Food That Really Schmecks
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336 pages

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In the 1960s, Edna Staebler moved in with an Old Order Mennonite family to absorb their oral history and learn about Mennonite culture and cooking. From this fieldwork came the cookbook Food That Really Schmecks. Originally published in 1968, Schmecks instantly became a classic, selling tens of thousands of copies. Interspersed with practical and memorable recipes are Staebler’s stories and anecdotes about cooking, Mennonites, her family, and Waterloo Region. Described by Edith Fowke as folklore literature, Staebler’s cookbooks have earned her national acclaim.

Including this long-anticipated reprint of Food That Really Schmecks in our Life Writing series recognizes the cultural value of its narratives, positing it as a groundbreaking book in the food writing genre. This edition includes a foreword by award-winning author Wayson Choy and a new introduction by the well-known food writer Rose Murray.



Publié par
Date de parution 02 août 2009
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781554587926
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0037€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for our publishing activities.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Staebler, Edna, 1906-2006.
Food that really schmecks : Mennonite country cooking as prepared by my Mennonite friend Bevvy Martin, my mother and other fine cooks / Edna Staebler. - 3rd ed.
(Life writing series) Includes index. ISBN -13: 978-0-88920-521-5 ISBN -10: 0-88920-521-3
1. Cookery, Mennonite. 2. Cookery, Canadian. 3. Cookery - Ontario - Waterloo (Regional municipality) i. Martin, Bevvy. ii. Title. iii. Series.
TX715.6.S69 2006 641.59713 44 C 2006-906195-5
2007 Estate of Edna Staebler
Foreword 2007 by Wayson Choy
Cover and text design by P.J. Woodland.
Every reasonable effort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to the publisher s attention will be corrected in future printings.

Printed in Canada
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.
About the Author
Foreword by Wayson Choy
Introduction by Rose Murray
Those Mouth-Watering Mennonite Meals
The Twin Cities with Schmecks Appeal
Some Drinks, Wines and Punches
Meats, Fowl and Fish
Sweets and Sours
Brunches, Lunches, Suppers and Leftovers
Baking with Yeast
Biscuits, Muffins, Quick Breads and Fat Cakes
A Cake in the House
Pies and Tarts
A Variety of Things
And Finally
Measurement Conversion Table
Born in 1906, Edna Staebler, award-winning literary journalist and author of twenty-one books, lived in Mennonite country north of Waterloo, Ontario. Her first book, Cape Breton Harbour (1972), documented the people and history of this small fishing village; her last, Must Write: Edna Staebler s Diaries , was edited by Christl Verduyn and published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Her Schmecks series of cookbooks became outstanding bestsellers, including More Food That Really Schmecks and Schmecks Appeal .
A recipient of the Order of Canada, Edna won the Toronto Culinary Guild s Silver Ladle Award in 1991, and she was the first winner of Cuisine Canada s Lifetime Achievement Award (which is to be known as The Edna in perpetuity). Edna established a writer-in-residence program at the Kitchener Public Library and the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, a national award presented annually to encourage first- or second-time published authors. This award is administrated by Wilfrid Laurier University.
Edna died on September 12, 2006, in her 101st year, after participating in the judging of her award.
Wayson Choy
A Living Document for Living Well, or How to Taste Life in the Olden Ways
What a pleasure to know that Edna Staebler s Food That Really Schmecks will continue to be an inspiration to both cooks and readers alike. The author is not a professional chef with foreign credentials in search of the exact ingredients for some exotic fare, but a singular writer who, in the 1960s, recorded over seven hundred Mennonite recipes from the Kitchener-Waterloo County district. The work still sets the highest standard among community-centred cookbooks.
In fact, this unusual volume is not only a cook s reference work but also a reader s delight. For Edna Staebler ended up with much more than a collection of homespun recipes with tagalong bits of information. Busy cooks who love reading and thoughtful readers who rarely go near a stove, like me, have all felt that something more resonates beyond these pages. Perhaps a clue is found in the lingering delight she leaves us, for example, in the way she interweaves anecdotes and frank, matter-of-fact commentary about the recipes. On the preparation of asparagus, she says,
You probably know more about preparing asparagus than I do.
Doesn t matter that your answer might be yes: you read on because her narrative voice is compelling.
But I do want to tell you: never throw away the water your asparagus was cooked in.
And we read on, knowing that one can open the book anywhere and hear that trusted voice giving frank instructions, often freely noting details that read like the sauce of an untold story: To begin the particulars for making Bevvy s Butternut Squares, the author pulls us aside:
Have you seen any butternuts lately? When we were kids Daddy used to take us into the country, stop our Briscoe at the side of a bush and we d wander around till we came to a butternut tree with sticky green nuts lying under it. At home we d spread the nuts on papers in the attic till they became hard and dry, then Daddy would open them for us with a hammer.
One almost hears the hammer cracking down.
I like to think that something more in her work has to do essentially with the same storytelling force that animates these genres we only think about in literary terms: short stories, novels, biographies, even creative non-fiction; those works with dramatic characters involved with living their lives in plotted landscapes. Books that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Cookbooks and recipe collections would be excused from such literary intentions.
Yet I wonder if Food That Really Schmecks isn t worthy of some kind of literary notice.
Certainly characters (personalities) occupy this cookbook. Edna Staebler can t help herself. She observes the living, takes part in their community lives; and if the central stage or arena is the kitchen, devoid of any major plot line, who is to say that her recipe book does not signal a special genre that has escaped the academic criteria of a classic work of literature. For here in these pages are characters we glimpse among those seven hundred recipes: they tenderly exist in a world that Edna Staebler has recreated and rendered timeless. Here Wende Machetzki, the darling bride, still sits in her Provident Mennonite bookstore and tells us about her favourite cake recipe:
I don t call it carrot cake because people don t want to even taste it then. I call it Wednesday cake or whatever day of the week I baked it on.
Staebler is a born storyteller, deceptively weaving into her no-nonsense attitude towards the ingredients of recipes an unconscious reflection on the decency of people. I doubt if she was aware that she was using recipes as her decoy to attract us into her understanding of those deeper values she is devoted to, and which she witnessed in action in the now historic kitchens of family and friends. Here and there she illustrates the active trust bestowed upon the other, the loyalty not to betray intimate tales, the generosity to share what has been treasured, and the warmest affection even for the imperfect.
Having said how much this work seems a piece of literature to me, I remarked at her one hundredth birthday party before her overflowing crowd of admirers, what would have transformed Canadian cookery- if only .
If only Edna had lived in Vancouver, I said, and visited the Chinatown kitchens of immigrant families like the Choys in the 1960s, and if only she had written down those Old China recipes that were passed along for generations to my mother and my two favourite aunts, Mary and Freda-none of you today would be without soy sauce or a seasoned wok in your kitchen. And all of you would be using chopsticks at Sunday dinner.
But Edna never had the chance to visit Chinatown.
I envy any community that has been so gently and faithfully recorded by a writer like Edna Staebler. She intended only to share the gift of good cooking with us; instead, she transcended her purpose through her own astute character and innate talent, and left us to acquaint ourselves again and again with a breathing, living world.
Edna Staebler
Before you read any further I must warn you: I have absolutely no qualification for writing a cookbook except that (a) I love to eat, (b) my mother is a good cook and (c) I was born, brought up and well fed in Waterloo County, Ontario, where the combination of Pennsylvania Dutch-Mennonite, German and modern cooking is distinctive and wonderful good.
Like most older Waterloo County mothers, mine made sure her three daughters would not be helpless in a kitchen. She told us what to do and we did it. Mother cooked as her grandmother did and when we three were married we cooked the same way. Our husbands seemed to think it was fine-thrifty, appetizing and plentiful. But whenever company was coming we frantically scrambled through cookbooks to find recipes we thought more impressive than our accustomed, easy-to-make local dishes.
I was in a panic the first time I invited some rather special people from Toronto to have dinner at our cottage on Sunfish Lake, near Kitchener-Waterloo. They were prominent writers and editors-with their wives-who frequently travelled all over the world, ate in sophisticated dining rooms, talked and wrote columns abo

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