Tasting the past: Ruth Ann’s cherry crunch

Close-up of cherry crumble

Ruth Ann’s Cherry crunch.

I’ve been trying to get back into the blogging routine after a long hiatus. A Tasting the Past post seemed fitting to rekindle the habit. Ruth Ann’s cherry crunch comes to you courtesy of a hand written recipe from the wooden box.

The recipe itself is quite simple: it’s a cherry crumble. Also, it calls for store bought cherry pie filling. But we’re in Ontario and in the middle of summer where fresh produce is abundant. Foodland Ontario’s – a program part of the province’s ministry of Agriculture and Food – slogan boasts “Good things grow in Ontario”…  In other words, it would wrong to not make our own cherry filling.

We had several sour cherries left over from the week before. We also had about half a pint of currants that were kicking around in the fridge that would ultimately be put to good use. continue reading


Tasting the Past – Flora’s Chocolate Molasses Cookies

Voilà! Flora's molasses chocolate cookies.

Voilà! Flora’s molasses chocolate cookies.

Searching the battered blue notebook for a dessert last to bring over at friends proved to be quite intriguing. Flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon four variations of a molasses cookie. I opted for the one that contained chocolate.

This would prove to be quite the kitchen experiment: only the ingredients were listed. There was no method… none whatsoever. I would have to wing it, conduct a bit of research, tweak the recipe if need be. continue reading

Tasting the Past: Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie on a blue platter.

Brutalism meets baking: Boston Cream Pie

I’ll be honest, it has taken some time to get into gear and actually start cooking for the blog again. However, as soon as I stumbled upon the Boston cream pie recipe in larger notebook, I knew, that’s this was the recipe I wanted to try to get the ball rolling. I’ve tasted some from the bakery or restaurant and had the odd doughnut by the same name, but I’ve never baked a Boston Cream Pie. I was quite excited. continue reading

A New Chapter for Tasting the Past!

Bird's eye view of two notebooks and a bunch of recipe cards

Tasting the Past: 2014 edition. New finds

Last year, an old wooden box was introduced into my kitchen. It prompted some culinary time travel thanks to a bunch old school recipes that were chronicled here under the Tasting the Past label.

I’m pleased to say that this journey back in time through food will continue. Over Christmas, my partner offered me two hard covered notebooks filled with many more handwritten recipes. Once again, it will be interesting to chronicle this culinary experience. continue reading

A new year: rediscovering the joy of blogging

Ham and a sliced fig

Holiday ham: fig and balsamic glazed ham


It has been so long. Feels a little strange to be posting – especially after such a long hiatus (4 months!). A new year means new beginnings. Time to start fresh and rekindle with the joy of blogging again.

At the beginning of last year, I had a semi decent run for a couple of months. Then, things obviously slowed down quite a bit. Procrastination may have got the better of me. Can’t blame anyone but myself for that. continue reading

Tasting the Past: Suella’s Brownies

Brownies on a plate topped with raspberries

A piece of Suella’s brownies topped with raspberries.

After spending most of the summer out and about or prepping dinner by grilling away on the barbecue, this lazy Labour Day afternoon proved to be the right moment to revisit the wooden box of culinary treasures. It has been weeks since I had taken a peek at it. A handful of recipes had been singled out previously, but none seemed right for the day.

I stumbled upon a folded piece of paper with a brownie recipe with the inscriptions “Suella”, and “Very good” on the top right of the page. There seems to be another two words on the sheet of paper, but I can’t seem to make them out.

An old wooden recipe box with a recipe

Revisiting the wooden box for a Tasting the Past post.

Another interesting detail about this recipe is that I finally may have found some information about the potential original owner of the box. The recipe was written on Circle B Equip. Co. stationary. Even the address of the company was listed: Buffalo Prairie, Illinois. A quick search on Google shows that this community is located about four hours West of Chicago. Finally, a clue as to where this recipe box may have come from. I’ll have to continue sifting through the box for more clues.

Back to the recipe… After thoroughly following the list of ingredients and instructions, I was a little unsure of the outcome. This was based on a little mishap that occurred while trying to remove the brownies from my Pyrex dish. Pieces of the brownies had broken off. I had thought that the texture of the brownies was perhaps more apparent to a chocolate cake. Luckily, upon tasting, the texture felt right. Worried for nothing!

The recipe called for some icing. It was the right time to put my mother’s tried and tested quick icing recipe to work. It simply calls for icing sugar, butter, water and liquor. I simply added a bit of cocoa and voilà!



  • 2 cups of sugar
  • ¼ cup of cocoa
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup of flour
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of baking powder


  • Preheat oven at 375 °F
  • Mix sugar an cocoa together. Stir in melted butter, add eggs and vanilla.
  • Mix well and add dry ingredients.
  • Stir in nuts.
  • Bake at 375 °F for about 25 minutes
  • Top off with favourite icing.

Quick chocolate icing


  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup of cocoa
  • 2 tbs of water
  • 2 tbs of liquor (or orange juice)
  • 2 tbs of melted butter


  • Mix all of the ingredients until smooth.
  • Serve with fruit or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream
a bowl of brownie batter and eggs

Labour Day labour of love: brownies.

Tasting the Past: Ruth Jones’ Custard Pie

Bird's eye view of the cooked custard. The raspberries form the shape of a heart.

Putting some heart into it. While the custard pie cooked, the raspberries made a heart-shaped formation.

It has been a while since I’ve shared at Tasting the Past post, so this post is long overdue. Glad to get back in the kitchen, braving the heat of the over and the Toronto

I had singled out this recipe weeks ago, but never got around to doing it. Summer calls for a light, cool somewhat fluffy desserts, I guess custard pie fits the note just fine.

Ruth Jones’ Custard Pie recipe card had very little information to go on. The card only listed the ingredients and one single instruction: “Bake at 350° F”, no time, or anything. Having never baked custard, a little bit research proved necessary. continue reading