Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Spaghetti recipe ahead of its time.

According to popular opinion, 1950s Australia was a cultural, culinary and social wasteland. One of the sub-texts of this misguided belief is that 'multi-cultural' food arrived only during that decade's post-war European migration into Australia. Presumably pasta, garlic, canned tomatoes and other exotic ingredients disembarked alongside the immigrants - or in their suitcases - off the same 1950s boats at Station Pier, to widespread nose-crinkling of the natives.

Au contraire, mes amis. The following recipe complete with those same foreign ingredients appeared in a 1930 edition (see previous post) of The Leader Spare Corner Book.

Hancock’s Spaghetti Recipe

Chop up fowl in small pieces, add two tablespoons of lard, braise well, then add four cloves garlic (or onion), 2 lb of tomatoes, small cup of water, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until fowl is tender, pour over spaghetti, add grated cheese and serve. Ordinary cheap cuts of meat can be used instead of fowl. This recipe uses 1lb of spaghetti and makes sufficient for 6 people. Small tin of canned tomatoes may be used.

Somewhat ironically, this recipe is in some ways – lardellare (to braise lean or cheaper cuts of meat with lard in order to prevent them drying out) – closer to the original peasant-style dish than its modern studiously-Italian version.

From the same publication:

Hancock was the importer, hence the recipe name.

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