Tongue press, metal, owned by Eileen Hughes, used in Ireland / Australia, [1900-1990], maker unknown, Australia / Ireland, 1900 -1910
This object illustrates methods of cooking, utensils used and the type of food consumed in the past. While ox tongue is still available today its popularity has declined in Australia along with other cuts of meat such as brains and offal. In addition, pressed tongue can now be bought ready made in a tin.
This tongue press is an example of wares that were commonly used at the start of the twentieth century. Many household items were passed on to other generations or repaired when broken to save on cost and waste. It demonstrates how our society has changed as today most cooking utensils are mass-produced and thrown out when broken and then replaced with a new one.
The maker of this tongue press is unknown. It was made in Australia or Ireland between 1900 and 1910.
This tongue press was owned by Mrs Eileen Hughes who was given it by her mother who was born in Ireland. Eileen was the donor's next door neighbour and gave the tongue press to his wife. The donor's wife used the tongue press up until the early 1990s and learnt how to use it from her mother who had used one when she lived in Wales. Her mother lived with them when she came out to Australia in 1964 for 17 years. The tongue press made for cheaper living because of its home-made component.
This tongue press was used in the cooking process to make ox tongues. Two ox tongues would be purchased and then corned by pressure of a salt solution. This would take three hours, and the skin would blister. They would then be boiled for a little while with onion or carrots. The tongues were then removed and the liquid left behind was used for soup. The skin was then removed from the tongues and they were placed in the tongue press container with the screw on top. They were then pressed down by using the screw and left overnight. Extra pressure could be applied using a container the same size that could be placed on top with weights on it. The excess liquid would drain out of the holes at the bottom of the container. The purpose of the tongue press was to make the tongues into a firm moulded shape that could then be easily sliced for sandwiches or salads. A jelly was also formed and could be used.