Events of Interest

  • Wednesday, Dec 6, 2:30 p.m. EST: From Peace to Pigs in Blankets: The British Christmas from 1945 onwards (virtual). The U.K. National Archives welcomes historian Dr. Annie Gray for the latest in her popular series of Christmas food talks. Drawing on research for her latest book Call The Midwife: The Official Cookbook, she will conduct a technicolour tour from the rigours of rationing through to the dubious delights of a microwave Christmas in the 1980s. A research associate at the University of York, Annie Gray is the resident food historian on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and has presented TV history documentaries including Victorian Bakers and The Sweetmakers. She is also the author of The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria, among other books. Admission: Pay What You Can, from free to a suggested £15. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
  • Monday, December 11, 7 p.m. CT: A History of the World in 10 Dinners: 2,000 Years, 100 Recipes (via Zoom). Culinary Historians of Chicago present chef and author Jay Reifel discussing his book of the same name. Admission: Free.

In addition, here are a dozen virtual pursuits to make the most of your time indoors. Please share pictures and stories of your cooking adventures and historical discoveries on our Facebook page. (Join now if you haven’t already!)

  1. Explore historical Canadian cookbooks. The CHC’s website has been updated to include even more digitized cookbooks dating from 1825 to 1949.
  2. Start your own sourdough. Markus Mueller of the blog “Earth Food and Fire” offers complete instructions for capturing your own sourdough starter. He was among the contributors to CHC’s 2017 Canada 150 Food Blog Challenge; you can read dozens of seasonal Canadian food stories by participating bloggers on our website.
  3. Cook from historic recipes. In the blog “Cooking in the Archives,” scholars and foodies Marissa Nicosia and Alyssa Connell test early modern recipes (1600-1800) in a modern kitchen.
  4. Listen to a new podcast. Gastropod, now in its 14th season, examines food through the lens of science and history. Follow the link to the site and simply click to launch the latest episode; there’s a smorgasbord of past “gastropodcasts” to catch up on.
  5. Reconnect with Julia. The PBS website offers free episodes of the shows “Baking with Julia” and “Cooking with Master Chefs,” both featuring the incomparable Julia Child and other culinary luminaries.
  6. Browse vintage images for fun. This Pinterest collection of old food labels is full of nostalgia and surprises.
  7. Take an armchair trip to a food museum. Dip into Atlas Obscura’s compendium of 38 museums devoted to food (we can dream, right?). And to experience an online tour, visit this Dutch website Food Museum; start at the entrance or go straight to the exhibit gallery. (At the top right, you can switch to the English version.)
  8. Binge-watch some droolworthy CanCon. The CBC offers a tasty selection of past episodes of favourite food shows like “Back in Time for Dinner,” Fridge Wars” and “The Great Canadian Baking Show.”
  9. Virtually visit a Canadian historical site. Your options include:
    • Nettie Covey Sharpe House, where you can tour the kitchen of French-Canadian folk art collector Nettie Covey Sharpe.
    • Food at Fort Selkirk, which offers information on the food and diet of those living in and around Fort Selkirk (north of the confluence of the Yukon and Pelly rivers).
    • Farm Food 360, which provides online tours of Canadian agricultural sites, including sheep and dairy (available through Google Play and the App Store for phones, iPads, desktops and laptops).
    • Traditional Cooking at Kings Landing, a short video highlighting culinary activities at Kings Landing Historical Settlement, New Brunswick.
    • Roedde House Museum, a historical house in Vancouver.
    • Joseph Schneider Haus, former home to a Mennonite family living in Berlin (present-day Kitchener, Ontario), which has posted a video exploring cheese- and butter-making in the historic kitchen.
  10. Explore an online exhibit. Among the possibilities:
    • This Splendid Gift—the 1897 Canadian Historical Dinner Service: Painted to commemorate John Cabot’s 1497 landing in North America, the Canadian Historical Dinner Service was presented to Lady Aberdeen, wife of the governor general, for her contributions to Canadian life.
    • Bon Appétit: A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks/Les livres de cuisine canadiens à l’honneur: An archived online exhibition produced by CHC member Carol Martin for Library and Archives Canada. It includes books, art and artifacts representing Canadian culinary history from indigenous traditions to modern tastes.
    • Lifelines: Learn all about Canada’s East Coast fisheries at the Canadian Museum of History and the struggle to balance nature and human need.
    • From Tides to Tins: Salmon Canning in B.C.: The long and complex history of salmon canning in British Columbia is as much about coastal communities, technological innovations and environmental changes as it is about bringing food to market. Follow each step of the canning process from tide to tin as you learn what it was like to work in a cannery.
    • Harvests of Prince Edward Island: This research project utilizes the collections and resources of the Island’s community museums to explore a number of the harvests that have been important to P.E.I.’s history. The major harvests represented include the Potato, the Malpeque Oyster, the Silver Fox industry, Irish Moss and Mussel Mud.
  11. Indulge in a YouTube video. You’ll find lots of culinary history in videos such as these:
    • Behind Every Great Cook is a Great Mother: CHC’s own series of interviews with notable Canadian chefs, cooks and culinary authors.
    • 60 Years of Cooking: Produced by the Department of National Defence, Canadian Forces, Army Public Affairs, this four-part series (also available in French) showcases the history of the Canadian Forces cooks, a military occupation within the Logistics Branch.
    • Emmymadeinjapan: EmmyMadeInJapan combines her love of thrift shops and cooking by testing vintage kitchen gadgets in a series of three videos.
    • The Tadka Project: Toronto cook Sumi demystifies South Asian vegan cooking via her YouTube channel named for the all-important process of sizzling spices in oil to begin a traditional South Asian dish.
  12. Discover international culinary history. There’s much here to keep you enlightened and entertained:
    • Culinary Historians of Chicago Podcasts: Jane’s favourite culinary history society, after the CHC, is the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Their podcasts cover both American and international culinary history. Two of Jane’s favourites are “Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining and Style” and “One Smart Cookie Shares Crumbs of History.”
    • Timeline: A wide variety of historical documentaries, including the “Let’s Cook History” series and other culinary history videos that span numerous times and places.
    • The Real Mrs. Crocombe: A mini-series from the English Heritage charity, which cares for more than 400 British historical sites. Featuring food historian Dr Annie Gray, the series follows the life of the Audley End House cook Avis Crocombe and her staff during the Victorian era.
    • Townsends: This American family recreates 18th-century living for YouTube. (Check out their video on Catharine Parr Traill or the one comparing historic and modern kitchens.)

International Conferences

Compiled by Vicki Gregory


April 27 (Friargate, York)
Theme: Presenting the Food of the Past in Museums and Historic Houses
Host: Friends Meeting House
Sign-up TBD

April 27–28, 2024 (Boston and virtual)
Theme: What is queer food? What makes food queer?
Host: Boston University

May 28–29 (Dublin, Ireland)
Theme: Food and Memory: Traces, Trauma and Tradition

June 5–7 (Tours, France)
Theme: The History and Cultures of Food
Host: IEHCA – University of Tours

June 5–8 (Syracuse, New York)
Theme: Right to Food—Food as Commons
Host: Syracuse University

June 6–8 (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
Theme: Borderlands, Marginal Spaces, & Agriculture In-Between

June 12–23 (McGill University, Montreal, QC)
Theme: TBD

July 5–7: St Catherine’s College, Oxford, UK) and July 14–29: online (dates TBC)
Theme: Gardens, Flowers, and Fruit
CFP: December 31, 2023

June 17–20 (Sweden)
Theme: How can healthy and sustainable food choices be facilitated in a changing society?
Host: Kristianstad University

October 2–4 (online and Portugal)
Theme: Place Matters: The Valorization of Cultural, Gastronomic, and Territorial Heritage
Host: Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre

December 27–28 (Vienna, Austria)
Theme: New advances and research in humanities and social sciences