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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

‘The Food of Great-grandmothers’

An article in The Age, Epicure of 25 June 2013 prompted this response from member Margaret Bride:

In an article on how to eat a healthy diet, I recently read the advice, Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food. I think this advice is part of the romantic myth that our grandparents ate a more healthy diet than we do – a diet free from additives.

I do not have any information about the food eaten by my great-grandmother but I do have a Mrs Beeton’s Recipe book that my grandmother, Letty Bellion, used when she lived in Port Melbourne, probably from the time of her marriage in 1889.

One of the advertisements on the cover is for a product Frigiline. Not only was it offered as an additive that would preserve Butter, Fish, Meat, Sausages, Bacon, etc, but there is absolutely no indication of the ingredients that it contained. Another advertisement is for a packaged dry vegetable mixture, again there is no indication of what went into its manufacture.

I think we need to recognize the benefits we enjoy from those campaigners who won the fight to have accurate labeling on products and to be very careful not to believe myths about the purity of the food available to our foremothers.

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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.