Wellesley may be known for its apples and cheese, but the township’s culinary heritage has never been properly documented. That’s an oversight that the Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair hopes to change with Flavours of Our Townships, a new cookbook bringing together more than 300 recipes from the area.
The idea had been percolating with township financial clerk Gillian Nagy ever since relatives from Scotland came to visit her in Wellesley.
“While they were here I wanted to give them something from our area,” she remembered. “I was going through Wellesley trying to find things, but I couldn’t find a cookbook that represented the township. So I was a little disappointed at that.”
The idea gained traction after Nagy suggested it to Wendy Richardson, one of the fair’s organizers. Richardson was immediately enthusiastic and, with Wellesley Is editor Larry Kryski, went to work collecting the recipes beginning in May 2012.
“I think people are happy to give their recipes – ones that they use every day, or at special gatherings or events,” said Richardson. “It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it – nobody has the time these days to actually sit down and write out a recipe.”
As a result, the entry period stretched from the original deadline of June to November 15, but in the end, all were happy with the contributions. “We got them from all over – we got some from Hawkesville, St. Clements, Linwood, Perth East, and Wellesley, of course,” said Richardson.
“It’s really nice to see,” said Nagy. “We have people that have been in Wellesley Idol and people from the fair. The mayor has recipes in there, and fire chiefs’ wives, and people from all the different farms.”
She continued, “You’re getting recipes that are tried and true. … There are recipes that have been passed down from grandmothers’ grandmothers – and those are always the best.”
“For me, it’s brought the township together,” added Richardson. “Through the recipes, I’ve got to know more people throughout the township, as opposed to just one little Wellesley Village.”
All of which is of secondary importance to the burning question: any recipes in the book that are particularly tasty? Take note: Nagy had a good experience with the chicken antojitos, and Richardson enjoys the “Pulled Pork with Wellesley Flair” The “Wellesley Flair” is apple butter.
The cookbook can be purchased at the Linwood, St. Clements, and Wellesley libraries, the Corner Store in Linwood, Bulk Pantry in Wellesley, Stemmler Meats in Heidelberg, the St. Agatha Meat Market, and Oak Grove Cheese in New Hamburg. All funds will go to the Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair (to be held on September 10 and 11).