Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Reed's Rolled Oat Biscuits and Love Exhibition


Lust picks us up like instruments
and puts us down again retuned,
makes music of what hands invent, 
a universe from an empty room.
                                                   
                                                            Ode to Lust, Cate Kennedy

I recently visited the Love exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne.  This exhibition was developed in conjunction with the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and unsurprisingly contains a lot of material relating to the Reeds and the artists who were part of the Heide crowd.

This exhibition asks - We all have a love story - what's yours?  It covers the full spectrum of love in all of its types and all of its phases, from the first thrilling rush of lust right through to grieving for love lost.  The exhibition is not just concerned with eros love, although there are a number of exhibits which deal with this form of love.  It also covers love between friends, neighbours, communities and families.  One of the best features of the exhibition is that it was accompanied by a free audiovisual presentation on an individual iPod, so that you could go through the exhibition at your own pace, and read and hear the detail relating to the exhibits without straining over someone's shoulder to read a card.


The exhibition is divided into a number of different segments, each dealing with different phases or aspects of love, and highlighted by an illuminated neon sign relevant to the theme of that section.  For example, the name of the first section was taken from a telegram from Sweeney Reed to his wife, Pamela, and dealt with the early stages of love:


A highlight of this first section was a photo of young John Perceval and Mary Boyd associated with the Heide set, to which the audio was a recitation of Ode to Lust by Cate Kennedy, a stanza of which appears at the top of this post.

There was a whole section devoted to the love between John and Sunday Reed, the founders of Heide, and the various other people who featured in their relationships:


Perhaps my favourite exhibit was in this section, being a modern drawing featuring various prominent places and things associated with Heide, interspersed with photos of the Reeds:


Another section of the exhibit dealt with long-lasting love, including a group of friends who had been together for more than 50 years:


There was a section of the exhibition dealing with devotion.  An example of the exhibits in this section included the story of a Vietnamese couple who escaped to Australia via a perilous sea journey, a statue made to honour the victims of Black Saturday, and trinkets of Sweeney Reed kept by Sunday Reed and Joy Hester.

The final section entitled "Each Year I Grieve Another Year" dealt with love lost.  This section related, not only to the loss of love through death, but also through other forms of break-ups.  In this section, Mirka Mora, another member of the Heide set,  explains that she started making dolls after she left the familial home following her break up with her husband, leaving her three boys behind.  The dolls helped to make Mirka feel closer to her boys.

After viewing the exhibition, there is an opportunity for visitors to write their love story on a card and hang it on one of the strings along the wall dedicated to the purpose.  It was interesting to read other people's thoughts and stories on these cards.  I left my own story, but what I wrote shall remain a mystery to all but me.

Inspired by the Heide exhibits in the Love exhibition, I hauled out my copy of Sunday's Kitchen - Food and Living at Heide, and chose a recipe to commemorate my visit to the exhibition.  I chose a very simple recipe for Rolled Oat Biscuits on p173.  These biscuits are true to their name - they are made solely with rolled oats, with no flour or golden syrup (unlike ANZAC biscuits).  This recipe comes from Sunday's own recipe collection.  

While the biscuits taste great, I found them a little difficult to form, as there is only egg and melted butter to glue the ingredients together.  I perservered with the crumbly dough and managed to make 12 biscuits as stated by the recipe (with a little left over).

To try Sunday's Rolled Oat Biscuits to get a taste of a little bit of magic from a Heide arvo tea for yourself, you will need:

2 cups traditional rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter (~45g)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together the rolled oats, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix well to combine.  

Place small mounds of the oat mixture onto the lined baking tray and press down lightly with a fork to flatten slightly.  (You should get around 12 biscuits.)  Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool on the tray completely before carefully removing with a spatula.  

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