Monday, June 02, 2008

New Feature

I am so excited to announce a new feature here at Chop til you Drop. I was down in Value Village today and I got this great cookbook called The Modern Cook Book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. As you can imagine, it is not particularly modern. Here is a link to the closest think I could find:

That book looks exactly the same as mine, other than mine does not have New Brunswick on the cover. It is blank in that spot. So I guess I got the Nova Scotia version. The other difference is that mine has 151 pages. As near as I can gather, the book is probably from the same year, 1920, although there is not a year to be found in the entire book. I have only surmised that based on some of the ads in the book.

The book was "published in co-operation with the various Women's Organizations in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island". The list of "Women's Organizations Interested" includes the Red Cross, I.O.D.E, various hospitals throughout the two provinces, and the Ladies' Auxiliary of the GWVA (which although we all know still exists, is really hard to find a single website for. In case you are wondering, GWVA stands for Great War Veterans Association, which is what the Legion was before it became the Legion. There is a good story here.)

With regards to the advertisements, I will quote the introduction from page seven:

"The Publishers of the Modern Cook Book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
cannot help but feel highly gratified with the reception which the idea of this
work has met, both from the women's organizations interested in the sale and on
the part of the thrifty housewife who appears to welcome the opportunity of an
exchange of tried and tested recipes with neighbors in her own town and with
women in other parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We believe the
recipes found within the coves of this book will be found practical and
economical and are guaranteed to be the best of their kind."
and from page 9:


When the idea of a Modern Cook Book to be issued in aid of the various
hospitals and women's organizations throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island was proposed it seemed a hopeless task to meet all expenses in connection
with the preparation and printing of the book, and also to leave any substantial
amount for the use of the various philanthropic causes to which this work is
dedicated. Through willing co-operation of practically all Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island firs of importance, however, it has been found possible to
defray the printing cost through advertising, and a very gret debt is due all
taking space in this book. We ask all of those using the book that they study
the advertisements believing that thye will find suggestions of value in the
advertising pages as well as those devoted to the recipes.

Believe, me. I will be studying the advertisements.

So basically my plan is to do a regular feature here, The Modern Cookbook Mondays. I chose Monday because I like alliteration. What I plan on doing is to have a look at the ads in the book, several of which are for Knox Gelatine. I will provide witty commentary and have a look into the companies to see if they still exist. I will also attempt to recreate some of the recipes, and if possible look into the ladies who provided them. I am hoping to go cover to cover on this. I don't have a scanner, so I will try to take pictures with my camera that don't suck, and post them along with the feature. But I can't guarantee any quality.

I will also try to keep up with my (admittedly scarce) normal posting. I am not going to try and post more or anything, since I mostly keep this for myself as a kind of online cook book. But maybe this will make it worth looking at for other people.

So why am I doing this? Well, I think because I really like to feel a connection with Women who have gone before. Women who knit socks, not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Women with hard hands from scrubbing laundry. Women who had ten kids, six of whom did not make it to age five. The women for whom this book was written were living in quite the age, they lived in a time populated both by horses and by cars, by hand-delivered letters and telephones, they could make their own soap or buy their own bread, they bought goods from the farmer and brand name items from all over the world. They had electricity. But they didn't depend on it. They had just lived through a war that made what we go through when we send our boys overseas seem very pale in comparison. They could finally vote, (and show their ankles in public). These were are grandmothers and great grandmothers, who really did the work. I feel in touch with these ladies every time I knead bread or knit socks. I look at how these women did things and feel grateful for so many things we take for granted these days and can't live without. Not just the fancy stuff like computers, cell phones, and microwaves. But also the basic "essentials". A heated house. Reliable electricity. A stove that doesn't burn wood to bake with. A washer and dryer. Birth control.

I know some of these recipes and ads are going to be wierd and ridiculous in this day and age, but I think the contrast might help bring into focus how lucky we are to live in the 2000's, and not the 20's.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

I didn't know you were still doing this blog, and I've just caught myself up :)
Cool about that book....
Remember moms old medical remedy book with lysol for douching !
I know you're being serious, but this just reminded me of that. :)