Back Roads and Country Cooking


255 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-7710-8864-7





Reviewed by M. Bernice Standen

M. Bernice Standen was a freelance writer in Peterborough, Ontario.


Sara Waxman, Toronto-based wife, mother, food columnist and author, has obviously enjoyed bringing this interesting collection of recipes together. A summer of travelling throughout Ontario has resulted in a wide range of offerings, enriched with cultural and historical annotations.

The text is divided into an 11 region “taste tour” with beautifully illustrated maps done by Louisa Varalta. Sara Waxman endeavours to introduce her readers to the produce and game traditional to each area while highlighting regional ethnicity. Although ostensibly “country cooking,” the full range of recipes from the most simple Herbed Vinegar to the exotic Vitello Tonnato (cold veal with tuna sauce) reflects her wide variety of sources — everything from family heirlooms to the specialties of country inns. For the connoisseur of Ontario wines and cheeses, there is an entire chapter devoted to their service. Regional restaurants of interest are listed at the beginning of each chapter.

Although the content and the format (medium sized, spiral-bound) are very good, the editorial short-comings of this book left me disappointed. Nowhere in the main or chapter titles is it made clear that it is about Ontario cooking, and although the regional maps are good, and the chapter headings catchy, not placed in their broader context they mean little to the uninitiated. Within the chapters the recipes are in no particular order and marred by indexing errors, leaving this reader with the impression that the editing was not worthy of the content. If you do not find such details troublesome the book has much to offer and would make an interesting addition to any cook’s library.


Waxman, Sara, “Back Roads and Country Cooking,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,