This was dinner the other night at my place.
Lamb, roasted. Pumpkin, roasted. Asparagus, roasted.
Each item was placed sequentially – with pre-calculated time gaps – into an oven at a single temperature. Total time electricity was on = 40 minutes.
I learned to cook with efficiency thanks to my parents, whose approach to life involved minimising energy use and re-using resources whenever possible.
The Green and Gold Cookery Book, first published in 1923 as a fundraising initiative of my former high school, also has many tips on ‘energy efficient’ meal preparation.
Page 8 offers ideas for ‘oven dinners in electric ranges’:
It is economical when using the oven to cook the whole dinner in it. Suggested menus are as follows:
Roast rolled lamb
Roast potatoes and carrots
Cabbage (in covered basin with salt and a little boiling water)
Elizabeth apple pudding
A casserole of meat and vegetables
A green vegetable (in covered basin with salt and a little boiling water)
Baked apples and creamed rice or barley kernal pudding
Each menu is followed by a precise description of how to arrange oven racks, the order in which to place each item in the oven, and how to alter the heat switches to suit each stage of meal preparation.
Well may we mock the housewives of bygone eras, but I think they deserve credit for practising the science of efficient and economical household management.