Digestible Bits and Bites #83, March 2020

Digestible Bits and Bites

The monthly newsletter of the
Culinary Historians of Canada
Number 83, March 2020
Congratulations to the competition winners at Hungry for Comfort!
(See details, below.) Photo by Mark D'Aguilar.


  1. CHC News and Upcoming Events

  2. News and Opportunities

  3. Food for Thought (book reviews)

  4. Events of Interest

  5. Upcoming International Conferences

1. CHC News and Upcoming Events

Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment
On Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m., we are honoured to present Meredith Chilton, CM, author and curator emerita of Toronto's Gardiner Museum, who will reprise a fascinating talk presented at the museum last fall about how food and dining were transformed in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment. As she will show, some of the changes that occurred in France between 1650 and the French Revolution in 1789 still resonate today in what we eat and how we cook. The event takes place at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre (765 Queen Street East, Toronto). Tickets will soon be available on Eventbrite.

Meredith Chilton, who is an internationally renowned specialist in early European porcelain, dining and social culture of the 18th century, curated the recent Gardiner Museum exhibit "Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment." Through fascinating histories and beautiful images of rare objects, she will take us from the kitchen gardens at Versailles, where advances in horticulture expanded the growing seasons of vegetables and fruits, to the pages of rare cookbooks that advocated light, flavourful cuisine—and even vegetarianism—centuries before our time. Along the way, she will show examples of newly invented ceramic and silver wares, from sauceboats to tureens.

Meredith is the author of The King's Peas: Delectable Recipes and Their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment (2019), a cookbook with contributions by Markus Bestig, Executive Chef, The York Club, Toronto. Thanks to historic cook and CHC Lifetime Member Mya Sangster, attendees will have a chance to sample select recipes.

Hungry for Comfort Competition Winners
CHC was pleased and excited to once again co-host the Redpath Baking and Preserving Competition at this year’s Hungry for Comfort at Fort York on February 9. Entries for the competition started pouring in the minute the doors opened at 8:30 a.m. on February 9, and entry-taking volunteers Sylvia Lovegren, Jennifer Meyer, Ann Clement and Bernadette Pileggi handled the flood with good humour.

The judges were headed up by Competition Chair Jan Main, and included Carolyn Crawford, Brenda Dalglish, Riki Dixon, Lesleigh Landry, and Patricia Moynihan. While it was tough to pick the winners among the entries submitted, the judges handled their Solomon-like task professionally and with aplomb. We are pleased to announce the winners in the following four categories:

Pure Seville Orange Marmalade

  • 1st Prize: Muriel Thompson
  • 2nd Prize: Jeremy Carter
  • 3rd Prize: Sally D. Kelly

Citrus Marmalade

  • 1st Prize: Christine Leung (Asian Spiced Kumquat Marmalade)
  • 2nd Prize: Muriel Thompson (Chunky Whisky Marmalade)

Apple Chutney

  • 1st Prize: Jeremy Carter (Apple Chutney)
  • 2nd Prize: Lori Jamieson (Farmer’s Advocate 1907 Apple Chutney)
  • 3rd Prize: Jean Sterritt (Spiced Apple Chutney)

Challah Bread

  • 1st Prize: Sherry Murphy (Traditional Challah)
  • 2nd Prize: Mark D’Aguilar (Oatmeal Honey Maple Sourdough Challah)
  • 3rd Prize: Karen Hemingway (Loren Lea’s Egg Challah)

Wimodausis cookies. Photo by Carolyn Crawford.

Family Winter Fun Day at Fort York
On Family Day, February 17 (observed in some provinces, including Ontario), CHC, represented by Sherry Murphy, Tess Sciberras, Jean Sterritt, Stephanie Thomas and Carolyn Crawford, set up an exhibit on "Cookbooks: The Family Connection" at Family Winter Fun Day at Fort York National Historic Site. Sherry and Carolyn baked cookies from the third edition (1954) of The Wimodausis Club Cook Book, first published in 1934. The Wimodausis Club was originally formed in 1902 by wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of prominent Toronto families, and before disbanding in 2002, they raised funds for many local Toronto causes.

Visitors to our exhibit shared stories about cookbooks and recipes handed down in their families. They also recognized cookbooks that their families had used, and they talked about recipes they brought with them when they came to Canada. It was a great day for sharing family culinary history!

John Ota’s Book Launch:
New Tickets Added!

CHC member and author John Ota has just published The Kitchen: A Journey through History in Search of the Perfect Design (which made the list of top picks in last week's Audible e-newsletter!)

CHC is celebrating at Campbell House on March 5, when John will talk about the book, which he wrote as part of his quest to seek out—and be inspired by—the great historic kitchens of Canada and the U.S.A.

We've managed to add a few tickets to accommodate those who didn't get one before we sold out, so please join us!

Do You Give Presentations on Food History?
CHC sometimes receives queries from organizations wishing to book speakers. Current members who would like to be added to our list of recommended presenters should contact with their contact information, a very brief bio, a description of the presentations they offer, the geographical area they can travel to and (if possible) a suggested fee.

Upcoming CHC Events

Thursday, March 6, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
John Ota's The Kitchen: Historic Kitchens of Canada & U.S.A. + Elvis!
Campbell House Museum (160 Queen St. W., Toronto)

A chance to meet the author and acquire your own copy of the book.
Admission: $15. A few tickets are still available on Eventbrite.

Wednesday, May 6, 7 p.m.
Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment

Ralph Thornton Community Centre (765 Queen St. E., Toronto)
Save the date! Meredith Chilton, author of The King's Peas: Delectable Recipes and Their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment, will speak; CHC Lifetime Member Mya Sangster will prepare samples of historic recipes.
Admission: TBA. Tickets will soon be available on Eventbrite.

A Special Exhibit

Toronto's First Post Office (260 Adelaide St. E., Toronto)
An exhibit about food-company mail-order offers; details to follow!

Saturday, September 26
CHC Annual General Meeting
Save the date!

November (date TBA)
5th annual Baking for the Victorian Christmas Table
Montgomery's Inn (4709 Dundas St. W., Etobicoke)

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

Call for Cookbook Submissions
Reflecting “Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum" (the theme of their 14th triennial conference in 2021), the Rural Women's Studies Association will publish a cookbook with the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota featuring heirloom recipes that relay family history, cultural heritage, and personal memories associated with the dishes. Cynthia Prescott and Maureen Thompson are the editors of Backstories: The Kitchen Table Talk Cookbook. Their call for submissions invites a wide variety of contributions, including recipes accompanied by brief stories or commentaries, as well as art and photography. Submissions should be sent to before April 1, 2020.

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!)

The third annual Hungry for Comfort: Celebrating Our Food History, held on February 9 at Fort York National Historic Site, involved numerous CHC members. Apart from those mentioned above in the news item about the Baking and Preserving Competition, Bridget Wranich and Elizabeth Driver served on the organizing committee. Fort York Historic Cooks (including Mark D'Aguilar, Jan Main and Sherry Murphy) worked to prepare food samples. Mya Sangster led one of the workshops, exploring The Jewish Cookery Book (1871) by Esther Levy; Bridget also offered a workshop on cheesecake.

Sherry Murphy, Pat Currie and Tess Sciberras assisted Kate Hill Nicholson in creating a Historic Tavern Meal on February 8 at Montgomery's Inn. Sherry also prepared recipes from Robert Roberts’ 1827 cookbook A House Servant’s Directory for the February 29 event "Exploring Our Culinary Roots: African-Canadian Foodways Then and Now" at Fort York. She will be just as busy this month, working on historic recipes and tasty treats from Elvis's kitchen and other historic homes for our John Ota celebration on March 5 at Campbell House, and on March 14 she will be making Irish Soda Bread and potato patties over the fire at Montgomery's Inn for the St. Patrick's Day Ceilidh.

John Ota has been very busy promoting his new book, The Kitchen. Besides a book launch event, he made appearances on numerous media outlets, including Global Morning Live, CTV Morning Show and CBC Radio's Here and Now.

Chantal Véchambre and Emily Zimmerman presented events at Toronto's The Depanneur. On February 15, Chantal cooked up a romantic French feast to celebrate Valentine's Day, and on February 17, Emily showed would-be chocolatiers how to make Valentine’s Day chocolates and truffles.

Randal Oulton took a trip to England, where he visited Harrod's (below) and the Tiptree jam museum (above). He shared some details of his visit in our CHC Facebook group, where he is a regular contributor.

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

Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food by Benjamin R. Cohen (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Reviewed by Sarah Hood (pictured above).

The Pure Food Building at Toronto's Exhibition Place opened in 1922, but it had its genesis decades earlier with the Pure Food Association, which held an annual Pure Food Show at least as early as 1897. Its goal was to promote "pure" food and especially the manufacturers who claimed to provide it. Its roots reach further back into a North American Pure Food movement.

Throughout the 19th century, increasing industrialization of food production meant that consumers could have more and cheaper food and apparently greater consistency of taste, appearance and nutritive value regardless of the season. On the other hand, it bred suspicion that what seemed to be wholesome was in fact adulterated at best and poisonous at worst. It is this dichotomy, which persists today, that Cohen explores in his oxymoronically named book.

In the first few chapters, Cohen, an engineering professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, explores the evolution of the discourse around "pure food," which had already coalesced into a matter for public concern by 1820, when German chemist Friedrich Christian Accum published his influential Treatise on Adulteration of Food, and Culinary Poisons. It reached a new level in 1906 with the passage of the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act, which laid the groundwork for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), still in place today.

Cohen analyzes the association of food purity with an imagined past rural ideal as compared to a sinister industrial present, as well as the attendant ideas of natural versus artificial, honest versus deceptive, domestic versus foreign, and so on. He follows this philosophical template through a history of three controversial foodstuffs in 19th-century America: glucose (what we now call "corn syrup"), cottonseed oil and oleomargarine.

Worries about glucose were part of a wider network of issues about various types of sweeteners: the economic politics of a growing beet sugar industry, the association of sucrose with slave labour, and the fact that glucose production was environmentally costly. Cottonseed oil, a byproduct of cotton production, grew from virtual nonexistence into a huge industry within a few decades in the later 1800s. (Perhaps I missed it, but Cohen does not seem explicitly to make or deny a connection with the end of slavery through the same period, but one might imagine that cotton producers, forced to pay more for labour, would have been hungry for a new income stream.)

Of these products, the most hated was oleomargarine (now known simply as margarine in North America). It was a challenge to the dairy industry and a disruptor of international trade patterns. Besides, to many consumers and lawmakers, it just didn't seem right. By 1897, several U.S. states had laws banning it, and many more ruled that it could not be coloured to resemble butter. Within living memory, lard-white margarine was sold in Canada in plastic bags containing a button of dye that could be popped open to colour the margarine at home. Cohen mentions that Quebec still had margarine-colour laws on its books until 2008! 

At the end of the book, Cohen points out how pure-food concerns were a boon to chemists, who were hired both to help engineer new foods and to test food products in order to verify their ingredients. By the early 20th century, he demonstrates, the idea of purity had shifted from an association with "natural" sources and processes (as in milking a cow) to the transparency of the ingredient list. That is, an edible oil product was considered to be "pure" if a chemist could show that it contained only the components listed on the package, no matter what those might be.

He finishes with a sketch of how government programs were developed to monitor food purity, concluding that "in the main, this is less a story about scientific analysis being helpful or detrimental and more a story about what conditions led analysis to become a solution. We are part of that story still as we wonder how we know what to eat and who we trust to tell us."

Pure Adulteration does a great job of explaining the complicated interrelationships of various industries (like cottonseed with wheat and pork) and the ways that new food products affected international trade. For instance, at one point, U.S. cottonseed oil was routinely being shipped to Italy, where manufacturers would (duplicitously) add it to olive oil for export back to North America. It abounds with odd anecdotes, too, like the story of pioneering chemist Dr. Harvey Wiley, who created the "Poison Squad": a group of young men who were voluntarily fed food additives to test at what levels their health would suffer. (There's a PBS film about this.)

The work is perhaps at its most intriguing when it reveals the many ways foods and racial prejudice have been interconnected; to offer one example, cane sugar was not only tarnished in the public eye by its reliance on slave labour, but also (ironically) because it was handled by dark-skinned people. In the 1880s, the beet sugar industry would subtly try to position itself as more palatable because it was produced by white hands.

This is a scholarly book with full textual references, an index and a 20-page bibliography, and it is dense with facts and food-production maps. What could have been a plodding read is made enjoyable by Cohen's gentle, witty voice and crystal-clear writing style. Illuminating and enjoyable.

  • The Kitchen: A Journey Through Time—and the Homes of Julia Child, Georgia O'Keeffe, Elvis Presley and Many Others—In Search of the Perfect Design by John Ota
  • Recipes and Everyday Knowledge: Medecine, Science, and the Household in Early Modern England by Elaine Leong
Review Contributors
  • Luisa Giacometti
  • Gary Gillman
  • Sarah Hood
  • Sylvia Lovegren
  • Fiona Lucas
  • Elka Weinstein

4. Events of Interest

Compiled by Julia M. Armstrong, Jane Black, Lori Jamieson & Sarah Hood
THIS MONTH (March 2020)
  • Thursday, March 5: John Ota’s New Book: The Kitchen, 6:30 to 8 p.m. CHC and Campbell House Museum welcome CHC member, architectural writer and historian John Ota as he launches his new book and takes us on tour of the kitchens of Julia Child, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elvis Presley and more. Admission: $15.
  • Thursday, March 12: Exploring Canada's New Food Guide, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Malvern Branch of Toronto Public Library welcomes a dietitian from Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, who will introduce the new Canada's Food Guide, published in January 2019. The session will include a review of the changes from the previous guide, discussion about vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein foods, and sharing of key health messages from the guide. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the benefits of different types of ancient grains and learn how to read nutrition facts labels. Admission: Free. Pre-registration is required. 416-396-8970.
  • Saturday & Sunday, March 14 & 15: Sugar Shack TO, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A waterfront festival with skating, maple taffy and other sugary winter treats.
  • Saturday to Sunday, March 14 to 22: March Break Family Adventures at Todmorden Mills, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Todmorden Mills offers a guided tour of the historic buildings and tasty treats to sample, along with other family activities. Admission: $5 to $9. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 416-396-2819.
  • Saturday to Sunday, March 14 to 22: March Break Family Adventures at Gibson House, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gibson House offers a chance to explore the historic farmhouse, enjoy gingerbread and warm apple cider, and help make griddle cakes and hot chocolate in the historic kitchen, along with other family activities. Admission: $5 to $8. 416-395-7432,
  • Saturday to Sunday, March 14 to 22: March Break Family Adventures at Fort York, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (5 p.m. on weekends). Fort York National Historic Site offers tasty treats prepared by staff and volunteer historic cooks from the 1826 kitchen, along with other family activities. Admission: $5.30 to $12.40 + HST.
  • Monday to Friday, March 16 to 20: March Break Adventure Camp at Spadina Museum, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Spadina Museum offers cooking workshops, among other activities, during this week-long March Break camp suitable for children ages 7 to 10. Aspiring chefs will have fun making a different historic recipe (including Cheese Straws, sugar cookies and finger sandwiches) each day and tasting the results afterwards. Admission: $207 + an extra charge for before/after care and for non-residents. Pre-registration is required. 416-392-6910,
  • Monday to Friday, March 16 to 20: March Break Maker Camp at Scarborough Museum, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Scarborough Museum offers a week of fun and creativity that includes learning how to bake over the hearth. Admission: TBC. Pre-registration is required. 416-338-8807,
  • Tuesday to Friday, March 17 to 20: March Break Family Adventures at the Lodge, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Colborne Lodge offers tastings of hot-mulled apple cider served over a wood-fired stove, along with other family activities. During the lodge's "Passport Tuesday,” visitors can learn about Irish soda bread at a demo and tasting. Admission: $5 to $8. 416-392-6916,
  • Friday, March 20: Fun & Games Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the final day of March Break programming, Gibson House invites visitors to experience a Victorian childhood with classic toys, parlour games, cooking and other pastimes. Admission: $41.25. Pre-registration is required. 416-395-7432.
  • Wednesday, March 25: Beyond Culinary, 6 p.m. The Auld Spot (347 Danforth Avenue) in partnership with Fogo Island Fish and Storya Productions hosts an evening of film and food as filmmaker Giulia Frisina presents her 10-minute documentary exploring food of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with a five-course Fogo Island-inspired seafood dinner by Chef Jonathan Viau. Admission: $115 + HST & gratuity. Pre-registration required at 416-406-4688 or
  • Sunday, March 29: Greek Easter Baking, 2 to 5 p.m. St. Lawrence Market presents a Greek Easter baking workshop by Peter Minaki featuring family recipes for Easter Koulourakia (cookies), Paximadia (Greek biscotti) and Tsoureki with an array of braided shapes. Limited to 18 spots. Admission: $95. Pre-registration is required.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
  • Saturday, March 14: St. Patrick's Céilidh, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). The annual St. Patrick's Day celebration at Montgomery's Inn, with Irish stew, fresh-baked bread and live traditional music by Gin Lane. Admission: $5 + HST, cash bar, and beef stew for $5 a bowl while supplies last.
  • Saturday to Sunday, March 14 to 22: March Break Family Adventures at Montgomery's Inn, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery's Inn offers tastings of Derby cakes in the dining room, baked fresh from the historic kitchen, along with other family activities. Admission: $5 to $8.
  • Monday to Friday, March 16 to 20: Junior Chef Camp at Montgomery’s Inn, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn offers a day camp that teaches cooking fundamentals using the open hearth in the 1830s kitchen, the outdoor wood-burning oven and the modern commercial kitchen. Staff who specialize in 19th-century cooking techniques will introduce kids to these techniques and take them on a visit of the inn’s weekly indoor farmers’ market. Baking-themed games and crafts—along with a full lineup of traditional camp activities—will ensure that everyone works up a healthy appetite. On Friday, campers create and enjoy their own pizza using the wood-fired brick oven. Admission: $272 (extra charge for before/after care; additional charge for non-residents). Pre-registration is required. 416-394-8113,
  • Saturday, March 21: Old-Fashioned Candy Making, 2 to 4 p.m. (Hamilton, Ontario). Chocolate Tales Studio offers an opportunity to learn how to boil, stretch, crystallize and package old-fashioned candies and hear about the history of candy in North America and Canada. Topics include making maple fudge and salt-water taffy from scratch; candy pulling and cutting; and old-fashioned packaging. Participants must be 14+. Admission: $110. Pre-registration is required.  
  • Thursday, March 26: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with 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. 416-394-8113.
Other Regions
  • Friday to Sunday, February 28 to March 1: Le Mondial des Cidres SAQ (Montreal). A celebration of hundreds of craft ciders.
  • Saturday, March 7: History Symposium, Dinner & Ball (Waterloo & Cambridge, Ontario). Waterloo Regional Museum hosts a conference presented by the Fashion History Museum in association with the 41st Military Living History Group and the Upper Thames Military Reenactment Society. Sessions cover such topics as social media for historians, the history of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Jane Austen's naval brothers and historic maps of Canada. A dinner and Regency-style ball follow at The Pines in Cambridge. The menu consists of Top Sirloin of Beef or Chicken Kiev, Roasted Vegetables Napoleon and White Chocolate Cheesecake or Rum Raisin & Pecan Cheesecake. Regency or contemporary formal attire is encouraged but not mandatory. Admission: $65 (symposium & lunch); $75 (dinner & ball). Pre-registration is required before 10 p.m. on Sunday, March 1.
  • Thursday to Sunday, March 19 to 22: Cabane Panache et Bois Rond (Montreal). The 10th annual edition of this urban sugar-shack festival and lumberjack party, with music, traditional food and a focus on all things maple.
  • Tuesday, March 24: Open Fire Brewing in the Sod House, 7 to 9 p.m. (FortWhyte Alive, Winnipeg). Participants in this workshop will brew two unique beers over an open fire featuring locally grown ingredients and guided by resident beermaster Barret Miller. No experience is necessary; skills are transferable to a modern home kitchen. Admission: $40. Participants must be 18+ (ID required.)
LOOKING AHEAD (April 2020)

  • Saturday, April 4: Greek Easter Baking, 2 to 5 p.m. St. Lawrence Market presents a Greek Easter baking workshop by Peter Minaki featuring family recipes for Easter Koulourakia (cookies), Paximadia (Greek biscotti) and Tsoureki with an array of braided shapes. Limited to 18 spots. Admission: $95. Pre-registration is required.
  • Thursday, April 9: Pysansky Workshop, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Folk Camp Canada and St. Vladimir Institute present pysanky workshops at which participants will learn Ukrainian Easter Egg decorating using the wax-resist method. Beginners are welcome. All materials will be provided; additional materials and kits will be available for sale. Admission: $35. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, April 11: Wood-Burning Oven Baking, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College offers a wood-burning oven workshop at Montgomery’s Inn. Participants will bake a full menu, including pizza, focaccia and sourdough, using the indoor and outdoor wood-fired ovens. Admission: $195. Pre-registration is required.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)
  • Saturday, April 11: Old-Fashioned Candy Making, 6 to 8 p.m. (Hamilton, Ontario). Chocolate Tales Studio offers an opportunity to learn how to boil, stretch, crystallize and package old-fashioned candies and hear about the history of candy in North America and Canada. Topics include making maple fudge and salt-water taffy from scratch; candy pulling and cutting; and old-fashioned packaging. Participants must be 14+. Admission: $110. Pre-registration is required.  
  • Saturday, April 18: Old-Fashioned Candy Making, 2 to 4 p.m. (Hamilton, Ontario). Chocolate Tales Studio offers an opportunity to learn how to boil, stretch, crystallize and package old-fashioned candies and hear about the history of candy in North America and Canada. Topics include making maple fudge and salt-water taffy from scratch; candy pulling and cutting; and old-fashioned packaging. Participants must be 14+. Admission: $110. Pre-registration is required.  
  • Thursday, April 30: Thirsty Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m. (Etobicoke, Ontario). Montgomery’s Inn presents Thirsty Thursday tavern night with 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. 416-394-8113.
Other Regions
  • Wednesday, April 1: Heritage Luncheon, two seatings: noon & 1:30 p.m. (Peterborough, Ontario). Hutchinson House Museum presents a homemade meal, including coffee/tea, entrée and dessert, served by costume interpreters in the historic Keeping Room. Admission: $15. Pre-registration is required at 705-743-9710.
  • Saturday, April 4: Open Hearth Cooking, 2 to 5 p.m. (Grimsby, Ontario). Historic Cook Demonstrator Julia Baird leads a workshop at Nelles Manor Museum’s original 230-year-old open-hearth fireplace, with time to taste the baked goods around the harvest table and a booklet of recipes to take home. Admission: $35 including a tour of the museum. Pre-registration is required.
  • Saturday, April 18: Gardening Saturday - Victory Gardens, 11 a.m. to noon. (Winnipeg). Canadian Mennonite University welcomes Lois Grieger, who will provide an overview history of Victory Gardens, explore some of the cultivars that might have been popular at the time and examine how Victory Gardens might look in the future. Admission: $10.
  • Sunday, April 19: "Champlain Slept Here" Historic Culinary Tour (Creemore, Ontario). Mountain Ash Farm Hospitality Mountain Ash Farm Hospitality presents a gentle walking tour with breathtaking views in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment, followed by a local and seasonal French-Canadian and Indigenous-inspired menu at an exclusive off-grid Riverside Maple Sugar Shack. Admission: $85-$369. 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.
  • Daily: Demonstrations at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Ottawa). Participate in a full day’s schedule of activities, including cooking with oats, butter making, milking, and grinding grain. Admission to museum: $8-$10 (Free from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • 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.

5. International Conferences

Compiled by Julia M. Armstrong


March 26 to 28 (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Program: Building on a 16-year tradition, the schedule includes a mix of short presentations and interactive pedagogy-focused workshops. Read more about the conference ethos.
Of note: See the conference site for resource lists on food in film and literature, and more.

April 18 (York, England)
Theme: Food and Health—an examination of how food and health are closely linked
through the ages.
To register: Download and mail the application form, which must arrive before March 20.

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

May 27 to 30 (Athens, Georgia)

Theme: Cultivating Connections: Exploring Entry Points Into Sustainable Food Systems. 
Host: The University of Georgia’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative.

June 21 to 25 (Boston, Massachusetts)
Theme: 50 Years of Living History.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston.
Of note: Includes a day exploring Old Sturbridge Village, New England's largest outdoor living history museum.

July 10 to 12 (Oxford, England)
Theme: Herbs & Spices.
Venue: St. Catherine's College, Oxford.

September 23 to 25 (Antwerp, Belgium)

Organizers: International Society for Ethnology and Folklore.
Theme: Food, People and the City: Comparative Perspectives. A look at food production, distribution and consumption as cultural practices, in different periods and societies.

November 13 to 14 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Theme: Food and the Environment: The Dynamic Relationship Between Food Practices and Nature.
Venue: University of Amsterdam.
Call for papers: Read the guidelines for topics and submission. Deadline is April 1.


May 13 to 15 (Guelph, Ontario)

Kitchen Table Talk to Global Forum.
Venue: University of Guelph.
Of note: The RWSA is an international association that promotes and advances farm and rural women’s/gender studies in a historical perspective.
Deadline for proposals: May 31, 2020; see conference website.

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.
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