Happy Birthday to a Classic Canadian Cook Book, I love Madeira Pudding

“The recipes were supplied by Canadian Housewives and are suitable for use in all parts of the Dominion.  These recipes were carefully tested by competent authority thoroughly versed in the culinary requirements of Canadian Housewives…Wherever possible, buy “Made in Canada” goods.  True patriotism urges all loyal Canadians to encourage the “Made in Canada” movement.”

The introduction to the Five Roses Cook Book first published/issued by Lake of the Woods Milling Company in 1915.  It was both a cook book that was selling what we would now call a “brand” and it was also an Anglo Saxon loyalist cook book, heavily influenced by English food ways and customs.  I am an Anglo-phile, and have always been so, Of course I love Downton Abbey, but before that there was the original Upstairs Downstairs and my all time favorite, The Duchess of Duke Street, based on a true story, it stars Gemma Jones  as a chef and a hotel owner in Edwardian England and then follows her story through the first World War.  The food in this series is spectacular; very Escoffier like with the lots of partridge, quail,  sauces and even a stuffed sturgeon, but there is other food, simple yet solid British food, like the food that you find in the Five Roses Cookbook.  British food before the second World War and rationing, was  regional,  seasonal and sounds like it must have been a feast.  Then the war, and rations, and things in cans and people forgot how to cook.

The Five Roses cookbook is written for Canadians by Canadians whose culinary past is rooted in Great Britain and includes recipes such as; canary pudding, eggless rusks, Scottish black buns, Yorkshire thin cakes and both Yorkshire and Lancashire parkin.  When this book was first issued in 1915, Canadians were beginning to develop a sense of who we were, and who we would become, and this cook book was in a way, an informal moment or picture of our culinary past as  it was in 1915, when there were people who knew what Yorkshire parkin was.  (It’s a snack or tea time cake, that keeps well, and is very dense, excellent for taking out on strolls through the moors.)

It is one hundred years later, and I’m going to bake a lot out of this cook book, I want to discover and get to know the English part of our past. I’m excited,  I see this book both as a historical document but also a living history and through cooking and baking, I will be bringing history to life and hopefully eating the delicious results.

It’s late here where I live, and my new dog (he is a rescue, 13 months old and has just bled all over my new linen duvet as he has skin issues and has scratched himself until he bled all over brand new linen duvet cover I know I said that but I can’t quite believe what I’m seeing, anyway, I started with the Madeira Pudding recipe, which has no Madeira in it, but was quite delicious…it’s late and I need to wash the linen duvet cover and attend to the dog’s wounds, so, recipe to follow tomorrow.

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