Read this brave little reprint and realize what Canadian gastronomy sprang from. The 1967 edition of The All New Purity Cookbook
was the latest of a sequence of competent promotional texts sponsored by the same company that began publishing them in 1917 and continued to do so through several editions until it amalgamated itself out of existence in 1961. From first page to last, the reader of this book is in a time warp. The recipes come from kitchens of a more homogeneously WASPy Canada, with instructions (despite the subtitle's claim of completeness) for only six pages of vegetable dishes and preparations with such names as "Barbecued Supper Surprises" (chicken in foil steamed over coals, with veggies), "Cheese Dreams" (broiled, crustless bread fingers topped with cheese), or the politically incorrect "Chinese Chews" (date-nut bars rolled in confectioner's sugar). Oh yum yummy.
As Elizabeth Driver points out in her introductory note, some successful recipes and other hints have been carried down through the years, notably the methods for baking bread and biscuits. She's right, of course. These haven't changed much since 1967, or since the first edition of this text for that matter. Given the overwhelming amount of information about baking that is available today, beginners would be wise to choose this simple little book instead of the huge, glossy, expensive volumes that cram bookstore shelves. Some cooking fashions change for the better, however. We know more now about how other cultures feed themselves--and some of them really do eat more healthily and interestingly than Canadians did 40 to 80 years ago. Use The All New Purity Cookbook for retro parties and for having fun and imagining life in Granny's day; you'll be wise to stick to the baked and roasted items: the breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, and the big cuts of meat and fish. --Ted Whittaker
The Purity Cookbook is a Canadian classic, part of the cooking tradition that I grew up with. (Jean Pare)