Edmonds cookery book

Cover of the 3rd edition of The 'Sure to rise' cookery book (1914), published by baking manufacturer T.J. Edmonds. 

Our best-selling book

The Edmonds cookery book has sold over 3 million copies since it was first published in 1908, making it the best-selling New Zealand book by far. In Kiwi milestones (2004), Ron Palenski says that for several generations of New Zealanders the book was 'as much a part of New Zealand kitchens as a stove and knife', and that at one time it was 'sent unsolicited to every newly engaged couple in New Zealand.'

The Edmonds cookery book started life as Sure to rise cookery book in 1908 (though a free small giveaway booklet was distributed by the company the year before). The first edition was a 50-page pamphlet of recipes promoting Thomas John Edmonds' baking powder and jellies through 'economical everyday recipes and cooking hints'. The marketing ploy proved so successful that the second edition, in 1910, had a print run of 150,000. (Only two first editions are known to survive, although second editions are more common.) In 2008 Goodman Fielder New Zealand Ltd published the 60th edition, containing over 500 recipes. Gas and microwave oven cookery versions have also been produced.

Thomas Edmonds, a grocer, started his baking products business in Lyttelton in response to complaints from his customers about the unreliability of the baking powder they were using. In 1879 he sold his first batch of 200 tins, telling his customers that their baking was 'sure to rise'. Before long the housewives of Canterbury were clamouring for more of the tins bearing his distinctive rising sun with cakes trademark.

In 1922 Edmonds built a new factory in the industrial area of Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch. With its prominent slogan and beautiful gardens, the factory became a landmark and is depicted on the front of later editions of the Edmonds cookery book. Amidst much controversy, the factory was demolished in 1990. The following year the Christchurch City Council acquired a major portion of the original Edmonds' factory garden. Since then, a rose garden and an oval garden have been added to the site. Today Edmonds continues as a brand within Goodman Fielder Ltd.

Over the years the Edmonds cookery book has come to be seen as an icon of national identity, alongside the pavlova and buzzy bee – it was even chosen to adorn the 'E' in the A to Z of New Zealand stamp series produced by New Zealand Post in 2008.

Back cover of the cookbook

Back cover of the 3rd edition.

How to cite this page: 'Edmonds cookery book', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/edmonds-cookbook, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 19-May-2014

Community contributions


Lindy Beal
02 Jun 2010
I have a Edmonds Sure To Rise Cookery Book Printed in 1956. Was talking to a friend today who was telling me about hers and when I mentioned mine she said 'yours isn't in ozs and lbs is it?'
Fran
26 Mar 2010
There are a number of online websites such as http://www.mightyape.co.nz/attribute/44/Series/Edmonds-Cookbooks/ and http://www.fishpond.co.nz/ that sell copies of this book. The Edmonds site at http://www.edmondscooking.co.nz offers a virtual recipie book on their website.
Susan Trevallion
25 Mar 2010
HI, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA. I grew up in Christchurch, NZ after immigrating there w/my parents from Chesire, England. I grew up eating foods made by our mother from the receipes in the Edmonds Cook Book. I would very much like to order one for myself to try and duplicate some of the delicious dishes I remember as a child. Can you please advise how I might order an Edmonds Cook Book. I would be so appreciative. Only, I don't seem to be able to find the exact site to do so? Respectfully, Susan
Sarndra Lees
18 Mar 2010
Never heard of rennet/junket tablets...but years back you used to be able to buy Renco rennet in a small bottle. Was in a green cardboard box..think mum used to buy it from the supermarket. Don't think it's an animal byproduct now though. http://www.renconz.com/ mmm Junket :-)
janita
11 Oct 2008
where in nz would I find rennet/junket tablets
Anonymous
10 Oct 2008
i bought some edmonds flakey puff pastry to make some of our favorite puffs with jam and whip cream in them but the flakey puff pastry would not rise and they were as flat as a pan cake which was very dissappointing. i have been making these for years and this is the first time this has happened. So i made some more and the same thing happened. regards Lesley

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