My About

My name is Carolyn and I have been intrigued by The Berlin Cook Book for many years. There are only a few known copies and it is a bit of a mystery as to what charity the cook book’s revenue supported. It was published in 1906 by the Berlin News Record.

The city of Kitchener where I live will celebrate one hundred years of cityhood this year. In 1912 the town of Berlin Ontario became a city and just a few years later was renamed Kitchener. I thought it would be interesting to use a local cook book available at that time in an attempt to capture a little of the atmosphere of 1912. My goal is to prepare at least one recipe each day from The Berlin Cook Book. I don’t have a wood or coal fired stove at home but will endeavour to prepare a recipe as authentically as possible in every other way.

I’ve been working in museums and historic sites since 1986. Most have been in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region and I’ve become familiar with a variety of time periods including the 1840s, 1856, 1891 and 1914 and a few industrial histories including alcohol distilling, oil refining and agriculture. I spent a few summers making noon meals on a woodstove a few days a week. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to cook in a historic era every day for an entire year.  This blog will be a record of my attempt to cook from The Berlin Cook Book and to find out more about its contributors.

24 Responses to My About

  1. Laurie says:

    Cool! I like your blog name: 366 Days with the Berlin Cookbook. Sounds like your own version of Julie and Julia. What are you going to call your movie when you get famous? Carolyn cooks in Canada’s Berlin? Historical cooking with Carolyn in Kitchener? Cooking with Lard? Carolyn curses historical cooking after 366 days with the Berlin Cookbook? Bahaha.

  2. Hi there Carolyn. Thanks to Laurie I happened upon your site. I will follow you too. We are a ‘foodie’ house so I am intrigued to see what kind of recipes you make.

  3. Susan Morgan says:

    I heard about this website whilst reading an article in The Record. I love looking through cooking books, especially the old ones. It would be great if this one could be re-published and include in it the background of each of the persons behind the recipes that you have spent so much time tracing. I will definitely be following your blog.

  4. Tracy Koide says:

    Carolyn, Wow! What a great project! I was on FB checking out Laurie’s pictures from your trip to Africa and saw her post about your blog! I am going to try the tea biscuits. They look great. Looking forward to reading more . . .
    Tracy Koide (Laurie’s old neighbor in Tokushima)

  5. Dan Glenn-Graham says:

    Hi Carolyn! I am a Councillor in Kitchener and working on the 100th anniversary of Berlin committee and suggested we look into partnering with you.

    Please contact Jeff.Young@Kitchener.ca to discuss the cookbook and how we may work together. I look forward to meeting you!
    Dan Glenn-Graham, Councillor, Ward 10

  6. Laurie says:

    Finding recipes according to food type on your blog:

    I see that it is easy to find recipes according to a key ingredient. I wanted to try one of the cake recipes on your blog, so wrote “cake” in the “search” field at the top right corner. I tried it with “pork” and got the recipe for baked beans and another for apple catsup. In the latter, you had mentioned that it would go well with pork.

    I was wondering how I would use your blog as a cookbook since blog entries are categorized by month, but the search engine solves that problem.

  7. Linda says:

    Saw the article about your blog in today’s “Hamilton Spectator”. It caught my eye as my father was born in “Berlin” (his bith certificate even says so!); it’s interesting to see what his mom might have been cooking in those days!

  8. Hi Carolyn,
    After seeing the article about your efforts in The Record, I have been following your posts. I am a Kitchener blogger with a keen interest in History and Canadian cookbooks. Just wondered if you are taking photos of your cooking? Hope so! Please drop by my blog if you wish.
    Hermits are one of my all-time favourites since my Mother used to make them. I substitute black currants for the raisins but the end result is tasty!

  9. Colleen Carter says:

    Hi Carolyn – I stumbled on your blog while doing some research on my great grandfather, Henry G Moebus, brother to Lydia Moebus-Diebel. Thanks for including some personal info about the recipes from the cookbook. Very interesting. I have virtually no information about relatives in the Kitchener area, so your comment about Mrs. Diebel was most welcome.

    • Marg Clarkson says:

      Hello Colleen: I am doing some family history research for a friend who is also descended from Henry G. Moebus. Please contact me at my email address and perhaps we can share information.

  10. Amy Scott says:

    Carolyn,
    We are planning for the 2013 Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus event at Fort York. The date is February 23rd. We were wondering if you would be interested in giving a talk about your experiences cooking (and blogging!) from the Berlin Cookbook, with a focus on citrus-y recipes, naturally.
    We can pay for your travel expenses as well as for any ingredients if you prepare any recipes for samples (which attendees love!).
    Amy Scott
    Vice President, Culinary Historians of Canada

  11. Dawn says:

    I just came across a copy of the original 1906 Berlin cookbook in my collection and was curious about it so decided to see what I could find out about it. That search lead me to your site. Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

    • It is wonderful to learn there is another copy out there! I know of four or five in archives and four copies in private hands. You are now the fifth! Would you mind saying if you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo area or elsewhere? And how you came across it? I’m trying to determine how far they traveled.

      The Berlin Cook Book is a bit of a mystery which is part of the reason I wanted to work with it. It is a community cook book created in the town of Berlin, Ontario and published by the printing branch of a local newspaper called the Berlin News Record. In 1912 the town of Berlin became a city and then in 1916 the name changed to Kitchener. The newspaper is still in business and its name has changed many times.

      The Berlin Cook Book was supposed to be a fundraiser but I don’t know for what project or organization. I’m still trying to discover it. I’ve ruled out some things. I’ve been exploring the people providing recipes too. The women (and a few men) contributing recipes come from all economic and social backgrounds. They attend a variety of churches from most of the main stream Christian denominations. They are of all ages.

      The newspaper that published the cook book has been microfilmed … except the 1906 editions.I’d never been able to find out when the cook book became available in 1906 as the competing newspaper never mentions it. Just recently a bound copy of all the editions of the Berlin News Record for January to July 1906 was rediscovered in a local archives. I was able to look at it and found an ad for the Berlin Cook Book. It appeared in June and was available to buy at a minister’s house and a hardware store!!! I think this help explain why it wasn’t very well known.

      Anyway, congratulations on having a mystery cook book in your collection and thanks for letting me know about it. I hope I’ve answered some of your questions. I’m giving a talk about it at the Ontario Women’s History Network on April 6.

  12. Hey Carolyn, i’m doing a research project on a typographer Ferdinand Theingardt (1820-1909). i’m particularly interested in his life c1880-1890, the social situations he would have been involved in and the food and drink he would have experienced in Berlin during this time. could you help in any way?
    best
    Courtney

    • Hi Courtney,

      Somehow I missed replying to your comment. Your project is probably complete now. I wish I could help but I imagine you are talking about Berlin Germany rather than Berlin Ontario Canada. If Mr Theingardt was from my Berlin then I’d be happy to help if you still need the information.

  13. Paul Taylor says:

    Carolyn. What is your email? I would like to get in touch with you about your project and perhaps filming some of the recipes you create.

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