Recipes from the 19th-century The Cook Not Mad; Or Rational Cookery book

Explore Ontario’s past through recipes from the first English-language cookbook published in Canada.

The Cook Not Mad; Or Rational Cookery was first published in 1830 in Watertown, New York, and was reprinted in Kingston, Ontario, in 1831. Today, it is considered Canada’s first English-language cookbook.

This historical cookbook is an excellent record of everyday life for settlers living in Upper Canada (now known as Ontario) in the early 19th century. The recipes in this cookbook were collected and published to help new immigrants to North America adapt to unfamiliar environments, climates and ingredients that surrounded them. These recipes were influenced by many different cultures, with contributions from First Nations, English, American, Italian, French and Middle Eastern cuisines.

This cookbook is an example of how food knowledge and traditions were developed and adapted through time. It is both a historical record of older traditions, and the beginning of a new cuisine emerging from the colonization of Canada.