10 Jan 2019

The evolution of the Edmonds Cookbook

From Summer Times 2020/2021, 11:35 am on 10 January 2019

Contrary to popular belief, New Zealand's iconic Edmonds Cookbook has had many recipes come and go since its first edition in 1908.

Writer and cook Alexa Johnston edited the most recent (2016) edition and she talks to us about what did and didn't make the cut.

Alexa spoke to Jesse Mulligan back in 2016 about the job her stepson likened to "rewriting the Bible".

  • The Edmonds Cookbook rises again!
  • For the 2016 Edmonds Cookbook, Alexa dispensed of "quite a number of recipes that were dreadful" – including soused trout and "sweet and sour pork with so much tinned pineapple and corn flour that no-one would ever want to make it".

    She also brought back some "fantastic" ones that were dropped in the 1950s – including Elsie’s fingers, Dad’s cherry cake, a coconut loaf and mock whitebait fritters (made out of grated potato, egg and cheese, with poppy seeds for eyes) and added some modern ones like bliss balls.

    Edmonds' 2016 bread and butter pudding is a definite improvement on the "rather awful recipe" that was published in the 1923 edition during a recession, she says.

    In 1952, bread and butter pudding dropped out of the cookbook entirely but made a triumphant return in 1999 during the 'nostaglia puddings' boom.


    Find more Alexa Johnston recipes in the RNZ recipe collection.

    Find more Edmonds Cookbook recipes here.

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