NEW FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
Baking for the Victorian Christmas Table:
A recipe collection for contemporary cooks
A downloadable 21-page PDF booklet based on five years of hands-on workshops, with a dozen modern interpretations of 18th- and 19th-century recipes for traditional holiday treats that would have been prepared in Canada during the Victorian period, including Mincemeat Tarts, Plum Pudding, Gingerbread and Twelfth Cake.
Price: $8 CAD (no HST applies)
You may use the link below to pay with PayPal, credit card or Visa debit.
Canadian Cookbooks Online
On Canadian Cookbooks Online we will gradually post the cookbooks that tell us about the foods Canadians cooked, ate and shared in the past. We welcome suggestions.
Individuals and groups are invited to participate by contributing scanned books or pamphlets to the project. These should be Canadian cookbooks that are in the public domain and not available elsewhere online. (Normally, in order for a publication to be in the public domain, the author must have been deceased for at least 50 years.) To ask about contributing a publication, please contact email@example.com.
Please Note: Ingredients, methods and cooking times listed in the cookbooks digitized on this website are consistent with the kitchen appliances and techniques that were in use in the period of publication of the various books. Current equipment and supplies may produce different results that are inconsistent with contemporary food safety theories. The Culinary Historians of Canada disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information, especially for preserving.
- Please note that the Driver numbers supplied for Canadian cookbooks listed below refer to the listing numbers in Elizabeth Driver’s exhaustive Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825-1949.
- See additional resources below for links to early cookbooks published outside Canada.
- La Cuisinière Bourgeoise by Menon (Québec, 1825, Driver Q1.1). Reprint of a French edition, considered to be the first cookbook published in Canada. Available via Canadiana Online.
- The Cook Not Mad, or, Rational Cookery (Kingston, 1831, Driver O1.1). Reprint of an American edition, considered to be the first English-language cookbook published in Canada. Available via Culinaria (University of Alberta).
- La Cuisinière Canadienne (Montréal, 1840, Driver Q3.1). Considered to be the first cookbook both written and published in Canada. Available via Library and Archives Canada.
- The Frugal Housewife’s Manual by “A.B. of Grimsby” (Toronto, 1840, Driver O2.1). Considered to be the first English-language cookbook both compiled and published in Canada. Available via Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (University of Toronto).
- The Female Emigrant’s Guide by Catharine Parr Traill (Toronto, 1854, Driver O5.1). Available via Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (University of Toronto). The first English-language cookbook truly both written and published in Canada.
- Salt-Rising Bread: A scholarly, annotated and illustrated recipe handout including modern instructions, prepared by Fiona Lucas and based on Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic, edited by Natalie Cooke and Fiona Lucas (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017, pp. 344–47).
- The Dominion Home Cookbook by A Thorough Housewife (Toronto, 1868, Driver O11.1). Available via Canadiana Online.
- Household Recipes of Domestic Cookery by Constance Hart, publishing as A Montreal Lady (Montreal, 1865, Driver Q7.1). Available via Canadiana Online.
- Directions diverses données par la Rev. Mère Caron, sup. gén. des Soeurs de la Providence pour aider ses soeurs à former de bonnes cuisinières. (Montréal, 1878, Driver Q15.1). Available via Canadiana Online.
- The Home Cook Book by the Ladies of Toronto and Chief Cities and Towns in Canada (Toronto, 1881 [first published 1877], Driver O20.12). Available via Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (University of Toronto).
- Cookery by Amy G. Richards (Montreal, 1895, Driver Q28.1). Available via Canadiana Online.
- The New Galt Cook Book (rev. ed.) by Margaret Taylor & Frances McNaught (Toronto, 1898, Driver O58.2). Available via Library and Archives Canada.
- B.Y.P.U. Cookbook by the Ladies of the Parry Sound Baptist Church (Parry Sound, 1899, Driver O89.1). Available via Canadiana Online.
- Meals of the Day: A guide to the young housekeeper by Sarah Lovell (Montreal, 1904, Driver Q54.1). Digitization sponsored by Mary Williamson.
- Public School Household Science by Adelaide Hoodless & M.U. Watson (Toronto, 1905, Driver O86.3). Available via Ontario Council of University Libraries.
- Culinary Landmarks, or Half-hours with Sault Ste. Marie housewives, 3rd ed. (Sault Ste Marie, 1909, Driver O84.1). Digitization sponsored by Elizabeth Driver.
- Five Roses Cookbook. Lake of the Woods Milling Company (Montreal, 1915, Driver Q79.2). Available via McGill University.
- The Toronto Cook Book by Mrs. Edwin James Powell (Toronto, ca 1915). Available via Toronto Reference Library.
- Iroquis [sic] Foods and Food Preparation by Frederick Wilkerson Waugh (Ottawa, 1916, Driver O371.1). Available via Cornell University Library.
- Aunt Hanna’s War-Time and Peace-Time Recipes AKA Aunt Hanna’s Cook Book Compiled by the Ladies of Ward 2 Patriotic Association of Toronto (Toronto, ca 1918, Driver O.3981). Digitized by Mark D’Aguilar.
- Manuel de cuisine raisonnée adapté aux élèves élémentaires. l’École Normale Classico-ménagère de Saint-Pascal (Québec, 1919): Updated and revised for a century, this is still considered to be the essential Quebec cookbook. Available at Canadiana Online via the National Library of Canada.
- Helps to Overcome the High Cost of Living. Zam-Buk Co. and C.E. Fulford Ltd. (Toronto, 1916, Driver O361.1). (Zam-Buk was a patent medicine.) Digitized by Jane Black, from the estate of her grandmother, Isobelle Margaret Hope (Black) nee Webster, who died on her 91st birthday, October 5, 2008.
- How to Save Sugar, New sugar-saving recipes for the Wartime Housekeeper. Home Services Department, Canada Starch Company (Montreal & Toronto, ca 1917). Digitized by Jane Black, from the estate of her grandmother, Isobelle Margaret Hope (Black) nee Webster, who died on her 91st birthday, October 5, 2008.
- The Canadian Cookbook by Nellie Lyle Pattison (Toronto, 1925 edition [first published 1923], Driver O506.3). Available via Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
- 350 recettes de cuisine: les écoles ménagères provinciales by Jeanne Anctil (Montréal, 1924, Driver Q73.3). Digitization sponsored by Amy Scott.
- Good Things to Eat Made With Cow Brand Baking Soda (Montreal, 1924). Digitized by Jane Black, from the estate of her grandmother, Isobelle Margaret Hope (Black) nee Webster, who died on her 91st birthday, October 5, 2008.
- The Art of Sandwich Making: A collection of famous – and fashionable sandwiches. Canada Bread Co. (ca. 1926, Driver O576.1). Digitization sponsored in honour of Kathleen Mackintosh, Toronto.
- Winke für den Haushalt für Sparsame Hausfrauen (Household Tips for Economical Housewives). E.W. Gillett Co. Ltd (Toronto, Winnipeg & Montreal, ca. 1926, no Driver number). A trilingual publication in German, Polish and Ukrainian. Digitized by Joyce Sirski-Howell.
- New Cook Book of Tested Recipes. Evangeline Chapter, IODE (Halifax, 1934, Driver NS43.1). Digitization sponsored by Robert Kincaide.
- The New Brunswick Cook Book: Treasured recipes collected and edited by Aida Boyer McAnn, M.A. with illustrations by Mrs. Edward Hart. (Sackville, New Brunswick, 1938, Driver NB47.1). Digitization sponsored by Jim Anderson.
- Diary of Celebrated Christmas Recipes. Lake of the Woods Milling Company Limited (Winnipeg, ca 1938). Digitized by Joyce Sirski-Howell.
- United Farmers of Canada Cookbook. United Farmers of Canada, Saskatchewan Section Limited. (Saskatoon, 1940, Driver S82.1). Available via Culinary Historians of Canada.
- Wartime Canada: A one-stop shop for numerous WWII recipe sources, including:
- The Victory Cook Book. Navy League Chapter IODE (Victoria, 1941, Driver B109.1)
- Economy Recipes for Canada’s Housoldiers. Home Service Department, The Canada Starch Company, (Toronto, 1943, Driver Q284.1)
- The Maritime Cookbook; How to Eat Well Though Rationed by Josephine Gibson (Toronto, 1943, Driver O1074.1)
- Ration Recipes. Robin Hood Flour Mills Limited.
- One Hundred-Portion War Time Recipes.
- Canadiana.ca: A wide array of historical texts, including books and periodicals in all disciplines, searchable by keyword. It includes such cookbooks as:
- The Peerless Cook Book by the Ladies of Montreal’s St. James Methodist Church (ca 1888)
- The Molasses Cookbook. The Dominion Molasses Co. Ltd. (1912)
- The Modern Cook Book for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (ca 1917-1925)
- The Purity Cook-book. Western Canada Flour Mills Co. of Toronto (ca 1932)
- Bon Appétit: A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks/Les livres de cuisine canadiens à l’honneur: An archived online exhibition produced by CHC member Carol Martin for Library and Archives Canada in 2003–04. It includes books, art and artefacts representing Canadian culinary history from aboriginal traditions to modern tastes, as well as two searchable digitized cookbooks:
- La cuisinière canadienne (Montreal, 1840, Driver Q1.1)
- A revised edition of The Galt Cook Book (Toronto, 1898, Driver O58.2).
- Newman Western Canadian Cookbook Collection: Prof. Lenore Newman of the University of the Fraser Valley has compiled a significant collection of online cookbooks dating from 1905 to 1968, including community cookbooks, pamphlets from food companies and related ephemera like a ration card, such as:
- Recipes for Jam-Making. Canada Food Board (1918)
- The Secrets of Menu Variety. Canada Starch Company (ca 1923)
- The B.C. Apple Recipe Book (1946)
- Damsel’s Delight by Anna Friedgut Chapter of Hadassah, Regina Chapter of Hadassah (1960)
- Dishes of the Orient by Manitoba Buddhist Association. Maya Club. Ladies’ Auxiliary (1967)
- Field Handling of Game: How to care for wild meat to prevent spoilage, so your wife likes the flavor. Manitoba Department of Mines and Natural Resources (1967)
- The Art of Chinese Cooking. Chinese United Church. Ling Jun Unit (1968)
- McCord Museum: Recipes and Food Collection. The museum holds an extensive collection of Canadian cookbooks and related material, including manuscript recipes, of which some are digitized. In addition, the “What’s Cooking in our Archives!” project documents numerous vintage recipes tested by museum staff.
- What’s Cooking?: Nova Scotia Archives’ food history site, with 17 digitized cookbooks, including:
- The Church of England Institute Receipt Book (Halifax, 1888, Driver NS1.1)
- Elementary Text-book of Cookery (Halifax, 1898, Driver NS4.1)
- The Bedford Recipe Book by the Ladies of All Saints Church Guild, (Bedford, 1910, Driver NS11.1)
- The LaHave Cook Book by the Managers’ Auxiliary of St. John’s Church, Bridgewater, N.S. (Bridgewater, 1912, Driver NS 14.1)
- Grand-Pré Cook Book by Ladies’ Aid of the Grand-Pré United Church (Kentville, 1939, Driver NS52.1)
- Kitchen Army Nutrition and Receipt Book (Sydney, 1943, Driver NS56.1).
- Foods of England, an exhaustive research site that provides links to electronic versions of important cookbooks of the past available to Canadian cooks, including (among many others):
- Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn (1699)
- The Cook’s and Confectioners Dictionary by John Nott (1723)
- English Housewifry by Elizabeth Moxon (1764)
- The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse (1747)
- A New and Easy Method of Cookery by Elizabeth Cleland (1755)
- The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald (1769)
- The Complete Confectioner by Frederick Nutt (1789)
- The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined by John Mollard (1802)
- A New System Of Domestic Cookery by Maria Rundell (1807)
- The London Art of Cookery by John Farley (1811)
- The Practice of Cookery by Mrs. Dalgairns (1830)
- The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner (1830)
- Modern Cookery for Private Families by Eliza Acton (1845)
- Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier (1903)
- Recipes from Scotland, 1680s to 1940s: An attractive and useful (though somewhat difficult to navigate) compilation from the National Library of Scotland, which includes commentary and recipes from published books and manuscript cookbooks.
- Cookbooks and Home Economics Collection: More than 3,800 downloadable and printable books from the Young Research Library Department of Special Collections at UCLA, the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Prelinger Library available through the Internet Archive, including such classics as Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management, The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner and The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer.
- Feeding America: A digital collection of over 75 of the most important American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th centuries, based at Michigan State University Library. Several of the featured books were commonly used in Upper Canada.
- What America Ate: An interactive website and online archive about food in the Great Depression, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, based on sources from the America Eats Project, which documented American eating across the country, including almost 200 community cookbooks and thousands of food-advertising materials from the 1930s.
- The Sifter: A searchable database designed to assist people with food-related questions that includes over 5,000 authors and 5,000 works with details about the authors and about the contents of the works.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Canadian Living (1975- )
- Chatelaine (1928- )
- “Cooking Chat” columns by Mrs. William Wallace (née Thompson) writing as “Marie Holmes” in the Toronto Daily Star (1934-1947)
- “Three Meals a Day” columns by Jessie Read in the Evening Telegram (1930s)
- Columns by Margo Oliver in Weekend (1959-1982), a newspaper supplement that merged with The Canadian in 1979 to become, briefly, Today.
- Three Meals a Day Cookbook by Jessie Read (1938)
- Cooking…with an Accent by Helen Gougeon (1946)
- Kate Aitken’s Canadian Cook Book (1945)
- Secrets et recettes du cahier de ma grand’mère by Jehane Benoît (1959)
- L’encylopédie de la cuisine canadienne / The Encyclopedia of Canadian Cuisine by Jehane Benoît (1963)
- Second Helpings Please! by Norene Gilletz & Harriet Nussbaum (1968)
- Food That Really Schmecks by Edna Staebler (1969)
- The Graham Kerr Cookbook, by the Galloping Gourmet (1969)
- The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book by Laura Secord Candy Shops (1966)
- Pierre and Janet Berton’s Canadian Food Guide (1966, revised 1974)
- The Canadiana Cookbook: A Complete Heritage of Canadian Cooking by Jehane Benoît (1975)
- The Christmas Cookbook: Great Canadian Recipes by Rose Murray (1979)
- Classic Canadian Cooking by Elizabeth Baird (1974)
- Cooking with Mona by Mona Brun (1977)
- Ginger Tea Makes Friends by James Barber (1971)
- Madame Benoît’s Microwave Cook Book by Jehane Benoît (1975)
- More Food That Really Schmecks by Edna Staebler (1979)
- Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale (1970)
- Across the Table, An Indulgent Look at Food in Canada by Cynthia Berney Wine (1985)
- Canadian Family Cooking, Best of Regional Recipes by Norman Kolpas (1986)
- The Canadian Living Cookbook by Carol Ferguson and the food writers of Canadian Living Magazine (1987)
- The Canadian Living Microwave Cookbook, by Margaret Fraser and the food writers of Canadian Living Magazine (1988)
- The Canadian Living Rush Hour Cookbook by Margaret Fraser and the food writers of Canadian Living Magazine (1989)
- Coast to Coast, A Province by Province Guide to Easily Prepared Canadian Gourmet Meals by Sheila Shepherd (1984)
- From the Kitchens of the World: A Canadian Feast by Val Clery & Jack Jensen (1981)
- The Great Canadian Cookbook: A Celebration Of Canadian Traditions and Cooking by Bunny Barss (1987)
- James Barber’s Immodest but Honest Good Eating Cookbook (1986)
- Lucy Waverman’s Seasonal Canadian Cookbook (1989)
- Rose Murray’s Vegetable Cookbook (1983)
- Wok with Yan Television Cookbook by Stephen Yan (1988)
- The BamBoo Cooks! Recipes from the Legendary Nightclub by Richard O’Brien and Patty Habib (1997)
- Byron’s New Home Cooking by Byron Ayanoglu (1993)
- The Canadian Living Entertaining Cookbook by Carol Ferguson and the food writers of Canadian Living magazine (1990)
- A Century of Canadian Home Cooking by Carol Ferguson & Marg Fraser (1992)
- The Dave Nichols Cookbook (1993)
- Marie Nightingale’s Favourite Recipes (1993)
- The New Canadian Basics Cookbook by Carol Ferguson (1999)
- The Ontario Harvest Cookbook, An Exploration of Feasts and Flavours by Julia Aitken and Anita Stewart (1996)
- The President’s Choice Barbeque Cookbook, 150 Great Tastes of Summer (1995)
- Rose Murray’s New Casseroles and Other One-Dish Meals (1996)
- A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong (1990, revised 2001)
- The Urban Peasant: Recipes from the Popular Television Cooking Series by James Barber (1994)