Piquant Beets

Piquant Beets

I'm not a fan of the taste of beets, although I have evolved enough to abide roasted and pickled beets on occasion. I liked Piquant Beets, though, and I can't say that I've ever thought that about a recipe made with boiled beets! This recipe takes those (in my mind at least) repulsive boiled beets and jazzes them up with horseradish, honey, lemon juice and...wait for it...bacon. Steve's response to tasting this dish was, "I don't even mind the beets", which is probably the highest praise he could give to this recipe. We can thank Elaine Collett and Mary-Etta Macpherson, who compiled the 1965 Canadian classic The Chatelaine Cookbook, for this culinary miracle.

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To restore from stroke of lightning

To restore from stroke of lightning

Cookbooks used to not only be a resource for learning how to prepare food, but would also contain medicinal recipes and household tips. I’ve been wanting to explore other facets of cookbooks, so to start with, I chose my favourite remedy, To Restore from Stroke of Lightning. This “cure” is my favourite because it makes me chuckle every single time, no matter how many times I read it.

This helpful tip is found in the Medicinal Receipts chapter in The Home Cookbook, published in 1877, which was Canada's first fund-raising community cookbook and the best selling Canadian cookbook in the 19th-century. I had the vague thought that I had an ancestor who was killed by lightning, so I did some research and found out who it was! In this blog post, you’ll read the story of my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s death, along with a few other tales from that branch of my family tree.

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Albany Cake

Albany Cake

If a sweet scone and a cookie got married and had a baby, that baby would be Albany Cakes. However you classify Albany Cakes, this sweet bit of bakery with cinnamon and rose water flavours is deelish! This was another recipe that we made at the cooking classes that I taught this autumn at Nelles Manor Museum in Grimsby. Our Albany Cakes recipe comes from The Frugal Housewife's Manual, published in Toronto in 1840, but written by “A.B.”, a mysterious resident of Grimsby who likely would have known the Nelles family.

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

This Pumpkin Soup recipe comes from The Canadian Housewife's Manual of Cookery, which was compiled & published in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario in 1861. It is hearty & flavourful, and I think the reason for this can be found in a one-word answer: butter. Expect a creamy robust soup with small chunks of pumpkin (or squash, if you can't find pumpkin). This soup is so rich that it might make a better side dish rather than the main component of your meal, but if you do try this recipe out, I highly recommend the historic recipe's suggestion of adding croutons made of fried bread to your bowl!

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Squash Puff

Squash Puff

If you asked anyone in my family about our traditional family recipes, probably the first dish listed by everyone would be Squash Puff. I'd describe Squash Puff as a cross between squash pudding and soufflé. It is light, fluffy and very flavourful considering it doesn't contain any onions or herbs. My Mom cut the recipe out of a newspaper at some point and it's been in her giant binder of recipe clippings ever since I can remember. Give Squash Puff a try at your next Thanksgiving, potluck or family gathering...or when you've got a hankering for some satisfying comfort food.

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Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake is one of first recipes that I tested out for the Open Hearth Cooking Classes that I'm teaching at Nelles Manor in Grimsby, Ontario in September. They are crisp & buttery, and the flavour of caraway seeds balances out the sweetness of these cookies. Shrewsbury Cake is from the first English-language cookbook that was both compiled & printed in Canada. The Frugal Housewife's Manual was published in Toronto in 1840, but the cookbook author is credited as “A. B. of Grimsby”. I love this connection to the Nelles family, since they likely would have known the mysterious A. B. who wrote the book.

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Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops are a basic sugar & spice cookie with a hint of dried currants. The recipe is found in The Cook Not Mad from 1831, which has the distinction of being the first English-language cookbook to be published in Canada! They are delicious with both white or brown sugar, but I prefer the extra flavour that comes with using brown. The dried currants provide little intense sweet flavour pops, and our recipe suggests using "any agreeable spice", so feel free to customize and add your favourite baking spices.

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