Stay warm with warming recipes from Manitoba archives

Cold weather is a constant feature of Manitoba living. Fortunately, so is tasty, warming food to cheer yourself up as you soldier through it.

Dig into archival Manitoba recipes

An archival image of a New Year's feast at the home of John Monias from Christine Hanlon's book, Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens. (Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens)

Cold weather is a constant feature of Manitoba living. Fortunately, so is tasty, warming food to cheer yourself up as you soldier through it.

To honour that past and keep yourself busy, a dig through the archives yields a handful of recipes from yesteryear that will let you take a tour of the past without leaving the house to get to a museum.

"When you think about it, the food that we eat today came from somewhere, right?" said Christine Hanlon, who wrote a book collecting traditional local recipes and stories called Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens.

"It's such a cultural thing. We share it with other people, it's part of every of getting together with other people. It's part of culture and passing on culture."

Cooking recipes from Manitoba's past helps people appreciate the work and technique of generations gone by, Hanlon said.

​​"I think we live our lives so fast now and I think things were a lot slower back then," she said. "That's a beautiful thing about cooking. I think it makes you slow down your life a little bit. I think we need more of that."

Here are three recipes of yore to keep you warm this winter.

​Quick ginger cheese bread from A Bread … for all Reasons by Manitoba Hydro

Starting in the 1940s, a series of Manitoba home economists named Elizabeth helped promote the use of electricity in the home through the latest in electrical appliances and recipes, according to Bruce Owen, a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro.

The original, Elizabeth Goulding, was part of the Farm Electrification under the Manitoba Power Commission, Owen said. Goulding was followed by Elizabeth Thomas, who passed the torch to Margaret Elizabeth Munro in 1950.

A note on the back of the Manitoba Hydro cookbook A Bread... for all Reasons invites Manitobans to reach out to Elizabeth for expert advice on homemaking. (A Bread…for all reasons/University of Manitoba Archives, Margaret Pugh collection)

"Three more 'Elizabeths' followed and the name became synonymous with the job description," Owen wrote in an email.

When Hydro was created in 1961, Elizabeth's role expanded to include guest appearances on TV, radio and in newspapers. By the '70s, she was visiting schools to do presentations on electrical safety and efficiency.

This recipe, a quick ginger cheese bread, comes from the University of Manitoba archives, in an undated booklet from Manitoba Hydro's Elizabeth called A Bread … for all Reasons.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sifted flour.
  • 3½ teaspoons baking powder.
  • 3 tablespoons sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon ginger.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.
  • 1 cup milk.
  • 1 egg.
  • ¼ cup butter.
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese.

Directions:

Step 1 — Preheat oven to 375 F.

Step 2 — Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, ginger and salt.

Step 3 — In a separate bowl, beat egg well. Stir in milk, melted butter and one cup of cheese.

Step 4 — Make a well in the dry ingredients and add liquids all at once, mixing lightly until just combined.

Step 5  — Spread batter evenly in prepared eight-by-eight inch pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Step 6 — Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Step 7 — Cut into squares and serve warm with butter.

Boulettes (meatballs) from Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens by Christine Hanlon

​Hanlon said this Métis recipe for meatballs is one of her favourites. The gravy is made by boiling down the liquid from cooking the meatballs, and Hanlon said she was surprised at how easy and effective it is.

Hanlon said it's important to honour Indigenous culinary knowledge and heritage in Manitoba, which she said helped shape cuisine for settlers, too.

The recipe should make enough for six people.

Ingredients:

8 cups of water.
2 pounds of ground beef, moose or deer.
3 large onions, diced.
6 medium carrots cut in pieces (optional).
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters (optional).
Flour.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

Step 1 — In a large pot, bring water to a boil, adding salt and pepper, along with carrots and potatoes, if using.

Step 2 — Mix ground meat and onions, forming two-inch balls, and roll in flour.

Step 3 — Drop meatballs gently in boiling water, then lower heat and simmer for one hour.

Step 4 — Mix two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl, then add four tablespoons of the cooking liquid and stir until dissolved.

Step 5  — Add contents of the bowl to the pot and stir until thickened.

Lentil barley stew from Labours of Love by Villa Rosa

Winnipeg's Villa Rosa has been around since 1898, when it was founded by a group of nuns called the Misericordia Sisters as a shelter for pregnant women.

This recipe isn't nearly as old as that: it comes from a cookbook put together by staff and residents of the centre in 1978. The book, called Labours of Love, can be found in the Margaret Pugh collection at the University of Manitoba archives.

Former Villa Rosa executive director Sister Marie Cecile de Rome stands with former advisory board chairman T.A. Easton in this archival shot from the Sept. 3, 1966, edition of the Winnipeg Tribune. (Winnipeg Tribune/University of Manitoba Archives)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup margarine.
  • ¾ cup chopped celery.
  • ¾ cup chopped onion.
  • 6 cups water.
  • ¾ cup lentils.
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes.
  • ¾ cup barley or brown rice.
  • 2 teaspoons salt.
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary.
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt.
  • ½ cup shredded carrots.

Directions:

Step 1 — Saute margarine, celery and onion in large pan.

Step 2 — Add water and lentils and cook for 20 minutes.

Step 3 — Add remaining ingredients and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

Step 4 — Add carrots and cook for five minutes. Serve.