Meet the Author
This cookbook is a collection of recipes compiled by the members of the Y.W.C.A. who solicited recipes from women living in and around St. Thomas at the time. The Y.W.C.A was a popular association for young women in St. Thomas. Several Canadian towns and cities had branches of the group, which was related to the well-known Y.M.C.A. (Young Men's Christian Association). The Y.W.C.A. had many functions; in smaller communities, they offered young women the opportunity to gather together and socialize. In larger cities, the Y.W.C.A. provided respectable housing to young, unmarried working women. Of the local women who contributed to the cookbook, most who included their name with their recipe were married or widowed. From the Canadian federal census, we can learn some details about these women's lives. The woman in the attached image, Mrs. E.A. Smith (Ruthe Eliza) lived in a household where her breadwinning husband earned a whopping $10,000.00 a year. Most families lived more modestly, such as Mrs. Margaret A. Strong, whose husband only earned $800.00 a year. For the most part, the women who contributed recipes to the Y.W.C.A. cookbook were not listed as wage-earners in the census. At the time, the majority of people living in and around St. Thomas were of European descent, mainly English, German, and Scottish. Most households were Christian and attended the Baptist, Presbyterian, or Anglican churches.