EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT COOKING I learned from the COUNTRY WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION OF NSW

Murdoch Books, an imprint of Allen & Unwin, Australia 2018

‘The Country Women’s Association of NSW aims to improve conditions for country women and children by lobbying for change, helping the local community, creating a network of support and meeting together in towns and cities.’ The recipes in this 2018 cookbook were previously published in The Country Women’s Association Cookbook 2 in 2011.

To win a copy of the book, write to me via the contact page. I will let you know if you are the lucky winner. First in, best dressed!

Barbie’s review

I started high school in NSW in 1962 in the first intake of students under the Wyndham Scheme*. The new scheme introduced six years of high school and a new set of examinations, the School Certificate after 4 years of high school and the Higher School Certificate after six – replacing the old Leaving Certificate system. The curriculum was reformed and thus it was that an otherwise academic education included six months of Domestic Science classes in my first year of high school.

I clearly remember giggling my head off with my mother while she seriously wrote comments on my Oslo lunch homework and other seemingly inane tasks.

I tell you this because the Bible of our cooking classes was The Commonsense Cookery Book and I still have today my battered and grease-stained copy of this little gem. It was compiled by The Public School Cookery Teachers’ Association of New South Wales with sections on, for example, Convalescent and Children’s Cookery, Meat Substitutes and Savouries, Steamed Puddings and Dressed Vegetables. This, of course, was before cook books became the visual porn of the domestic goddess or simply the collector of mouth wateringly fabulous photography.

And this brings me to the book at hand, a new edition of a CWA cookbook with recipes first published in the Country Women’s Associati  on Cookbook 2 in 2011. As well as providing a collection of stock standards in everything from soup to scones, the book pays tribute to the work of the CWA in nurturing rural communities. Long before city officialdom and media caught on to rural issues like depression, isolation and the health   and education challenges of living in remote communities the women of the CWA were establishing friendship groups for their members and raising funds to provide what governments didn’t.

This modest volume will slip easily into the kitchens and hearts of new generations of Australian cooks. It’s simple and practical, clearly set out and readable. And most importantly it contains do-able recipes without a plethora of exotic pantry items. While some of the quaint catering tips may raise a gentle smile, the chapter on Scones, Biscuits and Slices will equip you for any’ bring a plate’ occasion.

At $16.99 it’s at the very affordable end of today’s cookbooks. Let’s hope sales of the book allow the CWA to continue its valuable work in our rural communities.