Victoria’s food history on show
A new free exhibition titled ‘Gusto! A Culinary History of Victoria’ has opened today at the State Library of Victoria.
It will showcase the interesting history of food in Melbourne and regional Victoria, with numerous items on show from the library’s collection including the first Australian cookbook, which was published in 1864 along with hand-written recipes for curing afflictions ranging from headache and sore throat to skin cancer and snake bite. Other items include historic Vegemite jars and Victoria Bitter bottles, on loan from Kraft and Carlton United Breweries, to illustrate the story of these iconic Victorian products.
According to exhibition curator, Tracey Judd Iva, the library’s collection of over two million items provided a wealth of material for the exhibition.
“Gusto! covers a lot of ground – the birth of viticulture in Victoria, Indigenous foods, sustainable food practices such as gleaning and backyard gardening, cafés and fine dining, food rationing, and the impact of immigration on Victoria’s food scene,” she explained. “There was a mass of information on every subject in the library’s collection – even an original World War I army biscuit that has been in the collection for over 60 years.
“Victoria is arguably the food mecca of Australia, therefore an exhibition examining the culinary heritage of the state is very appealing. Given the enduring fascination for food publications and the explosion of interest in reality TV cooking shows, this exhibition is timely and topical.”
The exhibition will be supported by a full program of events and activities including tours, panel discussions, curator talks, special food events and children’s activities. It will run from 3 August until 28 April 2013.