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Cooking with a Canadian Classic

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

120 St. George Street

Toronto, ON M5S 1A5

Canada

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Cooking with a Canadian Classic: A Talk on a New Edition of Catharine Parr Traill’s 1855 The Female Emigrant’s Guide, by Nathalie Cooke and Fiona Lucas

What’s for dinner tonight? Are you planning to butcher a deer, make your own yeast for bread, tap maple trees for syrup, roast dandelion roots for coffee? These were ordinary tasks expected of a middle-class woman in mid-1800s backwoods Canada. These tasks and more are explained in Catharine Parr Traill’s classic The Female Emigrant’s Guide (1855). With her admirable recipes, candid advice, and astute observations about local food sourcing, Traill offers an intimate glimpse into the daily domestic and seasonal routines of settler life. Now, in this deluxe new edition of Traill’s book, subtitled Cooking with a Canadian Classic, editors Nathalie Cooke and Fiona Lucas bring new life and a new look to The Emigrant’s Guide, unlocking a wealth of information on historical foodways and culinary exploration, and they show why this 160-year-old work is still relevant – and fascinating – today.

Cooke and Lucas will share some tales of bringing Traill’s book back into circulation, showcasing a few of its best recipes, and the ways it can enrich not only our culinary knowledge, but also our appreciation of Canadian history both in and out of the kitchen. Samples of some of the recipes will be available after the presentation.

To complement the talk, there will be an exhibit of an early edition of The Female Emigrant’s Guide, works by other members of Traill’s family, and related materials at the Fisher Library. Special Projects Librarian Elizabeth Ridolfo will give us a brief introduction to these holdings.


Nathalie Cooke, English professor and Associate Dean of the Library at McGill University, is the founding editor of Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures / Revue des cultures culinaires au Canada (2008-). She is the editor of What's to Eat? Entrées into Canadian Food History (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009), and co-editor of The Johnson Family Treasury: A Collection of Household Recipes and Remedies, 1741-1848 (2015).

Fiona Lucas worked as a food historian with the City of Toronto Museums for 23 years. In 1994, she co-founded the Culinary Historians of Ontario (now of Canada) and has served on the executive ever since. She also founded the Volunteer Historic Cooking Group of the City of Toronto Museums. Her first book was Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking (2006). She writes and presents regularly on Ontario food history.


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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

120 St. George Street

Toronto, ON M5S 1A5

Canada

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