The Canadian Receipt Book was published by the Ottawa Citizen in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation. It is a small book at only 15cmx10cm, but has over 500 recipes. It appears the compilation of recipes was made to help the new immigrant to Canada adapt to living in an agrarian community as it contains a variety of recipes ranging from food preparation to health remedies to information about farm animal diseases. The book also has over 100 advertisements from businesses operating in and around Ottawa.
The recipes in the book include food and wine preparation, as well as recipes for dying cloth or wool yarn. Toiletry recipes for items like toothpaste and pomatum for hair are also listed. "Housekeepers’ Recipes" are for minor cleaning chores around the house and there are also home remedies for bites and stings. The section on diseases of various farm animals and their remedies occupies the most number of pages in the cookbook. The "Miscellaneous Department" includes instructions for washing clothing, followed by recipes for preserving fruit and meat. The last section of the book is about beekeeping.
There are many terms in the cookbook that are not commonly spoken today. The title of the book includes the word "Receipt" which is an archaic form of the word recipe. As well, in the book, there are recipes for different types of "Fools" such as Apple Fool, Orange Fool, and Gooseberry Fool. From reading the recipes, they sound like a custard as they include a fair amount of milk and cream that was boiled and then cooled before eating. Another recipe name that is perplexing is "Flummery." One meaning of the word is empty compliments or nonsense, while another is a sweet dish made with beaten eggs, sugar, and other ingredients. The recipe in the book for Flummery consists of oatmeal that has gone through a soaking process where water is poured away and then replenished.
There are no images of food in the book but there are many images associated with the advertisers. For example, there are images of a vintage camera with an accordion folding lens in the advertisement page for E. Spencer, Photographer, and an image of a grand piano for the Ottawa Music and Fancy Goods Store.