The food language of Québec’s cabanes à sucre represents a particularly salient example of what the English language has never successfully been able to communicate about québécois culture: how the politicized nature of French as it is spoken in Québec is played out in the collision and conflation of high and low registers, a tension between reverence and repulsion. This manifests itself in the realm of Québec’s food culture in the recent return of the nation’s high-end food purveyors and top chefs to their roots in maple-soaked deep-fried comfort foods, and the equally high and low register-bending, and thus largely untranslatable names, that accompany many dishes: des pets de soeurs, des oreilles de criss. This paper focuses on the work of celebrity chef Martin Picard, famous for his foie gras poutine and infamous for his squirrel sushi and tail-stuffed “Confederation Beaver,” arguing that his menu is essentially a form of food joual.
This article examines the evolution of culinary traditions among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) in southern Ontario into the mid-twentieth century, and particularly the diets of the Christian community in the early twentieth century. It looks at the impact of the schools (especially the Mohawk Institute residential school) and churches on the reserve, and how voluntary organizations were at the forefront of promoting an Anglo-Canadian diet in the community. It considers the role that food and cooking played in the lives of Christian Six Nations women and suggest that despite the colonial challenges they faced, these women continued to use food as a way to care for their community.
Kate Aitken (1891-1971), perhaps best known as a broadcasting pioneer in Canadian history, was the first director of “Women’s Activities” at the Women’s Division of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto. It was a position she officially took on in 1938 until her retirement in 1952. Aitken’s kitchen demonstration development, and her overwhelming success as an educator at the CNE offers a lens through which to examine the gendered education of food preparation, at a time when what constituted as ‘women’s work’ was itself being re-worked.This paper will investigate women’s programming at the CNE, and how it helped to support and construct women’s accepted roles as part of a wider discourse about women’s place both within and outside the home. Food played an intensely important part in this process. While the pedagogical purpose of many of the activities at the Women’s Building were described as the “capture, care and feeding of husbands,” Aitken’s use of food programming fulfilled multiple functions: as a tool for community organizing in her massive ‘ladies luncheons’ and her work with Women’s Institutes; as a gendered pedagogy in her restaurants, table-setting and cooking demonstrations and competitions; and as a means of teaching children and young people the skill of feeding themselves. As a woman whose work sat at the intersection of the ‘modern’ and the ‘traditional’ kitchen she also communicated important messages about shifting gender roles in the early to mid-twentieth century in Canada.
Canadian Literary Meals
/ Lettres Canadiennes au menu