Cookery book played key religious role, says study

Monday, 29 November 1999

The Green and Gold Cookery Book - a feature of South Australian domestic life for more than 75 years - played a significant role in the development of Christian citizenship in the State, according to an Adelaide University academic.

Ms Julia Pitman, a PhD student in the Department of History, has explored the book's origins as part of her research into the involvement of women in the Congregational Union.

First published in 1923, the Green and Gold has sold more than 400,000 copies and influenced the cooking practices of thousands of South Australians. It was started as a fund raiser for King's College (since incorporated into Pembroke School) by four women from the Congregational and Baptist Unions.

"The Green and Gold Cookery Book was one of many objects with which white, middle-class Australian women interacted in their everyday activities," Ms Pitman said. "It shaped and reflected cooking practises, it influenced purchasing practices, it was exchanged as a gift between women. The cookbook provided a forum for women to contest their roles in society.

"Purchase and use of the Green and Gold Cookery Book provided an opportunity for women to make a contribution to the development of Christian citizenship in South Australia's rising young leaders, both their own, through their everyday use of the book in the kitchen, and those who attended King's College, through the purchase and distribution of the book."

Ms Pitman said the Green and Gold was part of a larger project to create women who would be efficient, maternal citizens, offering an opportunity for women to negotiate and stretch the limits of their roles in society.

"Through production and interaction with the book, a distinctive form of maternal citizenship was woven. Through production, purchase and use in the home, women negotiated a feminine, South Australian, Christian identity and gave expression to a religious and social consciousness."

 

Contact Details

Ms Julia Pitman
The University of Adelaide
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Ms Robyn Mills
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Mr David Ellis
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