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Purity Cook Book: Getting nostalgic about food

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How an old cook book got our editor thinking about some of her first recipes


Over the holidays, I got a copy of the Purity Cook Book: The Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking. It was the one cookbook we had growing up that was used so often, dough and food stains permanently marked its dog-eared pages. I always preferred baking, so the cookies, cakes and dessert recipes were my first experiments in cooking.

Many of you, of course, are familiar with this book. Some of you posted on our Facebook page that you still had your copies, which were handed down from parents or received as wedding gifts.

I spent an afternoon looking through this book and got a little nostalgic. Most of the recipes I try now come from online sources, with the Joy of Baking and the Food Network being my two favourites. But I think I will look through the Purity Cook Book and get cooking (and eating) during the cold winter months.

Here are a few of the recipes I plan on trying. Some I’ve made before, while others will be for the first time:

Pineapple upside down cake: I loved making this as a kid. It looked quite impressive when it was done, but included ingredients we almost always had in the cupboard, except for maybe the cherries. Maybe this time I will try some of the moderations, including peach upside down cake, or maple pear upside down cake.

Baked Alaska: I have never tried this one, but it always seemed like a challenge I wanted to try. When you’re a kid, ice cream rarely sits in the freezer long enough for you to do anything with it besides put it on a cone. But baking ice cream? How do they do it! Besides, who doesn’t love ice cream and cake all smothered in meringue? This recipe serves 12, so I will have to invite guests to join me in eating it.

Fudge, of any kind: This cookbook has recipes for maple fudge and chocolate fudge. Fudge, like any candy, needs to be cooked to a certain temperature for best results. I never used a candy thermometer: there was something more scientific about the “cold water test” of dropping a bit of the candy mixture into a glass of cold water to see what form it takes. That shape will give you the approximate temperature and therefore tell you if the candy is done. I think this was my favourite part of making fudge. I still don’t own a candy thermometer!

Share your favourites with me and I will give them a try!


East Coast Living