Food as the cure all? – from retro recipes to flood relief

What a heartbreaking week watching our sunny state of Queensland be innundated with wild weather and flooding and now to see a repeat on a smaller scale in Victoria too. But what a wonderful week to be reminded of the power of the human spirit, compassion for our fellow man and food as a cure all. Which brings me to my latest retro find that I’ve been longing to show you, and it ties in nicely with a fantastic project for recovery that you’ll want to know about, Baked Relief.

Let thy food by thy medicine

In today’s high tech hospital a dietitian plays a critical role from ICU to outpatient rehab and nourishment often comes in a clinical formulation down a tube. But nutrition therapy used to be a lot simpler. Just take a look at this hand embroidered “Invalid Cookery” book cover I picked up at Camberwell market. Not only is it a historical gem, but it’s got hidden clipping treasures , tucked in the cover that tell a tale of the owner.  She must have been a mother – as there is a chocolate crackle recipe.  And a good wife too – there’s also a clip on “Honeyed dishes to sweeten your man”.  But the golden item is “Dainty Dishes – For children, invalids and convalescents.  A text book for Nurses’ Cookery Certificate required by The Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association by Lucy Drake and revised by Dorothy M. Giles.



I’m still reading it all but there are gems like:

A woman may be excused if she cannot make a cake, but it should be regarded as a social crime, if she is not able to prepare a good cup of beef tea or nourishing soup, and a few simple dishes, which will help, and not retard an invalid’s recovery.

The recipe for recovery

This back to basics, home nourishment approach is being replicated now in Queensland with Baked Relief.  The brainchild of blogger and peep, @digellabakes and supported by my Twitter friend @melkettle teams of home cooks are preparing and delivering nourishment and encouragement to the affected areas, plus volunteers facing the enormous and heart wrenching clean up tasks. They are baking every sweet and savoury slice known to man, plus family dinners too and delivering supplies including bottled water with online co-ordination and army-like precision.  Just watch the Twitter stream #bakedrelief to see how many good foodies are involved and check out Mel’s handy work below.

I applaud everyone involved who has volunteered their time and recognises the power of food as a recipe towards recovery. And if you feel helpless from the other side of the globe?  Why not make a donation to the purchase of ingredients right on the site? Or leave a supportive comment below, every little bit helps.

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