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Monday, September 10, 2018

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! : The Traditional Newfoundland Kitchen by Roger Pickavance.

1.THE TRADITIONAL NEWFOUNDLAND KITCHEN (Boulder Publications, 2017, ISBN 978-1-927099-92-6 307 pages $34.95 CAD softcovers) us by Roger Pickavance, a professor of biology at Memorial from 1968. At the time of his arrival, Newfoundland was just opening up with new roads and the beginning of the slow decline of the cod fishery. Ease of transport (through election roads) meant access to supermarkets in larger towns and the decline of the small community store. He quickly thought that local cooking traditions would change, so he explored what he could of available items such as saltfish, cod tongue, britches, partridgeberries and bakeapples. So this is an exploration of Newfoundland's culinary history by an inspired cook and academic. Other typical products and foods of the time were pork buns, turrs, watered fish, and damper bread. Each is carefully explained by Pickavance who interviewed hundreds of cooks, especially those who grew up in the colonial period before 1949. This collective memory is augmented by more than 300 recipes from the families. There are also some primer sections on food preservation and prep techniques. Chapters are arranged by course and/or ingredient: breads, soups, dumplings, cod, other fish, shell fish, fresh meat, preserved meats, wild meats, dairy, vegetables, puddings-pies-cakes, and other desserts. He's got a list of formal names of animals and plants with their common names. There is also a concluding bibliography of other cookbooks and memoirs. Scattered throughout are good archival black and white photos of people and places and also of adverts. An appendix details the contents of community stores up through 1918 (based on adverts), and includes fruits, veggies, dried foods, tinned foods, breads, dairy, cheese, eggs, flours, meats, bacon, beer and wine.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are some tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: Newfoundlanders, culinary historians, libraries.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: stuffed lamb hearts, fillet of sepia and macaroni, one-two-three-four cake, orange and m=lemon marmalade, pan-fried cod cheeks, beef and kidney pie, Jiggs' dinner, Indian meal cake, white bread leavened with barm.
The downside to this book: The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, notwithstanding that metric was not really used before 1970. Today's cook still needs conversions.
The upside to this book: well-written and express, never a dry style. A major contribution to Canadian culinary history.
Quality/Price Rating: 93.

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