The Art of Living in Australia Page 01
The Art of Living in Australia
Philip E. Muskett (?-1909)
Together with three hundred Australian cookery recipes and accessory kitchen information by Mrs. H. Wicken, Lecturer on cookery to the Technical College, Sydney.
AUSTRALIA--ONE AND UNITED. AS AN AUSTRALIAN I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME TO THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA WITH ONE ABIDING HOPE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALL THE: GREAT NATURAL FOOD INDUSTRIES OF OUR COUNTRY.
Although this work fully deals with all the many matters connected with the art of living in Australia, its principal object is the attempt to bring about some improvement in the extraordinary food-habits at present in vogue. For years past the fact that our people live in direct opposition to their semi-tropical environment has been constantly before me. As it will be found in the opening portion of the chapter on School Cookery, the consumption of butcher's meat and of tea is enormously in excess of any common sense requirements, and is paralleled nowhere else in the world. On the other hand, there has been no real attempt to develop our deep-sea fisheries; market gardening is deplorably neglected, only a few of the more ordinary varieties being cultivated; salads, which are easily within the daily reach of every home, are conspicuous by their absence; and Australian wine, which should be the national beverage of every-day life, is at table--almost a curiosity.
Nearly three years have been occupied in the preparation of this volume, as several of the subjects it treats of have hitherto remained practically unexplored. This statement is not intended to excuse any shortcomings, but simply to explain the impediments which had to be overcome. There has been some little difficulty, therefore, in obtaining information in many instances. At the same time, it must be cheerfully recorded that assistance was freely forthcoming on the part of those from whom it was sought. Quite a number have been interviewed on the topics with which they were familiar; and on several occasions this has necessitated journeys out of Sydney on the writer's part. With the object of making inquiries into the fish supply of Melbourne, also, a special visit was paid to that city. And further, in order to gain an insight into vineyard work and cellar management, an instructive time was passed at Dr. T. Fiaschi's magnificent Tizzana vineyard on the Hawkesbury River.
It may seem to savour somewhat of boldness, yet I hazard the opinion that the real development of Australia will never actually begin till this wilful violation of her people's food-life ceases. For let us suppose that the semi-tropical character of our Australian life was duly appreciated by one and all. If such were the case--and I would it were so--there would be a wonderful change from the present state of affairs. But as it is, the manners and customs of the Australians are a perpetual challenge to the range of temperature in which they live. Indeed, the form of food they indulge in proves incontestably that they have never yet realized their semi-tropical environment. With a proper recognition of existing climatic surroundings there would be an overwhelming demand for more fish food; for something better than the present Liliputian supply; and for the creation of extensive deep-sea fisheries. Fish in Australia is nothing more than a high-priced luxury, although projects for the development of the deep-sea fisheries have been repeatedly suggested. Somehow or other we never get beyond this stage, and as a consequence the yield from our fisheries is simply pitiable. A widespread use of fish and an adequate fish supply would give employment to hundreds and to thousands. As I have pointed out in the chapter relating to this subject, the want of enterprise shown in starting our deep-sea fisheries is an inexplicable anomaly. If the Australian people had sprung from an inland race, this would not, perhaps, have been so difficult to understand. But coming, as we do, from a stock the most maritime the world has ever seen, such a defect is not to our credit as inheritors of the old traditions.