My name is Pam and I grew up in the 60s and 70s on classic Canadian comfort foods. This was a time when regular Sunday sit-down roast dinners were mandatory, and homemade food was pretty much the norm. Even as a kid I was fascinated by cooking and figuring out recipes – and was always hanging around the kitchen.
I originally started writing HomeSpun Cafe as a personal printed cookbook about 10 years ago to document the recipes I had developed or learned over the years. This info was initially put together for family and friends to read – but mostly for me to be able to have one place to find all my recipes.
As I started documenting our families favourite dishes, I realized I was starting to build quite the collection that reached back to my Mom’s classic recipes, traditional dishes passed down from my grandmothers and great-grandmothers and new ones that I was discovering.
One source of inspiration was my Mom’s old classic recipe book simply titled ‘Cook Book’ that is 1280 pages of alphabetically listed recipes. It’s like an antique cooking encyclopedia and my Mom was given this book as a shower gift back in the early ’50s. It’s such a sign of times with the oddly coloured photographs and dishes that reflect a totally different era. This book holds lots of memories as there are crayon marks on pages from when my sisters and I were little that you know were my mom’s favourites to make. And now – I still reference it for many of my classic go-to baking recipes and have repeatedly used throughout my life. It’s now stained with my ingredients – and always a little dusty from flour.
In my younger days, I also got some great intel about food prep and creating classic recipes from working in a variety of restaurants. From Danish creperies, Scottish pubs to Italian fine dining and even classic roadhouses, I learned a lot of food tips and recipes from hanging around the kitchen just watching the chefs, or doing food prep for appetizers and desserts, making cocktails and even foaming up lattes! Many of the recipes I use today were inspired by dishes I discovered and served at these places.
Around that same time of life, I was also pouring over Canadian food publications like ‘Canadian Living’ cooking magazines and of a course the wonderful ‘Food and Drink’ seasonal mags published by the LCBO. All had amazing food photography of succulent looking dishes that always inspired me to make the recipe or experiment with slightly modified versions of my own. I have kept a library of these mags, and continue to use them today for inspiration, and just like my Mom’s book, you can easily tell where my most used recipes can be found.
So Homespun Cafe is really about capturing a lifetime love of recipes and food. Many of the recipes in this blog could be classified as classic ‘comfort food’ and everyday meals that cover a wide variety of tastes. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as I have had documenting them, and that maybe you will find a new classic to add to your collection!