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As we write this foreword, the Olympics are welcoming the world to our beautiful BC coast, and Vancouver will undoubtedly be changed by the remarkable contributions of its visitors as well as the insights gleaned from encounters with new people, things, and ideas. It therefore seems fitting that this issue of CuiZine also looks at ways in which our food choices and practices have been shaped by cultural encounters. We begin with Hersch Jacobs’ study of some constituent elements of Canadian cuisine, as well as attempts to define and appreciate this cuisine in recent years. Just as our national palate has been shaped by the food preferences and practices of new Canadians, so too has it tempted them to welcome some of the nation’s iconic foods into their own homes. Gwendolyn Owens, in her study of kitchen wallpaper, reminds us that over the years Canadian homemakers have welcomed not only new foods, but also new designs, colours, food stories, and traditions. In “Migrer et Manger,” Pierre Sercia and Alain Girard explore the food practices of recent immigrants to Canada, and the push and pull of food preferences over time and generation.
Sometimes, of course, old ideas seem new again, revived because of their inherent value. Such is the case with farmers’ markets, where food producers and consumers meet to exchange food and ideas. Many of us have access to nearby supermarkets as well as farmers’ markets, so they exist side by side—not as symbols of different moments in time or the evolution of a market economy, but as symbols of our own time and its conflicting notions of foodways. In this issue, Alexia Moyer invites us to think more closely about the supermarket as a theatre space in which dirt and cleanliness play leading roles in a daily drama, while Kristen Lowitt asks us to think about farmers’ markets as setting the stage for social ties that bind, enabling a reciprocal rather than antagonistic relationship between food producer and consumer.
In the creative section, we introduce to you a young artist who turns her attention to one of the oldest topics and taboos relating to food: cannibalism. But don’t expect to see Windigos—those mysterious mythical beings that populate narratives of Canada’s wilderness, attacking from without and within. Lisa Ng’s images are firmly rooted in modern, urban foodscapes, and are both beautiful and deeply disturbing. Poet Rhona McAdam offers two lyric contemplations in this issue—one a poem about something that has become a ritual at the dawn of each new day in Canada, coffee, and the other about one of the technological innovations of the last century, Jello.
With this issue, too, we introduce a new regular feature to CuiZine, a section devoted to creative non-fiction and food reminiscences, which we call “Petites Madeleines.” We are delighted to bring you Anna Rumin’s story about the big fish that didn't get away, and Lois Manton’s memory of the impact of other Olympic Games on her family's food traditions. Victoria Dickenson’s review of A Veritable Scoff could well be placed in this section, since she shares her own story of Newfoundland foodways in addition to the ones she reads in Maura Hanrahan and Marg Ewtushik’s book.
Other book reviews in this issue also speak to new ideas about old favourites: Lana Povitz reads Elizabeth Abbott’s groundbreaking study of sugar; David Szanto looks at a new coffee table book on heirloom tomatoes; and Ariel Buckley speaks about David Sax’s praise of a restaurant tradition prompted by European immigration to the New World: the deli.
We hope you enjoy our inaugural issue of 2010. You might be interested to hear that, as midnight neared on 31 December 2009, CuiZine welcomed reader number 6,852 to its virtual pages. We are extremely grateful for the support of our publisher, McGill University Library, and our production team at Érudit (Université de Montréal). Even for those who can cook up a storm, it takes a team of cooks to prepare food for thought for more than 6,000 guests. For this issue, we acknowledge the expertise of our French language translators Nadia Roy and Annick Lavogiez. With thanks to our team of editorial board members, writers and reviewers, and to you, our readers. Bon appétit!