A Timeline of Australian Food: from mutton to MasterChef

The  Sydney Daily Telegraph said: “…fabulous illustrated stroll through the history of our dining habits…A fun, delicious and nostalgic journey.”

And Good Weekend called it“…a crisp, informed, sometimes ironic account: part trip down memory lane, part national history reflected in what we ate and eat. And always entertaining.”

A Timeline of Australian Food: from mutton to MasterChef chronicles 150 years of Australian food, beginning with the first Australian cookbook in the 1860s and ending in 2010 with the game-changing cooking show, MasterChef. It’s presented as a timeline; decade by decade it looks at what we’ve eaten, how we’ve shopped and how we’ve produced our food. And there are lots of illustrations.

Over the years, as the very nature of Australia changed, the way we ate changed too. The book traces the history of our farmers, our manufacturers, our cooks and of everyday Australians as they lived through boom times, depressions and two World Wars.

Even within the lifetime of today’s baby boomers, there have been revolutionary changes in how we eat. While the standard Anglo-Irish staples of meat and potatoes haven’t disappeared, they’ve been joined by pizza and pho, kimchi and kebabs.

Based on the Australian Food History Timeline website (although, because of the publisher’s constraints, limited to 150 years in scope) the book serves up history in digestible chunks with big helpings of tasty trivia and a generous dash of nostalgia. How did Tim Tams get their name?  Why was Australia’s first commercial olive oil produced in a prison? Did an Australian firm really market Dugong paté?  The book answers these questions and many, many more.

It’s a great gift idea for anyone who’s interested in food or just enjoys a nostalgic look at the foods we enjoyed back when. If you can’t find A Timeline of Australian Food in your bookstores (it is a while since it was released) you can ask them to order it for you. Or you can order online from Booktopia or Amazon. You can read what reviewers have said about the book on my Comments and Reviews page here.

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