In the 1960s, Edna Staebler moved in with an Old Order Mennonite family to absorb their oral history and learn about Mennonite culture and cooking. From this fieldwork came the cookbook Food That Really Schmecks. Originally published in 1968, Schmecks instantly became a classic, selling tens of thousands of copies. Interspersed with practical and memorable recipes are Staebler’s stories and anecdotes about cooking, Mennonites, her family, and Waterloo Region. Described by Edith Fowke as folklore literature, Staebler’s cookbooks have earned her national acclaim.
Including this long-anticipated reprint of Food That Really Schmecks in our Life Writing series recognizes the cultural value of its narratives, positing it as a groundbreaking book in the food writing genre. This edition includes a foreword by award-winning author Wayson Choy and a new introduction by the well-known food writer Rose Murray.
''One of the best-loved, quirkiest cookbooks ever published in Canada, Food That Really Schmecks is by Edna Staebler....Its charm hasn't stale-dated; the recipes are homey and local (long before urban sophisticates considered that a virtue), featuring such timeless dishes as Schnippled Bean Salad and Shoo-fly Pie. As much a snapshot of a way of life as a book of recipes, Food That Really Schmecks is infused with Staebler's keen observations, anecdotes and a frank, no-nonsense approach.''
''This book's major joy is Staebler's writing style. She doesn't treat food as something to revere or fear--food is to be eaten and enjoyed. Her chatty, humorous, and no-nonsense narrative leaves readers feeling as if they are reading a letter from a dear friend. She also includes conversations from Bevvy Martin's family, such as her introduction to the Sour Cream Raisin Pie: 'Be reckless, forget about calories; you won't get this Pennsylvania Dutch speciality very often. Tell that to your guests.'''
''Interspersed with Staebler's true stories and anecdotes about cooking, Mennonites, her own family, and daily life in Waterloo region, reciptes in Food That Really Schmecks range from Crusty Chicken Potpie to Beet and Red Cabbage Salad to Porridge Bread, Maple Custard, Emanuel's Dandeline Wine, and much more. A mouth-watering medley of country home cooking recipes that pass the test of time with flying colours.''