The Goulburn Cookery Book was compiled by Jean Rutledge, who lived on Gidleigh station near Bungendore, to raise money for the Anglican Diocese of Goulburn.
First released in 1904, it sold more than 250,000 copies in 40 editions, one of the best-selling cookbooks in Australian history and a source of culinary inspiration and guidance for generations of Australian women.
Author Liz Harfull tells the tale as part of Tried Tested and True, which celebrates Australian community cookbooks and the volunteers who compiled them.
Harfull's book has now been placed in the top three in a prestigious international award. The collection of beautifully illustrated stories and carefully updated classic recipes has received a prize in the 2019 Gourmand Awards, described by their Paris-based organisers as the food culture equivalent of the Olympics.
The 2019 round honouring the world's best food and wine books, magazines, digital content and publishers, attracted thousands of entries from more than 200 countries.
A long-list of finalists was announced late last year, with Tried Tested and True named the Australian winner in two categories: easy home recipes and food heritage. It was then shortlisted at an international level for the food heritage category.
The book claimed third prize when the winners were announced last week in Macau, which means it can now display the award's prestigious "Best in the World" logo on its front cover.
As part of her extensive research to write Tried Tested and True, Harfull reviewed close to 1000 different community cookbooks, visiting public and private collections, op shops and secondhand book stores across the country.
The best-selling Adelaide Hills author eventually selected about 60 to feature, including The Goulburn Cookery Book which she found in library collections in several states.
Harfull eventually traced the story of the book and the woman behind it with assistance from the Bungendore Library and the Anglican Historical Society of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
"My focus was cookbooks produced to raise money for worthy causes, covering a period of about 100 years, starting in the 1890s," she said
"Collectively, these cookbooks must have raised hundreds of thousands, if not millions ... for charities such as schools and churches, sports clubs, the CWA and various war efforts.
"Many of them were humble publications, hand stapled together, with the pages a bit wonky, but they came with a promise.
"Almost every book mentions somewhere in an introduction or sub title, one of three words: tried, tested and true. People knew the recipes would be reliable because they were usually donated by people with a reputation for being excellent home cooks.
"In the case of The Goulburn Cookery Book, Jean [Rutledge] was well-known as an excellent hostess, welcoming visitors to Gidleigh, which had a large kitchen fitted out will all the mod cons of the time.
"She apparently spent several years collecting recipes and experimenting before her book was eventually released to rave reviews."
New editions continued to be published after her death in 1932, with the military buying large quantities during the Second World War to help train its cooks.
The book went out of print in the 1950s, but a facsimile edition was produced by the National Trust in NSW in 1973.
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