the aesthetics of everyday food in the Australian Women’s Weekly, 1930s-1980s
Chat & Discussion happens in the comments below. (Edit: This presentation has been edited for length and is not 29mins, but 15-ish, apologies and thanks to those who noted it was a bit confusing. The pictures from the AWW in this presentation are gold gold gold btw. )
From its earliest issues, the Australian Women’s Weekly (the Weekly) has provided its multitudes of readers with beautifully illustrated food editorials. Recipes are accompanied by glossy, coloured images of the end product: neat rows of tempting savouries, luscious roast meats, glistening jellies, bulgingly cream-filled cakes.
This paper is an exploration of the aesthetics of everyday food in the Weekly throughout its first fifty years of publication. Through this exploration, I will uncover the shifting imaginings of Australian domestic food culture and the ways in which these imaginings were communicated to the Australian public through the images of food on the pages of the Weekly and its related cookbooks.
The Weekly’s food pages were sometimes a site of fantasy, where the mouth-watering images of exciting, expensive or foreign cuisine acted as a substitute for actually being able to eat the dish due to economic or other restraints. At other times, though, the Weekly presented attainable meals - tinned soup, anyone? - imbuing them with glamour and sophistication through their presentation. These were ‘realistic’ dreams presented on a plate, and ones which the readers of the Weekly were excited to emulate.
Lauren Samuelsson is a final year PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong. Her PhD thesis focuses on the Australian Women’s Weeklymagazine and cookbooks and its role in the development of Australian food culture during its first fifty years of publication. Her research interests lay in cultural history, the history of popular culture and the history of food and drink.