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Nan Ferrier publishes a limited edition cook book with a difference

by Sue Gallant

Artist, author and writer, Nan Ferrier displays some of the recipes from her new cookbook

Ever longed for a no-nonsense Canadian cookbook containing recipes void of those weird ingredients you can never find in stores? Just such a cookbook has recently been written and published on PEI. Supplies, however, are limited. The author wrote the book as a family heirloom and less than 50 copies remain. The book is called, strangely enough, The Basic Budget Canadian Cookbook with no weird ingredients. It's written by an Islander already well known as an accomplished and successful folk artist, Nan Ferrier.

This is a cookbook for beginning cooks and rock-bottom budgets, because Ferrier says, the two often go hand-in-hand. It contains 186 inexpensive, nourishing, tasty recipes which can be temptingly served. The book also gives the beginning cook a wealth of invaluable information under subject headings such as common sense food rules, buying food economically, and necessities for a kitchen.

"After 30 years of feeding six kids and two husbands and then operating a small country inn for ten years, I feel that when it comes to cooking I've been there and done that," Ferrier says in the foreword. "I learned or invented plenty of crowd-pleasing, quick and cheap recipes. None are difficult or laborious or I wouldn't have bothered. All ingredients are available at your average supermarket across Canada; with the possible exception of seasonal produce such as berries or fresh fish."

The Buzz asked Ferrier why she wrote a cookbook as a family heirloom. "I thought I would like to pass on the family recipes I had used over the years to my children and my grandchildren," she said. Upon receipt of the book, which is written in Ferrier's often witty, dry style, family comment was extremely favourable. "They said it was just like being back in my kitchen and hearing my wisecracks," she said.

Just such an example of Ferrier's writing style, can be found under the section in the book dealing with shopping and stocking a kitchen. "You won't find a prouder, more loyal Canadian than myself," she writes. "However as I write this cookbook I am in my sixties and I simply cannot adjust to metric cooking measures when all of my life I have used cups and spoons. Cups and spoons are easy to visualize. Can you conjure up a mental image of 500 grams? So my apologies to the federal system of weights and measures. Throw me into your metric offenders correctional centre if you must, but my cookbook is written in old-fashioned cups and spoons measures."

Ferrier says it took four years, off and on, to write the book. "I am a lousy typist," she confesses, admitting that each page in the book was retyped four or five times prior to delivery to the printer. Ferrier also re-made each of the 186 recipes in turn, to make absolutely sure they were correct. Copies of The Basic Budget Canadian Cookbook with no weird ingredients may be obtained from the author. Ferrier can be reached at her Bideford, Prince County home at 831-3048.

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