Cookery: Instruction Cards [no. 1-no. 33].

Melbourne: Albert J Mullett, Govt Printer, [1914].

Stiff cards in an oblong wooden slipcase (21 x12.5 cm.), 33 cards in all. heavy stiff cards in a contemporary handmade timber slipcase. Most cards printed recto and verso.  A government-issued set of educational cooking recipes, in a wooden slipcase. The cards include recipes for roasting, soups, sauces, savory and meat dishes, pancakes and fritters, stews, fish, puddings, scones, cakes, invalid cookery, tea and coffee, dry and buttered toast, eggs, and vegetarian dishes (three cards). In the last decade of the 19th century, the Victorian government held a wide-ranging Royal Commission into education and education reform in Victoria. As part of the outcome from the Commission, Victoria's first cookery center for young girls was established at the Queensberry Street State School in 1898; other centers were then established throughout the state and a lengthy bureaucratic process to establish a standalone school for domestic economy began. From about this time, the Victorian Government Department of Public Instruction published and sold sets of 30 cookery instruction cards to students of domestic economy to be used at state schools (probably authored by F Fawcett Story). The set cost a shilling and replacement cards cost a penny. Enter Flora Pell, a cookery teacher with a talent for organization. Pell was a rising star within the Department. In 1908 she had overseen the State School domestic cookery exhibition; by 1912 she oversaw the development of all cookery centers in state schools and, in 1915 she was appointed the first headmistress of the Collingwood Domestic Arts School when it opened. At this time, Pell lobbied the Department to allow her to produce a cookery book with more recipes and information about nutrition, cuts of meat, economizing with food and leftovers, cooking for invalids and general cooking tips to replace the instruction cards. The Department declined her offer and directed schools to continue to use the cards. Notwithstanding, Pell published her book 'Our Cookery Book' in 1916 and it was quickly taken up by cookery teachers and students around the state; for all intents and purposes it (and subsequent editions) unofficially replaced the instruction cards as the student text for the next twelve years. Albert J Mullett was the Government printer between 1913 and 1924.  The previous set of cards (30) had been printed by Robert Brain (Government Printer 1887 to 1906). The set of thirty-three cards is an expanded set of the original; there are additional explanatory and nutritional notes, but the recipes are for the most part the same in both sets and in no way as comprehensive as in Our Cookery Book. Given Pell's position in 1915, and her desire to publish a textbook, it can be inferred that these cards were produced in 1913-1914; after Mullett's appointment but before her book was published.   Eventually, in 1928, after a dispute with Pell about the use of alcohol in fruit cake recipes in Our Cookery Book (raised by the WMU and the Temperance movement) the then Minister for Education directed state schools to return to using the cards (approximately 1900 sets remained unsold with the Government Printer) whilst a new textbook was written. Complete and clean sets of these cards are scarce in this condition. Sets in commerce usually have cards missing, are damaged from hanging on a hook by the stove or having been mistreated by an indifferent student. ~ The front of card 1 and the verso of card 33 are lightly tanned from contact with the wooden slipcase. Additional handwritten recipes in a neat script to the verso of a number of cards; occasional marginal notes and corrections. Clearly a set used by a diligent student or teacher. [OCLC records five holdings, all in Australia; this edition not in Hoyle].

Price: $750.00