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January 12, 2011 · 77 comments

The start of a new year is a great time to take stock, reassess your life and make some goals for the future. For some this comes easily, but others may need a little inspiration so please allow me to send some your way courtesy of the 1970s Australian Women’s Weekly gold that I recently discovered in a friend’s grandmother’s kitchen.

More is more with 70s table centrepieces

Too busy to cook anything decent for dinner? Distract your guests with enormous table centrepieces in a colour scheme that you can easily camouflage into should they get mutinously ravenous.

So Frenchy so chic

Really though, if you have French dressing then you have dinner sorted, no matter the theme! With such an assortment of chicly dressed delights your guests will be lining up for more, and if they’re still hungry I’m sure you could whip up a matching fruit salad for dessert.

CHEESE!

Support your local cheese industry with every dinner party you host this year. Nothing finishes off a meal more luxuriously than a course of smooth, bland mozzarella.

A satisfying Swiss delight

A simple way to add intrigue and mystery to otherwise dull dishes is to prefix their names with exotic nationalities. Didn’t make enough sauce for everyone? Sauce things up with your presentation!

Mmmmm, healthy AND healthy!

Trying to lose weight in the new year? Why not kick start your day with a Breakfast Health Drink! It is “one of the most satisfying of all health drinks and is a complete breakfast in itself; good for dieters too”! Best enjoyed at quarter past psychedelic o’clock and in the general vicinity of a toilet.

I’m sure there are many fellow food bloggers who would like to improve their photography in 2011. Adding random assortments of vegetables is an easy and wasteful way to add colour to your photos.

Choosing a garnish can be a heavy responsibility

Take opportunities this year to address mistakes of previous years – feel better about those garage sale snap purchases and Better Homes & Gardens faux copper staining projects of the past by bringing them into your photography.

A useful tip for those planning on making some new friends in the new year – set up artistic “guests” around the dinner table with you to practice your conversation skills and polite dining etiquette.

Even with the best planning, it is inevitable that the new year will bring challenges into our lives. When faced with a problem, remember that many others before you have probably faced the same thing and you don’t need to try and reinvent the wheel. For instance, witches bearing cakes can easily be sorted with a quick shove in the oven and a turn of the gas knob.

I'd be looking that smug too if I had that outfit

A smartly dressed appearance will always hold you in good stead. Make purchasing some good classic wardrobe items a priority in 2011 – a red velvet suit will fit in seamlessly between a formal office environment and casual after work drinks, and a smug expression will complement any outfit.

Ah-h! That's smug.

Cheers, and a happy new year to you all :)

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Apex January 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I love old cookbooks. Thanks for sharing your gold finds!

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Conor January 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

My pleasure! I just wish I’d been less sensible when I was going through them, and brought more home :)

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Dude, The January 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

You should try and find the 80s Peter Russell-Clark cookbook – wackest food photos ever. Lots of boiled eggs and stuff hanging by string.

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Conor January 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Oh heavens, that is totally my kind of challenge. I’m on the case.

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Liz Sheehan January 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Have you looked up on youtube the Peter Russell-Clark bloopers? OMG… it is hilarious. He drops the C Bomb!
Liz Sheehan´s last blog post ..Mrs S Cafe

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 8:01 am

He is truly a prince amongst men.

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Hannah January 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Bahahahaha! So, you just blew the Catalog Living site out of the water. Oh, heavens, so many comments… Firstly, though, I have to argue that the Salad ideas page is just a crock. I have no faith in savoury salad recipes that don’t involve at least one packet of green jello. I’ve also figured out why I’m lactose intolerant: it’s because my mum didn’t beat my digestive system into submission enough as a child by adding cream and cottage cheese to my salads, alond with bland specimens.

Also, your garnish = heavy responsibility dad-pun made me crack up. Gosh, I adore you!

P.S. And speaking of adoring, I very, very much appreciated and wanted to clap after reading your rooftop-shouting email! I must apologise for not replying yet, but I have a very legitimate yet utterly lame excuse. I’ve been cross-stitching like made lately, and as a result have serious RSI wrist, elbow, and neck pain. I’m currently typing with just be left hand.

P.P.S. Okay, that sounds lame *and* dirty. I can’t win.
Hannah´s last blog post ..Homemade Walnut- Coconut- and Cinnamon Butter

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hannah, I couldn’t agree more. What’s a salad without some green wobble? A bowl of disappointment, that’s what.

Oh god, dad jokes, what have I become. I wish I could help myself but I think I’m a lost cause. At least I’m holding back from fart jokes, I guess things could be worse.

P.S. :D No problemo, just nice to do the shouting! But ack, you poor thing! Rest rest rest it up, don’t talk yourself into doing just a little bit more because it’s feeling a tiny bit better. RSI takes time to get over. And tea. And chocolate.

P.P.S. Yes it does, but I still love you.

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Hannah January 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Thank you, Conor. Sadly, I do need to hear that, as I find it very hard not to keep typing/writing when my RSI flares up, which never ends well…

On a happier note, when we meet in person we have me make a salad with green jello, marshmallows, mayonnaise, capsicum, ham, and pickles. America will be proud of us.
Hannah´s last blog post ..Homemade Walnut- Coconut- and Cinnamon Butter

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

Hope it’s getting better Hannah! Stop being naughty and feeding the pain. Rest, rest, and feed your tummy instead!

Oh YES we will. After the events of the past day I am even more keen to meet in person if that was possible. Tee hee!

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz January 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

hey was just wondering yesterday where is Conor? Now I know in the attic laughing her head off. Great find and thanks for sharing. Wow the drugs were good back then!
Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz´s last blog post ..Wining in Niagara

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

Haha thanks Evelyne. Oh totally, where do I sign up for some? Shall we commence work on our time machine?

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Bryt January 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Give me a sec as I catch my breath from cackling… I’ve seen some pretty kooky things in old magazines, but with your running commentary, this is just hilarious.

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

:D thanks heaps Bryt :D

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

OMG – As if this wasn’t a trip down nostalgia lane enough but then The Dude has to go and mention Peter Russel Clark. CLASSIC! We could have a “Cook along with Clarkie” group, n’est-ce pas? I absolutely LOVE old magazines – remember when I made those 1974 Weight Watchers recipes? Well I think there’s a challenge group in these old magazines too…. Thinking cap on… Perhaps one of Penny’s IIP could be a trip down memory lane???
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..Frosting for the Cause- Faux-vo biscuits

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

Whoa Mardi that would be possibly TOO awesome. Our heads might explode (yelling expletives all the while). Yes I certainly do remember your Weight Watchers magic! A memory lane IIP is a brilliant idea!!

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Katerina January 13, 2011 at 12:43 am

Happy New Year Conor. These old magazines are so classy. My brother’s wife gave me two pictures from very old French Fashion Magazines and I put them in a frame and hanged the on the wall.

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 9:11 am

Thanks Katerina, same to you :) Ah nice, I have seen similar things hung in friend’s bathrooms. Tres chic!

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Karen Harris January 13, 2011 at 6:19 am

Just when I was beginning to think you had been abducted by aliens, you give us one of your fab posts. I had no idea that in addition to all of their culinary triumphs, the French also barbeque their bread. Live and learn. Happy New Year Conor!

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

Ha! Oh Karen, clearly we both have much to learn about French cuisine. Happy new year to you too! (Also, if aliens should abduct me, I can only hope their ship is filled with piles of glorious bland mozzarella)

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Meggy January 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

hahah! Hilarious!
I used to read Peter Russell Clarke’s blog. He used to do a segment on JJJ so he was always quite amusing.
That cream sherry isnt so creamy.
I was a little disappointed you weren’t wearing platforms and nothing else or a transparent tie dyed shirt.

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Conor January 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

Yes I forgot about his segment on JJJ! What a classic.

Not so creamy, you say? How about smooth, golden or mellow? Or perhaps just smug?

I will take your disappointment on board and address it next new years. Will start scouring op shops now.

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Celeste @ Berrytravels January 13, 2011 at 9:32 am

This is an absolutely golden post. I had a good laugh, thank you!

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

Thanks Celeste, so good to hear it :)

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GourmetGetaways January 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm

OMG!!! That was horrendous and hysterical at the same time!!!! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

Where have you been? I have been missing your sense of humour :)

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

Haha I know! So very, very wrong but also so good.

I’ve been off with the fairies! They’ve finally let me come home but you never know when they might whisk me away again :)

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penny aka jeroxie January 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Brilliant… absolute brilliant! I have to go and start digging.. this is so #IIP theme

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

Oh Penny please say it is so! That would be SO AWESOME.

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panamahat January 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Gold!

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

:D

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denise @ quickies on the dinner table January 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

hahahaaaaa! omg! quick, tell me where I can get some bland mozzarella!!! Bloody effing brilliant, my girl!!! heee heeee! My Darjeeling almost came spewing out my nose. Your blog is deliciously dangerous reading……..
denise @ quickies on the dinner table´s last blog post ..Chocolate Brioche

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

You and me both, Denise! Where’s the bland mozzarella shop when you need it? Hee hee, you’re so cool even with tea spewing out your nose.. no dull generic snorting tea for you.. some nice Darjeeling :D

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msihua January 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Ahh.. the good ‘ol 70s!! My my.. this is such an awesome post… Hahahahah… I can’t stop laughing at that garnishing picture.. and the gas… great finds!
msihua´s last blog post ..Les Petit Truffe Encore

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

Thank ye! :D Will we be laughing so much at things from now when we’re old? Surely not… we’re so cool now! :D

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5 Star Foodie January 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm

What a neat cookbook, I loved seeing the pictures from it and the recipes, awesome!

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

I agree! Thanks :)

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Magic of Spice January 14, 2011 at 5:44 am

What a great find…and such a fun post! Witches bearing cakes line is too funny :)
They are all hilarious in fact :) Dining etiquette, love it!
Magic of Spice´s last blog post ..Whats for Dinner Rustic California Galette

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

Thank you! :D Will surely be keeping my eyes peeled for more gold..

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Harriet January 14, 2011 at 6:22 am

Its great to see all those old fashioned cook books, thanks for posting all these pictures. Reading the recipies it seems that not much has changed since those pictures!
Harriet´s last blog post ..Wonga Scam

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

My pleasure Harriet, it was a lot of fun to go through. Thanks :)

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Juliana January 14, 2011 at 8:05 am

Conor…how fun going through this oldies ;-)

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

It was, Juliana! I need to get my hands on some more :)

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tasteofbeirut January 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

That was an enjoyable read Conor! I can’t believe the seventies are so dated already and I was enjoying them lots; time flies too fast for some of us, indeed. Love your witty commentary!

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Conor January 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thanks Joumana! Reading these makes me wish I was there to enjoy them.. all that delicious bland mozzarella that I never got to enjoy… so sad…

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Mother January 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Conor, this is just to reassure you that as a busy working mum in the 70′s I never ever succumbed to any of those recipes or table decorations. Only thing guilty of is using the alfoil so suavely promoted by Stuart Wagstaff in his pink jacket and matching cufflinks.

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Conor January 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Mum, I think if you had succumbed to any of them I would be mostly upset that you didn’t have evidence for me. Ah, Stuart Wagstaff eh? That answers that question then. A suave man, indeed!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

haha so many gems! I love readng some of the things that they used to cook. Although I have to wonder what were they thinking most of the time. All that aspic! :P
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog post ..Pender Lea Post Office- Jindabyne &amp The Lott- Cooma

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Conor January 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Haha Lorraine, I know! Aspic city, population them!

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Arwen from Hoglet K January 15, 2011 at 5:07 am

Gorgeous Connor! I love these old books more and more at the moment. The cheese add is amazing. Nothing quite like blandness to attract consumers!

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Conor January 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Thanks Arwen! Serve me up some extra bland with mine, garcon!

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mademoiselle délicieuse January 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

Hey hey, don’t knock retro chic! You know how things always make a comeback trend…you know, like Hammer pants =p
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..Kingsleys Steak &amp Crabhouse- 9 Nov 2010

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Conor January 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Still coming up with a hammer pants post just for you… the day will come, oh yes it will come..

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Carolyn January 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

GOLD! I totally love ‘retro’ including the cook books and advertising of the time. These are fabulous, thank you for sharing. Abd re mademoiselle d’s comment, I have a good friend who wears hammer pants! Personally, I’m waiting for kaftans and safari suits (with shorts, long socks and sandals) to be de rigueur again!

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

Absolutely my pleasure to relive the magic with you Carolyn. Ooooh I want to meet your friend. I want to meet your friend whilst wearing a safari suit!!

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Cakelaw January 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

LOL – this post is gold!!! Takes me back to my childhood. Query what Stuart Wagstaff in a red velvet dinner jacket has to do with alfoil – a bit like Matt Preston and his cravats adevrtising baking paper!
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..FFwD – Gnocchi la Parisienne

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

Cheers Cakelaw :D Oh yes you’re so right! Stuart Wagstaff was totally the Matt Preston of his day!

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Maria @ Scandifoodie January 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm

My mum did her cook’s degree in the late 60′s/early 70′s so she has collected a lot of recipe books from that time and I just love them to bits!
Maria @ Scandifoodie´s last blog post ..Spelt Couscous Salad with Grilled Eggplant

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

Maria I bet they’re even cooler with the Scandinavian fashion in there too :)

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OohLookBel January 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Oh, that book brings back memories, my mum had it and I loved looking through it when I was little (future foodblogger in the making). I’m also on the lookout for the Golden Circle pineapple cookery book. It had a cooking page for ‘Dads’ that included toad in the hole. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a good toad (and devils on horseback…)
OohLookBel´s last blog post ..New Year- Sparkling Jellies- of course

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:52 am

Bel that sounds awesome, I will be your eyes on the hunt over here! I wish my Dad made toad in the hole. I’ll have to suggest it next time I’m up visiting, though I can imagine the response ;)

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pierre January 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

granny does not look inspired by the gas and definitely yellow is an ugly colour of clothes !
Pierre
pierre´s last blog post ..Raviole de champignons de Paris à lhuile de truffe- émulsion Spigol

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:52 am

I recently bought myself a yellow shirt and I have to agree with you :(

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pachecopatty January 17, 2011 at 2:47 am

Hey Conor, I think I ate some of that food in Australia last week! The eggs and tomatoes on a slice of toast, for sure;-) Thanks for sharing the blast from the past.
A smile will get you further in life than a scowl and a good centerpiece, well as we know, that is priceless:-)

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

Haha, glad you got to experience the traditional Aussie eggs on toast, it’s one of our famous specialities ;)
Wise words Patty, wise words!

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Nancy/ Spicie Foodie January 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

What a great find, finally all of my cooking issues solved! LOL , you crack me up. Don’t you wonder to yourself what were people thinking in the 70s? This is so wacky, got to love it. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Years Conor!
Nancy/ Spicie Foodie´s last blog post ..Food Photography-Understanding Camera Types

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

Happy New Year to you too Nancy! I think it’s best if I try not to imagine what people were thinking in the 70s ;)

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Ellie (Almost Bourdain) January 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

Loving all the retro prints and recipes!!!
Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog post ..Mandu Korean Dumplings

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

Me too Ellie! :)

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river January 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I remember Peter Russell Clarke’s TV show and all those advertisements.
“Where’s the Cheese?”
river´s last blog post ..online supermarket shopping Ill pass

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:55 am

He’s definitely a memorable fellow. Where’s the Peter Russell Clarke love on MasterChef, I ask you?

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Kitchen Butterfly January 26, 2011 at 6:42 am

What a great post Conor, a stunning way to usher in 2011. Have a gret new year and stay well. LOL

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 7:56 am

Thanks Ozoz, you too :)

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Liz Sheehan January 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

OMG that is hilarious! My mum has these cookbooks as well!

I think Womens Weekly really has a lot to answer for! You know that dress sizing in Australia is based on a survey taken like… WAY back when!

This post also fits in well with that stuff that was in the Sunday Times about how today’s women don’t know how to sew a hem or make lamingtons. LOL
Liz Sheehan´s last blog post ..Mrs S Cafe

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Conor February 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

Liz, these days Womens Weekly has more to answer for by way of too many bloody Simone Warne covers, ugh.

Didn’t see the article but I am horrified to learn that the women of today are walking around in unhemmed dresses, eating shop-made lamingtons. It brings a tear to my eye.

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bunkycooks February 17, 2011 at 4:31 am

LOL! I found myself laughing all the way to the bottom! Sad thing is, I remember that stuff from my earlier years. I wonder what the future generations will laugh at about all of us food bloggers?? ;)
bunkycooks´s last blog post ..Meyer Lemon and Amaretto Marmalade

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Conor February 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Oh god, I shudder to think what future people will think of us. I happen to think we’re pretty cool. We *are* pretty cool now, right? Or should we be trying to be uncool now in the hope it’ll be cool later on?

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