The Cookbook Shelf

Savella Stechishin

In response to a blogging suggestion from Feeding on Folly – What does Your Bookshelf Say About You: I got no further than the Cookbook Shelf and this book – Traditional Ukrainian Cookery by Savella Stechishin. The Car Guys sister, by remarkable coincidence, had just asked us if we still have this cookbook.

The answer is yes, we still have it – the 9th edition (printed in 1976). This book was first published in 1957 by Trident Press Ltd in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Car Guy looked it up online, and found out that used copies are for sale on various sites for as little as $35 to as much as $400!

Savella Stechishin’s Traditional Ukrainian Cookery is to Ukrainian cuisine what Julia Child’s cookbook is to French cooking.
– Vera Krycak –

Savella Stechishin did much more than write a cookbook! She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1930 – the first Ukrainian woman to receive a degree there. She taught in Saskatchewan schools, was a home economist for Women’s Services at the University of Saskatchewan and lectured at the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She also gave Ukrainian language courses at Saskatoon’s Mohyla Institute, where she was dean of women. She co-founded the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1989.

The Car Guy’s heritage is Ukrainian and Swedish. This has introduced a wealth of interesting recipes to our family. My culinary repertoire was blandly vanilla in comparison!

What is the most dog-eared, well used, loved, recipe book in your kitchen?

9 thoughts on “The Cookbook Shelf

  1. I still refer to “The New Purity Cookbook, A Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking” that I received as a shower gift for my (first) marriage (in 1972). My mother had an even older copy that I’d referenced as a teenager learning to cook; this was a gift from her. I couldn’t find a publication date but the Foreword starts with, “Ever since our first cook book, published more than fifty years ago, Canadian homemakers have come to regard the Purity Cook Book as the authority on food. We feel certain that this all new edition will achieve the same recognition in the years to come.” At the back there’s a page full of coupons you could cut out and send to the publishers in Toronto to purchase a copy “As a birthday present, bridal “shower” gift, Christmas remembrance, or bridge prize” – the price? $1.25 each (“cash or money order, Canada only”).

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    • The original edition of this book was published in 1967 and ‘The All New Purity Cook Book’ is a reproduction of the original and is available on Amazon! Isn’t that cool!? What would you say was a really typical ‘Canadian’ recipe?

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        • When I lived in Qatar and had to contribute a ‘Canadian’ dish at a luncheon, I brought Nanaimo bars. No mean feat to find suitable ingredients in a Middle East country, I can assure you.

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  2. The cookbook put out by our Hull Christian Grade School when my boys were students there. I purchased enough that each son got one when they got married. They were pretty excited by that as they told their brides that they had been raised on the cookbook.

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  3. Oh hey, thanks for the shout-out!
    That sounds like a great cookbook. Back in Phoenix, we knew a Ukrainian family who had us over every Christmas Eve for their traditional feast. I think there were seven courses and the first one was some sort of pudding made with wheat berries. Actually, it tasted better than it sounds!

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    • When my sister-in-law asked if we still had the book, I gave it to her (after copying out the recipes we use most.) If that doesn’t get me a gold star from the ‘In-law’ who can cook anything, I don’t know what will!

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