BC Women’s Institutes Centennial Cook Book

I’ve been trying retro cooking from 1958 recently. Silver Star Mountain Resort, 22 km. from Vernon, BC is celebrating 60 years of resort development this year and The British Columbia Women’s Institutes Centennial Cook Book was published in 1958. It included contributions from women throughout the province and provides a picture of how and what people were cooking and eating.  I’ve taken on a project to cook several 1958 dinners.

Some of the foods my dinner guests have enjoyed so far are Salmon and Almond Casserole Deluxe, Stuffed Pork Chops, Porcupine Meatballs, and Sweet and Sour Spareribs. Vegetables have been peas and carrots or peas and celery. Coleslaw rather than tossed green salad was common. Jellied salads were also popular although I haven’t had the courage to try them yet with my guests. Almost all the meat recipes included canned condensed soup of some type. Salt and pepper were the main seasonings. Casseroles were common. I have appreciated the few ingredients and simple preparations that the recipes require.


Desserts from the 1958 cook book were puddings, pies, and lots of cakes and cookies. My favourite dessert so far has been marble cake that harkens back to my childhood. I have made small cakes and served slices with ice cream and fresh fruit.

Retro cooking has been fun. My guests have joined in the spirit and our dinner conversation easily flows to where we were in 1958 and the kinds of foods we remember eating with our families.

Retro cooking is a large part of the new CBC TV series this summer: Back in Time For Dinner (www.cbc.ca/life/backintimefordinner). This is well worth watching for remembering the fashions, technologies, and design that were part of our lives in each decade for families in Canada.


Coleslaw and Pork Chops