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Cookbook featuring historic Nova Scotia recipes an international award finalist

Nova Scotia Cookery - Then and Now, is a top three finalist in the Culinary History category at the Gourmand International Culinary Awards in Macao, China
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Nova Scotia Cookery - Then and Now (nimbus.ca)

As the director of Nova Scotia Archives, Patti Bannister never thought she'd be involved in a potentially award winning cookbook, but that's just what's happened.

Nova Scotia Cookery - Then and Now, is a top three finalist in the Culinary History category at the Gourmand International Culinary Awards in Macao, China.

The book is a collection of historic recipes that have been given a modern twist courtesy of Nova Scotia chefs.

Bannister told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show it grew from a web-based project, which had compiled over 1,000 heritage recipes from a variety of sources.

"Some of them coming through from early garrison records, where these were recipes that would have been produced for soldiers," she said. "Also recipes that would have been in people's home kitchens, written out in family papers and collected in that manner."

"As well as some of the earlier newspaper supplements that would have been produced through recipe competitions and those sorts of things."

Those involved in the book -- including editor Valerie Mansour -- sorted through that online database, then sent a shortlist to Taste of Nova Scotia member chefs.

"They could then choose recipes that really spoke to them, either because their areas of culinary interest or the particular communities they represented ... they reinterpreted them and recreated them for a modern kitchen to form the basis of what is now this cookbook," Bannister explained.

"We were very impressed with how the chefs interacted with those original recipes, and within the text of the book, they were able to detail what their experience of the recipes had really been like."

The end result is a book with full-colour photos from photographer Len Wagg of over 80 recipes, including classic seafood dishes, favourites like brown bread and baked beans, along with items like Irish potato pudding, rabbit stew, Gaelic fruitcake, and rappie pie. 

Books from 170 countries and regions are participating in the international awards, which honour the best in food and wine books, printed or digital and food television.

An awards ceremony will take place on July 3.




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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