The LaHave Cook Book: A Collection of Tested Recipes in Cookery and Housekeeping was published in 1912 in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The cookbook shares easy, delicious, and accessible recipes ranging from breads, to puddings, to cakes, and pickles that housewives can add to their kitchen arsenal. Many recipes rely on common ingredients like flour, butter, eggs, molasses, and milk, which were accessible to most middle-class women during the early 20th century. The book reflects the traditional culinary practices of Maritime settlers, many of whom were immigrants from the British Isles. The cookbook’s foreword indicates that it will teach "to high-class cookery the way." It undoubtedly served as a valuable resource for the previous owner, who has many notes scribbled throughout that comment on the success of dishes, ingredient substitutes, and the quantity produced.
Noteworthy are the 42 advertisements contained within the book, selling everything from bicycles, to pianos, sewing machines, steel range ovens, to men’s fishing attire. Indeed, the town’s proximity to the LaHave River and the Atlantic Ocean meant that fishing, seafood, and boat manufacturing industries required men’s labour, while women were largely responsible for domestic tasks and homemaking.
Altogether, this historical artifact offers a targeted glimpse of life in Bridgewater in the early 1900s. The recipes provide clues about food availability, culinary preferences, and women’s skillset in the kitchen. More broadly, the cookbook provides insight into the economic, technological, and societal processes that were shaping this small, yet mighty, waterfront community.