also see it feature in several fatty friendly forms – the ricotta cake, pastry and slice – hence the schizophrenia.

In 1977, Mrs C.L Angelico of North Ringwood, Victoria won $15 for her “not too sweet” Italian ricotta cake. It was quite different from the 1979 Italian ricotta cake recipe in an “All Occasion Cakes” feature which called for packet chocolate cake mix and lashings of Grand Marnier. 

Italian ricotta cake made from a chocolate cake packet mix... just like in Italy! From The Australian Women's Weekly, 1 August 1979.

In 1978, it’s Miss J Kaufler of Haberfield, NSW’s turn to claim the $15 prize for “a rich, buttery pastry (which) holds an unusual filling of ricotta cheese, cherries and nuts.”

The lesson out of all of this? Ricotta will make you lose weight. Unless you add a bucket of flour, sugar, eggs, milk and chocolate. Then it won’t. Really, I should’ve been a nutritional scientist with deductions like that…

There might be a part 3 in the next few weeks to bring ricotta up to the present day, but if you missed the first sizzling instalment, be sure to check out Australian ricotta – Part 1.

“Australian Fresh Cheeses Explained,” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 10 October 1973, 45.
Guinness, Daphne, “A Doctor’s Advice on How to Avoid a Heart Attack.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 20 August 1975, 18-19.
“Low calorie, high interest (it’s dairy dieting).” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 7 December 1977, 166.
“How to be forever thin.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 6 October 1976,  25-26.
“Prize recipe.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 15 June 1977, 87.
“Prize recipe.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 5 April 1978, page 98.
“All Occasion Cakes,” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 1 August 1979, 86
“Weight Watchers Magazine Supplement.” The Australian Women’s Weekly, 10 June 1981, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 213 other followers