North Bay is part of cottage and summer vacation country well North of Toronto. So that means the area has the more hardy North country inhabitants as well as its own industries and identity. This is Manitou country – what the Algonquin Indians refer to as the spirit and balance of nature in life. Manitou also means such cities as North Bay, French River, Mattawa and Sudbury. It sometimes means a trip to Algonquin Park or some of the reaches of Lake Nippising or Lake Kipawa – hollowings from the granite and rock of the Canadian Shield .
I enjoy the people, the sights to see, the fishing and camping to do and certainly such local fests as Sudbury’s Northern Lights Boreal Fest or the Blueberry Festival in mid July. And North Bay has Summer in the Park or the Dragon Boast Festival, both in August.
So I was intrigued by the recent issue of an updated cookbook by the Manitou Chapter IODE – that is the International Order of the Daughters of the Empire. One of the delights of my trips through Canada is the opportunity to sample the local cuisine.
Most of the time this is the fun of sampling the cooking at recommended dining spots and the occasional repaste at a friend’s place. But of late I have taken to cooking with a vengeance (lots of lost opportunity time to make up), and so cookbooks that catch the local fare and favorites are now a major book finding game.
And to a bit of my own surprise Tried and True quickly got adopted here at home. So it not only turns out to be one of those nifty finds but has some real recipe gems that get folded over, spilled upon, and otherwise marked by appreciated use. As my father used to say – the best compliment for a recipe, design or tool is that it gets copied and used – and over again. The next best compliment is that it starts to stimulate all sorts of creative possibilities. “You start to make it your own by adding your own custom touches”. Well that is the nature of Tried and True.
First let me tell you this cookbook passes the sweets test – pies, cookies,cakes, muffins and all are resplendent within this cookbook. This is no small deal because in the Battle of the Bulge, I am determined to have the best of confections if I am to become a casualty of cooking actions.
In the recipes list to the left one can see and virtually catch a sprig of the fragrance wafting up warm from some of these sweet and savory goodies.
Here is a bit of savoury that may catch your fancy: Cantaloupe Peach Conserve.
Its made of 5 cups of diced and peeled cantaloupe, 5 cups of diced peeled peaches, 3 medium sized lemons and 5 cups of sugar.
Combine cantaloupe and peaches into kettle.Grate bright outer rind of lemons into mix, then squeeze the lemon juice in. Add sugar and let stand for 1 hour to let the sugar dissolve. Then heat to the boiling point stirring to prevent sticking. Pour into preserving jars. Now shhh, secret, I have added my own twist to this recipe – and its adds my own zest.
Of course that is the fun of cooking. Recipes become your own with custom changes to taste. That is why salads, dressings, and condiments catch my fancy. By offering your guests a selection of each at say a Sports Night In, you let them combine and customize to their heart and tastes desire.
And Tried & True has some dressings and condiments that really smack of saucy . Here are two favourites.
Poppy Seed Dressing combines 1/3 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1/4 tea spoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoon of minced onion.
For the vampirish, there is
Garlic Salad Dressing
2 large garlic cloves minced, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, pepper to taste, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar. Mix well adding oil and vinegar last. This will clear out clogged arteries if not old boy friends.
And let me assure readers there are lots more including Bleu Cheese dressing, Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Balsamic Dressing among others. The latter makes a great topping with Pork Roast Rio Grande. There are many Main Meal recipes for those looking for a hearty dinner or weekend barbecue feast.
In fact, that is one of the key attractions of the Tried and True Cookbook. The recipes are organized by dining occasion such as Sunday Brunch, Afternoon Tea or Main Event. At the back there are a series of menus for a variety of scenes and situations: Tree Trimming Party, Apres Ski, Bridal Shower, Summer Patio lunch. Each has its own menu drawing upon the book’s recipes.
The index in the back makes it easy to find each of the recipes. The book comes with a ribbon tied to its backbone for handy use as bookmarks. If interested you can order this cookbook directly from the Manitou IODE. for $30 Canadian plus shipping. The funds accrued from the sale of the book are used for a number of Manitou IODE charitable causes.