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What was it like to eat at Maryboro Lodge a century ago?

June 10, 2022

Ready for Tea at Maryboro Lodge

From 1913 until 1958 the Abbott sisters operated Maryboro as a tourist lodge. The site included a number of guest cabins (one of them lives on as the museum’s schoolhouse) and there were also rooms upstairs in the main building. The sisters also accepted longer-term boarders.

Visitors to Fenelon Falls’ waterfront could stop by at Maryboro Lodge for a meal or afternoon tea, as the Abbotts also looked after their guests. Afternoon tea at Maryboro Lodge had been a community tradition, long predating the Abbotts, as many community groups have gathered under the ancient oak grove over the years. The sisters a particularly embraced the tradition, and with their love of afternoon tea, The Abbotts gave the gatherings their modern form, which has been carried on to today.

Preparing meals back then was very different than the experience of operating a restaurant today. For the entire time that the Abbotts operated Maryboro Lodge they did not have running water, which meant not only that they had to hand-pump water, they also had to heat it up over a woodstove. And because they did not have an electric range, they had to judge when things were done—a recipe would not have a specified cook time. The sisters would also not have had many of the ingredients that we take for granted today. For instance, they would make their own salad dressings, and would not just go to the store to buy mayonnaise. The Abbotts’ recipe called for:

1 level teaspoon salt

1 heaping teaspoon sugar

1 scant teaspoon mustard

1 level teaspoon flour

Stir and blend thoroughly. Break in one egg.

Stir and beat in one egg.

Stir and beat to a cream

Stir in 1 teaspoon milk

½ cup vinegar stir

2 teaspoons butter

Beat all to a cream, stir over hot water

For a cabbage salad a little more flour

Though this recipe is kind of like mayonnaise in terms of its ingredients, the taste is significantly different—and not everyone today would enjoy this vinegary-eggy-mustardy flavour—but tastes were different back then.

The Abbott sisters made many types of bread or buns, preserves, pickles and desserts. One recipe was for Better than Baker’s Buns:

3 cups warm milk

½ sugar

½ yeast in morning

Add ½ sugar

½ butter

Mix stiff

Let rise and add currants if liked.

This makes 60

Let rise ½ hour

One favourite dessert was Gem Gems:

1 cup shortening

1 ½ cup Brown Sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons sweet cream

2 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar

1 teaspoon Soda

Flour to roll out soft

Cut with a square cutter

When cooked spread with jelly and put together

To learn more about the foods that the Abbotts offered at Maryboro Lodge, check out their recipe book:

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