Digestible Bits and Bites #35 - March 2016

Digestible Bits and Bites

The monthly newsletter of the
Culinary Historians of Canada
Number 35, March 2016
Prepping Persian marmalade: Elizabeth Baird's workshop (photo by Luisa Giacometti)

News and Upcoming Events

Donna Pitcher's First Prize-winning Spiced Orange Marmalade Cake (photo by MaryCatherine Anderson)

Mad for Marmalade Wrap-up
This past February 20, about 100 people gathered at Fort York National Historic Site to celebrate "A Taste of Persia" at the 9th annual Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus! event. The organizing committee (Bridget Wranich, Melanie Garrison and Cheryl Dilisi of Fort York with Luisa Giacometti, Shirley Lum and Sylvia Lovegren of CHC) produced a brilliant and inspiring day of tantalizing talks and tastings.

Persian treats in the marmalade marketplace (photo by Sarah Hood)

Among the highlights were Naomi Duguid's chat about "Oranges and Lemons in the Persian World", Mojgan Fay's presentation "From Saffron to Dried Limes—The Stories Within" and Shayma Saddat's "From Persia to Pakistan—A Journey of Memory and Food".

Heart Cakes: The Ladies Assistant by Charlotte Mason, 1787 (photo by Sarah Hood)

Thanks are due to the keynote speakers, as well as to workshop presenters Elizabeth Baird, Melissa Beynon, Magdaline Dontsos, Sarah Hood, Neema Lakhani, Jan Main, Shayma Saadat, Mya Sangster and Bridget Wranich.

The Persian lunch by Banu was a hit with everyone, and all attendees were delighted by the efforts of those who researched and prepared the refreshments and desserts: Fort York Historic Foodways Program Officers Bridget Wranich, Melissa Beynon and Ieva Lucs, along with Fort York Volunteer Historic Cooks Elizabeth Baird, Brenda Dalglish, Joan Derblich, John Hammond, Ellen Johnstone, Rosemary Kovac, Sherry Murphy, Mya Sangster, Kathryn Tanaka and Peggy Mooney.

Fathiya Rahim's Sourdough Marmalade Breakfast Rolls (photo by Sarah Hood)

Other marmalade heroes are Mark D’Aguilar (graphic design of the the lovely program booklet); Gianfranco Baldin-Venetus (flyer design); Michael Elliot (website management); Melissa Beynon, Alice Flahive, Shirley Lum and Samantha George (social media outreach), and Elizabeth Baird for her unstinting efforts to arrange overflowing gift bags for attendees and, seemingly, at least one door prize for everyone in attendance.

Finally, of course, numerous volunteers stepped up to make everything run much more smoothly and enjoyably. A big round of grateful applause to all!

Mark D'Aguilar's Marmalade Cheesecake (photo by Shirley Lum)

Redpath Marmalade Competition
Under the capable handling of Shirley Lum and Sylvia Lovegren, this year's competition attracted 40 entries in four catgories. Eight dedicated judges (MaryCatherine Anderson, Kyla Eaglesham, Alison Fryer, Robert Henderson, Christine Manning, Daphna Rabinovitch, Emily Richards and Yvonne Tremblay) generously gave their time and expertise to the task of considering each one for its taste, appearance and technical attributes. In the end, the winners were:

Judges’ Choice
  • Genevieve Shave (Scotch Marmalade)
Pure Seville Orange Marmalade (9 entries) 
  • 1st Prize: Muriel Thompson
  • 2nd Prize: Roshi Ebrahim 
  • 3rd Prize: Mary Mucio
Citrus Marmalade (14 entries) 
  • 1st Prize: Genevieve Shave (Scotch Marmalade)
  • 2nd Prize: Susanne Tabur (Clear Marmalade) 
  • 3rd Prize: Mary Mucio (Grapefruit & Lemon Marmalade)
Preserves with Citrus (7 entries)
  • 1st Prize: Pam Edmonds (Apricot Orange Cardamom Marmalade)
  • 2nd Prize: Donna Pitcher (Ruby-Red Grapefruit Cardamom & Orange Flower Jelly)
  • 3rd Prize: Lisette Maillette (Orange & Carrot Jam)
Baking With Marmalade (9 entries) 
  • 1st Prize: Donna Pitcher (Spiced Orange Marmalade Cake with Orange Marmalade & Date Filling topped with Honey-Marmalade-Cream Cheese Buttercream)
  • 2nd Prize: Fathiya Rahim (Sourdough Marmalade Breakfast Rolls)
  • 3rd Prize: Mark D’Aguilar (Orange Marmalade, Quince & Saffron Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust)

Photo by Sarah Hood

Honouring Elizabeth
Elizabeth Baird received special recognition for her many, many accomplishments and her generosity to the culinary history community at Mad for Marmalade in the form of a beautifully handmade apron created by CHC member and historic cook Sherry Murphy. Some of Elizabeth's achievements are documented in Sherry's painstaking hand embroidery, which Elizabeth is proudly showing off in the image above.

CHC Events Calendar

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Victualling Nelson's Navy:
Food and Cooking on the High Seas in the Age of the Napoleonic Wars

The British Navy under Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson was the largest floating fighting force the world had ever seen, with hundreds of ships around the world, manned by thousand upon thousands of hungry sailors, who were supposed to be fed the equivalent of roughly 5,000 calories a day!

How those sailors would be fed was a logistical nightmare that would not only change culinary history but help to ignite the Industrial Revolution. 
The CHC is pleased to present author, chef and naval re-enactor Gurth Pretty in a fascinating talk—and hands-on demonstration—exploring just how Lord Nelson’s Navy managed this incredible feat, and what those hungry sailors actually ate. There will be samples—to see, to touch and even a few to eat!

Chef Gurth M. Pretty is a graduate of George Brown College's culinary management program and Toronto's Cheese Education Guild. 'His books include The Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal & Fine Cheese (Whitecap 2006) and The Definitive Canadian Wine & Cheese Cookbook (Whitecap 2007, with Tony Aspler) and contributed to the World Book of Cheese (DK Books 2009).
As a hobby, Gurth is a warrant officer as the ship's cook aboard HMS Royal George, an 1812 naval re-enactment unit. He prepares and cooks historical recipes over the open fire for his shipmates, at War of 1812 historical events throughout Ontario.

Victualling Nelson's Navy takes place at the Naval Club of Toronto (
1910 Gerrard Street East between Coxwell & Woodbine, accessible via Carlton 506 streetcar). Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; presentation begins at 7. Admission: $15 (CHC & Naval Club members). $20 (non-members). $12 (students). Tickets are available online (and selling fast!) For further details, contact Sylvia Lovegren-Petras at or 416-556-3108.

Join Us On Facebook!
If you're not already following the Culinary Historians of Canada group on Facebook, you're missing some tasty food chatter. This month's topics of discussion included the ongoing story of Michael Twitty, Paula Deen and the under-acknowledged importance of African-American food heritage, the peculiar story of "Vinegar Valentines", and the history of bannock.
Join the Culinary Historians of Canada!

CHC members are part of a network of people dedicated to exploring Canada’s culinary history. Benefits include discounts on special events and access to members-only activities like the Picnic in Prince Edward County. In addition, members are listed in the CHC directory and receive their own copy. The membership year runs from September to August. Join us today!
  • Regular Membership: $30 (1 year) $55 (2 years)
  • Supporting Membership: $55 (1 year) $75 (2 years)
Download a membership form here or contact to find out more.

News and Opportunities

Photo by Ken Jones

U of T Acquires Chinese Restaurant Memorabilia
In February, U of T Scarborough announced that it had acquired a Guinness World Record-holding collection of 10,000 items of Chinese restaurant ephemera, mostly menus collected by Harley J. Spiller between 1981 and 2009. It will be digitized by the UTSC library. The oldest menu in the collection dates from 1896.

Sample A Little Rye & Ginger!
CHC member Jasmine Mangalaseril invites everyone with an interest in the historic foodways of Waterloo Region to visit her site Rye and Ginger. This year, she's focusing on 1916, the year Berlin, Ontario changed its name to Kitchener. Besides local issues, she includes food-related news and recipes. Later, she plans to widen her scope to include the culinary history of rest of the Region.

Cookbook Catalogue
Bookseller Jim Anderson writes: "I'm pleased to make this newly updated catalogue of Canadian cookbooks to the Culinary Historians. It represents the beginning of my cataloguing process on my 20-year collection of Canadian cookery books. In describing each book in detail, I have relied heavily on Culinary Landmarks,the excellent bibliography by Elizabeth Driver.

"Please note that all listings are subject to prior sale (i.e. an item you order may have been sold previously) and all prices are in Canadian currency. The emphasis of this catalogue is on rare Manitoba cookery books published prior to 1950. Subsequent catalogues will feature pre-1950 cookbooks of other individual provinces. I can be contacted at, 204-287-2397 or 204-610-0290."

Call for Proposals: Performance Research
Issue editors Joshua Abrams and Richard Gough are calling for proposals for the February 2017 edition of Performance Research (Vol. 22:1), which will be "On Taste". This issue asks contributors to feel free to dispute all matters of taste and related concepts. It seeks to turn the focus back to notions of gustatory taste as a means of understanding through and in performance contexts. The deadline is March 11, and full details are posted at Further questions may be directed to Joshua Abrams at

Events of Interest

THIS MONTH (March 2016)
  • Friday & Saturday, March 4 & 5: Desserts By Lamplight, 7 p.m. (Brampton). Historic Bovaird House. Admission: $17.50
  • Tuesday March 8: A Cultural Journey Through Italian Wines, Lecture I (Toronto). The Istituto Italiano di Cultura presents a lecture by Italian wine expert Gaia Massai covering a brief history of wine, terroir and the wines of Northern Italy with a guided tasting of three wines from Northern Italy. Admission: $60 per lecture or $150 for the series of three. 416-921-3802, ext. 228
  • Saturday, March 12: St. Patrick’s Céilidh, 7 to 11 p.m. (Etobicoke). An early St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Montgomery’s Inn with Irish stew, fresh baked bread and live traditional music featuring the renowned Gin Lane. Admission: $5. Cash bar, $5 for a bowl of stew while supplies last.
  • Saturday & Sunday, March 12 & 13: Kings Landing Sugar Bush Weekend, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Prince William, New Brunswick). Kings Landing Historical Settlement presents its annual sugar bush party with a pancake breakfast ($11 for adults and $8 for children) and a 19th-century sugar bush demonstration in the village. Admission: $12 (family). $7 (adult). $3.50 (child). Maple candy on the snow: $2 per stick.
  • Sunday, March 13: A Taste of Medieval Times, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Toronto). Fort York Historic Foodways Program  Volunteer Historic Cook Mya Sangster leads a historic cooking class in the 1826 Officers' Mess Kitchen at Fort York National Historic Site, where participants can discover fascinating recipes for Gingerbrede made with honey; Figgy, an ancestor of plum pudding; Daryols, an early custard tart, and more, using original cookbooks and manuscripts from the late 1300s. Admission: $75 + HST, including lunch and recipe packages. Pre-registration and payment are required. 416-392-7484
  • Tuesday, March 15: Victualling Nelson's Navy: Food and Cooking on the High Seas in the Age of the Napoleonic Wars, 7 p.m. (Toronto). See CHC Events Calendar, above.
  • Saturday & Sunday, March 19 & 20: Kings Landing Sugar Bush Weekend, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Prince William, New Brunswick). See March 12 & 13.
  • Tuesday March 22: A Cultural Journey Through Italian Wines, Lecture II (Toronto). The Istituto Italiano di Cultura presents a lecture by Italian wine expert Gaia Massai covering the life cycle of vines, hints on vinification and ageing, the wines of Central Italy and New World versus Old World wines, with a guided tasting of three wines from Central Italy. Admission: $60 per lecture or $150 for the series of three. 416-921-3802, ext. 228
  • Thursday, March 31: Cooking Lessons: Food History, Cooking Demonstrations, and Museum Visitors, 4 to 6 p.m. (Scarborough, Ontario). A talk by curator Paula Johnson of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in collaboration with the Centre for Culinaria Research at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. It takes places at UTSC, Bissell 728 (1265 Military Trail). Admission: Free
  • Thursday, March 31: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with beer, wine, or a Thomas Montgomery speciality in the restored 1847 barroom along with Irish stew, fresh baked bread and live traditional music. Admission: free. Cash bar, $5 for a bowl of stew, while supplies last. 416-394-8113
LOOKING AHEAD (April 2016)
  • Saturday, April 2: The Royal Banquet—India’s Palace Cuisine, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Toronto). Take your place at the royal table and sample Shammi Kababs (pan fried lamb patties) served with spicy tomato chutney and warm wedges of naan, followed by Chicken Korma (chicken cooked in a nutty, creamy sauce) and Saag Paneer Masala—cubes of Indian cottage cheese cooked with spinach served over basmati rice. Leave room for dessert—delicious Mango Kulfi (Indian ice cream)! Part of a series of classes on The Cuisines Of India with cookbook authors and food historians Smita and Sanjeev Chandra at George Brown College. Admission: $85 per class. Register online.
  • Tuesday April 5: A Cultural Journey Through Italian Wines, Lecture III (Toronto). The Istituto Italiano di Cultura presents a lecture by Italian wine expert Gaia Massai covering wine and health, the wines of Southern and Insular Italy, wine pairings, the “dos and don’ts” of buying and storing wine and how to make sense of a wine label, with a guided tasting of three wines from Southern Italy. Admission: $60 per lecture or $150 for the series of three. 416-921-3802, ext. 228
  • Sunday, April 10: Cooking with Hannah Glasse, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Toronto) Fort York Historic Foodways Program  Volunteer Historic Cook Mya Sangster leads a historic cooking class in the 1826 Officers' Mess Kitchen at Fort York National Historic Site. Before Martha Stewart and Julia Child, even before Mrs. Beeton, Hannah Glasse was the best known British cookery writer of the 18th century.  Multiple editions of her cookbooks were best sellers for nearly 100 years. Using recipes from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747) and The Complete Confectioner (1760) you will learn to create a menu from roast to pudding. Admission: $75 + HST, including lunch and recipe packages. Pre-registration and payment are required. 416-392-7484
  • Friday to Sunday, April 15 to 17: Toronto Jane Austen Festival (Toronto). Spend a weekend in the world of Lizzy, Darcy, Emma and other beloved characters. What did they eat, wear, hear, see? You will experience the food, music, clothing and dance of Jane Austen’s time through lectures, hands-on workshops and, of course, a ball! Details to follow.
  • Thursday, April 21: Francis Shirriff and the Canadian Dinner Table, 7:15 p.m. (Brampton). The Brampton Historical Society presents an illustrated lecture by CHC member Sarah Hood at the Heart Lake Community Presbyterian Church. Admission: Admission: Free (BHS members). $5 (non-members)
  • Thursday, April 28: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with beer, wine, or a Thomas Montgomery speciality in the restored 1847 barroom along with Irish stew, fresh baked bread and live traditional music. Admission: free. Cash bar, $5 for a bowl of stew, while supplies last. 416-394-8113
  • Sundays: Gibson House Tea & Tour, 1 to 4:30 p.m. (Toronto). There's tea, cookies and a seat for you at the harvest table in the 1850s historic kitchen every Sunday. Free with regular admission.
  • To March 13, 2016: The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals (Los Angeles). The Getty Research Institute presents an exhibit on the elaborate artworks made of food that were created for royal court and civic celebrations in early modern Europe.
  • To Fall 2016: Food Will Win the War (Ottawa). The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum presents an exhibition on the story of food on the Canadian home front during the Second World War. Focusing on shopping, eating, conserving, and volunteering, it shows how Canadians fought a “war for food” to support Canada’s overseas war efforts. Admission: Free with entrance to the museum. 613-991-3044 or 1-866-442-4416

Academic Conferences

March 10 & 11, 2016 (Brussels)
The Dutch-Belgian Society for 18th-Century Studies will be focusing on the role played by taste and smell, in a century when both theoretical discourse and daily routine were strongly influenced by sensualist ideas.

March 18 to 20, 2016 (Colonial Williamsburg)

The conference will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins and consequences of industrial brewing, discover the ingredients brewers have used through time, and share a toast to brewers past. Speakers include beer writers Randy Mosher, Martyn Cornell and Stan Hieronymus, beer scientist Karen Fortmann of White Labs and brewmaster Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Company.

April 23, 2016 (York, UK)

May 12 to 13 (New York City)

A conference of the Fales Library at New York University.

May 31 to June 1, 2016 (Dublin)

The biennial Dublin Gastronomy Symposium.

June 22 to 26, 2016 (Toronto)

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus hosts the joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, Agriculture Food and Human Values and the Canadian Association for Food Studies.

July 4 to 7, 2016 (Leeds, UK)
The 23rd International Medieval Congress aims to cover the entire spectrum of famine to feast through multi-disciplinary approaches.

July 8 to 10, 2016 (Oxford, UK)

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.

December 2 to 6. 2016 (Melbourne, Australia)

Deadline for proposals: May 15, 2016
The 21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy invites proposals from academics and independent scholars, artists and activists, cooks and chefs, journalists and writers, food producers and artisans in the form of panel discussions, presentations, literary reflections, manifestos, performances and interactive experiments relating to utopia and gastronomy. Send enquiries and proposals 350 words or less along with a 100-word biography of the presenter/s before 15 May 2016 to the symposium committee: Kelly Donati ( and Jacqueline Dutton (

Food for Thought


Colonial Food in Interwar Paris: The Taste of Empire by Lauren Janes (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)
In the wake of the First World War, in which France suffered severe food shortages, colonial produce became an increasingly important element of the French diet. The colonial lobby seized upon these foodstuffs as powerful symbols of the importance of the colonial project to the life of the French nation. But how was colonial food really received by the French public? And what does this tell us about the place of empire in French society?

In Colonial Food in Interwar Paris, Lauren Janes disputes the claim that empire was central to French history and identity, arguing that the distrust of colonial food reflected a wider disinterest in the empire. From Indochinese rice to North African grains and tropical fruit to curry powder, this book offers an intriguing and original challenge to current orthodoxy about the centrality of empire to modern France by examining the place of colonial foods in the nation's capital.

The Practice of Eating by Alan Warde (Wiley, December 2015)
This book reconstructs and extends sociological approaches to the understanding of food consumption. It identifies new ways to approach the explanation of food choice and it develops new concepts which will help reshape and reorient common understandings. Leading sociologist of food Alan Warde deals both with abstract issues about theories of practice and substantive analyses of aspects of eating, demonstrating how theories of practice can be elaborated and systematically applied to the activity of eating.

Fast Food: The Good, Bad and Hungry by Andrew F. Smith (Reaktion Books-Controversies Series, 2016)
The single most influential culinary trend of our time is fast food. It has spawned an industry that has changed eating, the most fundamental of human activities. From the first flipping of burgers in tiny shacks in the United States to the forging of neon signs that spell out “Pizza Hut” in Cyrillic or Arabic scripts, the fast food industry has exploded into dominance, becoming one of the leading examples of global corporate success. And with this success it has become one of the largest targets of political criticism, blamed for widespread obesity, cultural erasure, oppressive labour practices and environmental destruction on massive scales.

In this book, expert culinary historian Andrew F. Smith explores why the fast food industry has been so successful and examines the myriad ethical lines it has crossed to become so. As he shows, fast food—plain and simple—devised a perfect retail model, one that works everywhere, providing highly flavored calories with speed, economy and convenience. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, they say, and the costs with fast food have been enormous: an assault on proper nutrition, a minimum-wage labour standard, and a powerful pressure on farmers and ranchers to deploy some of the worst agricultural practices in history. 

(Descriptions based on information provided by the publishers)
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 request to be on the distribution list. Everyone is welcome to submit items for publication, as long as the information arrives in the editor’s inbox at by the 25th of the previous month.
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