Showing posts with label traditional recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traditional recipes. Show all posts

Friday, April 2, 2021

A recipe for Old Time Pork Cake, just in time for #FoodwaysFriday!

We want your old North River, Conception Bay, recipes for a community heritage book!  You can email a photo of your recipe to or drop off a copy to Mayor Joanne Morrissey at the Town Office.

Old Time Pork Cake

1 cup finely ground pork

1 cup hot strong coffee

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon each of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs well beaten

⅔ cup of molasses

3 cups sifted flour

2 cups raisins

1 cup currants

2 cup mixed peel

Place pork in bowl. Pour hot coffee over it and let stand until cold

Sugar spices and soda - stir into pork and then add well beaten eggs and molasses.

Two tablespoons of flour over fruit, add raisins

Flour to the pork mixture, stirring until well blended

Add the floured fruit. Use a nine or ten inch baking pan and line it with three layers of brown paper.

Bake at 275° for about three hours.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Living Heritage Podcast Ep080 The Haggis Lady

This episode of Living Heritage is all about that controversial Scottish delicacy, haggis, the chieftain of the pudding race. And who better to guide us through the culinary history and folklore of haggis than Newfoundland’s own “Haggis Lady” Jennifer Whitfield? Jennifer was raised in Glasgow, lived there till she was 25, then boarded the second voyage of the QEII and sailed away to the new world. She moved to Newfoundland in 1976. She’s been making haggis since 1981, and has made haggis locally for the Burns Night supper, and ships her haggis across Canada.

In this delicious podcast, we talk about what exactly goes into a haggis, how she got started in the haggis-making business and how she became “The Haggis Lady,” what makes an excellent (or terrible) haggis, the folklore and mythology of the haggis, and her recent activities in mailing haggis to needy pudding lovers across North America.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

From Pliny to Placentia Bay: The Folklore of Vinegar. #folklorethursday

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot
Fast as he could caper,
He went to bed to mend his head,
With vinegar and brown paper.

The traditional “Jack and Jill” rhyme we learned as children dates back at least to the 1700s, and exists with a number of different verses and variations. What we are focussing on today is that second verse, with the reference to the vinegar plaster. An earlier version, noted in The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, goes:

Up Jack got, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper;
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.

The idea of patching your nob with a vinegar plaster goes back a long way. Greek physician and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90 AD) included vinegar in a cure for headaches in his five-volume De Materia Medica. Dioscorides was employed as a medic in the Roman army, so I suspect he knew a thing or two about bumps on the head (and hangovers, for that matter). The idea was supported by Pliny the Elder, who encouraged the use of a vinegar plaster as a cure for snakebite and scorpion stings. Vinegar as a headache cure persisted for a couple thousand years, ending up in children’s rhymes. Well into the modern era it was a common practice in areas without sophisticated medical care, and still survives as a home remedy today. In a 1946 article in Decks Awash, Victor Butler writes,
Many years ago when people lived in the harbours and coves of Placentia Bay, they were without medical assistance in time of sickness and accident. This was one of the prices liveyers had to pay for living in isolation. However, in all the communities first settled, there resided from one to three middle aged mothers who were skilled in administering to the needs of the sick and suffering. Some were more skilled than others in using the limited amount of available remedies to cope with the different ailments. In later years I have given much thought to how those very intelligent, although illiterate women, acquired the skill to use the different roots, leaves, barks and buds of trees and plants in a suitable manner to ease the pain and discomfort of people suffering from so many different ailments. The majority of settlers in the Bays and Harbours migrated to Newfoundland from England, Ireland, Scotland and the Channel Islands. They must have been aware of the different remedies mentioned and then passed the information along to their descendants.
Butler then goes on to list various traditional healing concoctions. Two of those involve vinegar:
7. White liniment —- Equal parts of spirits turpentine and white vinegar were combined with the whites and the shells of two eggs. 
8. Brown paper and vinegar — Brown paper saturated with cold vinegar was placed on foreheads for headaches.
Dame-Dob-of-the-nursery-rhyme was, apparently, of the same school of traditional medicine as Butler’s three middle-aged Placentia Bay mothers.

Today, we are more likely to use vinegar on our fish and chips. Even that custom has its own traditions and folklore.

According to a 1980 article by Susan Coen, the 1953 Avalon Telephone Company phone book had one listing under "Chip Service" for St. John’s -- Ron's Snack Bar, Lime Street. In an interview with Ron Martin, son of the original owner, Martin noted this about vinegar:
The vinegar, fast foods don't even think about vinegar. But vinegar is a very important thing to fish 'n chips. It's got to be brown and it's got to be mixed vinegar. Little packages of that white vinegar, we just don't even use on fish 'n chips. It sounds foolish, but it's a fact. Brown vinegar. I drink it. I actually drink it. Yeah. Every hour I usually have a handful of brown vinegar.
Today in St. John’s, a new generation of vinegar-makers is emerging. Janet Harron is the proprietress of Wild Mother Provisions, a food company specializing in artisanal vinegar and the traditional baked goods of Britain and Ireland. Harron currently sells at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market and her beer-based vinegar (technically alegar) is also available at Rocket Bakery and other retailers in downtown St. John’s.

“We are looking for stories about the use of vinegar in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Harron says. “For example, do you remember a vinegar plant in your house when you were growing up, a home-fermented vinegar made from toasted bread, molasses, yeast and water? What was it used for? Do you remember eating vinegar pie? Or a vinegar drink sweetened with molasses?”

Harron notes that this vinegar drink dates from the 18th century and is called “switchel” or "Haymakers’ Punch" in United States, not to be confused with Newfoundland and Labrador switchel, which refers to tea left boiling on the stove all day.

What are your vinegar memories, or pieces of vinegar folklore from your community? Did you have a vinegar plant? Let us know! Comment below or email

Works Cited:

Butler, Victor. Angels of Mercy. Decks Awash, vol. 05, no. 05 (October 1976): 14.

Cohen, Susan. “Fish ‘n Chips” in St. John’s. Culture & Tradition, vol. 05 (1980): 43-54.

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Monday, April 17, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Easter Buns with Betty Rumbolt

On March 31st, 2011,  Melissa Squarey interviewed Betty Rumbolt about her tradition of Easter Buns. Rumbolt is originally from Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland.

In this interview she talks about her first memories of the baked good, Easter celebrations in Upper Island Cove, the tools used in making Easter Buns, when they are prepared, and some specific memories tied to the tradition. Rumbolt goes into detail about how to make the buns as well as referencing differences in recipes and alterations made within the family. Rumbolt speaks to the tradition of baking goods among the women in her family, and concludes by speaking about the importance of traditions in families.

Listen their chat about Easter buns here.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Abir Zain's Baklava for #FoodwaysFriday

Finished product!
Abir Zain leading the baklava workshop.
Today on the blog we feature Abir Zain's baklava recipe and share the results of last month's baklava workshop. This workshop, which sold out overnight, was led recent immigrant Abir Zain, who is new to province and has recently started making baklava. Abir explained that when she lived in Syria she never learned how to make baklava as she was easily able to purchase the sweet pastry in many local shops. Since her move to Newfoundland Abir has been unable to find the dessert and has created her own recipe based on family recipes from her mother and mother-in-law. Abir's baklava uses homemade cream cheese in addition to chopped pistachios and syrup.
Heritage Foundation Executive Director, Jerry Dick, measures and cuts the phyllo pastry for baklava.
In early March the Heritage Foundation worked with Abir to offer a baklava workshop to showcase this traditional pastry which is being baked and shared in the province today. Twelve participants came out to learn how to make their own baklava and were joined by a video crew from CBC.
Phyllo pastry with homemade cream cheese - ready to be folded!
Abir started the workshop by explaining how to prepare the phyllo pastry with melted ghee and how to properly cut the squares necessary to create the traditional triangle shaped dessert. Abir then went through the process of making homemade cream cheese and whipped up a batch to cool in the freezer. While the cream cheese was cooling Abir demonstrated how to make the syrup which is spread over the pastries as a finishing touch. The participants then placed a dollop of cream cheese in their pasties and shaped the baklava into triangles.
Abir showing two participants how to shape the pastry.
Michael Philpott and Dale Jarvis of the Heritage Foundation trying to lit the propane oven.
While there were a couple of technical difficulties lighting the propane oven once these were taken care of the baklava was placed in the oven at 350' F for 20 minutes. During this time folklorist Dale Jarvis sat down with Abir to discuss traditional Syrian food, what food she remembers from her childhood, and the types of food she cooks and bakes for her family of seven.
Abir Zain talking food with folklorist, Dale Jarvis.
Once the baklava had baked for 20 minutes it was broiled for a short time to colour the top of the pastry. Then the syrup was spread over the pastries and crushed pistachios were sprinkled on top! The finished product looks beautiful and tastes amazing! Abir has been taking orders for her baklava and is hoping to soon sell the pastry at the local St. John's Farmer's Market.
Abir Zain with several baklava workshop participants.
If you would like to see the full recipe please click here to download the recipe!

Or if you want to see CBC's video clip from the event and watch Abir in action see below!

Be sure to let us know in the comments what other traditional workshops you would like to see in the future.
A huge thank you goes out to CBC for coming out to the workshop and filming this video of Abir! ~Terra Barrett

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Traditional Bread and Jam making workshop in Pasadena, July 23, 2016

Strawberry jam, fresh made bread, and heritage: a perfect combination!

Our friends at the Pasadena Heritage Society are starting up a series of traditional skills workshops, and their first one is happening on July 23rd, as part of the the Humber Valley Strawberry Festival.

You'll learn how to make bread and strawberry jam from scratch! The workshop is only $5 and is open to all ages. For more information, and to register, contact

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Two more Newfoundland recipes for #mustardpickles (and one from Niagara Falls!)

Our ongoing quest for mustard pickle recipes continues. First up is from Jason Sellars, who writes, "This recipe comes from my mom and is made annually by the case from ingredients grown from her vegetable garden in Winter Tickle, Newfoundland. Try finding that on a map, I dare ya! Way better than any store bought."

5 lbs green tomatoes
2 small cucumbers
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
2 1/2 lbs onions
1 head cauliflower
1 small cabbage

1/2 cup flour
1 cup vinegar
2 tbls tumeric
2 tbls dry mustard

Cut vegetables in small pieces and soak in water and 1/2 cup salt overnight.
Drain and add:
2 cups vinegar
4 cups white sugar
Boil for 45 minutes.
Add paste gradually to thicken.
Place in sterile bottles.


Next we have a recipe from Sheila Cooke, who writes, "This is my late husband's recipe with comments (in parentheses)."
WAYN'ES MUSTARD PICKLE RECIPE using a food processor

(Note: I double dry mustard, and put all veggies except cauliflower through French fry blade on processor. You choose.)

Step #1
Use a stainless steel or granite enamel bowl

3 quarts cucumbers (baby dill size) sliced like bread & butter pickles
1 large head cauliflower--broken into tiny flowerettes
3 - 4 large yellow onions
1 large Jalapeno pepper, cut fine (wear rubber gloves as these have oil that skin sucks up)

Salt all above with 1/2 cup pickling salt and let stand over night (or all day)

Step #2

After standing time passes, drain well and rinse well using sieve.
1 bunch celery cut to preference (I slice across the stalks)
4 large sweet red peppers, chopped (I use pimentos if they are available)
8 cups white sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) white vinegar
2 1/2 cups water Use half the water to blend 4 tblsp dry mustard
1 scant tblsp turmeric
1 1/2 tblsp mustard seed
1 1/2 cup flour into paste to thicken the juice
Boil 20 minutes, stirring constantly.

Seal in sterilized pint jars. Let sit in jars at least 1 month before using--if you can wait this long. Enjoy!


News of the 2016 Pickle Crisis has spread far and wide. Wendy Lechner writes, "I just read of the mustard pickle crisis in Canada. Here’s my grandmother’s recipe. She lived in the Niagara Falls, Ontario area. Unfortunately she never wrote down her recipe for butter tarts." Here is her recipe:


6 quarts

1 quart large cucumbers, cubed
1 quart small cucumbers, whole
1 quart silver-skinned onions
1 quart green tomatoes, chopped course
2 red sweet peppers, chopped fine
1 large cauliflower, broken into small pieces

Brine solution

1 quart water
½ cup canning salt


6 tablespoons Coleman mustard
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
2 quarts vinegar

Place clean, prepared veggies in crock.
Cover with brine solution. Let stand 24 hours.
Bring to boil in same solution. - (make sure the whole batch is up to boiling temp, but don’t boil for very long - it makes the cukes too soft.)
Make dressing: mix dressing ingredients thoroughly and cook until thick.
Stir in pickles and heat thoroughly, BUT do not let cukes get soft.
Place in jars. Process

Obviously, I need to do some butter tart research next... - Dale

Monday, March 7, 2016

We asked for your favourite mustard pickle recipes. Look what we got!

We put out a call over the weekend for your favourite mustard pickle recipes, and a couple people responded immediately! If you have a recipe you want to share, you can email us your version at

One of the delights of recipes, as any cook will agree, is the story that often accompanies the recipe. The first two recipes emailed in were no exception!

The first recipe I received was from Elizabeth Winter, who writes, “Have not made this for years since I am now 88, but found it in my old tattered files. I now buy my pickles from Belbin’s or Jocelyn in The Square. There was a similar recipe in the Spencer Club Cook Book but we were Prince of Wales girls in the fifties sharing our mothers’ recipes.” Here is Elizabeth’s recipe:

5 lbs of green tomatoes
2 1/2 lbs pearl onions
1 large cucumber
1 large cauliflower
2 bell peppers

Cut up veggies and soak in brine of 1/2 cup of salt (pickling salt if possible) in water to cover over night.
Drain and rinse.
Add 2 1/2 pounds of sugar to 1 quart less 1 cup of vinegar. Boil 20 minutes
Make a paste of 1 cup of flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of mustard powder and 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1 cup of vinegar.
Boil 10 min.

Our second mustard pickle recipe comes from Marian Dawe, who says “I've made these for years now and people always want them again… Around 15 years ago, I found this in a ‘Bye D'Bay Cookery" recipe book that I had in my collection. The book itself has no date on it and I am thinking it was sold sometime in the late ‘70s or ‘80s. The forward says the recipes were collected by members of Micron Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi whose members live along the shore of CBS. They were fundraising for community projects.” The recipe is attributed to Brenda Skinner. Here is the recipe, with Marian’s notes:

MAIME'S MUSTARD PICKLES (I've halved the recipe. This makes 4 pint bottles.)

3 cups peeled, cubed, and seeded cucumbers
1 head of celery, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar

Place the above in pot, bring to a low boil, and simmer slowly for 1/2 hour.

3/8 cup flour, i.e. 1/4 cup + half of 1/4 cup
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric

Mix the flour, mustard and turmeric with about 1/4 cup of cold water to make a paste. Add to the vegetables and stir to combine. Simmer slowly for 3/4 hour. Bottle right away.

And one more recipe! Food blogger Liz Feltham has shared a classic recipe from her late late mother-in-law’s copy of The Treasury of Newfoundland Dishes on her blog here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Traditions at Risk - Saving Traditional Mustard Pickle Recipes! #mustardpickles

As some of you may have heard, mustard pickles under the Zest and Habitant labels have been discontinued by producer Smucker Foods of Canada Corporation. Mustard pickles are an important part of Newfoundland and Labrador foodways, and people have been upset!

Of course, there are other options for pickle lovers (Belbin's makes mustard pickles, as does the Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory).

Numerous people have responded on social media saying, "I'm not worried, I make my own mustard pickles."

So here at the intangible cultural heritage office, where we are always thinkings about traditions in flux, we want to help! We want YOUR mustard pickle recipes! In the tradition of sharing and transmitting knowledge about local foodways, we will share those recipes and get people making pickles the old fashioned (and maybe new-fashioned?) way!

You can send your family mustard pickle recipe to:

and we'll share them on

Let's get pickling!

- Dale Jarvis

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nan's Cookbook: Tea and Talk

Recipe for Seven Cup Pudding, provided by Natalie Austin.
This recipe belonged to her grandmother on her mother's side,
 Lily Butt of Carbonear/Old Perlican. 

This past Friday the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office hosted  Nan's Cookbook: Tea and Talk at The Cupids Legacy Centre. It was a lovely afternoon where we invited people to bring out their favorite old cookbooks and recipes and share their memories of cooking and baking.

Along with Mary Ellen Wright, Professional Development and Outreach Officer with the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, we provided advice on scanning and preserving these documents for long term access and how to best preserve the original cookbooks and recipes, which for many are family heirlooms.

Spanish Cream Recipe provided by Linda Saunders.
This was her mother's recipe and Saunders notes,
 "We used to have this with fruit and jelly for dessert on Sundays."