From Smithsonian Magazine, May 25:
New Exhibition Serves Up 150 Years of Canadian Culinary History
‘Mixed Messages: Making and Shaping Culinary Culture in Canada’ features cookbooks, photos and artifacts from the 1820s to the 1960s
Poutine. Maple syrup. Ketchup chips. All fall under the banner of “Canadian” food.
But a new exhibition at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library offers a more nuanced take on just what exactly encompasses Canadian cuisine.
Using rare cookbooks, photos and artifacts, “Mixed Messages: Making and Shaping Culinary Culture in Canada,” which opened Tuesday and will run through August 17, whips up the story of some 150 years of Canada’s historical plates.
Deconstructing the idea of Canadian identity is at the heart of the exhibition, says co-curator Irina Mihalache, who is an assistant professor of museum studies at the university. “What we wanted to do is rather than say this is what Canadian culinary culture looks like, we wanted to show how chaotic and messy and impossible it is to pin down,” Mihalache explains in a press release.
That means, for instance, showcasing histories of how Indigenous foods became viewed as “Canadian” after they were appropriated by settlers, or the artifacts that recorded what early immigrants brought to Canada, like an 1890s English bottle of curry powder.
Various cookbooks also shed light on Canada’s trending recipes. In addition to the first English-language Canadian cookbook (The Frugal Housewife’s Manual) and first French-language Canadian cookbook (La Cuisiniére Canadienne), on display are editions of author Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide, a guidebook that includes advice for new immigrants to Canada about things like what produce to grow....MORE