Quick quiz: what comes from Australia? Not what lives there, what leaves there! Can’t think of anything? Nor can I, except wine and souvenir boomerangs. If one were to look on the bottom of most every manufactured item in our house, I wager none of them would have the word Australia. So we were truly amazed when on Saturday, drifting through the thrift shop next to the Mediterranean grocery store (nothing from Australia in there to be sure), my wife picked up an unfamiliar looking tin cylinder with lids top and bottom. Fastened around the tin with a rubber band was a label bearing a recipe for nut loaf. The lids were embossed with the trade name “Willow” and the word Australia, as well as “NUT LOAF” and dimensions in m/m, Australian for millimetres.
A web search turned up the key to the mystery. Willow nut loaf tins were an Australian phenomenon, made to bake tiny nut loaves, usually two at a time according to the amount of ingredients in most recipes. The printed recipe on the paper was in fact wrong, as it didn’t have the necessary sugar but instead had walnuts listed twice. Never minding this, we baked a nut loaf following the web sourced instructions. Surprise – it was excellent; the recipe worked to perfection.
Sadly, the Willow Company no longer has a nut loaf tin among their many cooking tins. Perhaps this explains why this item is so rare, at least in these parts. Neither of us had ever seen or heard of a nut loaf tin, and that would necessarily include mothers and grandmothers, too, proof positive of its rarity. Good luck finding one; I further wager it will be another lifetime before one of these turns up in these parts, especially in like new condition. There are some for sale out there, so if you’re curious and collect unusual kitchenware, go for it. But don’t go to Australia; they don’t make them there anymore!