Cook­book Chron­i­cle

Con­tain­ing over 500 “re­ceipts” for the “farmer and the housewife,” this cook­book is more about his­tory than it is about in­gre­di­ents and beau­ti­ful im­ages of per­fect dishes. Cindy Deach­man takes a look in­side The Cana­dian Re­ceipt Book

Ottawa Magazine - - FOUND -

MORE THAN 150 YEARS AGO, DIY was not trendy but, rather, as­sumed. Do­ing ev­ery­thing your­self, mak­ing ev­ery­thing your­self, was a ne­ces­sity — es­pe­cially on a farm. For­get Uber Eats. Back then, if you’d never had in­struc­tion from your el­ders, you could find a recipe in The Cana­dian Re­ceipt Book, pub­lished in 1867 to cel­e­brate the new Do­min­ion of Canada. By chance, a copy was re­cently found in the Archival and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of Guelph.

This year, the recipe book was reis­sued. And while it’s billed as a cook­book, it con­tains only about four pages of cake recipes (or re­ceipts, the term at the time); com­pare that with nine pages of bee­keep­ing tips. In fact, only a small por­tion of re­ceipts re­fer to food: a third of the book is given over to vet­eri­nar­ian tips.

Ads par­tic­u­lar to Ot­tawa are sprin­kled through­out. Op­po­site ad­vice on dis­tem­per in horses is the Ot­tawa Drug Ware­house ad, where one can buy medicine for horses — and co­caine for one­self. Oth­ers re­flect Ot­tawa’s his­tory, in­clud­ing Chalmers & Co., deal­ers in chan­de­liers and chim­neys. (The ad­dress, 62 Sparks St., now houses the restau­rant Riviera.)

Speak­ing of which, the book gives a mac­a­roni recipe: Boil the pasta in “milk, or weak veal broth, pretty well fla­vored with salt. When ten­der, put it into a dish with­out the liquor, and among it put some bits of but­ter and grated cheese, and over the top grate more, and a lit­tle more but­ter. Set the dish into a Dutch oven a quar­ter of an hour, but do let the top be­come hard.” Co­in­ci­den­tally, Riviera now serves pig head mac­a­roni with an egg.

In 1867, mush­rooms were not cul­ti­vated nor were they for­aged by a spe­cial­ist such as Christophe Marineau of Le Co­prin. You found your own and hoped you had iden­ti­fied the fungi prop­erly. As The Cana­dian Re­ceipt Book says, “The cook should be per­fectly ac­quainted with the dif­fer­ent sort of things called by this name by ig­no­rant peo­ple, as the death of many per­sons has been oc­ca­sioned by care­lessly us­ing the poi­sonous kinds.”

Be­fore the Opium and Nar­cotic Drug Act of 1929, co­coaine, as it was once called, was used widely for such mal­adies as scalp ir­ri­ta­tions, toothaches, and as a lo­cal anaes­thetic. The Cana­dian Re­ceipt Book is pub­lished by Rock’s Mills Press and avail­able for $25 through Ama­zon.

Op­po­site ad­vice on dis­tem­per in horses is the Ot­tawa Drug Ware­house ad, where one can buy medicine for horses — and co­caine for one­self.

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