Vintage recipes


IMG_2616Andrew’s Mom, Shirley, passed away a couple of weeks ago, so it has been a sad time, as well as a time to share memories about her.

In the course of spending time with family, my sister in law gave me Shirley’s recipe collection, a box stuffed with clippings and hand-written recipes. I love old recipes – they always make me wonder about all the stories behind them- and so I brought out my own grandmother’s recipes and took a look through them too. It was fun to compare the cocoa cake of Grandma Blacklock (attributed to “Maria”) and Shirley’s recipe for chocolate cake from “Aunty Becky”. Although one was from Saskatchewan and one from Montreal, each recipe is slim on details and has a surprisingly small amount of cocoa/chocolate.

Andrew’s brothers have fond memories of eating the chocolate cake years ago so I made the recipe….hmmm, it was not good in my mind and although they were very polite, I think Ian and Jamie agreed that it was not up to their memories. Maybe I baked it too long or maybe my refusal to use Crisco messed it up too. Anyway it was fun to try it and I may well make another attempt, reducing the baking time, sticking with butter…

People don’t write out recipes anymore…there are so many recipes widely available online and in books, with step by step instructions on how to make them. I guess that is great but I think the personal nature of these handwritten, batter-splattered recipes is also pretty cool.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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