For amateur historians and trivia collectors everywhere

Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Pioneer cuisine
While working as a boundary rider on his uncle's sheep station, G. L. Meredith tries to make bread -
"... I was a bit excited about having a breakfast off my first loaf. I fried a couple of chops in the camp oven; made my tea in the billy; squared my shoulders, and started to cut the first slice off the loaf with my sheath-knife. The knife slithered along the outside of the loaf. I stood up to my job; but do what I might the knife resolutely refused to enter that loaf. I began to suspect that the flour could not have been all that it should have been; but meanwhile my chop and tea were getting cold; so there was nothing else for it but the tomahawk. With this I managed to hack a hunk off one side; but I had to "mellow it" with the back of the tommy before it was soft enough to bite.
....I gave the balance of my first to my collie, who amused himself trying to cut his wisdom teeth on it.
I managed to get the next loaf better. I "set" it before breakfast, intending to bake it at night. It wasn't an unqualified success, as the cat had been roosting on it whilst I was away. I covered it with a clean dish-cloth and a bit of blanket to keep it warm, and pussy found it a very comfortable spot for a snooze. If she could have spoken, she would probably have pleaded that she was protecting it from the rats, which are very numerous in New Zealand. They are a graniferous variety, with a dark fur. The Maoris eat them."
(Source: Adventuring in Maoriland in the Seventies, G. L. Meredith, 1935.)


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