If recipes are a form of memory, then leafing through Whistler Recipes is as fun a flashback as a scrapbook you stumble upon in the basement of your best friend from high school and as informative as a midden — in this case, one made of food that’s part local, part true-blue Canadiana right down to its multi-cultural roots.
Published by the Whistler Museum & Archives Society as a fundraiser back in 1997, it’s still available today at Rogers’ Chocolates. You can also get it and a second release, Festive Favourites , at the museum. Either way, you support the museum and its good works and get a living slice of history that’s perfect for Canada’s birthday and ensuing get-togethers, or those beyond.
I mean, with a recipe like Maggot Annie’s Pie Crust (page 103), how can you go wrong? All the recipes were submitted by people connected to Whistler or the museum and this one, submitted by Ruth Gallagher, is the undisputed winner for the recipe with the wickedest name. (Turns out it produces a great pie dough that can withstand many a bruise or other indignity, a quality no doubt useful to someone with a lifestyle like Maggot Annie must have had.)
But before you get serious about something for dinner, flip to “A Christmas Make You Can Cake” that takes a bottle of whiskey, a few checks of it for tonsistity, a bobblespoon of brown sugar, the straining of your nuts and a lot of wixing mell. Wexing mill?
“Yes, we had a good laugh over a few things that got in here,” says Florence Petersen, founder, past-president and long-time supporter of the museum and the main instigator behind Whistler Recipes . She first came to Whistler Valley in 1955, building a summer cottage with fellow school teachers.
Florence was also one of the lucky hikers so enthralled with the beautiful summer evening in August 1958 that they forgot all about the beef stew they had cooking in a billy can dangling from a stick over the campfire, forever naming the spot Burnt Stew Basin.
Besides the fun (like Dinosaur Stew, “a crowd pleaser”, found on page 139), the cookbook stands as testament to Whistler lifestyles and trends in cooking. Case in point: the Seven Bean Casserole, submitted by one “88-year-old lady”. With its reliance on canned goods and lack of expensive meats or other perishable ingredients, it’s typical dinner fare for 1940s mountain cabin dwellers up on vacation or out on a fishing or camping trip in the great Canadian wilderness, a time before refrigeration, corner grocery stores or even a highway out of the valley.