Digestible Bits and Bites #78, October 2019

Digestible Bits and Bites

The monthly newsletter of the
Culinary Historians of Canada
Number 78, October 2019
On September 21 and 22, Fort York National Historic Site presented "A City Mobilizes: Toronto and the Second World War," an event marking the 80th anniversary of the mobilization of the nation for WWII. Of course, CHC was there (see "What's Cooking?" below). Photo by Mark D'Aguilar.


  1. CHC News and Upcoming Events

  2. News and Opportunities

  3. Events of Interest

  4. Upcoming Conferences

  5. Food for Thought (book reviews)

1. CHC News and Upcoming Events

Will We See You at the 25th Anniversary AGM?
This Saturday, October 5, the Culinary Historians of Canada celebrate 25 years of cookbooks and research and sharing and pot stirring. Please join us from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Kingsbury Room of Runnymede United Church (432 Runnymede Road in Toronto) for our Annual General Meeting, when we'll mark our quarter century of accomplishments and excitement with:
  • the announcement of this year's Honorary Lifetime Membership recipient
  • the launch of commemorative slide shows by founder Fiona Lucas
  • and, of course, cake!
All 2018-2019 memberships expire on the date of the AGM, so please update yours by clicking the link to our membership application and renewal page. Membership is still only $30 for one year (or $55 for two). You can renew or purchase a membership at the AGM as well, retaining full voting privileges.

All members are encouraged to serve on the board. In particular, we're looking for a new treasurer, as the long-serving Sylvia Lovegren comes to the end of her term this year. We are also looking for a chair of the Outreach Committee to fill the spot formerly held by Ryan Whibbs. Contact CHC Secretary Lori Jamieson at to register your interest.

Mennonite Food in Waterloo
Only three tickets are still available for our big October event, "Schmecks Appeal: The Culinary Legacy of Edna Staebler," which takes place on Saturday, October 19 in Waterloo, Ontario. CHC Lifetime Member and Edna's friend Rose Murray will reflect on the life and food writing of this illustrious Canadian culinary icon, the author of Food That Really Schmecks.

Tickets are $117 (general) and $110 (CHC members) and include the talk by Rose Murray, a full lunch at Relish Cooking School, featuring Edna’s recipes, a visit to historic Schneider House to learn about the Mennonite tradition of apple schnitzing, a 15% discount on any retail purchases, and plenty of snacks. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Victorian Cake-Decorating Workshop
Our Victorian cake-decorating workshop, held on September 21 at Montgomery's Inn, was a sold-out success. The photos below show CHC member and workshop leader Monika Paradi (top left) and some of the happy workshop participants. Photos by Sherry Murphy, who co-presented the session.
Upcoming CHC Events
Please note: Details are subject to change
  • Saturday, October 5: 25th Anniversary CHC Annual General Meeting, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
    Kingsbury Room, Runnymede United Church (432 Runnymede Road, Toronto).
  • Saturday, October 19: Schmecks Appeal: The Culinary Legacy of Edna Staebler (Waterloo, Ontario). Rose Murray, CHC Lifetime Member and Edna's friend, will reflect on the life and food writing of this illustrious Canadian culinary icon, with lunch cooked from Staebler's books, such as Food That Really Schmecks. See details in upcoming events section above. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
  • Sunday, October 27: Taste Canada Awards Gala (Fairmont Royal York, Toronto). Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
  • Saturday, November 16: Baking for the Victorian Christmas Table (Montgomery's Inn, Etobicoke, Ontario): The fourth edition of our popular historic baking workshop.
  • December: Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food (Toronto). A talk by author Lenore Newman.
Please note: Frost Fair at Fort York National Historic Site will not be held this year.
Join the Culinary Historians of Canada!

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

2. News and Opportunities

Compiled by Lori Jamieson, Julia Armstrong & Sarah Hood

Taste Canada Gala!
On Sunday, October 27, the winners of the country’s only national, bilingual food-writing award will be announced at the Taste Canada Awards Gala at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. This year, 91 cookbooks and 50 food blogs have been entered into the competition. The annual gala brings together top Canadian writers, publishers, chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, industry and media representatives, and cookbook fans to promote a vibrant national conversation about food and the art and culture of culinary writing—and the snacks are fabulous!

As usual, the CHC is sponsoring the the Culinary Landmarks Hall of Fame and will be announcing this year's inductees from the stage. The Hall of Fame (see past award recipients on our website) celebrates the personalities who have shaped Canadian culinary writing and made a lasting contribution to our culture through their influential and inspirational cookbooks. The induction of each year's honorees is always an exciting moment. Tickets for the gala ($135) are available on Eventbrite.

Apprentice as a 19th-Century Baker!
Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto presents one-day "apprenticeships" in a variety of pioneer skills, including blacksmithing, tinsmithing, printing and spinning. At a fee of $75 for members or $80 for non-members, these sessions offer a taste of the life of an apprentice in a 19th-century rural setting. Apprenticeships must be booked at least two weeks in advance, and all apprentices must be 15 years or older.

The "Apprentice for a Day: Baking" session offers a chance to spend the day learning how to bake using a historic bake oven in the Half Way House Inn. Participants learn how to make a variety of baked goods as they were prepared in the 19th century, working one-on-one with the baker. At the end of the day, apprentices will take home their creation. For more information or to register, call 416-667-6295.

Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment
From Thursday, October 17, 2019 to Sunday, January 19, 2020, Toronto's Gardiner Museum presents "Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment," a multifaceted exhibit that explores how food and dining were transformed in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment and how these profound changes still resonate today. What many of us eat, the way food is cooked and how we dine continue to be influenced by radical changes that occurred in France from 1650 until the French Revolution in 1789.

The exhibit conjures up the kitchen gardens at Versailles—where advances in horticulture expanded the growing seasons of vegetables and fruits—as well as historic kitchens and the ardent foodies who savoured meals served on newly invented ceramic and silver wares. These glimpses into the era show how the grand formality of the past was abandoned in favour of informality and intimacy.

The exhibition is accompanied by a cookbook titled The King’s Peas: Delectable Recipes and Their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment by Meredith Chilton. Throughout the exhibition, the museum's CLAY restaurant is featuring special menu items inspired by the book. Several ancillary events are planned, including "The Enlightened Feast," an October 18 dinner inspired by the ideas explored in the exhibition (see event listings, below). 

On Your Mark, Get Set ... Bake!
Just a reminder that CBC TV is now airing Season Three of The Great Canadian Baking Show on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (8:30 in Newfoundland). You can also stream episodes on demand: here's the link to the first delicious episode, Cake Week. In the photo above are (left to right) returning judge Bruno Feldeisen, new hosts Aurora Browne and Carolyn Taylor, and new judge Kyla Kennaley,

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 August 14, CHC president Carolyn Crawford offered a presentation on culinary history to the Silver-Wood Women's Institute at the historic Devereaux House in Georgetown, Ontario. In particular, she spoke about her collection of cookbooks and her plans to move the log house of her family homestead to her current farm and transform it into a community facility for local, rural and culinary history. She encouraged the Women's Institute members to donate their vintage cookbooks to local archives or to the University of Guelph Special Collections or the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Carolyn also talked about her own involvement with the CHC and culinary history, and how rural culinary history such as 4-H project manuals and agricultural publications need to be preserved.

On Friday, November 8, CHC members Mya Sangster and Amy Scott will lead a workshop titled "Baking with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes" at the Genesee Country Village & Museum's Domestic Skills Symposium. They'll explore the history of the white ("Virginia" or "Irish") potato and the sweet potato in British and North American cookery from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and will prepare period recipes for pies, puddings, and breads.

Several representatives of the foodways program at Hamilton's Dundurn Castle attended our Victorian cake-decorating workshop, and CHC co-vice-president Sherry Murphy also visited Dundurn. She says she looks forward to cooking on their cast-iron wood stove one day.

On September 21 and 22, Fort York National Historic Site presented "A City Mobilizes: Toronto and the Second World War," an event marking the 80th anniversary of the mobilization of the nation for WWII. Numerous CHC members were involved, including Bridget Wranich, Sherry Murphy, Mya Sangster, Elizabeth Baird and Jan Main.

PHOTOS (below, all taken by Mark D'Aguilar): CHC member Mark D'Aguilar researched and cooked a 1943 rationing recipe for chop suey (bottom left and right), which was served on a bed of fried Rice Krispies cereal! He says the radishes were a surprising ingredient but that the dish was tasty. Top left: Fort York program officer Melissa Beynon demonstrates Noodles with Spinach au Gratin. Top right: A display of the ingredients for Mark's chop suey.

3. Events of Interest

Compiled by Julia Armstrong, Jane Black, Lori Jamieson & Sarah Hood
THIS MONTH  (October 2019)

  • Thursday, October 3: Toronto Brews Thursday Nights: Muddy York Brewing, 5 to 6 p.m. The Market Gallery presents craft beer tastings and guided tours of the exhibit "Toronto Brews." Admission: $12 (limited to age 19+). Pre-registration is required;, 416-392-7604.
  • Friday, October 4: Heritage Explorers Camp, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gibson House Museum presents activities geared to kids ages 7-11, including cooking in the historic kitchen and hands-on garden activities. This Georgian farmhouse, surrounded by an apple orchard and heritage gardens, offers visitors a glimpse of 19th-century rural life in North York. Admission: $40.50. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, October 5: The Iconic Canadian Butter Tart, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fort York National Historic Site invites visitors to explore the sweet history of this iconic Canadian treat. Using WWI recipes, participants will learn how to make the perfect pastry and filling for delicious tarts every time. Light refreshments, recipe package and tarts to take home. Admission: $30. Pre-registration is required.
  • Sunday, October 6: Harvest Cookery Workshop, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gibson House Museum presents a hands-on workshop that uses seasonal produce to create delicious puddings and pies. An experienced historic cook and interpreter will guide participants through decoding historic recipes and preparing dishes to cook over the open hearth, and will share knowledge about life on the Gibson Farm. Admission: $50. Pre-registration is required.
  • Thursday, October 17: Toronto Brews Thursday Nights: Amsterdam  Brewing, 5 to 6 p.m. The Market Gallery presents craft beer tastings and guided tours of the exhibit "Toronto Brews." Admission: $12 (limited to age 19+). Pre-registration is required;, 416-392-7604.
  • Friday, October 18: The Enlightened Feast, 6 to 10 p.m. As part of the exhibition "Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment," the Gardiner Museum presents an adventurous menu featuring fresh seal meat, pickled cattails, chewy jellyfish and more. Inspired by the new enlightenment in the worlds of cuisine and food culture, a collective of chefs will work with Executive Chef Bianca Azupardo of CLAY restaurant to create the feast. Ivy Knight, Sheila Heti and Laurie Woolever will discuss the restrictive gender dynamics that have ruled kitchens since Escoffier's time and the principles that can help us navigate toward a post-patriarchal society and the next age of enlightenment. Admission: $125 (general); $106.25 (Gardiner Friends).
  • Saturday, October 19: Canada’s Table: A Celebration of Our Cookbooks, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fort York National Historic Site celebrates the history, influence and importance of cookbooks and great Canadian authors, both past and present, during a full day of panel discussions, demonstrations and workshops. Price includes morning refreshments, Long Table Lunch and a one-hour workshop. Each workshop participant will receive a signed copy of their workshop leader's cookbook. Admission: $125. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, October 19: Historical Craft Beer Tour - The Junction, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Rolling Hops Beer Tours presents a chance to sample different beers and learn about craft beer types, brewing processes and history on a walking tour of the Junction neighbourhood. Admission: $80.73, including a light snack.
  • Saturday, October 19: Harvest Tea, various times. Gibson House presents a harvest tea with all the classic accompaniments, served by costumed interpreters in the historic parlours and dining room at Gibson House Museum. Finger sandwiches, scones, and cookies and cakes are inspired by historic menus and recipes. After tea, participants can explore the historic house on a self-guided tour. Admission: $30. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, October 19: Temperance Tea, 2 to 3:30 p.m. In conjunction with "Toronto Brews,” St. Lawrence Market offers an illustrated presentation on the Temperance movement and Prohibition, followed by afternoon tea. Admission: $25 + HST. Limited seating. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, October 26: Historical Craft Beer Tour - The Junction, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Rolling Hops Beer Tours presents a chance to sample different beers and learn about craft beer types, brewing processes and history on a walking tour of the Junction neighbourhood. Admission: $80.73, including a light snack.
  • Sunday, October 27: Taste Canada Awards Gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel (see news section, above). Admission: $135. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
  • Saturday, October 12: Wood-Burning Oven Baking, 9:30 a.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College invites participants to discover bread-baking as it once was, in the historic wood-burning oven at Montgomery’s Inn. Participants will bake a full menu, including pizza, focaccia and sourdough, with an expert instructor. They will learn the fundamentals essential to successful cooking and baking in a wood-fired oven in this one-of-a-kind experience. Admission: $195.
  • Friday to Sunday, October 18 to 20: Master and Commander: A Weekend in Nelson's Navy, various times (Etobicoke, Ontario). Led by historical researcher, choreographer and event organizer Karen Millyard, participants will spend the weekend immersed in the world of the Royal Navy of 200 years ago, including favourite sailors’ meals and grog rations. Admission: $50 to $200. Pre-registration is required at
  • Saturday, October 26: Harvest Home Breakfast, 9 to 11 a.m. (Hamilton, Ontario). Guests will enjoy a hearty farmer-style breakfast at the historic Ancaster Old Town Hall before exploring the current exhibition at Fieldcote Museum, "Stories from the Edge," which showcases stories and artifacts of Ancaster's history. Admission: $16 (adults), $8 (children). Pre-registration is required.
  • Thursday, October 31 (TBC)Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents a special Hallowe'en edition of Thirsty Thursday tavern night, featuring beer, wine or a Thomas Montgomery specialty 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. 416-394-8113No reservation required.
Other Regions
  • Wednesday, October 2: Heritage Luncheon, two seatings: noon & 1:30 p.m. (Peterborough, Ontario). Hutchison House Museum presents a homemade meal served by costumed interpreters in the historic Keeping Room. Admission: $15. Pre-registration is required. 705-743-9710.
  • Saturday, October 5: Indigenous Food Systems, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Hiawatha First Nation, Ontario). Canadian Bushcraft presents a one-day workshop that will introduce participants to traditional foods from the land, from the perspective of the Anishinaabeg people. Maple sugar, wild rice, acorns, fish and game meat will be discussed, processed and cooked for an early afternoon buffet. Admission: $85.
  • Saturday to Monday, October 5, 6, 12, 13 & 14: Thanksgiving at Kings Landing, various times (Prince William, New Brunswick). Kings Landing Historical Settlement presents Thanksgiving dining programs (a traditional Victorian Thanksgiving Dinner and a lively Harvest Home Long-Table Feast) with farm-fresh ingredients, time-honoured recipes and a sense of history unique to New Brunswick. Admission: $28.99 to $38.99 plus tax & tip. Pre-registration is required.
  • Sunday, October 6: Cooks and Cookbooks, (London, Ontario). Eldon House presents culinary scholars Elizabeth Ridolfo and Prof. Irina D. Mihalache, who will speak about the history of culinary culture in Canada, including recent findings from Lucy Harris’s cookbook found in the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Participants will concoct their own home remedies from the recipes in the book. Admission: $30. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, October 19: Schmecks Appeal: The Culinary Legacy of Edna Staebler (Waterloo, Ontario). Rose Murray, CHC Lifetime Member and Edna's friend, will reflect on the life and food writing of this illustrious Canadian culinary icon, with lunch cooked from Staebler's books, such as Food That Really Schmecks. Admission: $117 (general), $110 (CHC members), including a full lunch, snacks and a visit to historic Schneider House. Pre-registration is required. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
LOOKING AHEAD (November 2019)

  • Friday, November 1 to Sunday, November 10: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Prize-winning cows, sheep, pigs, poultry, produce, dairy products and more, along with sales and tastings of local food at Exhibition Place. The CHC sponsors the Heritage Jam and Pickle categories in the annual preserving competition; winners will be on display.
  • Monday, November 4: The King’s Peas—Curator Talk and Book Launch, 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Gardiner Museum presents a lecture by curator Meredith Chilton in which she will delve deeper into the stories, images and recipes from the museum's current exhibition, "Savour," and its accompanying publication, The King’s Peas: Delectable Recipes and Their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment. Admission: Included with museum admission (free to $15).
  • Thursday, November 7: Toronto Brews Thursday Nights: Great Lakes Brewery, 5 to 6 p.m. The Market Gallery presents craft beer tastings and guided tours of the exhibit "Toronto Brews." Admission: $12 (limited to age 19+). Pre-registration is required;, 416-392-7604.
  • Sunday, November 10: Drinking with Mr. Darcy: Jane Austen–Inspired Cocktails, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Famous Last Words (392 Pacific Avenue) presents a boozy afternoon at the Pemberley Estate exploring the works of Jane Austen. Organizers will cover a range of spirits and styles that they say will delight every "sense and sensibility." Participants will learn how to measure, shake, stir, pour and garnish like a pro. Admission: $60, including four cocktails and a copy of the recipes.
  • Thursday, November 21: Toronto Brews Thursday Nights: Junction Craft Brewing, 5 to 6 p.m. The Market Gallery presents craft beer tastings and guided tours of the exhibit "Toronto Brews." Admission: $12 (limited to age 19+). Pre-registration is required;, 416-392-7604.
  • Sunday, November 24: Mince Pies: An Historical Cooking Workshop, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fort York National Historic Site invites participants to learn how to make the pastry and rich filling of these traditional fruit- and meat-based pies. A recipe package and mince pies to take home are included. Recommended for those aged 13+. Admission: $75 + HST. Pre-registration is required.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
  • Saturday, November 16: Baking for the Victorian Christmas Table (Etobicoke, Ontario). In the historic kitchen at Montgomery’s Inn, CHC board member and historic cook Sherry Murphy will lead the fourth annual hands-on exploration of seasonal recipes dating from the Victorian period.
  • Sunday, November 24: Stir-Up Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Visitors to Montgomery's Inn will witness a 19th-century working commercial kitchen at an afternoon of cooking demonstrations presented by historic cooks in costume, including CHC members. Admission: $8 (general), $7 (youth & seniors), $5 (child), including samples while supplies last. 416-394-8113.
  • Sunday, November 24: Toussaint: Traditions of the Dark Months, 5 to 9:30 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn hosts a bewitching evening of storytelling and music from the Celtic tradition of Breton folklore, along with a simple meal, created by CHC member Karen Millyard. During the “Black Months” of November and December, people gathered by the fire to hear the eerie tales of northern coastal France. Admission: TBA. 416-578-1031.
Other Regions
  • Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, November 13: MTLàTABLE (Montreal). The 8th edition of Montréal’s annual food festival, with 150 restaurants offering table d’hôte menus at $23, $33 and $43, as well as $17 brunches that highlight Quebec terroir products.
  • Thursday to Saturday, November 7 to 9: 5th annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend (Washington, D.C.), Food innovators, entrepreneurs, chefs, scholars and enthusiasts will engage museum visitors around the theme Power Through Food, with a special focus on migrant and refugee women and organizations and how their food-related enterprises are helping create sustainable livelihoods and stronger communities. The weekend includes cooking demonstrations, hands-on learning, beer history and a black-tie gala. Admission: Various prices; some free events.
  • Sunday, November 10: Traditional Fire Tonic Making and Use, 1 to 3 p.m. (Galt, Ontario). McDougall Cottage hosts this hands-on workshop presented by holistic practitioner Jassie Bhuee. He will discuss Fire Tonic, its health benefits, how to make it, and how it can be enjoyed in everyday life. Students will need a cutting board and a sharp knife; all other materials and ingredients will be provided. Admission: $45 + HST, including tastings, notes and recipes. Pre-registration is required.
  • Thursday, October 17 to Sunday, January 19, 2020: Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment (Toronto). The Gardiner Museum presents a multifaceted exhibit that explores the ways that food and dining were transformed in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment, and how these profound changes still resonate today.
  • To December 28: Toronto Brews (Toronto). The Market Gallery invites visitors to explore Toronto's rich beer legacy through artifacts, artworks, archival images and videos at the exhibition “Toronto Brews!” The exhibit tells of the tiny breweries established in the early 1800s, the scaling-up of the industry in Victorian times, the impact of Prohibition and more! Pre-registration is required.
  • Daily: Historic Afternoon Tea & Tour at Fort Langley National Historic Site, tea 1 to 2:45 p.m.; tour 3 to 4:30 p.m. (Fort Langley, British Columbia). An elegant afternoon tea at the Little White House Salon Café in the coach house of the historic Marr House. Fort Langley, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, was first established in 1827. On the tour, visitors will hear about local historical characters and explore the homes and workshops of the people of the trade. Admission: $15.68 per person (plus admission fee for groups of 15–30), including tea and tour. 604-513-4799 or
  • Daily: Fishing the West Coast and the Canning Line, 10 a.m. to  5 p.m. (Steveston, British Columbia). The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site offers exhibits on the development of fishing on Canada’s West Coast and modern fishing practices, too. Admission: Free.
  • Sundays, Tea and Tour of Roedde House, 1 to 3:15 p.m. (Vancouver). A tea tasting of Roedde House blend by Metropolitan Tea Co., along with a tour of the museum. Admission: $8. No reservations required.
  • Saturdays & Sundays: Tour & Taste Weekends, 1 to 4:30 p.m. (Toronto). Gibson House offers tea, cookies and a seat at the harvest table in the 1850s historic kitchen. Admission: Free with regular admission.
  • Indefinite run: Ongoing demos and exhibits at Canada Agriculture & Food Museum (Ottawa). Admission: Free with regular admission. 613-991-3044 or 1-866-442-4416.
  • Indefinite run: Beggar’s Banquet (Louisbourg, Nova Scotia). Participants enjoy an 18th-century maritime meal while dressed in period clothing.
  • Sundays, Tea Time at the Inn, 1 to 4 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn offers a spot of tea and a taste of history in the Tea Room, including in-house baking and unlimited tea service. Tea served and goods baked by the dedicated Montgomery's Inn volunteers. Admission: $8.
  • Wednesdays, Guided Garden Tour & Tea, 11 a.m. (Oshawa, Ontario). Parkwood Estates welcomes visitors to explore the Parkwood gardens on this 90-minute guided tour, which will conclude with tea in the Gardener’s Lodge. Admission: $20. Pre-registration is required at 905-433-4311 or

4. Conferences

Compiled by Julia Armstrong


Throughout Academic Year 2019-2020 (Virtual)
Based in London, U.K., the Institute of Historical Research launched the Food History Seminar in 2017 to provide an inclusive setting in which food historians, academics and other experts could come together to discuss research.
More info: See the call for papers to present during the academic year 2019-2020.
Of note: Listen to podcasts of past seminars.

October 14 to 15 (New York, N.Y.)
Organizers: Food Studies Program, New York University (NYU), the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Communication (CIRCe) and the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, in collaboration with the EU Program Marie Skłodowska-Curie.

October 16 to 18 (Forest Grove and Hillsboro, Oregon)
Theme: Building Community at the End of the Trail: Creating a Living History Network.
Program and lodging information: Click here.

October 18 to 19 (New Brunswick, New Jersey)
Organizers: Mens et Mensa: Society for the Study of Food in the Middle Ages, in cooperation with Rutgers University.
Venue: The State University of New Jersey.

November 4 to 5 (Dieppe, New Brunswick)
Of note: New Brunswick’s first food tourism conference, with collaboration from Really Local Harvest.
Theme: Focused on inspiring and connecting local producers, tourism operators and destination-marketing organizations to tap into their food tourism potential. 

November 8 to 10 (Mumford, New York)
Venue and host: Genesee Country Village & Museum.
Details: Saturday (9th) symposium features four lectures on food, material culture, technology and more. Pre- and post-symposium workshops optional.
Of note: Buffet luncheon for registrants, featuring receipts from 18th- and 19th-century cookery books.
Registration: Before Oct. 18 to avoid late fee. See forms on website.

November 15 to 16 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Theme: (Post)Colonial Foodways.
Program and registration: See conference website.


May 26 to 27 (Dublin, Ireland)
Theme: Food and Disruption: What Shall We Eat Tomorrow?
Of note: Disruptors in food history can include people, movements, technological advancements and disasters.

June 21 to 25 (Sturbridge, Massachusetts)
Venue: Old Sturbridge Village, New England's largest outdoor living history museum.


May 13 to 15 (Guelph, Ontario)

Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum.
Of note: RWSA is an international association to promote and advance farm and rural women’s/gender studies in a historical perspective.
Call for proposals (deadline May 31, 2020): see the conference website.
Venue: University of Guelph.

5. Food for Thought

Food on the Move, Dining on the Legendary Railway Journeys of the World, edited by Sharon Hudgins (Reaktion Books, 2018). Reviewed by Luisa Giacometti (pictured above). 

All aboard! Next stop: an invitation to learn about dining on trains travelling some of the legendary routes through all the continents except for Antarctica.   

Food on the Move will appeal to the cultural and culinary historian, artist or railway buff. It includes stories by nine eminent individuals who have ridden the rails for work, travel or pleasure. They recount personal stories about their adventures, providing a unique perspective on their experiences. These pieces give us fascinating insights into how train travel and dining evolved in different parts of the world, especially with regard to class, and to the types of food that passengers brought on board, bought from snack bars or were served in upscale dining cars.   

Tested recipes accompany every story so that we can savour the particular foods presented, along with some of the menus of meals shared on the trains. Photos of the dining cars showcase the opulent interiors and the food (even before Instagram) that was served on board or sold at stations. The images provide a better understanding of the different cuisines featured on these routes.

I particularly liked the descriptions of the dining cars; for example, in Arjan Den Boer’s piece about the Orient Express, he quotes French writer Georges Boyer, who commented on the inaugural run of the Orient Express. In 1883, Boyer described a dining car in Le Figaro as being "furnished with Maroquin tapestries, Cordoba leather, and Genoa velvet, made up of a spacious dining room, a smoking room and library, a boudoir for the ladies, a pantry and a kitchen where a chef of the first order works." It almost feels as though you are personally enjoying the journey, surrounded by luxury and experiencing the excitement of that very first trip.

The pictures of the trains, both exterior and interior, demonstrate the changes in the evolution from steam engines to modern Bullet Trains. I especially appreciated the art in the advertisements for train travel by the different train companies and the photographs of people, landscapes and train stations.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Canadian Judy Corser, whose entry is titled “Sockeye Salmon and Saskatoon Pie: Regional Foods on Canada’s Long-Distance Railways.” Corser has done an excellent job of writing about the evolution of trains and train travel in Canada. After all, it was the railway that helped join our beautiful country together!

Corser describes how National Parks and grand CPR hotels such as the Banff Springs Hotel were established as a result of railway construction. I learned about the “colonist cars” that were built by the CPR specifically to transport immigrants to many parts of Canada, from the 1880s until the Great Depression. Most importantly, I better appreciate the work that went into preparing a day’s meal on the train, the types of foods served, and the service that was provided by the porters and waiters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel that it might make an armchair traveller into a train traveller, ready to explore unknown destinations in style. Train travel gives one time to enjoy the views and slow down the pace of life (even on a high-speed train) while savouring the delicious meals that you are certain to enjoy on the rails.

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

Review Contributors
  • Luisa Giacometti (Toronto)
  • Gary Gillman (Toronto)
  • Sher Hackwell (Vancouver)
  • Sarah Hood (Toronto)
  • Fiona Lucas (Toronto)
  • Susan Peters (Morrisburg, Ontario)
  • Sonja Pushchak (Toronto)
  • Laura Reilly (Comox, British Columbia)
  • Elka Weinstein (Toronto)
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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