Digestible Bits and Bites

The monthly newsletter of the
Culinary Historians of Canada
Number 106, February 2022
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In January and February, citrus fruits are at their best, so they were the subject of our most recent cooking challenge. CHC Facebook friend Jane Montford showed how little effort they need to be beautiful and delicious when she created "citrus salad straight up. Navel, cara cara, blood oranges and grapefruit.”



  1. CHC News & Upcoming Events

  2. News & Opportunities

  3. Destinations

  4. Food for Thought (book reviews)

  5. Events of Interest

  6. International Conferences

1. CHC News and Upcoming Events

Salt Beef Buckets: A Newfoundland Valentine

CHC's next event is a love story of sorts: a valentine to Newfoundland. Salt Beef Buckets: A Love Story with Andie Bulman takes place via Zoom on Thursday, February 17, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. EST.

Amanda (a.k.a. Andie) Bulman is a writer, comedian and cook who joined us for our Hearth Warming winter holiday foods event in December to talk briefly about her life on The Rock. Now she's back to tell us more about her new book, Salt Beef Buckets: A Love Story, and some of the fascinating culinary and cultural traditions of Newfoundland. Admission is by donation. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Programming Committee News

We're trying something new! Tickets for most of our Zoom events going forward will be on a "suggested donation" basis—but you are free to pay more or less, your choice. We hope this will make our events more accessible and encourage even more people to participate. And we've got a new email:, which is now connected to Eventbrite. If you're having a problem accessing a program or have any questions related to programming, please shoot us an email at that address.

19th-century Ceramics Event

Later this year, we'll be presenting Ceramics and the 19th-century Canadian Table, which will look at a collection of ceramic tableware on view in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum that depicts idealized scenes of 19th-century Canadian life. Manufactured in England, these objects and others like them participated in the colonial project by imagining and asserting both national and colonial identities.

In this lecture and gallery tour, Sequoia Miller, Chief Curator at the Gardiner, will discuss how seemingly decorative objects engage complex questions around colonialism, political economy and cultural authority. Dr. Miller will also consider the role of museums in offering new and critical interpretive strategies for thinking through problematic historical objects. We're not certain yet whether this event will be in virtual or live format; watch for details on the CHC website.

Some of our workshop participants were so inspired that they tried baking their own salt rising bread. Facebook friend Pauline Meyer Warren, who baked the good-looking loaves above, writes: "Thanks for the interesting talk! A first time for me to taste and bake. Sixteen hours passed and voila: delicious No-Sponge Salt Rising Bread! I needed to be a little more patient, it’s a tad undercooked!"

Salt Rising Bread Workshop Report

By Sylvia Lovegren

On Saturday, January 15, Genevieve "Jenny" Bardwell led a good-sized group of us through the history and the ins and outs of making salt rising bread. From her home in western Pennsylvania, Jenny showed us the frothy jar of starter she had made with potatoes, and then her dough, which rose much more quickly than standard yeast dough.

The finished loaves, with their characteristic flat tops, were just coming out of the oven at the end of the event. Jenny had prepared a fascinating slide show about the history of this unusual bread, which seems to have been developed in the Appalachian region of the United States. She talked about its spread across North America in the days before yeast was easily available, including a discussion with CHC member Fiona Lucas about Catharine Parr Traill's experiences with salt rising bread in southern Ontario in the mid-1800s. There were lively questions and answers throughout the presentation.

February Cooking Challenge: Cakes on the Griddle
At the suggestion of Facebook friend Maria De, our challenge for this month is pancakes, crepes, flapjacks, flannel cakes, waffles and any other type of food cooked on a griddle or hot iron, ranging from classic English muffins to these Welsh Cakes (pictured above) that CHC honorary member Mya Sangster whipped up for St. David's Day last year. (It falls on March 1, same date as Pancake Tuesday this year.) Don't forget your favourite sauces, syrups and other accompaniments!

As always, you might enjoy having a look at Canadian Cookbooks Online on our website for inspiration. There you'll find links to scores of Canadian cookbooks of the past. If you post pictures and comments with the hashtag #griddle to our Facebook page before midnight on Sunday, February 20, we’ll feature at least one of your entries in our March newsletter.

Photo hints: To get the best results with your photos on Facebook and in this newsletter, follow these tips:
  • Make sure your image is big (at least 1MG in file size, or at least 1,000 pixels wide).
  • Make your image wide rather than tall. If you're taking a picture of something round, like a cake, include lots of blank space on either side of it.
  • Keep the camera still; balance it on a chair back or a stack of books if necessary.
  • Use as much light as possible. Outdoor light is great, especially on a cloudy day when there are no sharp shadows. Unless your room is very well lit, place the food near a window, turn on all your lights, and even point extra light sources (ring lights, flashlights) at it from a few different angles.
  • Put your food on a tea towel, a wooden counter or a similar neutral background rather than the stovetop.
  • Decorations are nice, like a flower in a vase, a charming salt and pepper set, an antique spoon or a decorative plate. But don't go overboard: remember, it's the food we want to see!

Citrus Challenge Report

Winter makes us crave colour, flavour and, of course, vitamins—all of which citrus has in abundance. This month's cooking challenge entries show off the loveliness of citrus in many variations, beginning with an outstanding response from Meredith Schimmens:

“My story is a bit different. My mom is the last of our family line to be born out on the land deep in the boreal forest where our family lived, trapped, hunted and thrived for thousands of years. She remembers living in a big wigwam in the winter with groups of other families around the fire and the change to their first home in town, the change from dog teams to snowmobiles, the introduction of hydro to our territory along the James Bay coast, and the train, the introduction of the Canadian residential school era, and all the fallout since. She now has a cellphone and lives in a modern home with modern amenities, and she is only 70.

"My mom remembers the first time she ever ate a Christmas orange! She was five. They used to sew cloth bags like the ones in this picture (above), and each child would hang them outside on the tent frame for their gifts (which were very modest, living in the Bush: some candies, new socks and shirts, maybe a barrette, but one Christmas one of her uncles had brought back from town a box of the Christmas oranges, one for each kid, showed them how to open it and how to close their eyes while eating Christmas oranges around the fire in the dead of winter, along the coast of James Bay right near the Ontario-Quebec border—our family still hunts there."🥰

"So I am only 35, and the second generation to eat an orange."

Jennifer Meyer: "I have made a calamansi tart with candied kumquats as garnish. Also shown are calamansi fruit (green, aka calamondin, Philippine lime or Philippine lemon), calamansi curd (small jar) and candied kumquats (larger jar). My first experience with fresh calamansi was on a family trip, back to my grandmother's home village when I was seven. Her sisters, my great-aunts made a calamansi-ade for my brother and I.

"The calamansi were grown on their farm amongst the other fruit trees. It was ice-cold, and some of the sugar was still crystallized. I was getting over a waterborne illness (caught from a popsicle my doting grandfather had bought for me), that had me briefly hospitalized and I was still dehydrated and weak. Nothing the entire month of that trip tasted better, and I have cherished this tiny, lime like citrus ever since.

"My great aunts, were forces of nature. Old, tiny and crouched over, but fierce, swift and independent. The plate that the tart has been placed on was theirs. During Japanese occupation during the Second World War, they were forced to farm for the Japanese. They refused to keep the occupation pesos they were paid in, strong in the belief that liberation was imminent and the Japanese pesos would be worthless. One of the items they purchased with their occupation pesos was china.

"Growing up, every time my mother used these plates, she would tell me that they would one day be mine and were my inheritance from the great aunts. This is the only remaining piece. For me, calamansi and this plate will forever be entwined."

Beverly Kouhi Soloway: "It's cold. Feels like -25C out there with the wind! It's that kind of cold that gets in your bones ... and sends you looking for something to warm you. This is an old family favourite for cold days, or those days when you've got the sniffles or a sore throat. Hot Lemonade (just make your regular lemonade with hot water!). Do you like my mug?... It's a handmade Finnish Drinking Cup (kuksa)" 😍

Adam Berkelmans, a.k.a. The Intrepid Eater: "I made seared lake whitefish fillets perched on a base of fried plantains and mashed avocado with lime, then smothered in a citrus salsa that I made with pomelo, grapefruit, orange, and clementine supremes, as well as lime, red onion, and cilantro. The dish was a nice reminder of warmth during this cold snap!"

Juanita Andrews: “Making candied orange and lemon peel for my annual Christmas cake and puddings! I do this even when we are in Mexico for the winter, LOL! I boil the peel, discarding the first waters and then boil in a sugar syrup until candied. I often finish drying in my dehydrator and roll in sugar if it is going to be stored for a while. My family loves it dipped in dark chocolate as a candy treat. I saved some of the peel to add to biscotti too."

Alice Mac: "My favourite winter salad is thinly sliced bulb fennel, salt fermented red onions finished with balsamic vinegar and mandarin oranges peeled and sliced. Dress this with your favourite salad dressing and you have another fabulous dish."

Alice Mac: "Sound citrus, sliced and shredded with legendary labour, slow simmered, ladled, precisely processed, and lovingly labelled." [Note the antique marmalade shredder!]

Sarah Galvin:
“Chinese style Orange Chicken”

Ellen Pekilis: “Completely inspired by Muriel Hart’s Lancaster Lemon Tart [see below], I ordered Tea-time Recipes by Jane Pettigrew. It arrived in my mailbox a few days ago, and what a treasure trove it is! It’s a publication of the UK National Trust. They have gathered historic tea-time recipes from a whole bunch of their properties, and there is a note giving a short overview of each property before the recipes. I just sat down and starting reading."

"There are so many interesting things in here! Homemade chocolate digestives. Cornish Fairings (What the heck are those? Apparently a type of spiced biscuit. Must try.) Who knew that "flapjack" isn’t just a regional synonym for "pancake?" It’s a whole different thing. Abbeys (appears to be a type of oatmeal cookie). Things I’ve wanted to make for years like Bath Buns and Eccles Cakes. Anyhow, this is the Orange and Lemon Cake from Clandon Park, in Surrey. Won’t cut into it until after dinner, but the crumbs were delicious."

Ellen Pekilis: “I do love citrus in winter, but my citrus desserts frequently seem to feature cranberries too. Lemon cranberry scones. I did an orange-cranberry loaf cake last week, but the hungry hordes ate it before I could grab a snapshot.”

Jennifer Sladek (who had a similar challenge): "We ended New Year's dinner with a lovely melt-in-your-mouth lemon pavlova (meringue, lemon-mascarpone cream, vanilla-bean whipped cream, mixed berry and limoncello compote). Meringue so light, not even the angels could dance on it. Leftovers ... yes! there were!) were repurposed for a New Year's Day party into an "Eton mess" kind of semifreddo. Leftovers ... no there were not.”

Mya Sangster: “Orange Biscuits from Robert Abbot’s The Housekeeper’s Valuable Present, 1790."

Shelley Posen: “This Seville season I've made a change to my marmalade-making method. Instead of putting pips and pith in several layers of cheesecloth tied with a string, to be submerged in the juice and peel for boiling, I've switched to putting them in a basket customarily used for making spiced wine. Easier to deal with—to fill, to boil, to empty (into a sieve to be pressed till every last bit of pectin is extracted). Makes marmalading that much more enjoyable.”

Sandy Irvin: "I think it’s important to share results of experiments even when they’re not perfect. I wanted to combine that delicious jelly taste of Jaffa cakes (orange, for month) with the marshmallow yumminess of Whippets. Here are the least mutated-looking ones. They’re almost too rich, and I will keep tinkering with the recipe—the homemade marshmallows with vanilla and Grand Marnier are definitely worth repeating. But, without further ado, here are Three Orange Whips."

Cathi Riehle: "Classic Lemon Squares with a shortbread crust. This was one of the first desserts I learned how to make. I was trying to decide between these and Date Squares for a luncheon this weekend, and these won."

Nancy L. Foster:
A family favourite since I can remember. Very nice textures. I prefer them to the usual lemon bars."

Lyle Beaugard: "My thumbprint cookies with lemon curd, for I do admit that the lemon curd is store-bought. I found some of the excellent Bonne Maman Lemon Curd that I'd been dying to try, at Wegman's in Buffalo."

 "Vignettes-In-Time": “Although I made this batch in November, my tree sports two more upcoming crops, representing 'blossomings' that occurred a month and a half apart. This tree has ensured three marmalade batches for me per year for the last four decades, and from all indications will be continuing on for more decades. It thrives indoors after the first heavy frost and moves outdoors for the last light frost of the spring ... an enduring and always-generous friend.”

Betty Van der Ree: "French Grandmother's Lemon Yogurt Cake: delicious, tart and not too sweet; just right for les enfants and maman too."

Chef Heidi Fink: “I had my students make a French lemon tart, topped with torched Italian meringue and a candied bruléed lemon. A ton of fun this week in the pastry section of the Culinary School (I normally run the student food truck, so it was nice to be in bakery for a change.)”

Deborah Peterson: "Clarissa Dillon came over yesterday and we made E. Smith's To Make Orange Cream [from The Compleat Housewife, 1753]. It was easy to make and only took 20 minutes. We only made half the receipt. It was lovely to eat! We used porcelain lotus dishes, though they weren't what was called for."

Deborah Peterson: "Clarissa Dillon came by today, and we made To make BUTTER’D ORANGE from Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts, 1733 [Full recipe posted to Facebook]. When I read this receipt, it sounded very much like the Orange Cream Deb & I made recently, with butter instead of brandy. It’s similar but not identical—somewhat more liquid."

"It took about 40 minutes of stirring over low heat to come to a boil and about 20 minutes off heat and stirring to cool. It is a simple dish and well worth the time and trouble (not really too much of each). Unlike many of the receipts in Mrs. Eales’s book, it could easily be prepared at home if Seville oranges were available. I think it could be made successfully by a 12-year-old, but she would need to be watched during the cooling process or she might “taste” too much of it."

Meredith Bell of Ma Bell's Country Condiments: "I was the beneficiary of approximately 100 lbs of lemons. These are just a few examples of how I immediately used them. Additionally, I have been juicing, zesting, freezing and sharing with many other culinary friends."

Peta-Gaye Latibeaudiere Hoskinson: "For the citrus challenge, an elderflower and lemon curd cake. Lemon cake layers with lemon curd filling, elderflower buttercream frosting with lemon curd drizzle on top."

Kelley Teahen: "I love lemon desserts. Not baking this month (after all the December excess) but I've made this Anna Olson's Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Steeped Citrus several times since I learned how to make it from her on a cooking course, eons ago. This blog post talks about the course, and the lemon cake recipe is at bottom of the post."
  • Top left: Alice Mac: "Lemon Curd is such a treat. When there is a sale on bags of lemons I get started." (Full recipe posted on Facebook.)
  • Top right: Elvira Regier Smid: “This is a caipirinha. Cut a lime in large pieces and put into an old fashioned glass. Add a tablespoon of sugar. Muddle until the juices flow. Fill with partially crushed ice. Pour on one or two shots of cachaca. Drink slowly to allow ice to melt. Cachaca is a Brazilian sugar cane spirit. You can use vodka, in which case you are making a caipiroshka.”
  • Bottom left & right: Sherry Murphy: "Florida Orange Meringue Pie from my 43-year-old "Greetings from Florida" postcard that I purchased while visiting an orange grove just north of Miami in 1979. Never tried the recipe until today! My family said it was just perfect, so had to share. Besides the orange pie, I had extra orange sections, so I made a purée and made an orange and raisin almond-flour and white rice flour quick loaf. Tastes good! And it’s gluten-free."
  • Top left: Muriel Hart: “Lancaster lemon tart. For the lemon curd in the base of this tart, I used my Lancashire grandmother’s recipe for it, from From Our Kitchen To Yours: Toronto Public Library Family Favourites. The lemon almond sponge and pastry recipes come from the Lancaster lemon tart recipe in Traditional Teatime Recipes, by Jane Pettigrew.” Photo credit: Nigel Hart
  • Top right: Deborah Peterson: "Clarissa Dillon came by yesterday with this! I am truly blessed!" It's Orange Pudding Baked, from Mary Smith's The Complete House-keeper, and Professed Cook, originally published in 1772 and reprinted in 1811. (Full recipe posted on Facebook.)
  • Bottom left: Ian Middleton: “Dundee Cake, candied peel, marmalade, and orange zest.”
  • Bottom right: Shoshana Brohman: "I made a gluten-free clementine cake. The cooked and pureed whole clementine rise to the surface creating a sticky sweet top. Super light."
  • Top left: Chef John Mackinnon of Bake On Demand: “Lemon meringue cake. Layers of short cake, lemon-flavoured, layers of lemon custard. Topped with torched meringue and lemon buttercream frosting.”
  • Top right: Sherry Murphy: “Orange Bread with an orange marmalade icing from the Five Roses Cook Book, 1932.”
  • Bottom left: Matthew Hayes: "I made a lemon and mascarpone sorbet, served inside the frozen lemon. Elegant and sooo tasty!"
  • Bottom right: Lorraine Fuller: "Good thing it is citrus month; this is all I have left from last year's marmalade batch! Waiting patiently for news that the Sevilles are here...."
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 call for Submissions is Open
Taste Canada Awards invites all publishers and authors to submit titles published in 2021 to the 2022 Food Writing Awards. The shortlist will be announced in the spring of 2022, and the winners at a gala presentation in the fall of 2022. English- and French-language books are judged in four categories: Single-Subject Cookbooks; Regional/Cultural Cookbooks; Health or Special Diet Cookbooks; and Culinary Narratives.

The competition is open to publishers and authors outside Canada, if the author is a Canadian citizen. The deadline for submissions is February 23, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Visit Taste Canada for full details.

Are You a Great Canadian Baker?
The CBC has put out its call for a new crop of would-be Star Bakers for Season 6 of the now-iconic Great Canadian Baking Show. If you have a way with puff pastry and don't turn pale when someone tells you to whip up a batch of kouign-amann or a picture-perfect Battenberg, maybe you should give it a try. Filming is set to take place this summer. Application deadline is March 13, 2022, and the application form is online.

Bishop's University Teaching Position
Bishop's is hiring a Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems. The Department of Environment and Geography at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, invites applications for a full-time, three-year Research Chair position in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS; possible extension beyond three years). This Research Chair will join a dynamic and growing team of professors and students who use the Bishop’s University Educational Farm as their principal research and teaching laboratory within the newly created SAFS programs. The application deadline is February 28.

The Dep is Dead, Long Live the Dep!

The exciting Toronto food space known as The Depanneur has closed. Under owner Len Senater, it has showcased nearly 500 local cooks in his space over the past ten years. It has also supported the launch of successful local food businesses and incubated impactful social programs like Newcomer Kitchen.
Now, Senater has introduced a new chapter in the story: The Depanneur Cookbook Adopt-A-Recipe Kickstarter, which launched in November to huge response. It will feature 100 recipes by 100 Toronto-area cooks, and it’s being crowdfunded, so all the contributors will be paid. Find out more on Kickstarter.

Indigelicious Tuesdays

Indigelicious Tuesdays on APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) presents Indigenous cooking shows like Moosemeat & Marmalade, which explores and compares Indigenous and European culture and cuisine, and Chuck and the First Peoples Kitchen, where members of Indigenous communities across Canada dish out their knowledge with professional chef Chuck Hughes. Visit the show page to learn more about it.

2022 Sophie Coe Prize in Food History
The Sophie Coe is a distinguished annual prize intended to encourage, support and recognize good work in the field. It 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 relating to any period, place, people or culture. Innovative, well written entries of up to 10,000 words in length in English are welcomed.

The Prize is £1,500 for the winning essay, article or book chapter. Authors may submit one entry only each, and they must be delivered by this year’s deadline of April 22, 2022. Details are available online or through Dr. Jane Levi (

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!)

CHC member Fiona Lucas reprised her presentation Catharine Parr Traill on Enjoying and Surviving a Canadian Winter, originally presented in January 2021 for CHC, and for members of Central Canada ALHFAM in January 2022. Fiona talked about how Traill's advice benefited many immigrants unprepared for the cold and ice, but how she also came to love the sparkling snow.

John Ota, author of The Kitchen, has been cooking up recipes from Aunt Maud's Recipe Book: From the Kitchen of L.M. Montgomery, by Elaine Crawford and Kelly Crawford, adapted from Lucy Maud Montgomery's own recipes.

3. Destinations

Jane Black's Destinations feature will return next month.

4. 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 newsletter editor Sarah Hood at


In this issue, we would like to thank Elka Weinstein (above, left), who has been diligently filling the role of Book Reviews Editor for this newsletter for over three years. She has decided to step down to make room for her volunteer duties in other areas, and we are very sorry to lose her.
However, we are also delighted to be able to announce that CHC member and frequent book reviewer Ivy Lerner-Frank (above, right) has agreed to take over, beginning in February. Ivy, who lives in Montreal, is a committed, creative professional, and former diplomat with experience in the education and immigration fields. She is now writing mostly about food, music and memory.

Thank you, Elka, and welcome, Ivy!
How to Cook the Victorian Way with Mrs. Crocombe by Annie Gray & Andrew Hann (English Heritage, 2020). Reviewed by Fiona Lucas (pictured above).
Who was Mrs. Crocombe? I wondered. I learned that Avis Crocombe was head cook at Audley End in Essex in the 1880s and, now apparently a YouTube star. Whaaat?
Avis Crocombe (1837–1927) began her working life as a general servant and rose to be cook for the aristocratic Braybrookes at Audley End. After marrying in 1884, she owned a London boarding house. Throughout her long career she maintained a recipe manuscript that decades later was fortuitously returned to English Heritage, managers of the restored Audley End House and Gardens estate museum. Mrs. Crocombe, the YouTube star, is portrayed by historical interpreter Kathy Hipperson in English Heritage’s extensive The Victorian Way series. That’s Hipperson on the book cover.
Co-authors Annie Gray and Andrew Hann were colleagues at English Heritage. Gray is familiar to television audiences as the genial and well-informed host of several British food-history programs also shown in Canada (The Sweetmakers, Victorian Bakers). Hann led the team that restored Audley End’s large service wing.

The recipe manuscript was an accumulation of Crocombe’s working notes, lists and menus, and as such was never intended for publication, so Gray and Hann’s excellent essays place it into its greater late-Victorian socioeconomic and culinary context. The sequence of chapters follows a late Victorian meal, starting with recipes and historical information for soups and fish, then meats and vegetables, sweets, desserts, savouries. Many attractive photos of the finished dishes and Hipperson in action are included.
The concluding section is a full transcription of the original idiosyncratic manuscript, dating from the late 1860s until sometime after 1900; the last few recipes were in someone else’s hand, maybe Crocombe’s stepdaughter. Crocombe’s manuscript was an aide-memoire and had thematic gaps for dishes for which she didn’t require written instructions. Gray provides splendid redactions for most of Crocombe’s original recipes, as well as for recipes from such contemporaries as Eliza Acton, Alexis Soyer and Charles Elmé Francatelli. I commend Gray’s updated recipes; she is mostly very faithful to reproducing the originals for today’s kitchens.
It would have been helpful, however, if the updated recipes had included the page numbers of the originals for easy comparison. Because my suspicion-metre is always on high alert when reading modernized recipes, I always want to compare originals. Readers would have appreciated not having to search. But that’s a quibble, because How to Cook the Victorian Way accomplishes the goal the title promises for both newbie and experienced historical cooks at home and for active museum kitchens.

Baking with Bruno, A French Baker’s North American Love Story by Bruno Feldeisen (Whitecap Books, 2020). Reviewed by Elka Weinstein (pictured above).
Chef Bruno Feldeisen is a judge on CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show, which has recently finished airing its fifth season. Although, as fans of the show know, he is an accomplished pastry cook in the daunting French tradition, his book offers sweet baking recipes that you can make at home. Like the other books that I own from Whitecap Publishers, Baking with Bruno is an accessible cookbook. It is easy to read, has simple instructions, lays out the ingredients and tools for the amateur baker, and it isn’t expensive.

I love baking, but I am strictly an amateur baker—I have never made a croquembouche, and my decorating skills are not worth talking about. However, like Bruno, I do love butter. Therefore, mostly simple recipes that use butter, eggs, sugar and flour are right up my street. Bruno also uses lots of fruit in his baking, and I love to bake with fruit too.
This cookbook was clearly a labour of love. Dedicated to Sergio, Bruno’s teenage son, the recipes are mostly derived from French-style baking, but, as Bruno says in his introduction, “This book documents my discovery of North American food culture in the context of my French culinary background.”

When Bruno arrived in North America, the first cookbook he bought was An American Baker by Chef Jim Dodge (actually, the full title of that book is, The American Baker: Exquisite Desserts from the Pastry Chef of the Stanford Court). Dodge trained as a pastry chef in Switzerland, blending the Swiss influence with his New England heritage. Chef Bruno clearly took Jim Dodge’s influence to heart, and has highlighted local ingredients (blueberries, buckwheat, maple syrup and rhubarb) with French panache. He has also included recipes from the multicultural American immigrant experience.
The book is complemented by lovely photos taken by Henry M. Wu, president of Metropolitan Hotels, who is also a hobby food photographer. Bruno was a chef at Wu's Toronto restaurant Sen5es, and the two have reconnected for this project.

Recipes, Inspiration, Stories. Liberté: When Yogourt Makes the Difference (KO Media, 2021). Reviewed by Ivy Lerner-Frank (pictured above).
“Consider this cookbook your yogourt-infused page-turner,” asserts the introduction to this vanity-published cookbook. It comes from Liberté, one of Québec’s biggest names for cultured dairy products and once a family business, then purchased by Yoplait and now owned by General Mills. This aspirational volume was produced by a marketing agency with collaboration from recipe developers, chefs, and food researchers. There is no author per se; that would truly have made a difference.
The categories of freshness, texture, warmth and delicacy shape the book’s organization, though there’s little indication of the criteria for inclusion into these chapters. Recipes represent an eclectic range of cuisines, some of which are dairy and yogurt cultures (no pun intended) like Turkish and Indian, while other inclusions are head-scratchers, like Thai and Japanese, which generally eschew dairy. To wit: Japanese gyoza are never accompanied by dairy sauces, nor do Thai red curries incorporate yogurt. The amount of yogurt may be minimal in these recipes, but it grates; it’s unclear whether or not the recipe developers were aiming for fusion, since authenticity was certainly not on their radar.
The book does bear rewards for the intrepid reader, however: an Azerbaijani-style yogurt and herb soup (dovga), beet falafel with creamy zaatar sauce (here more akin to a no-fry veggie burger), spicy butternut skewers with lemon-jalapeño dip, and a cilantro-lime yogurt lamb stew. The chapter dedicated to Montreal’s Wandering Chew, featuring CHC’s own Kat Romanow and Sydney Warshaw, offers a welcome “slice of history” and perspective on the Montreal origins of Liberté (née Liberty) as well as a terrific recipe for a yogurt and spice streusel cake.
The profiles of food activists and chefs, including Aman Dosanj from Edible Adventures in Kelowna, BC; Fisun Ercan from the Turkish farm-to-table restaurant Bika Farm on the outskirts of Montreal; Adelle Tazibachi, founder of Les Filles Fattoush, a Montreal-based social enterprise for Syrian refugee women, and Keralan transplant Joe Thottungal, are a highlight: their recipes are among the most authentic offerings in the book.
While a particular style of yogurt or kefir is often suggested, my sense is that the home cook can likely substitute whatever they like in the recipes—though this, of course, is not the goal in a self-published tome aspiring to the iconic status of rivals like the Five Roses Cook Book.
What ties the book together is the sumptuous photography and styling by Alison Slattery and Kerrie Ahern, a Montreal team who work together on commercial shoots and cookbook projects. The book design is what make Liberté worth seeking out as eye candy, though not necessarily for purchase.

Review Contributors
  • Ivy Lerner-Frank (CHC book review editor, Montreal)
  • Julia Armstrong (Toronto)
  • Luisa Giacometti (Toronto)
  • Gary Gillman (Toronto)
  • Sher Hackwell (Vancouver)
  • Sarah Hood (Toronto)
  • Maya Love (London, Ontario)
  • Fiona Lucas (Toronto)
  • Jan Main (Toronto)
  • Bennett McCardle (Toronto)
  • Elka Weinstein (Toronto)

5. Events of Interest

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

Some museums and other sites have been able to admit visitors again, following COVID guidelines in their province, but check their websites before turning up at the door!

6. International Conferences

Compiled by Kesia Kvill


February 11 to 12 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Theme: Food and the Environment: The Dynamic Relationship Between Food Practices and Nature
Host: University of Amsterdam

April 28 to 30 (Lisbon, Portugal, or online)
Theme: Experiencing & Envisioning Food: Designing Food for Change
Host: The FORK Organization & Faculdade de Arquitetura, Universidade de Lisboa

May 12 to 14 (online)
Theme: Transitions to a Just and Sustainable Food System

May 14 (Leeds, England)
Theme: Fish
Location: Quaker Meeting House, Friargate, York.

May 30 to June 1 (Dublin, Ireland)
Theme: Food and Movement

June 23 to 28 (Tacoma, Washington)
Theme: The Future of the Past
Host: Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

July 8 to 10 and July 15 to 31 (Oxford, UK, and online)
Theme: Portable Food: Food Away from the Table
Host: St. Catherine's College, Oxford
CFP Deadline: February 15, 2022

September 7 to 10 (Rome, Italy)
Theme: Eating on the Move (19th-20th Centuries)
Host: Rome Tre University

October 22 to 23 (New York, USA)
Theme: Imagining the Edible: Food, Creativity, and the Arts
Host: Marymount Manhattan College, New York
Call for presentations is open.

September 5 to 8 (Ekaterinburg, Russia)
Theme: Food and Memory in European History of the 19th-21st Centuries 

CFP Deadline: 11 September 2022 
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. 
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