Breakfast Cookery 1940

I’m meandering through another vintage cookbook. This time, it’s ‘The Commonsense Cookery Book compiled by the Public School Cookery Teachers Association of New South Wales’.

Settle in, for I’m about to cook you breakfast.

IMG_3280_FotorBeverages first.

Cocoa,  Sir? Madame?  Please note we only serve real cocoa here, none of that sugary powdered drinking chocolate you’ll find in the next Century. Even good old Bournville will contain additional ingredients once it’s acquired by Cadbury.

IMG_3278_FotorNeed more of a caffeine hit?

Of course, Sir.

War rationing has commenced, so we are supplementing some of our café de jour with chicory root. I hear it’s very restorative, Madame.

IMG_3268_FotorCoffee (No. 2) should give you  a hit.

Please, settle in. Read today’s papers. Take in the scenery.

It takes a while to brew.

IMG_3269_FotorNo?  A good, old-fashioned cup of tea instead?  You, Madame, like George Orwell, have excellent taste. He says:

“First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.”

Mr Orwell recommends ‘6 heaped teaspoons to every quart’ of water. There are 2 pints in a quart, which equates to three teaspoons of tea to the pint. May I remind Sir, we are on rations, so the tea will be slightly less… strong… than you may be accustomed to.

Ahhh, but we all must do our bit, mustn’t we?

IMG_3271_FotorBut – we still have bacon.

IMG_3273_FotorAnd eggs from the backyard. Or egg, singular. One egg, one slice bacon. Bacon and egg for Sir?

IMG_3275_FotorMadame? Poached egg?

IMG_3281_FotorOr perhaps you would prefer steamed? Particularly good for women who are slimming, I am advised.


IMG_3284_FotorMay I suggest you finish off with some porridge? I’ll have cook set it on the asbestos mat right away, to allow  you time to digest your slice of bacon, egg and a fine, hot brew.

Thank you for dining with us.

*The Commonsense Cookery Book was first published in 1914. This copy, published in 1940, boasts 236,000 issues.

Bugs in my Apple

Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.

So said Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple.


Now, I’m just a simple girl.

The way I expect software to work, is to, well… work.

Plug it in, turn it on, off we go.

And I totally get that in today’s world, software updates happen so fast that there are full-time, high paying jobs employing people just to keep up on top of them.

But for simple folk, like me?  I see the word update – and I think: right. UPDATE. As in things get better. Work better. The same is before but better. Or faster. Or with extra features.

I mean, even the free online dictionary (updated!) informs:

1. to bring up to date; incorporate new information in.

2. an act or instance of updating.
3. new or current information used in updating.
4. an updated version, account, or the like.

Essentially, the updated version of something does exactly the same thing but with added goodies. Or superfluous goodies removed.

When I update my car, I get a faster one. Or a shinier one. (or like this year – I got a faster and shinier one.) When I updated my fridge it came with an ice maker, superfluous ice trays discarded. When I updated my TV I got 113 channels of shit on the TV to choose from.

Apparently Apple see things differently.

Apple gave me a phone update that turned all my contacts to numbers, made my iMessages disappear to never-land and ate my photographs. My not superfluous photographs. Apple gave me an iPad update that enable it to  send and receive text messages instead of them being delivered to my phone, gave me a screen font that requires 4x zoom to read and kindly took away my stored WiFi settings.

And lets not talk about the calendar, which defaulted to the fluorescent colours of a Barbie DreamHouse and is way too hard to read, let alone use.

Then, Apple decides my iMac needs OS X 10.9 ‘Mavericks’ which took 5 hours to UPDATE and 3 hours to install, and now nothing works, except I have THREE calendars in Barbie DreamHouse purple, pink and eye-aching  electric blue.

There’s no java in my Java,  no flash in my Flash, and my scroll function has a dead ‘C’. And, I have new font. It’s possibly called iNvisible, because as I type words onto my screen, the cursor moves but the letters vanish.

Do you know what the free online dictionary (updated!) has to say about the word Maverick?

2. One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
After 4 hours of stuffing around, I had to call a very nice man in America who finally explained why the voice recording in PowerPoint won’t work when being uploaded to a University server.


Stuff me.

I spent my ENTIRE Friday trying to  upload one assignment and synchronise the family calendars.

It would have been quicker to walk to the Post Office, buy a stamp, mail my assignment. Head home and write appointments on the wall calendar. With a pen.


Apparently all will be well when ‘the bugs are fixed’.

I know what bugs I’d like to fix.

They’re all on the inside of my Apple.

The Old Piano

… love is called… my old piano… his eighty eight key smile… is so pleasant to see…

Apologies, Diana Ross.

But I do love it.

Because, like most things old, or shabby, or a little well-loved, it has a story.

This upright came from the school where I teach. It was the first piano used by the first teacher in the single class pre-school in the early 1940s. Back then, the classes were still being held in a council hall. In the early 1950’s the piano was moved to the new school building, where it remained until a few weeks ago.

It was a teaching piano, and this is still so clearly evident by years of little coloured dots, (and in later years, stickers) placed on certain keys.

The top opens, the front lifts off and the keyboard hinged cover (which probably has a name!?) also comes off, opening the piano face to the world.

I would use this to show the children how, when a key is pressed, the hammer hit string.

How many countless teachers before me also taught this?

In the 11 years I have taught in my present school, this piano has been used only for play. It’s a little out of tune and has one sticky key.

And no one wanted it anymore. So it’s come to live at my house.

I have vacuumed about a kilogram of dust from the old wood, gently scraped away paint spills and glitter and blu tac. I have polished coffee cup rings and taken, very gently, to the keys.

Then, I will French polish it.

Tomorrow, a tuner/restorer is coming to tune up the piano and give me some history on what he thinks is part of the original series of Education Department issue pianos during the depression.

Stay tuned.

Wearing Dead People

A little tradition that TFM and I have is that during the first week of the holidays, we hit the clothing stores and I update his wardrobe with a few essential items for the summer. Usually new jeans, shorts and a few good T’s.

When he was smaller and younger, Big W and Target would cut it, these days it’s JayJays and surf shops.

And I don’t mind surfing (haha, see what I did there?) through the sizes, shapes and colours to help him choose appropriate clothes that meet the mother stamp of approval, but I have to ask the designers of kid’s clothing:

WTF is with skulls?  Why???  WHY???

What is it that compels designers to think that people want to wear dead people on clothing? And why are they so popular?

Why not add some rotting corpses to the mix? Or some amputated limbs? Not for you? Perhaps I can interest you in a print of a gleamingly polished clavicle to go with your skull?

The whole skull thing has just gotten out of control. It was much easier to avoid when he was younger. There were cutsie options, or funny little comics.As he grew older  there were stripes, plain colours and other choices. But at 14… very limited options.

These days, even classy looking jeans have a dead man’s head on the button.

And it’s not just limited to teen clothes, I know. I saw this in my google search:

Oh yes. Nothing says ‘take me home and romance me‘ quite like wearing dead people’s heads on your sexy bits.  I love looking at empty eye sockets and fantasising about George Clooney. Oh yes.

What’s your opinion on wearing dead people? Fan? Or no?