Digestible Bits and Bites #94, February 2021

Digestible Bits and Bites

The monthly newsletter of the
Culinary Historians of Canada
Number 94, February 2021
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Pin Pin
+1 +1
CHC Facebook friend Alice Mac is a marmalade fan, and these are some of the tangy ingredients she picked up to make her batches this year. Making marmalade can brighten up the coldest and darkest days of the year, which is why we have a marmalade challenge and a marmalade talk coming up. Read more below.



  1. CHC News

  2. News and Opportunities

  3. Food for Thought (book reviews)

  4. Events of Interest

  5. International Conferences

1. CHC News and Upcoming Events


Marmalade Mavens!
On Thursday, March 4 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. EST, CHC will present an illustrated online presentation by CHC board member Sarah B. Hood called The Marmalade Mavens, on the rise and fall of the world's greatest marmalade makers. After the presentation, Sarah will stay online for a Q&A session on marmalade history and answer practical questions about making prize-winning marmalade.

Sarah's preserving cookbook, 
We Sure Can!, was a finalist in the Taste Canada food writing awards. This presentation is partly based on research for her upcoming book, Jam, Jelly and Marmalade: A Global History, due to be released by Reaktion Books (UK) in June. CHC lifetime member Elizabeth Baird writes that Sarah's upcoming book "traces the earliest forms of preserves in Persia and China, following the link between preserving and the availability of sugar, the contributions of railroads, jam’s part in the emerging labour movement, and the rise of large-scale commercial preserving that shipped these comestibles to all corners of the globe. Who thought jam, jelly, and marmalade were just delicious foods to spread on toast, dress a pudding, or fill a tart? The truth? It’s the history of the world ... in a jar."

All attendees will receive a code towards a 20% discount on a preordered copy of Sarah's book, a saving of $3.99 US.

Admission: $18; CHC members $10 (including all fees and taxes.  Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Catharine Parr Traill Report
On Monday, January 21, CHC cofounder and culinary historian Fiona Lucas (pictured above, top, with CHC member and event facilitator Meaghan Froh Metcalf) presented a fascinating talk about life in mid-1800s backwoods Canada as seen through the eyes of English immigrant and author Catharine Parr Traill. It was enjoyed by more than 50 participants. CHC is grateful for project support from Employment and Social Development Canada, through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

January Cooking Challenge: #marmalade
Citrus fruits are at their best in winter, and prized Seville oranges are at their best right now (they disappear around February 15). This month, as a leadup to our Marmalade Mavens event, we'd like to see your pictures and hear your tales of making marmalade. What's your favourite? Meyer lemon? Grapefruit? Key lime? Or a classic Seville marmalade laced with Scotch whisky? Bring 'em on! To get you started, here's CHC honorary member Elizabeth Baird's recipe for grapefruit marmalade and our March speaker Sarah Hood's own prize-winning Seville orange marmalade recipe.

Those who post photos and comments with the hashtag #marmalade on our Facebook page by midnight on Friday, February 19 will be featured in the March newsletter.
Join the Culinary Historians of Canada!

The membership year runs from one annual general meeting (usually late September/early October) to the next. Download a membership form here and join us today! 

2. News and Opportunities

Taste Canada’s Call for Submissions!
Taste Canada Awards/Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada invites all publishers and authors to submit books published in 2020 to the 2021 Taste Canada Awards. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 3 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Taste Canada  will honour 20 jury-selected books, five Gold and five Silver winners in English and in French, authored by Canadian citizens, in the following categories:
  • General Cookbooks
  • Single-Subject Cookbooks
  • Regional/Cultural Cookbooks
  • Culinary Narratives
  • Health and Special Diet Cookbooks
The winners will be announced at the Taste Canada Awards/Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada Gala in the fall of 2021. For full details about the awards and submission procedures, visit the Taste Canada website.
New Resources for Culinary Historians
We bring to your attention two online resources for people interested in Canadian food history, one for British Columbia and one for the Maritimes. These have been added to the Research Sources on CHC’s website.

Food History Project of British Columbia
Food packages and container labels are artifacts that reveal interesting information about the past. They are easily perishable and thus hardly survive. The digital collections of diverse food packaging here share significant stories about the food history of British Columbia. There are five categories:
  • Multicultural (Imported & Local) Food Collections
  • Dairy Food Package Collections
  • Canning and Packaging Collections ·
  • Libation Collections
  • Menus and Catalogues Collections
Borealia: The Early Modern Maritime Recipes Database
A digital record of recipes found in archival collections throughout the Maritime provinces. Search the collection by keyword, or browse by recipe type, format and more. You can view a full list of documents and sources. As well, you can read about historical recipe research and scholarship.

In addition, CBC member Nora Gubins points out the The Historical Cooking Project, which showcases new scholarship on the study of food throughout history. Established in 2013, the interdisciplinary organization regularly publishes new content that challenges the division between the academic and public history. The project is also on Twitter as @historical_cook.
Out of Old Ontario Kitchens  
The Huron County Library presents a food-focused author series called Curl Up with a Good Book, beginning with live weekly discussions and a cook-along with former CHC member Lindy Mechefske, whose book Out of Old Ontario Kitchens explores Ontario's food heritage.
  • February 1: Introduction to history of cooking in Ontario. Traditional bread recipes.
  • February 8: Conversation about how bread recipes turned out. Main course dishes and recipes.
  • February 16: Conversation about how main course recipes turned out. Dessert recipes.
  • February 22: Conversation about how dessert recipes turned out. Sneak peek of Lindy’s upcoming book on picnics.
The Food Timeline Will Survive!
In 1999, librarian Lynne Olver created The Food Timeline, a remarkable culinary history website that documents food history and recipes. It grew into an astonishing information resource for culinary history, and she amassed a personal library of more than 2,000 books.

Upon her death in 2015, the future of The Food Timeline was uncertain, until journalist 
Dayna Evans wrote an article about it. CHC was among the dozens of institutions that responded with offers to help keep the website and library going. In January of this year, the Olver family announced that the Special Collections and University Archives department at Virginia Tech University has been chosen as the custodian of this essential resource.
George Brown Launches Food Studies BA
CHC Vice-President Samantha George and former board member Ryan Whibbs were among the consultants in the creation of a brand new Honours Bachelor of Food Studies at George Brown College in Toronto.

Starting in September 2021, it will be the first four-year Honours Bachelor of Food Studies degree in Canada, combining culinary arts and a comprehensive food studies curriculum.

The program overview states that "Food choices are no longer about what we will have for dinner. Behind those choices are the biggest challenges of our time: How do we address chronic disease, waste, climate change, rapid urbanization, technological change, hunger and inequity? Everyone in the food sector must deal with these challenges and opportunities; this is the world that the next generation of food workers is entering. The Honours Bachelor of Food Studies degree program will bring a new focus on justice and equity, sustainability and health, and a new awareness of how these societal issues can be analyzed and resolved."

Sophie Coe Prize: Call for Entries
The Sophie Coe Prize is awarded each year to an engaging, original piece of writing that delivers new research and/or new insights into any aspect of food history. The administrators welcome entries of up to 10,000 words on any relevant topic. The prize is £1,500 for the winning essay, article or book chapter. Authors may each submit one entry only, and they must be delivered by this year’s closing date of Friday, April 23, 2021.

The prize was founded in 1995 in memory of Sophie Coe, the eminent anthropologist and food historian. Published and unpublished work may be submitted. For full details,
visit the Sophie Coe Prize website.
Indigenous Women Chefs Series
The University of Minnesota annual conference on Native American Nutrition presents Celebrating Indigenous Women Chefs, a free webinar series that highlights the culinary expertise of Indigenous women through live monthly cooking demonstrations. They take place from noon to 1:15 p.m. CST on the following Tuesdays: February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8 and July 13. Past sessions are posted to YouTube.

Valentine’s Day Debut for the Great Canadian Baking Show
The Great Canadian Baking Show returns for a fourth season on Sunday, February 14 (Valentine's Day) and runs on CBC for eight weeks at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). It's also available for streaming on CBC Gem. Pictured above (left to right) are judges Kyla Kennaley and Bruno Feldeisen and new hosts Alan Shane Lewis and Ann Pornel. The challengers' bios are now posted on the Great Canadian Baking Show Facebook page.
What’s Cooking? (Member News)
CHC MEMBERS: Please let us know what you're up to! We'll publish all suitable news items received at by the 25th of each month. (Please write your announcement directly into your email window, with no attachments except a photo. Be sure to include a web link for further information!)

On January 14, CHC member Patricia Moynihan wrote to inform us of the unexpected death of another CHC member, chef Scott Savoie (pictured above):

Farewell to a Culinary Icon: Chef Scott Savoie was a pioneer of Toronto’s culinary tourism industry. Over the past decade, Scott built up a food tour and market dinner company. Arriving in Toronto in 2009, Scott was looking for a new culinary challenge. For three decades, he had worked as a personal chef at a number of private five-star hunting and fishing lodges. For the next five years, he worked at establishing himself as Toronto’s unofficial culinary ambassador. In April 2016, Toronto Food Tours was founded with the partnership of friend and restaurateur John Anderson.
Affectionately known as “chefie” at St. Lawrence Market, Scott launched a variety of food tours around the city. Some of the tours included St. Lawrence Market, Chinatown, and Pizza Tours to name just of few.
Market Dinners held at St. Lawrence Market Kitchen brought visitors together to enjoy a five-course dinner that they helped shop for and prepare paired with local craft beers and Ontario wines. Scott was a born entertainer and raconteur. He would share his favourite stories at the end of the meal, including the history of the Canadian butter tart and the history of Future Bakery. Other popular classes were Scott’s Traditional Maritime Lobster Dinner and his Winterlicious dinners.
Scott was a member of Tourism Toronto, Attractions Ontario, Toronto Attractions Council and the Riverside BIA and was offered a seat on the Program Advisory Committee for Culinary Tourism at Centennial College and the City of Toronto.
Larger than life, gregarious, Scott will be missed! It was my privilege and honour to work with Scott for the past three years teaching his dessert classes at the Friday and Saturday Market Dinner. RIP my friend. I will miss your infectious smile and your kindness to everyone that you met.


In January, CHC founder and board member Fiona Lucas was quoted in a National Post article by Laura Brehaut entitled "During a pandemic, butter makes it better..."

On Tuesday, March 2, CHC board members Sylvia Lovegren and Sarah Hood will each receive Ontario Volunteer Service Awards in recognition of five years' volunteer work with the Culinary Historians. The award recognizes volunteers for providing committed and dedicated service to an organization.

On January 13, CHC Honorary Member Mya Sangster presented a webinar on orange peel preserves for the Central Canada chapter of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALFHAM).

3. Food for Thought

Have you missed a book review? You can read reviews from all our past issues online. If you are a CHC member who would like to contribute, please contact Elka Weinstein at or Sarah Hood at

Tawâw, Progressive Indigenous Cuisine (House of Anansi Press, 2019) by Shane M. Chartrand & Jennifer Cockrall-King, reviewed by Elka Weinstein (pictured above).

Tawâw, pronounced Ta-wow, is a delightful cookbook, and also the story of Shane Chartrand’s transformation from a talented fry cook to a talented and innovative Indigenous chef. Written in collaboration with CHC member Jennifer Cockrall-King, whose oeuvre also includes Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution (Prometheus Books, 2012) and Food Artisans of the Okanagan (Touchwood, 2016), this book is a revelation of how Native ingredients, combined with Indigenous knowledge and French-style cooking, can produce delicious, ecologically sound and beautiful food.
This is indeed “Progressive Indigenous Cuisine,” and very much part of an emerging trend by a stellar group of Indigenous chefs like David Wolfman, Christa Bruneau-Guenther (Feast Cafe Bistro), Tawnya Brant, Marie-Cecile Nottaway, Joseph Shawana (Kökum Kitchen), Shawn Adler (Pow Wow Café, Flying Chestnut Kitchen), Rich Francis and Johl Whiteduck Ringuette (NishDish). All of these chefs use Indigenous ingredients, sourced and gathered by themselves or by someone they know, and cooked with love, knowledge and affection for the traditions that have been passed down through generations of people who lived on the land.
Illustrated beautifully with photographs of food, landscapes and people by Catherine Sprague, the book is divided into chapters by season. These recipes are meant to be made at home—but you do need to be a fairly accomplished cook to make many of them. Personally, I would not attempt all of these dishes (some are very complex) but, for instance, in spring, I would definitely try a fish dish like Fried Smelts with Wild Rice, Carrots and Wild Leeks and also Deep Fried Bannock with Saskatoon Berries and Birch Syrup.

One of the things I really like about this book is that the recipes are often preceded by an explanation of the ingredients that Chartrand uses—where he sources them and why, and often why they are important to Indigenous cuisine. For instance, spruce tips, used in a recipe for chilled mussels with stiff cream, are widely available across Canada, and can be considered a medicine as much as a food. Tips to make recipes more successfully at home, rather than in a restaurant kitchen, are also useful and very welcome.
This addition to our (very few) books about Indigenous cooking and ingredients in Canada should become a wonderful complement to our basic kitchen cookbooks. As more people begin to realize that we have a great bounty of wild edibles as well as a wealth of knowledge in our own backyards, we must begin to appreciate and value both in our daily lives.
As Marlene and Laurie Buffalo of Samson Cree Nation say in their foreword to the book, "Food is central to how we fuel our bodies, but it is just as important that we also fuel ourselves and fill up on the nêhiyaw values of respect, love, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth. These are known as the 'Seven Sacred and Universal Teachings'.” Through the sharing of food, good intentions and blessings, we create space to share, respect, and maintain wâhkôhtowin—kinship and interconnectedness—with one another.

True to the Land: A History of Food in Australia by Paul van Reyk (Reaktion Books, 2021). Reviewed by Maya Love (pictured above).

A recent addition to Reaktion Books’ Foods and Nations series, True to the Land presents a thorough examination of Australia’s culinary history. Author Paul van Reyk is a food writer living in Sydney, Australia, who regularly presents at the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy. Divided into ten chapters and organized historically, the book describes the foodways of the first peoples, the colonization of Australia, during wartime and between wars, Federation, post-colonialism and modernity; it ends with the themes of Australia as a foodie nation and millennial reckonings.

The text spans 60,000 years, outlining the history of food and agriculture in Australia from its beginnings, with the arrival of the first peoples and the story of how they have managed the land to the present (2020). He describes how food production in Australia has been subject to the constraints of climate, water and soil resulting from centuries of unsustainable post-colonial agricultural practices. Historic recipes are scattered throughout the book and are prefaced by charming stories, along with historical photographs, paintings and pictures of culinary artifacts and food products.

Culinary historians and anthropology buffs may find this book appealing for its discussions of themes like Aboriginal history and foodways, the postcolonial British settler period, the Asian influence on the Australian domestic table with the importation of tea, spices and curry, and the contributions of women through cookery instruction and cookbook writing, which offers insights into the domestic life of Australian women as homemakers.

Foods that have helped form the national identity of Australia include the Granny Smith apple, tea (adopted from China as the national beverage), Keen’s curry powder, Anzac biscuits (named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), and jams and marmalades. The introduction of Vegemite as an Australian breakfast tradition and the inclusion of Bush food in the national menu are some of the more unique additions.

While reading, I considered how the history of Australian cuisine and foodways parallels Canadian food history. When early British settlers arrived in both countries, they found Indigenous peoples who had been living on the land for millennia, developing their sovereign foodways of hunting, fishing and foraging. In Australia, the British dominated early colonization and shaped Australian agriculture and foodways, while in Canada the French and European settlers also contributed to the foundation of early Canadian food cuisine. Chinese and Indian immigrants in turn influenced the foodways of both Australia and Canada, as the foods they introduced were adapted locally to create recipes, early cookery books and some of the first eateries.

Overall, True to the Land, is a skillfully written overview of Australian food history, detailing the evolution of Australian foodways and agriculture while acknowledging the contributions of the many cultures that make up contemporary Australia.

Review Contributors
  • Elka Weinstein (Book Review Editor, Toronto)
  • Judy Corser (Delta, British Columbia)
  • Pam Fanjoy (Hillsburgh, Ontario)
  • Luisa Giacometti (Toronto)
  • Gary Gillman (Toronto)
  • Sher Hackwell (Vancouver)
  • Amy Lavender Harris (Toronto)
  • Sarah Hood (Toronto)
  • Frances Latham (Stratford, Ontario)
  • Ivy Lerner-Frank (Montreal)
  • Maya Love (London, Ontario)
  • Fiona Lucas (Toronto)
  • Jan Main (Hudson, Quebec)
  • Lisette Mallet (Toronto)
  • Bennett McCardle (Toronto)
  • Dana McCauley (Toronto)
  • Dana Moran (Ajax, Ontario)
  • Valerie Sharp
  • Mary Lou Snow (Conception Bay, Newfoundland)
  • Meaghan Van Dyk (Abbotsford, British Columbia)

4. Events of Interest

Compiled by Jane Black, Kesia Kvill, Sarah Hood & Julia Armstrong

With a COVID second wave upon us, all bets are off as to which in-person experiences will be available in the new year. The following sites were open during parts of 2020, and may be admitting visitors in 2021, but check before turning up at the door!

5. International Conferences

Compiled by Kesia Kvill

The Dublin Gastronomy Symposium materials from May 2020 are available online.
Papers here:
Recorded sessions here:


Wednesdays, February 24 through March 31 (online from Leeds, UK)

Theme: Food and Health
Note: Limit of 100 per each session; further details available soon. See website for information.

May 13 to 15 (Online from Guelph, Ontario)
Theme: Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum
Host: University of Guelph. Zoom or Webex are likely platforms for the conference and previously planned activities are being adapted to this new format.
Note: The RWSA is an international association that promotes and advances farm and rural women’s/gender studies in a historical perspective. CHC will be presenting four panels during the conference.

June 2 to 5 (Las Cruces, New Mexico)

Theme: Challenging Crops & Climate

June 9 to 15 (Online)

Theme: JUST FOOD: because it is never just food
Host: The Culinary Institute of America & New York University
CFP Deadline: February 15, 2021

June 11 to 14 (Archibald, Ohio) 

Theme: Looking Forward… The Next 50 Years
Host: Sauder Village
Note: Will be entirely virtual
July 1 to 2 (Marburg, Germany)

Host: Philips-University Marburg and Virtual
July 9 to 11 (Oxford, England)

Theme: Food and Imagination
Host: St. Catherine’s College OR Virtual
July 29 to 30 (Vienna, Austria)

Theme: Canned Food, History and Development
Host: International Research Conference Online

September 7 to 10 (Rome, Italy)

Theme: Eating on the Move (19th–21st Centuries)
Host: Roma Tre University
Across the far-flung regions of Canada, a lot is happening in the fields of food and history. This monthly digest is a forum for Canadian culinary historians and enthusiasts to tell each other about their many activities. This is a place for networking and conversation about Canadian culinary history happenings. Each month, Digestible Bits and Bites is shared with members of the Culinary Historians of Canada and other interested persons who ask to be on the distribution list. 
The Culinary Historians of Canada would like to share this digest with a wide audience. You are encouraged to post or forward this information. 


  • To receive their free monthly edition of Digestible Bits and Bites, interested readers need only send a request with their email address to the editor.
  • Past issues of Digestible Bits and Bites are posted on the Culinary Historians of Canada website.
Copyright © 2021 Culinary Historians of Canada, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp