Taste: Recipes from Prince Edward Island's Best Restaurants


82 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55109-570-X
DDC 641.59717





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.


This small collection hovers between a recipe book and a souvenir, with
the latter successfully dominating. Although few in number, the 28
recipes include entrées and desserts, meat and seafood dishes,
traditional maritime fare, and dishes introduced to Prince Edward Island
from other cultures.

The book has a feeling of reluctance, of a none-too-graciously-given
look at P.E.I. cuisine. The subtitle suggests the recipes are from top
restaurants; however, the introduction makes it clear that some of the
best dishes come from other sources, such as a general store. The
introductory essay also remarks that most restaurant chefs didn’t want
to share their recipes because doing so might cost them customers. So
readers are told to enjoy the recipes, but be sure to eat out because
the chefs will make the dishes better than we will. That’s not hard to
accept, given the sloppy method provided for several of the recipes. For
example, a recipe for two pies instructs the cook to “make three pie
bottoms.” Another says to “prepare your puff pastry” with no
further guidance as to what that might mean. The most glaring example is
the recipe that says to mix 60 grape leaves into a rice-veggie-spice
mixture, then place some of that mix on those same grape leaves. Clearly
the recipes have not been tested, and it’s apparent that those chefs
who shared recipes weren’t fully committed to the publication.

Metric and imperial measures are given, although some measures are
anyone’s guess: how big is a bunch or a packet? There is no
nutritional analysis. Most recipes serve 6 to 10, with a few making only
one serving. Some ingredients may be a mystery outside the Maritimes
(cracker meal? summer savory?).

All but two of the recipes are illustrated with a professional-quality
colour photo. Supporting this visual feast is an album of 43 colour
photos of P.E.I. landscapes and scenics. These shots beautifully portray
the province’s rich agricultural land and the ever-present sea; they
add the saving grace of mood, texture, and vibrant life to what would
otherwise be an uninspiring introduction to Prince Edward Island.


Sprague, Andrew., “Taste: Recipes from Prince Edward Island's Best Restaurants,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15955.