This last summer I had a bit of a mania for looking for old-school cookbooks in secondhand shops. My rules were simple; I was not allowed to buy any books that:
- depend on name recognition to sell (i.e. no celebrity chefs or bloggers);
- were published to promote a product or brand; or
- capitalized on a food trend or diet.
It’s pretty surprising how few books were left over after that, which suits my lack of shelf space just fine.
I found a faded and well-used copy of Edna Staebler’s second book, Schmecks Appeal, in a thrift store in Edmonton earlier this year, and the title amused me so much that I had to have it. It turns out that she wasn’t just a random person collating the recipes of Waterloo-area Mennonite women, either — according to the Wikipedia entry for her, she won a respectable set of literary, journalistic, and other awards, including the Order of Canada, and also founded the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction.
All of the above wasn’t on my mind when I pulled out her recipe to use up a zucchini roughly the length and girth of my entire lower leg; I just saw a welcome way to avoid wasting home-grown vegetables. That said, I’m a little tickled that this humble recipe has such a distinguished author.