The St. Thomas Y.W.C.A Cookbook is a collection of recipes from women living in the small community of St. Thomas, Ontario, in 1908. The cookbook features a wide variety of recipes, including some recipes that are still popular today, such as Yorkshire Pudding. The recipes included in the cookbook suggest that the "nose-to-tail" mentality was popular at the time due to the number of recipes that utilized animal organs and less desirable cuts of meat. It is important to note that some of the ingredients included in the cookbook would have been considered exotic for the time, but St. Thomas had ready access to railway lines, so locals would have been able to procure foodstuffs grown or manufactured far away. 

The Y.W.C.A. (or, Young Women's Christian Association) created this cookbook for sale, in the hopes that its proceeds would help with the building of new facilities for the association. The cookbook's contents provide important insights into the common foods that would have been served in and around St. Thomas, and southern Ontario generally at the time. There are several recipes in the book that are repeated, demonstrating their popularity as each contributor had her own take on the dish. Overall, this cookbook is an exciting source of food history for what it shows about foodways in southern Ontario in the early 20th century. 


The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: