Throwback: Harrowsmith

HarrowsmithWhile en route through Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast, my companion lured me into the local thrift shop. After contemplating some teacups and rather adorable silver creamers I came across an intact copy of the Harrowsmith Cookbook (Volume I of III) for a loonie. I couldn’t resist tossing it into the back of the car, and pulling it out this week on a rather unseasonably chilly evening by the fire. The Harrowsmith Cookbook takes me back to my country childhood on a hobby farm. Instantly I recognized recipes we made as a young family, and realized that the banana muffin recipe I continue to use came from this book. Its earthy, uncomplicated recipes were submitted to Harrowsmith Country Life magazine by readers from all over the country. While some recipes still irk the child in me (snapping turtle soup anyone?), I am looking forward to visiting some of the baking classics and trying out the preserves section this summer. Each recipe has the name of the contributor appended, along with their locale and often endearing introductory comments. And the line drawings found at the beginning of each chapter are a nice throw back to a time before avant-garde food photography. This recipe for cardamom muffins caught my eye:

Cardamom Muffins
(Jody Schwindt, Burlington ON)Preserves chapter

1 ½ cups raisins
¼ tsp mace
2 tbsp brandy
2 tsp grated orange rind
orange juice to cover raisins
¼ cup oil
½ cup honey
2 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup wheat germ
¼ cup bran
1 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp allspice

Cover raisins with mace, brandy, orange rind and juice and let sit overnight. Mix oil and honey, add eggs and milk and stir well. Combine remaining ingredients and add to egg mixture. Fold drained raisins into batter. Bake at 400° F for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! xo

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7 Responses to Throwback: Harrowsmith

  1. mark says:

    we had this cookbook too!
    i think it would have been fun it was named “Harrowsmith’s Greatest Hits”

  2. janet a.k.a. MOM says:

    I bought this Volume I in the Fall of 1978 when I was a lab student at KGH in Kingston. Thank you for ‘jogging the memory banks’ with wonderful memories of baking and cooking in our country kitchen in Seeley’s Bay.

  3. Sherry says:

    I purchased the Harrowsmith Cookbook volume 1 for my father (who loved to cook) in the late seventies, and when he passed away, my mother gave it to me.
    I have used many of the recipes from this book, and to this day, I still use the sole florentine recipe.
    I wish I also had volumes 2 & 3.
    This is a classic cookbook, and I’m glad others feel the same way.

  4. Susan Toye Froh Barker says:

    I have had the 3 Harrowsmith cookbooks for years! In spite of having moved many times (the last time I culled my cookbooks, getting rid of 50+), I have always kept those. They speak of down home style cooking… real comfort food!

    The submitter of that recipe, Jody Schwindt, was a classmate of mine in Ontario. I have always wondered what happened to her. Maybe she will see this post and find me in Nova Scotia, where I now live. :)

  5. thedandizette says:

    I completely agree, one glance takes me right back to childhood in the country, baking and farmers markets. That is such a fantastic link to Jody, the recipe author. I hope you two reunite somehow, I also wonder what she is doing and if she is still having fun in the kitchen. Thanks Susan!

  6. Erin says:

    I bought the first two cookbooks in the 70’s when they were new. My fave recipes are the butter tarts, perfect every time and I don’t add nuts or raisins…they taste just like m grandma’s, pecan pie and quiche. Every recipe is easy and perfect. I taught myself to make pickles from book 1. I recently went to amazon and found book 3 and bought it. It wasn’t expensive. You can get all three together I one book as well.

  7. thedandizette says:

    I would love to make pickles, I remember eating homemade pickles as a child. And butter tarts are such a Canadian sweet treat. A dear friend sent me some this past Christmas. Glad to hear you still use these culinary tomes!

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