Velma Sothern compiles ‘Banner Recipes’ cookbook to fundraise for Howick Fair

·3 min read

HOWICK TOWNSHIP – “Crumbs of Comfort” is the second cookbook Velma Sothern has compiled. It’s a collection of recipes that appeared in the Listowel Banner in the 1930s and it’s a fundraiser for the Howick-Turnberry Fall Fair.

Both her family and her husband’s family have been involved for many years.

Speaking of family, the cookbook is dedicated in memory of her mother-in-law, Arnetta Sothern (Ott).

“She was a hardworking wonderful lady,” said Velma. “A very strong, strong person – she did a lot of work on the farm and she cooked all these wonderful meals.”

At 16, Arnetta worked for a Listowel doctor preparing food for dinner parties and other gatherings. -

“That was hard to be away from home at 16 but it was then when she collected the Banner Recipes,” said Velma. “They were from the 1930s because she was born in 1918. She put these recipes in a Smiles and Chuckles Chocolates box.”

She said the back of the recipes is just about as interesting as the front because they’re newspaper clippings and that’s how she knew the dates.

“I decided to make a cookbook with these recipes and other interesting things that she collected,” said Velma. “She loved history. Many of the clippings she would put on the outside of the envelope – do not destroy.”

One of the interesting things about the newspaper clippings and Arnetta’s notes and scribbles are the prices of the ingredients back then.

“A lot of the recipes brought back memories for me because my grandmother used to make these lemon biscuits and they had baking ammonia in them,” said Velma. “You had to get it at the drugstore. Now I don’t know if you can still buy it or not but they were really good.”

She recalls when her mother would bake with the ammonia.

“When you took them out of the oven you had to watch because the ammonia went up your nose,” she said with a laugh. “Another good recipe was tomato and dumplings. That was one of our favourites from Arnetta’s recipes.”

Velma recalls Arnetta making delicious pickles and pies and cakes from these Banner Recipes.

The book is at Powell’s Printing and Velma will be proofing a sample copy soon. If all is good, she hopes to have the book out in plenty of time for people to grab a copy for Christmas.

She said once it is out, people will be able to pick up a copy from In the Bag in Listowel or they can get in touch with Velma at or 519-292-9619 for orders.

She is printing an edition of 300 copies and they will sell for $20.

She encouraged Howick Fall Fair lovers to visit to find out see how things will be running this year.

“There is a downscaled home craft and a farmer parody video competition – it’s going to be linked to agriculture,” said Velma. “All the information is on the website.

“We’ve always had a hospitality booth, so this year we have a hospitality basket – there’s a large basket and a small one. There are pies, tarts and squares in that. Pickup will be here at the Howick Community Centre.”

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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