Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

ARCHIVED - Bon appétit!
A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

History of Canadian Cookbooks

The Pioneer Kitchen

Central Canada: Ontario

Often called "Canada's first cookbook," The Cook Not Mad was issued by Kingston editor, publisher and book importer James Macfarlane in 1831. It is, in fact, an exact copy of an American book of the same name, with changes only to the cover, and the title and copyright pages. As the Preface says, these were "good Republican dishes," including Washington Cake and Jackson Jumbles.

Traill's book was first published in 1854 as The Female Emigrant's Guide, and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping. The book examines the whole experience of coming to the new, untamed country. Traill advises settlers on the many tasks they will have to undertake if they are to succeed in making a life without the amenities they were accustomed to at home.

One of the most complete books on the duties of the housewife published for English Canadians in the 19th century, The Home Cook Book (Tried! Tested! Proven!) was published as a fundraiser for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (much of it copied from a similar book written by a Chicago women's group). "No matter how talented a woman may be, or how useful in the church or society, if she is an indifferent housekeeper it is fatal to her influence, a foil to her brilliancy and a blemish in her garments" (p. 9).

B.G. Jefferis and Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Nichols. The Household Guide: or, Domestic Cyclopedia: A Practical Family Physician, Home Remedies and Home Treatment on all Diseases, an Instructor on Nursing, Housekeeping and Home Adornments. Toronto: J.L. Nichols, 1894

The Household Guide is a typical volume to be found in the late 19th-century Canadian home. It includes not only a cookbook (this was Mrs. Nichols' responsibility), but also medical advice, how to care for children, tips on hygiene, decorating, etiquette, beauty hints, and much more.

The New Galt Cook Book is a revised edition of a book that was popular in English Canada, particularly in the vicinity of Galt in southwestern Ontario. The publishers also claimed that copies of the book were sent to China, Egypt, India, South Africa, Australia and the United States. Like many early cookbooks, this collection offered recipes as well as hints for simplifying domestic chores, and a list of cures for common illnesses.

Search The New Galt Cook Book