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ARCHIVED - Bon appétit!
A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks

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History of Canadian Cookbooks

The Culture of Cooking

Food rationing was introduced in Canada on January 24, 1942, as part of the war effort. Its purpose was to limit the use of imported food and to free up supplies for the military and for the allies. First sugar was rationed, then coffee, tea and butter. Everyone was issued a ration book, as well as tokens. Rationing continued, to some degree, until 1947.

During the war years of the 1940s, inexpensive foods became the mainstay of many households. Ground beef was cheap and adaptable, and heart and tongue were common ingredients. Throughout the next two decades, one of Canada's most influential cooks was Kate Aitken. She seemed to be everywhere -- on the radio, in newspapers, directing cooking schools in both Canada and the United States, and advising the government on good nutrition.

"The wonderful sameness of my grandmother's meals -- roast chicken on Sundays, shepherds' pie on Mondays, fish on Fridays, baked beans on Saturdays -- was a reflection of her era" (p. vi). This collection recalls the comfort foods of the 1950s and 1960s, including recipes for favourites such as tuna casserole, banana bread, Scottish shortbread, banana cream pie and Molded Emerald Salad (jellied salads were very popular at the time).