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Backlist: 68 years ago in Quill & Quire, John McClelland gave Barbara Ann Scott a cookbook


Scott, with M&S’s George Stewart and Bob Nelson


When Barbara Ann Scott became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in ladies single figure skating, at the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, she became known as Canada’s Sweetheart. Along with her medal, she received a telegram from Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, a yellow Buick convertible, and, upon a “whirlwind visit” to the offices of McClelland & Stewart, a copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book. “When she smiled her famous smile in grateful thanks,” Quill & Quire reported in its April 1948 issue, John McClelland threw in a copy of The Joy of Cooking.

“McClelland & Stewart, who are publishing a book about her, suggest that she learn how to cook,” Q&Q‘s story, “A Cook Book for Barbara Ann,” continued. “Barbara Ann herself said that she will try to hold her honours for the next two years. By then she may be ready to settle down and get married. A happy ending to a fairy tale plot? Perhaps. But has any writer ever analyzed the feelings of the fairy tale princess when there was no wicked stepmother left to conquer, no seven dwarfs to idolize her, no perilous forests stuffed with hobgoblins through which she must wander.”

Scott, who previously held the world, European, and Canadian figure skating championship titles, toured in a variety of ice shows over the following five years, retiring at the age of 25, and marrying publicist Tom King two years later. Scott died in 2012. Her cooking skills remain a mystery.