State Library of South Australia

Edward Abbott ‘s Cookery Book at the heart of an historic dinner

Some months ago the Marketing team was approached by the producer of a UK based documentary film Production Company, who were visiting Adelaide to develop their stories for Jimmy Doherty's Australian Food Adventures. They were aware of Edward Abbott's The English and Australian Cookbook, arguably the first Australian cookery book, with the original copy held in our collection.

Edward Abbotts cookery book
Edward Abbott's cookery book

Jimmy Doherty is a life-long friend of famed television chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver. In the past 10 years Jimmy has established a television career for himself, along with a farm and restaurant focusing on providing fresh, sustainable, and environmentally friendly produce.

Jimmy and the film crew were enchanted with the Mortlock Chamber, and saw this and the historic cookery book as the perfect combination for a dinner that celebrated the 150-year-old publication, with the menu created entirely from the Cookery Book. On 8th October this was achieved with style and authenticity. Epicure, our premium caterers, excelled in serving canapés in the Treasures Wall area followed by potted salmon entree, kangaroo steamer, and a main course choice of beef-steak pudding with roasted oysters or shoulder of Fleurieu lamb. A delicious trifle featuring redcurrant jelly was a fitting finale to the historic occasion.

The dinner was filmed by Tin Can Island and will be screened in the UK and Europe on PayTV Channel 4 and is likely to be screened in Australia in a year or so. For the State Library this was a unique opportunity to create awareness of a rare item from our collection and showcase the grandeur of the Mortlock Chamber to an international audience. Jimmy spoke highly of the atmosphere and the hospitality and praised the chefs for the menu and accompanying McLaren Vale wines. The evening also included the launch of a facsimile of Edward Abbott's book in a boxed set with a companion volume. Carole Whitelock led a conversation with renowned South Australian food historian Prof. Barbara Santich, and author of the companion, Tasmanian Bernard Lloyd.

Story by: Bev Scott

Back to e-xtra 2014 - Spring stories

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