Cooking Under the Arch: Cherished Recipes and Gardening Tips from the Rigorous High Country of Alberta's Chinook Zone.


178 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-1-894898-47-8
DDC 641.5





Edited by Corina Skavberg
Reviewed by Patricia A. Myers

Patricia A. Myers is a historian at the Historic Sites and Archives
Service, Alberta Community Development, and the author of Sky Riders: An
Illustrated History of Aviation in Alberta, 1906–1945.


This is a delightful book. It just makes you want to get outside and garden, and then rush right back into your kitchen and cook. Handsomely produced, with a lay-flat binding that makes referring to it while you’re measuring and stirring a breeze, this book is easy and rewarding to use. It’s timely too. With the current emphasis on eating closer to home, the tips on growing and preserving food from nearby locations are most welcome.


It begins with lots of gardening information, including suggested vegetable varieties to grow, seeding and transplanting guides, and hints on raised bed gardening. There’s an excellent section on growing, harvesting, and preserving herbs, and another section on the sometimes problematic apples, currants, and raspberries. Photographs of energetic and resourceful gardeners are encouraging.


The recipes are fresh and abundant. There are soups, salads, vegetables, casseroles, cakes, and desserts. Butternut squash soup uses just squash, chicken stock, and onion with dashes of curry powder and splashes of maple syrup and cream. Beet mold showcases this colourful vegetable in a summer-wise cold dish. Other seemingly more exotic offerings, such as Comfrey Salad, are good excuses to try growing something a little different in your garden. There are lovely old-fashioned recipes using native and traditional foods, including Rosy Crabapple Pie, Chokecherry Syrup, Rose Hip Jelly, and Wild Cranberry Jelly. There’s a marvelous section on jellies, jams, and relishes. There are recipes for Lavender Lemonade and Nasturtium Pizza. There are lots of recipes for dishes just right to take to picnics, barbeques, or reunions. Carrot Cookies, Zucchini Salad with Hard-boiled Eggs, and Rhubarb Cake come to mind.


This book is all about enjoying the glories of native and homegrown vegetables and fruits, no matter how big or how small the garden or bush. It’s filled with beautiful photographs of foothills and mountains scenery, farmers’ markets and backyard gardeners, and luscious, ripe produce. This is a lovely, encouraging book that should find a home on the shelves of any cook interested in using and preserving local bounty.


“Cooking Under the Arch: Cherished Recipes and Gardening Tips from the Rigorous High Country of Alberta's Chinook Zone.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,