Recipes of the Bush
“Damper and Mutton”
Following a previous blog post, we have tried to find a few examples of recipes from the gold rush period of our History. Robyn Annear (Nothing But Gold, 1999), says that one who lived through it called the early years of the Gold Rush (1851-1853) the “damper and mutton stage of the colony”. The foods most readily available were sheep (mutton) from the squatters and flour, sugar, tea and dried fruit as these would not go off quickly. This brings us to our first recipe – damper.
Damper and its variations.
This explanation is from James Bonwick, quoted in Nothing but Gold (1999);
Taking a washing tin dish, and clearing off the dirt a little, six or eight pannicans of flour are thrown in; a half table spoonful of carbonate soda, the like quantity of tartaric acid (together these are Baking Powder, sort of), and a spoonful of salt are then mixed together in a pannican and then well mingled with dry flour. Water is then poured in, the whole thoroughly knuckled, rolled into a good shaped loaf, and tumbled at once into the warmed camp oven. Fire is applied beneath and a couple of hours or less will turn out a loaf fit to be set before a queen.