#53 – Tante Joséphine’s Cookbook

Tante Josephine, as we always called her, was a very “prim” and “proper” woman. She did not like girls whistling, saying it was very “un-lady like” and we had to cross our legs at the ankles when we sat. I remember her as always being old and living on her own. She was 97 when she died. She grew a great vegetable garden and had a productive cherry tree. She always had homemade treats in her cupboard and loved it when we would visit.

Tante Josephine was very frugal and did not waste anything. Her husband was a travelling salesman and she re-used his sample “Dominion Table Oilcloth” as a cookbook. She had beautiful handwriting. The nuns taught her that. The pictures are from her original cookbook, which I own. Note the date.



Most of her recipes only have ingredients listed with no explanations. I took this as a challenge to see if I could replicate one of her recipes.

I decided to make the “Dinner Rolls” she made when she cooked beans. The dough looked good and after the first rise, I was pleased. I formed small round balls and placed 3 per muffin tin and let sit for the second rise as I remember her doing.

Can you over proof bread? Because, by the time I was ready to bake them, they had deflated. I cooked them anyway and they were tasty if you ate them while they were warm with butter. Lots of butter makes anything taste good. I think by tomorrow we will be able to use them as hockey pucks.


One thing the recipe did do, was remind me of the smells from her kitchen and sitting in her windowed porch overlooking the Baie de Chaleur and the Caraquet wharf on those many occasions we went to pick cherries.

Note: For all you decorators thinking of re-modeling your kitchens, I would pass on this wallpaper.


13 thoughts on “#53 – Tante Joséphine’s Cookbook

  1. That’s awesome Char!! I bet those rolls made your entire house smell yummy! My mom made the best rolls and my mouth waters just thinking of them. We would run home from school on the days we knew she was making them.
    Question— at the end of your last paragraph , you mention wallpaper? What are you referring to??


    • If you go directly to the website there is a picture of 4 shots from the cookbook. One is of a sample found in the cookbook of the wallpaper you could purchase back then. So “kitcheny”!


  2. Yes Charline, Tante Josephine was a very “prime and proper” women!! A well like person whom all of Caraquet loved! I think every person called her “Tante Josephine” even though there was no relationship! She is our Great Aunt, as she and Pepere Albert, (our Grandfather), were the only two siblings in the family!

    The many memories of Tante Josephine was when we, the Albert crew of five children, would leave Belleville, Ontario, and go spend the two summer months with her, in her beautiful old house. She had been a “Widow” for many years, so it was a treat for her to have us visit, even though we were a handful!! LOL!! She would sit in her chair, with her back straight as a pin with her hands folded in her lap and legs crossed. Her chairs are very straight back, no comfy ones; of which four of the Albert’s have in our possession!! Even when she walked, she was as straight as a pin!! You see Tante Josephine’s was a nurse by profession, and had worked in Montreal and New York for many years!

    My recollection of her cooking, was her divinity fudge and date squares, of which I have her recipe for the date squares! She had to be the best “divinity fudge” maker in the world, as she knew exactly when to make it!! You don’t try that recipe in humid weather! That was a treat she would have on hand when people visited! I can still remember the taste of the fudge as it would melt in your mouth! It was to die for!! She kept it in her jelly cabinet, with I now have in my home! Also, her date squares were delicious!! We would often try to sneak into the kitchen to see what goodies she had hidden away in her cupboards!!

    Ah, the memories of Tante Josephine’s cooking! I’m sure there has to be tasty treasures in her cookbook, but I’d stay away from her divinity fudge, Charline, as no one can make it as good as her… Happy trials!! 🙂


  3. Glad you filled in with details Denise. Unfortunately the Divinity Fudge is not in the cook book I have, because you know me and sweet things, I would have made that in a heart beat. She probably made it from memory.


  4. I have to agree with you Denise about the Divinity Fudge. The best ever. My mother-in-law made it and certainly loved hers, but, Tante Josephine’s certainly was much better. Had there been a competition I have to say she would have certainly won the blue ribbon. I remember the walk to her front porch, the smell of the wild roses, the tree, and by your post you certainly brought back some very old good memories. Thank you.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.


  5. I enjoyed your memories of your Aunt. I grew up living next door to my grandmother and had similar experiences with her only not in baking in needle work. She crocheted and tatted. She taught me at an early age and I inherited her patterns and hooks. I too will be 60 this year. Thanks for the memories. Paula


  6. The rolls look really nice. Yes, overproving can happen. I’m not really an expert but I’ve recently done some brioche rolls that are very similar to bread rolls (very little butter in them) and proved the first time for 15 minutes in the fridge then knocked the dough down (to get rid of bad gas). Then formed the rolls and just proved once for up to an hour. On a recent course I went on they told me that if you stick your finger in and the dough springs back it’s not ready yet. If the dough has doubled in size and the indent stays right in then it’s time to put them in the oven. Sorry for the looong comment but thought you might be interested. Still, your rolls do look delicious! 🙂


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