There are many perks to being a food writer: free samples (often), groveling service in restaurants (sometimes) and cookbooks, lots and lots of cookbooks. But, my favourite perk? Being friends with other food writers because, that way, there’s a good chance of being invited over for dinner.
And, if those invitations come from either Rose Murray or Elizabeth Baird, all the better. They’re two of the best cooks in Canada and I’ve been a fan (and a friend) of both for a long time. These two stalwarts of the Canadian food scene have, between them, authored or edited more 40 books (I think I have most of them!). Close pals for more than three decades, they’ve finally written a book together and Canada’s Favourite Recipes (Whitecap) is a doozy.
I got to know Elizabeth and Rose when I was food editor of Homemaker’s magazine. Elizabeth worked for the opposition (she was food editor of Canadian Living) but we didn’t let that get in the way of enjoying each other’s company! Then, as now, Rose was a freelance food writer and I fell for her recipes early on. During my eight-year tenure at Homemaker’s, I think Rose wrote at least one story for every single issue of the magazine. Possessing a fabulous palate and a nit-picky eye for accuracy, Rose’s recipes were the stars of the magazine’s food section.
The 160 recipes in Canada’s Favourite Recipes run the gamut from Ukrainian Borscht through Jamaican Jerk Chicken to Puckery Lemon Squares, telling the story of Canadian food through the eyes—and taste buds—of not only Elizabeth and Rose but of other fine cooks and chefs from across the country. Almost every recipe comes with a story that makes this a cookbook you’ll want to curl up with. Former Chatelaine food editor Monda Rosenberg’s first encounter with a carrot cake, and food writer Marie Nightingale’s tale of battling a neighbour’s cows in her vegetable patch are two of my favourites.
Holiday Must-Have Cookbook
Elizabeth and Rose are just finishing up an entire week of appearances on CTV’s Canada AM, a great coup and an unprecedented honour in the annals of Canadian cookbook promotion. If you missed them, check out the video clips here. And, if you buy no other book this holiday season, call The Cookbook Store and treat yourself or a foodie you love to a copy of Canada’s Favourite Recipes.