Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale: Review


Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale was first published in 1970 but the recipes are much, much older. It's more than a cookbook. It's a history book as well, full of the stories and folklore behind the recipes. It can be quite entertaining. I read bits to my husband, who also likes to cook, and we had a good laugh at some of the wisdom imparted in this book. For example, if you need to skin an eel, you can find instructions here! No thanks, I'll pass. If you happen to be a hunter, you'll find recipes for game as well. Oh and is there anything the Scots won't put oats in?!

But for the most part, Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens contains the recipes our grandmothers used to make, from the ubiquitous oatcake to Divinity fudge. This week I tried two recipes. First, Gingerbread. I love Gingerbread and this recipe is so simple. I took one look at the batter though and knew it was going to be longer than the 35 minutes quoted to bake. It actually took about an hour but the results were lovely: a nice moist cake (see above).

The next thing I wanted to make was Cape Breton Pork Pies. These do not contain pork, no one knows why they are called that though. They're made with dates and brown sugar. I hate dates, but my husband loves pork pies so I made them for him for Christmas. I bought frozen tart shells instead of making them from scratch. I guess they were acceptable, 'cause he ate a couple already.

Some of the recipes are a bit vague. For example, the pork pie recipe has lemon juice as an ingredient. Okay how much? Don't know. Sometimes you just have to use common sense.

If you're looking for fancy recipes with the latest fad in food, you won't find it here. If you want simple old fashioned cooking, then Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens is your cookbook. I'm definitely going to be using this often.


  1. I love those old recipe books! The gingerbread looks wonderful! Could you sare the pork pie recipe? I think my husband and mother would love these.

  2. How nice you did some baking! I should start up again. I made things with the boys for a while but then they got busy with homework etc. so we got out of the habit.

    I find it SO amazing that the names of these foods totally don't match what I would call them.

    Gingerbread in my mind is not a bread, but a cookie (like the gingerbread man).

    Pork pies, as you say, are not made of pork. But I think they might be very similar to mince pies that people have in England for Christmas. Do you know them and is that the same as these?

    Mince pies contain mince meat (which is not meat either) that is made of raisins, dates, brandy and suet. In the old days they contained meat and that's where they got the name from. Maybe it's the same for your pork pies.

    In England pork pies actually DO contain pork, they are different from mince pies (a lot).

  3. I'm glad you told us about this cookbook. It's the kind I love to read, just like a novel. I may not necessarily try any of the recipes but it's fun to read and think about. It also tells me a little that part of the world.

  4. Maybe the name "Pork Pies" is similar to "Mincemeat Tarts" - they used to be include meat, but now are typically just made from chopped fruit and spices?

    Both the pork pies and gingerbread look DELICIOUS. I'm totally getting hungry now!

  5. Yum! And Pork Pies with no pork in it? Sounds like the kind of thing a vegetarian like me would like!! :) Pictures look fabulous!! Food looks delish!

  6. pork pies with no pork...how odd.
    but I DO like dates, sound they sound..and look swell.

  7. Just my kind of cookbook and you picked two desserts I love -- gingerbread and anything with dates! Yummmmmmmm.

    And I have a strong suspicion that Scots do put oats in everything.

  8. Diann- Thanks!

    Leeswammes- We have gingerbread cookies here too. We also have mincemeat pies. My mom used to make them but the mincemeat came out of a big jar- premade. The pork pies seem to be a simplified version. Maybe mincemeat was hard to get at one time?

    Margot- It's like a window into the past!

    Court- It's possible!

    Coffee- Definitely a vegetarian dish!

    Caite- If you like dates, then they are for you.

    Beth- I picked some good ones then.

  9. I would be okay with recipes that said ingredients but not how much. I never follow them exactly anyways! I don't like the taste of gingerbread but it looked good in your mixing bowl!

  10. The name " Cape Breton Pork Pies" doesn't sound appealing at all, but when I read they were made with dates and brown sugar I wanted to try them!

  11. I love old cooking books like these. I cannot wait to be back in Ontario for Christmas and enjoy some Canadian treats.

  12. I'm from Nova Scotias and my Mom has used this cookbook many a time! :)

  13. I do not love gingerbreat but the pork pies with out the pork sound yummy! I do love dates and have the perfect Pampered Chef muffin tin to use for this. I love to browse old cookbooks as well!


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