Here in Australia, we strongly associate quiche with the 1970s, but the first recipes for Quiche Lorraine were published many decades earlier. In July 1935, the first recipe I can find in newspapers or magazines appeared, not in a feature on French cookery, but in an account of the Silver Jubilee banquet of King George V. The menu for the banquet, prepared under the supervision of the Buckingham Palace chef, M. Paul Henry Poupart, consisted of terrapin soup, salmon, lamb cutlets with young green peas, roast spring chickens, asparagus with sauce mousseline, iced souffle George V, fruit and Quiche de Lorraine.
The somewhat vague recipe for the dish, which was served after the dessert as a savoury, was given as follows:
Make a light flaky pastry, and shape into a tart or tartlets, whip three of four eggs in some cream, add grated cheese, and whip again. Fill the pastry with this mixture, top with small strips of bacon and butter, then bake in a good oven for half an hour.
After this, the quiche seems to have disappeared from the printed record in this country until the early 1950s. In 1952, a recipe appeared in the humorous Australian cookbook Oh for a French Wife, by Ted Moloney. From this point, Quiche Lorraine gained traction as the quintessentially French dish, popping up in 1953 in The Argus (as recommended by Mme Sirot, wife of the French consul) and in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1955.
For some time, the Lorraine variety was the only dish entitled to the name quiche. In 1967, the Canberra Times was sniffy about the Americans calling a Tarte a l’Oignon et aux Oefs an Onion Quiche, suggesting that we down-to-earth Aussies should just call it an Egg and Onion Tart. But, by the following year, the Australian Women’s Weekly had introduced the Mushroom Quiche and, after that, it was gloves off. Any tart including eggs, milk or cream, and cheese qualified.
A feature in the Weekly in 1972 included crab, leek, salmon and onion versions. Following years saw asparagus, tuna and even smoked oyster variants. So embedded did the dish become in popular culture that a satirical book about masculine stereotypes, titled Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, appeared in 1982. Perhaps a low point occurred in 1985 when Woroni, the student newspaper of the Australian National University, published instructions for making for Cannabis Quiche, suggesting adding “a good whack of your favourite Smoking Herb” to your favourite recipe.
Not one to serve to Auntie Ethel, perhaps, but just the thing for high tea.