Out of Old Ontario Kitchens

I’m not a wildly enthusiastic cook—as my family will tell you. Nor do I borrow a lot of cookbooks. But here is a fascinating new cookbook available at WPL, one that I’ve already borrowed a few times, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens.

I would describe Out of Old Ontario Kitchens as part cookbook and part culinary history of Ontario. It is beautifully written and illustrated (lots of old photos and advertisements) and has been packaged to give it a nifty old-time look.

ooo-ontario-kitchens-coverAuthor Lindy Mechefske provides an overview of the early settler groups (as well as the Indigenous peoples) and the food traditions they brought with them. Our own local Mennonite cooking rates a few mentions and recipes. Mechefske also pays a real tribute to the early women pioneers in Ontario who worked incredibly hard to feed their families.

Oh, and did I mention butter tarts? The book includes a little bit of butter tart history, as well as the first known recipe to appear in print.

The recipes in Out of Old Ontario Kitchens are mostly hearty standbys (so bread recipes, baked beans, Irish stew, Scotch broth and the like), plus some yummy desserts. Here are a couple that grabbed my attention and that I’m looking forward to making: parsnip fritters (perfect for a couple of parsnips that have been lurking at the back of my fridge for a little too long) and Irish soda bread.

— Penny D.