Way back when, Wednesdays

Christmas feasts that you may not want to share

In the weeks before Christmas, we seem to inundated with sweet treats like mince pies, cake and chocolates.  We look forward to a splendid meal on Christmas Day, whether that be of turkey, seasoned chicken and ham, or seafood such as prawns, accompanied by an array of salads or vegetables.  This monumental meal is usually followed by desserts such as pavlova and Christmas pudding.  Many of us are fortunate enough to be able to purchase and enjoy a wide range of delicacies.

It seems that tastes have changed.  The curious world of Christmas, celebrating all that is weird, wonderful and festive by Niall Edworthy, gives us an insight into the not so delicious fare which was on offer in times past.

9781446422236 Curious world of christmas

In the Middle Ages, roast peacock meat was served with great pomp and ceremony in the castles and manor houses of the nobility.  Peacock meat was tough and dry but the idea of presenting an exotic, colourful Indian bird to guests must have appealed to the rich of this era.  Sometimes the peacock was made into a huge pie.  Its feathered head with a gilded beak would protrude from one end of the pastry with its tail sticking out of the other end of the crust.  As peacock meat was unappetising, cooks would sometimes substitute chicken or goose meat for the pie filling and attach the head and tail feathers of the peacock.  An awful end for such a beautiful bird!

peacock-vow-featured

Image: ‘The Peacock Vow’ a 15th century illustration from ‘Le Livre des conquetes et faits d’Alexandra.’ Currently held in Paris. muse du Petit-Palais, folio 86 recto. Painter. Anon. https://hforhistory.co.uk/article/roast-peacock-medieval-christmas/

Wealthy people in the Middle Ages would enjoy eating a range of foods over the twelve days of Christmas.  Geese were basted in butter and saffron, which is still the most expensive spice in the world.  Cooks stuffed lemons into the mouths of whole pigs or wild boars.  Sometimes only the boar’s head would be presented on a large serving dish, as a festive symbol.  A medieval Christmas ‘pudding’ was a great treat but the principal ingredients were cracked wheat boiled in animal stock, mixed with egg yolks and threads of saffron.  The mixture was left to set before serving as an accompaniment to roast meats.  As time went by, people replaced the costly saffron with other sweeter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and added dried fruit to the recipe, such as currents.

So what did the ordinary people, the peasants, eat at Christmas?  Certainly not roast meat.  The average person worked hard every day for their local lord, usually farming his lands or labouring at a trade that benefited the estate.  A peasant would not get to eat a lot of meat, unless they poached an animal off a noble’s estate, a serious offence for which they could be harshly punished.  Peasants ate mostly dark, coarse rye bread and stew.  The stew, known as pottage, was usually made up of onions, peas and beans that people grew in their gardens.  If you lived near the sea or a river, you could catch some fish.  If peasants kept chickens or livestock they would have eggs and milk.  However, you could not afford to kill your animals for meat.  In the Middle Ages it was considered a privilege to eat meat, whereas dairy products and vegetables were viewed as foods suitable for peasants.

Sometimes the rich landowners would give the innards of their venison to their tenants who would make them into pies.  The offal was called ‘umbles’, from which the expression “to eat humble pie” is derived.  Unfortunately for the tenants, Christmas Day was one of four days each year on which they had to pay their lords rent for the hovels in which they lived.

Niall Edworthy also quotes an English saying of page 50 of his book “A dog isn’t just for

Christmas.  It’s jolly nice cold on the 26th as well.”

 

You can reserve The curious world of Christmas, celebrating all that is weird, wonderful

and festive by Niall Edworthy online or enquire at the Library.  Discover many more

interesting traditions and quirky facts about Christmas.  And enjoy your modern

Christmas dinner!

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Finnish librarian takes to the road

At the Tikkurila library, which is situated in the city of Vantaa in southern Finland, customers can sing along to pop tunes or to a selection of Finnish favorites in a custom built soundproofed karaoke booth.

The City of Tea Tree Gully may not have a karaoke booth but we can say that we have had a Finnish librarian employed here! On page 4 of the edition dated 25 November 1965 the North East Leader reported on the appointment of Miss Ulla-Maija Salonen to the City of Tea Tree Gully mobile library service.

IMG_0003 Finnish librarian

Image courtesy of the State Libary of South Australia, North East Leader, page 4, 25 November, 1965

As stated in the newspaper article above, Ulla-Maija Salonen was a highly educated and accomplished young woman. She was also multilingual. The District Council of Tea Tree Gully was fortunate to have her in its employ. Ulla-Maija Salonen was also the first female librarian to work for the Tea Tree Gully Library. Ms Salonen held the equivalent of a Master of Science degree from the University of Helsinki and she had taught science at schools in New South Wales and Finland. She had worked as a medical science technician. Ulla-Maija had also joined the department of Botany at Adelaide University, before taking over from the Mr. Keech, Tea Tree Gully’s first librarian.

The Minister of Education, Mr. R.R. Loveday, officially handed over the mobile library to the Chairman of the District Council of Tea Tree Gully on Saturday 12 June, 1965, in the vicinity of a community centre on Memorial Drive at Tea Tree Gully. The bus began servicing the local community on Tuesday 15 June.

Mobile public library 1965

Image:  North East Leader, page 1, 3 June, 1965

It was the second mobile library service to operate in South Australia, the City of Marion ran the first. The Library was actually a refurbished Department of Health vehicle which had formerly operated as a mobile x-ray unit!

The bus was a gift from the C.M.V. Foundation. Sidney Crawford established the C.M.V group in 1934 in South Australia, selling commercial vehicles to the transport industry. He set up the C.M.V. Group Foundation in 1953 to assist charities and those in need in the wider community. In total, the C.M.V. Foundation contributed 16,000 pounds towards establishing free public library services in the South Australian metropolitan area.

So where did all the books come from? The State Library of South Australia has provided this information about how public libraries were funded. In accordance with the Library (Subsidies) Act of 1955 and a 1958 amendment, the State Treasurer could subsidise local government to meet the costs of a establishing and running a public library, provided that the amount of funding did not exceed what Council spent in any financial year. A substantial amount of the books had to be of an educational or literary nature.  The Annual report of the Libraries Board of South Australia of 1964/65 states on page 11 that “The Libraries Board supplied initial bookstocks new libraries at Millicent, Enfield and Tea Tree Gully.” Councils such as Tea Tree Gully paid money to the Libraries Board to be supplied with books; the amount of which was subsidised by an equal amount from the South Australian State Government.

The Mobile Library’s initial book stock was valued at 5000 pounds, which was a substantial investment in 1965. And the Library was fully air-conditioned, a very modern feature. When it was introduced, the Library service would have 5000 books in its collection. The bus was to hold 2,500 volumes on the shelves (a considerable amount) with the remainder of the books placed in reserve in storage (Page 1, North East Leader, 3 June, 1965). A driver-assistant library was also employed.

People of all ages were able to use the Library for free if they lived in Tea Tree Gully and surrounding areas. This was of great benefit to residents as at this time there were still Institute based libraries in South Australia, where people had to pay a subscription fee to borrow books and use the reading room.

The Mobile Library stopped in many locations around the district, for the convenience of residents:  On streets, at local schools and post offices.

Mobile Library new itinerary

Image:  North East Leader, page 8, 24 March, 1966

In the edition dated 24 March 1966, the North East Leader reported on changes to the mobile service timetable on page 4. This was to accommodate the librarian going to lectures in the city. We can presume that at this time Ulla-Maija commenced her course for the Libraries Board Registration Certificate at the public library in the Adelaide city centre, as referred to in the article from November 1965.

Mobile library changes to to schedule

Note the amount of loans just for February: Members borrowed 1176 books for adults and 1,345 books for children! The new library was obviously very popular with younger readers.

For your interest, here is an article about new books which were purchased for the mobile library, printed on page 8 of the North East Leader from 28 April, 1966. It seems that historical romance was popular at the time.

Mobile library new books

As employment records are confidential, we do not know how long Ulla-Maija Salonen remained working for the Tea Tree Gully Council. However, by 1969 the North East Leader reported that Mr W. Bustelli  was employed in the Library’s new premises, in the former Modbury school house at 561 Montague Road, Modbury.

Perhaps Miss Salonen secured a better job or one which was closer to home in Alberton. If she had married and started a family in the 1960s, Ulla-Maija would also have had to leave the workforce. Or she could have returned to Finland.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

What goes around, comes around

Lately you can’t but help notice the stories in the media, books and online content which focus on maintaining good health by selecting a diet which is high in protein and low in carbohydrate. Advocates of this approach to nutrition claim that it can help you to lose weight and manage your cholesterol and blood sugar. Eating a moderate amount of whole grains and stopping your intake of white flour is advised. There are several baking companies and at least one supermarket chain in Australia which have brought out innovative products to help you embrace this lifestyle:  loaves of bread and bread mixes which are high in protein, low in carbohydrate and contain fats which are good for you!

If you think that this type of specialist bread is a modern phenomenon, take a look at this advertisement for the Procera brand of bread printed by the The North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper on page 9 of the edition dated 4 October, 1967.

Procera bread 2

Production of the Procera loaf led to the development of the first franchise opportunities in Australia. During the 1930s, a baker in New Zealand, Henry Maltwood Williams developed a way to enrich flour with gluten, thus boosting its protein content and decreasing starch, which improved the texture of a loaf. Williams took out a patent on his baking process, which was implemented worldwide and Australian bakers could apply for the patent-licensing to produce Procera.

Procera logo

An article in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in 1935 explained why Procera was supposed to be good for you:

“PROCERA BREAD THE NEW PROCESS …the new Procera (pronounced Pro-cera) process of bread-making, which is protected throughout the world, is now in operation in Rockhampton. The sole rights have been procured by Rickert’s of manufacturing Procera white, wholemeal, slimming, and diabetic bread. The virtue of the process lies in the regulation of starch and protein content of the loaf, making it lighter and more easily digestible. A slight reduction of starch and increase in protein makes a marked difference in the bread and is particularly noticeable when it is toasted.

Using 100 per cent wholemeal, and no white flour, the Procera method produces a delightful wholemeal loaf, light in texture in contrast to the somewhat heavy nature of the ordinary wholemeal bread. The germ, minerals, vitamines, etc., of the wheat grain are incorporated in the Procera Loaf, making it light and pleasant to eat as toast or bread and butter. The Procera process enables a pure diabetic loaf to be made, with eating qualities similar to those of ordinary bread, which should be a boon to people who suffer from diabetic troubles. Samples of this bread have been submitted to eminent medical men and health authorities in Sydney who have reported favourably.”

Procera was marketed as being particularly beneficial for people who were trying to lose weight and for diabetics. And of course, Procera was approved by doctors and health professionals, though no actual sources are noted!  (https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/procera-bread/)

If you are curious, it is worth comparing what the advertisement in the North East Leader in 1967 says about Procera with the nutritional claims made by today’s baking companies about their high protein, low carbohydrate loaves. Technology has improved and the manufacturing processes may have changed to produce the different brands of loaves. However, from my search online, the benefits seem similar with regard to lowering calorie intake, building muscle mass and lowering blood sugar. Products from both eras supposedly also make great toast!
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Way back when,Wednesdays

Our library enters the computer age

Library enters computer age

The North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper reported on the beginning of the information technology revolution at the City of Tea Tree Gully Library, on page 3 of the edition dated 15 June 1983. Computer technology had been installed which would benefit local residents and enable staff to store information about all of the books in the library.

Just like magic a librarian could wave a computer wand across a member’s credit card sized borrower’s permit (their library card) to reveal their identification number. The customer could then borrow when the wand was waved across a barcode on a book, as the computer would correlate and store this information electronically. Imagine that! Furthermore, the computer referencing system would allow library staff to easily see if books were on loan and to whom.

To put the wonder of all this change into perspective, it helps to know how people used to borrow books before the installation of computer technology.
Website Quora recalls how libraries used to operate (https://www.quora.com/How-did-old-library-systems-work-before-computer-catalogues)

Some readers might remember using the card catalogue at the library. Library staff would type or write out three or more cards for each book. The catalogue cards would detail information such as its title, author, date of publication, subject area, and the call number which indicated where it was shelved in the Library. Then librarians would file each of these cards in alphabetical order in separate drawers labelled title, author and subject area. Customers and staff would have to rifle through a long row of cards, to find out if the library actually held a book and to find out where they could locate it on the shelf. You didn’t want to lose your place either or the cards would fall back in order!

card-catalog what fun

Searhing through the Library’s card catalogue.  Image:  https://brockport175.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/card-catalogs-what-fun/

 

CR 123 Hand-typed card

An example of a typewritten library catalogue card for a novel.  Image:  http://tarletonlibrary.blogspot.com/2012/09/monteverde-friends-library-of-costa-rica.html

So what happened when you finally found the book you wanted to borrow and took it to the service desk?

The North East Leader article is correct when it reported that computers would allow library staff more time to assist customers with enquiries! Each library book used to have a card in a pocket stuck inside its cover. Library staff would remove the due date card from the book pocket then stamp it with the date the book was to be returned. They would record a patron’s name and library card number alongside the due date of the book. In some libraries members also had to sign the book out. Then the date card would be placed in sequence in a special holder.

ebae0ee36127733e8af0ae8a8ecc5547 Card in pocket

Image:  https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/126171227036239502/ card in pocket

Staff would either stamp piece of paper which was stuck inside the book or place a due date slip inside the book’s pocket, so that a customer could see when the book was due for return. Alternatively, librarians might spend ages stamping due date slips when it was quiet in the library.

170px-Library_date_due_slip

An example of a due date slip which would have been stuck inside a book’s cover.  Image:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_circulation

When somebody returned a book, a librarian would take the date card out of the holder and return it to the pocket in the back of the book. The book would then go onto a trolley for re-shelving, and the circulation process would begin again. At regular intervals a librarian would manually check the date cards to identify overdue books. They would look up the patron by name in the library’s membership records and send out a reminder notice.

Library Technology Officer Hayley was happy to discuss how library systems had changed at Tea Tree Gully Library since the time that this article appeared in the North East Leader. Here are some of the significant improvements for our customers:

Since our Library has embraced Radio-Frequency IDentification technology (RFID) Library staff no longer have to scan and read the barcode of each item to issue it to a customer. Items can now be borrowed and returned using RFID technology which sends a signal from the item to the computer.

Our customers no longer have to stand in long queues to borrow items as you can use our self-check machines at your leisure. RFID allows for multiple items to be processed at the same time which can be more convenient than scanning them one by one.

Notice also in the North East Leader article that the original computer screens had a dark background with coloured print. Nowadays the desktop where we search the library catalogue is visually enticing and much easier to read.

The One Card Library Network has transformed the public library service in this state. Through a shared computer network customers can access millions of items available throughout South Australian public libraries, not just at Tea Tree Gully Library.

The implementation of the One Card Network has also greatly reduced the time that library members have to wait when they reserve, or put an item on hold. Aside from new items, customers will generally be sent the first copy that becomes available, whether that be from your local library or as far away as Cooper Pedy!

With the introduction of the new Libraries SA App customers can save their card digitally and have it available on their mobile device. The app also allows customers to place holds, view checkouts and renew items.

Library staff and customers may not have believed that these changes were possible when this article went to print in 1983! And to quote the words of the late comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

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Surprise book of the month

New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers. By Andrew Garn

In our urban landscape, pigeons are scorned as feral, dirty pests. Dedicated pigeon fancier, author and photographer Andrew Garn sets out to destroy this misconception, presenting the noble pigeon as beautiful, intelligent and a friend to the human race. The population of pigeons in New York City exceeds one million. These are their stories…

New York Pigeon 2

This book is something different. Amazing and comprehensive, it is full of superb photographs which highlight the beauty of these birds, the luminosity of their feathers, jewel toned eyes and their majesty in flight.

In the first section of his book Andrew Garn examines the history behind the pigeon and how they have been an integral and valued part of human society – a bird whose remains have been discovered in archaeological digs dating back to the Ancient Egyptian and middle eastern civilisations “It might be surprising that a plump, multi-hued bird that wanders our sidewalks, perches on our buildings, and flutters all about, could have the bloodlines of a dinosaur, and be a gourmet food. Also used in religious sacrifices, this bird has been both a war hero and the focus of Charles Darwin’s experiments on natural selection.” (Page 17, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers, 2018).

We have heard stories of homing pigeons carrying coded messages during World War II. But did you know, that using positive reinforcement, pigeons were trained to guide US Navy missiles with an accuracy surpassing human ability? Or that they also have much better sight than us. A pigeon can see five colour spectrums from infrared to ultraviolet.
Garn examines the physiology of the pigeon (Columba livia domestica) to explain how these birds are perfectly efficient flying machines with sustained speeds of around 50mph. They can outperform any other bird in aerial acrobatics and survive in a variety of environments. He also explains how pigeons hatch and grow.

3-pigeon_baby-walks_garn

Baby pigeon takes its first steps.  Image by Andrew Garn

Pigeons flying

In flight.  Image by Andrew Garn

The second section of this book features stories about birds who have been rescued and rehabilitated at the Wild Bird Fund in New York. It is easy to tell how much the author values pigeons, from his stunning portraiture that captures their individual expressions perfectly, to the accompanying captions which relate each bird’s name and courageous journey. Garn’s striking work is reminiscent of a photoshoot in a fashion magazine.

Humans are not left out. Garn volunteers at the shelter. He relates his experiences treating birds and the dangers that they face living among us. You will feel empathy for these creatures. “They are struck by cars and bicycles, attacked by our dogs and cats, removed from the nest when the air conditioner is cleaned, entangled in our litter, sickened by toxins, particularly lead, which we put in the environment, and suffer abuse at our hands,” Rita McMahon, executive director of the Wild Bird Fund. (Page 143, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers 2018).

Pigeon 3

Brooklyn. Image by Andrew Garn

 

Marilyn

Marilyn.  Image by Andrew Garn

pigeons

Apollo. Image by Andrew Garn

Elmer

Elmer.  Image by Andrew Garn

We also read about the dedicated staff and other volunteers who care for the sick or injured pigeons and other city birds. And there are also New Yorkers who keep pigeons as pets, with coops in the city neighbourhoods, even raising them in apartments.
Lastly the book features a series of photographs which centres on the daily lives of pigeons set against the backdrop of the buildings and skyline of New York City.

pigeons

Image by Andrew Garn

You can reserve The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers online. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Way back when, Wednesdays

Book drought makes history

The Tea Tree Gully Library service has always been popular! As featured in a previous Way back when, Wednesdays post the official opening of a new public library made front page news in the North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper, on 5 March 1969. The Library, which operated out of a mobile bus, had moved its service into the building which was formerly the Modbury Primary School and headmaster’s cottage, now designated as 561 Montague Road, Modbury. On page 3 of the edition dated 9 April 1969, the North East Leader reported on a possible book shortage after only one month, as the new library service had proved so popular with local residents.

Library fines

As stated in the Messenger article above, since the new library had opened, memberships had soared to over 4000 and nearly 10,000 books were on loan. Unfortunately many of the Library’s avid readers were not particularly conscientious when it came to returning their items and the Library’s book stock had become depleted.  Members had also failed to return 1,600 books which had been issued to them on the old mobile library.  When you think about it, for a building of its size, the Montague Road library actually had quite a substantial book stock.

The Librarian in charge, Mr. W. Bustelli thought that introducing a system of fines would motivate library members to return books on time. We don’t have information about whether library fine were introduced in 1969. We would love to hear about your experiences if you remember using the library on Montague Road!

Fortunately, in 2018 the City of Tea Tree Gully Library has considerably more items available for loan than in 1969. The Library holds approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and e-books and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network. In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month.

 

Boca Chica bar

The old schoolhouse building at 561 Montague Road, Modbury is now the home of Sfera’s ‘Boca Chica’, a Spanish inspired concept restaurant and bar.

 
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Recipe: winter warmer veggie soup

 

soup 2

I don’t know about you, but this weather makes me crave soup: packed full of flavour and healthy veggies, served hot with a buttery piece of bread or a savoury scone… yum!

The cafe here at the Library, Bake & Brew, were kind enough to give us their recipe to share with you all. Happy soup-making!

Ingredients:

2 Turnips

2 Swedes

1 Pumpkin

2 Zucchini

1 Celery head

4 Carrots

6 Potatoes

Vegetable stock (the amount of stock will be the amount of soup liquid you get)

(This the Bake & Brew suggested veggie combination, but the great thing about soup is that you can chuck so many different ingredients in! Experiment with different veggies if you like)

Note: The veggie amounts in this recipe is for a big serve of soup, if you are cooking for a small group of people, adjust the recipe for less veggies and less stock.

 

Method:

1: Dice all veggies in even sizes.

2: Take pumpkin, swedes, carrots, potato, celery, turnips. In a large saucepan or pot big enough for your soup, saute off in a little butter.

3: Add stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender. Add zucchinis in last few minutes.

4: Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with savoury scone or bread with butter if you like.

5: Enjoy!

Soup 1