University of Guelph & the Chamber of Cookbooks

Something that my family has always loved is a good cookbook. My father swears that the best cookbooks are old ones, found at garage sales, that have usually been made by church groups- “these women know how to cook!” With this being said, I am very lucky that right here in Guelph is the mother-load of cookbooks.

The Canadiana collection of cookery books at the University of Guelph is quite impressive boasting approximately 4,000 items. The subject matter in the collection ranges widely from books containing recipes and general information about the preparation of food, social histories of food, food handling texts, customs, etiquette, and many other aspects of culinary arts and practices.

Since eating is central to human survival, cookbooks often record important traditions and document cultural change in Canadian life. Over the years, many books have been generously donated by individuals interested in the preservation of Canada’s culinary past. Also, some good news if you don’t live in Guelph, this collection is available online at the following link:  http://www.lib.uoguelph.ca/resources/archival_&_special_collections/the_collections/digital_collections/culinary/culinary-collection/canadian-cookbooks/

With all of this being said, I am going to provide you with a link to Mrs Clarke’s Cookery Book which was written by Anne Clarke and published by Grip in Toronto back in 1883. The Pork section starts on page 71 and is a very good read. Going through this book has made me realize that a lot has changed over the years when it comes to food preparation and etiquette, but one thing will always stay the same- we all have to eat!

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