Published in 1902 as a promotional tool for the Hamilton Coffee and Spice Company in Hamilton, Ontario, this cookbook encourages readers to use the company’s products, including McLaren’s Invincible Extracts and McLaren’s Invincible Baking Powder. The condition of this cookbook suggests it was well-used by its previous owner(s). It is rich with promotional material for McLaren’s products, offering a glimpse of a consumer industry that developed in Canada as a result of industrialization. Of note, this book also contains ephemera from its previous owner(s), including hand-written recipes and newspaper clippings.
Hamilton was a major Canadian hub of industry in the late-nineteenth century, especially steel production. Both the Collection of Choice Recipes book and the Hamilton Coffee and Spice Company were directly tied to Hamilton. The McLaren products, for instance, were named after John McLaren, mayor of Hamilton from 1909-1910. The book also contains a section dedicated to helping cooks understand the differences between “traditional,” non-standardized measurements and the new, mass-produced measuring cups and spoons. Here we see evidence of how industrialization not only standardized business practices, but the kitchen as well.
Collection of Choice Recipes: Celebrated Cooks. Hamilton, Ont.: Hamilton Coffee and Spice Co., c. 1902. Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library