The Boomer Corner
A look back at cook books and cooking traditions
There has been so much COVID news lately. Lots of it not good. I think it’s time for me to think of other things.
Something that I enjoy reading (and sometimes using) are cook books. Over the years I have bought and donated many cookbooks. Right now, I have around fifty. The oldest one is from around 1894 and was put out by the Toronto Daily Star. Part of the title is “Smiley’s’ New and Complete Guide for Housekeeping”. It’s illustrated according to the front cover. It’s about two inches thick and has 990 pages. The illustrations are kind of thumb size all through the book. There are a few coloured illustrations of things like fish and fruit. As you can imagine with all those pages, it is very comprehensive. There is a section three pages long that lists over a hundred and twenty foods and when they are in season. I guess some are still similar to today. Others certainly aren’t. For instance, bear is in season in December and January, and turtle doves August and September. If you crave opossum, it’s October to February. Ptarmigan is September to April. There are others, but it would take too much room. Various seafood are listed for throughout the year, and the same with fruit and veggies. At that time, there seems to have been an abundant variety of foods.
One of the things the book tells us is that even though we don’t have to do the work, we should know how it should be done. Guess that comes from the day when we were expected to have servants! There are instructions on how to clean just about anything that could be in a house. I think there is more to be told in future Newsfeeds.
Now when we buy recipe books, they often come with coloured pictures (so can compare what we made with what it should look like?). We can buy recipes books for almost any piece of cooking equipment that is around. There are also recipe books for cooking almost any food from anywhere in the world.
When I was in Corner Brook NL, I picked up a book of Newfoundland recipes. As the first edition was printed in 1979, it doesn’t refer to Newfoundland and Labrador. It must have been a popular book because there were numerous printings up to 2017 when my copy was printed. A book like this tells us a lot. Partridge berries must grow well in NL, as do blueberries, and moose is quite popular. I also now know how to make flipper pie and cod tongues. A book like this is full of recipes put in by local people. It’s so down to earth. There is something delightful about it.
One of the recipes that I enjoyed reading is this one for Newfoundland Pot Day Tuesday (or Thursday). Following instructions, you soak beef in cold water overnight, bring it to a boil in the morning, and have it ready to serve for a noon meal!
About the Author
Linda Calder is a retired teacher. She likes to write and enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys going on cruises, taking pictures and scrapbooking.