While Australians and New Zealanders have long debated which country invented the pavlova (a large meringue dessert cake said to emulate the lightness of the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova), the real story of the ballerina's visit to the Antipodes and the emergence of three different pavlovas was neglected. The contributions of a gelatine manufacturer, a Dunedin spinster, and numerous other New Zealand housewives are all revealed in this fascinating contribution to food history. The book shows the evolution of the three pavlova types, that their recipes have never been set in stone, and that creative and innovative cooks have played the most important roles in transforming a fashionable afternoon tea cake into an iconic dessert.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture Category 2009.
Helen Leach is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Otago. Her research interests include the evolution of the human diet and prehistoric horticulture. She has written two garden history books: Cultivating Myths: Fiction, Fact and Fashion in Garden History (2000) and 1,000 Years of Gardening in New Zealand (1984), co-authored nine others, and published over 60 articles in international and New Zealand journals.
1 The Pavlova Wars; 2 Why Pavlova?; 3 The First Pavlova; 4 Rose Rutherford's Little Pavlovas; 5 The First Large Pavlovas; 6 Pavlovas from 1935 to 1950 7 Pavlovas Come of Age, 1950-59 8 Pavlovas Consolidate, 1960-79; 9 Pavlovas Paramount, 1980-99; 10 Some Sticky Issues; 11 Why Pavlovas are Important; Index