What we eat and how we choose, prepare and consume our food reveals a lot about us.

From ornate Vaucluse House to working-class Susannah Place, iconic Rose Seidler House to homely Meroogal, the houses of Sydney Living Museums have been home to generations of people from all walks of life. Eat your history: A Shared Table invites you to meet the people who lived in these places, and welcomes you into their kitchens, gardens and dining rooms, to see how they cooked their food, set their tables and entertained family and friends.

This exhibition celebrates our shared culinary past, from the early days of the colony through to the modern 1950s. From days of scarcity to abundance, the simple to the grandiose, the toil of servants ‘below stairs’ to the theatre of a lavish Victorian banquet, we explore lost and forgotten practices, ingredients and techniques, manners and etiquette, tastes and trends.

Drawn extensively from Sydney Living Museums’ own collections you have the rare opportunity to see Elizabeth Macarthur’s dessert service and Sarah Wentworth’s tea-cups, leaf through the Rouse family’s 19th century cookbooks and hear past residents of Susannah Place and Meroogal reminisce about time spent in the kitchen and their favourite recipes.

Children can design their own dinner plate and create a delicious menu while you toast King & country at Governor Philip’s table in 1788.  See the native tea leaves that convict Mary Bryant took on her daring escape from the colony in 1791. Sit down to breakfast with the Macarthurs of Elizabeth Farm, discover how to make jelly from scratch in the kitchen at Vaucluse House and step into the kitchen of Rose Seidler House to experience cutting-edge 1950s design.

From days of scarcity to abundance, the simple to the grandiose, the toil of servants ‘below stairs’ to the theatre of a lavish Victorian banquet ...

Featured Blog

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The Cook and the Curator Sydney Living Museums

The Cook and the Curator blog invites you to explore our food heritage. Each month we’ll visit one of our extraordinary properties, introduce you to its past residents and look at what, where and how they ate.

28 September 2013 - 9 March 2014

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Sliced oranges filled with multicoloured layers of jelly.

The Cook and the Curator

Festive treats from The Cook and the Curator archiveThursday 21 December 2017

Box of eggs with handwritten label.

The Cook and the Curator

Country hospitalityThursday 5 October 2017

Cover of Eat your history cook book. Picture of food on a table with fire in the background.


Eating our history [Late Night Live]Friday 4 December 2015

Listen to Radio National presenter, Phillip Adams talking to Jacqui Newling about her new book, 'Eat Your History'.

Woman in kitchen with produce and cooking implements.

SLM Food

Eat your history: the bookThursday 29 October 2015

Sydney Living Museums and our resident gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, have published 'Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens', a beautifully curated book to read and cook from.