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The scoop on the recipe for recovery

Emma Stirling

Emma Stirling APD

What a heartbreaking time watching our sunny state of Queensland be inundated with wild weather and flooding and now to see a repeat on a smaller scale in Victoria too. But what a wonderful week to be reminded of the power of the human spirit, compassion for our fellow man and food as a cure all. Which brings me to my latest retro find that I’ve been longing to share with you, and it ties in nicely with a fantastic project for recovery that you’ll want to know about.

Sharing first. In today’s high tech hospital a dietitian plays a critical role from ICU to outpatient rehabilitation and nourishment often comes in a clinical formulation down a tube. But nutrition therapy used to be a lot simpler as this golden item – Dainty Dishes For children, invalids and convalescents suggests. It is a text book for Nurses’ Cookery Certificate required by The Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association by Lucy Drake and revised by Dorothy M. Giles. I’m still reading it all but there are gems like: ‘A woman may be excused if she cannot make a cake, but it should be regarded as a social crime, if she is not able to prepare a good cup of beef tea or nourishing soup, and a few simple dishes, which will help, and not retard an invalid’s recovery.’ You can read more about gems like this on my blog.

Now for the fantastic project. This back to basics, home nourishment approach is being replicated now in Queensland with Baked Relief. The brainchild of Danielle Crismani, teams of home cooks are preparing and delivering nourishment and encouragement to the affected areas, plus volunteers facing the enormous and heart wrenching clean up tasks. They are baking every sweet and savoury slice known to man, plus family dinners too and delivering supplies including bottled water with online co-ordination and army-like precision. I applaud everyone involved who has volunteered their time and recognise the power of food as a recipe towards recovery.

Baked Relief

Here’s how this wonderful relief network started. Separated from her boys who were with her mum (whose property was affected by flooding) and needing to do something, Danielle came up with the idea to start baking some relief for the State Emergency Services volunteers who were sandbagging around Brisbane. She put the word out about what she was doing on her blog and on Twitter and Facebook and offers of help and baking came rushing in. It has just grown beyond imagining since then and Baked Relief is now in the hands of hundreds of home cooks and bakers and is reaching people who are recovering from the floods and all of those thousands of volunteers helping them.

For the most up to date information about #bakedrelief please check twitter. @BakedRelief, @digellabakes or @melkettle or search #bakedrelief at

Emma Stirling is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and health writer with over ten years experience writing for major publications. She is editor of The Scoop on Nutrition – a blog by expert dietitians. Check it out for hot news bites.