Throughout the years, cooking has been a long withstanding tradition in the YWCA. Perhaps one of the many reasons behind the long legacy is because cooking is a skill and hobby which many women possess and have a passion for. This has resulted in the production of many key publications by the YWCA over the years, including cookbooks and recipe calendars. The first was the 1932 Cookbook which ensued from the success of cookery classes held by the YWCA in the early days, and contained recipes of the different nationalities of the Y women.
In many of the cookery classes held for members and the public in schools and homes, the 1932 YWCA Cookbook was held up as the main guiding light and it remains revered by generations of both local and expatriate women. It was followed by nine more editions throughout the years, with the ninth published in 1962.
In a way that is very much in line with Miss Sophia Cooke’s vision of educating and imparting life skills to women since 1875, the cookbooks seek to help women by including general advice on food values, cooking for children and healthy eating.
The YWCA cookbooks are a meaningful way for us to connect with our heritage as they shed some light onto the different ingredients and styles of preparation and cooking that were popular in Singapore during that period in time. This allows for a historical documentation of cooking traditions for women to refer to for generations to come.
Food connects us with our past and is a torch which can be passed on to future generations. Today, this tradition carries on in the cooking and baking workshops that the YWCA conducts as part of the Workz-on-Wheels programme. In this way, vital life skills are passed onto children of the current generation. Additionally, in recent years, Cook-outs have become a regular event, during which corporate volunteers cook a special lunch for beneficiaries on the Meals-on-Wheels for elderly and children programme. Most recently, the YWCA has published the ‘Sharing From Our Hearts’ cookbook in 2007 and annual recipe diaries and calendars since 2009.