Remedies for a wide range of animal ailments are found here, some of which are little known today. For sheep, treatments include braxy, palsy, and maggots. Other remedies cover horses (farcy, glanders, and lampas); cattle (navel ill, milk fever and wood ill); pigs (leprosy, murrain, and quincy); and poulty (costiveness, asthma, and pip). Bee-keeping is also treated in detail. For life’s more intractable problems, cocaine was  available over the counter.Type your paragraph here.

The canadian receipt book

containing over 500 Valuable Receipts for the Farmer and the Housewife


Preface by Melissa McAfee


At the time of Canadian Confederation, many Canadians were their own doctors, cooks, farmers, veterinarians, beekeepers, and even rat catchers. This survival guide, compiled fifteen decades ago, is a fascinating glimpse into Canadian farm life before modern conveniences.  


Melissa McAfee’s fascinating preface notes that “receipt” is an older term, a set of instructions for cooking, medicinal preparations, and animal care. In The Canadian Receipt Book, these “receipts” covers many tasks, some of which may be hair-raising to the modern reader: removing worms from a cow’s bronchial tubes was as important in 1867 as knowing how to make English-style tea cakes. Remedies for a range of animal ailments like pig leprosy and a cow’s “mad staggers” in one chapter, a recipe for plum cakes in another.


The Receipt Book also contains business advertisements, a dizzying array from the moderately recognizable (insurance and jewellery) to the more dubious (a “drug warehouse” advertising “cocoaine” and  “liver syrup”). Bars reminded would-be patrons that they had good stables available for horses.


Set to become a classic of early Canadian household management and veterinary care, this page-turning collection reminds Canadians the long distance we have travelled in 150 years.


MELISSA McAFEE is Special Collections Librarian in the Archival & Special Collections at the University of Guelph.


​​​203 pages  •  341 images • 6x9  •  paper
Available February 2018 
ISBN-13: 9781772441