Just A Bite: Summer Food Memories from Ontario Seniors

CHC’s latest project is Just a Bite: Summer Food Memories from Ontario Seniors, sponsored by a grant from the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Just a Bite is a collection of food memories from summers long past, a project to preserve and share youthful memories from the season between the summer and fall equinoxes.

A core committee created a booklet of questions to elicit these summer food memories:

Over the summer of 2021, the booklets were shared widely among seniors’ groups, cultural groups, clubs, institutions, associations and service organizations throughout Ontario. Sixty-eight booklets were returned. The collection of memories will ultimately serve as a repository of historical memories for future researchers.

The grant’s deadline for completion was February 28, 2022. For more information, contact us at justabite@culinaryhistorians.ca.

 

Just A Bite Report #1: Favourite Foods

By Fiona Lucas

Fresh strawberries and fresh corn on the cob. Most respondents reported these as their favourite summer foods as children and now. Raspberries, peaches, (new) potatoes, (new) green peas and tomatoes were close seconds. Others added cherries, blueberries, watermelons, carrots, and green beans. “Fresh” was the most popular adjective, as in “any fresh veggies from the garden” and “dripping with butter and salt!” Five said strawberry shortcake was their favourite dessert, and 17 identified potato salad as their favourite summer salad, with coleslaw next.

“Never met a fruit I didn’t like,” wrote Lynn Clelland, who lives in Renfrew. Most agreed, although Debra Netley of Whitby disliked peach skin. She loves peaches now, a change noted by many respondents who were once “not a fan” of such foods as salad, citron, cooked spinach, beets, turnips and liver fried with onions, but now concede adult appreciation.

Jellied salads got three disclaimers, liver got four, while a wide variety of foods, such as dill, maple syrup, warm milk and plaice are still rejected by one person each. Marilyn King of Listowel said, “my husband and his family expanded my diet by adding eggplant, puff balls, and squash.” Mary Williamson of Toronto “totally” disliked eggplant, while Annunziata Corsetti, also from Toronto, loved “eggplant fried in an egg and flour batter.” Today, Christine Stesky of Brockville loves her homemade concord grape juice, but as a child thought concord grapes were “slimy eyeballs.”

For Joseph Gray (Caledon), lima beans were “yuk!” but “barbequed hamburgers are very tasty with onions and tomatoes with a splash of our zucchini relish.” Hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages were mentioned frequently. Fifteen called hamburgers their favourite summer meat, and nine mentioned hot dogs. The “hard to match” flavours of their own family farm beef and chicken were definitely favourites, said Clelland, Lloyd Cook of Caledon, Eleanor McLaughlin of Beachburg and others.

Fish received little affection from these seniors, although for David George (Whitby) one question evoked a memory of “collecting cockles at the beach” before emigrating from Wales.

Even though Susan Hitchcock of Sydenham disdained “any fruit in a pie [because] fruit must be fresh,” memories of their mothers’ homemade fruit pies were popular, especially with homemade ice cream. Eleanor Aldus (Peterborough) recalled “[h]ome churned ice-cream made from our farm fresh unpasteurized milk and cream, topped with fresh strawberries from our garden between one of my mother’s fresh baked shortcakes.” Aldus also said her mothers’ wild blackberry and thimbleberry jams were “[a] special treat to be retrieved from the cellar shelves … during the winter months.”

“As a child,” wrote Barbara Rank of Cheltenham, “my first grapefruit with a cherry on top” was encountered “on the ship coming to Canada in 1951. I thought I was the Queen.” Ann Walker (Peterborough) regrets having no recipe for “Danka’s Bulgarian Lemon-Chicken Rice Casserole!” Gaetano Burgio (Virgil) wrote that as a boy in Italy “maccu (a fava-bean dish) was my favourite.” His mother strained the cooked favas into noodles; “we used to fry the leftovers … so good and crunchy!” She also made polpetti, battered and fried cauliflower patties to accompany barbecued fresh sardines. Brenda Stanbury reminisced about “polish sausage sliced lengthwise, barbecued with mozzarella cheese” in hot dog buns.

Joseph Gray provided my favourite joke: “I am on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.” Ha! Ha!

Just A Bite Report #2: Family Foods
By Jennifer Meyer 


Esteemed culinary historian and CHC life member Mary Williamson sent in this image of her family enjoying lunch at Pipissewa in 1938.

Picnics featured prominently in this section on fun activities or events from summers long ago. Many varieties of picnics were mentioned, from church outings, family reunions, Sunday drives and school picnics in June to neighbourhood and park picnics with family and friends. 

Picnicking was a popular summer activity for both rural and urban dwellers, and a few, such as Rensje Aalbers, and from Roslyn and Gaetano Tom Burgio of Virgil, recalled picnicking before they immigrated to Canada as well. Burgio reminisced about eating outdoors and swimming both in the Niagara area in Ontario, and in southern Italy, and Albers harkened back to biking with neighbours to picnic and get ice cream when she was a child in the Netherlands. 

The foods for gatherings of all varieties were more often than not prepared by women: mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. Becky Bender of Goderich recalled helping her aunt prepare noon dinners of corn, meat, potatoes and pie for her father’s threshing team. Joseph W. Gray of Caledon remembered “My mother used to make delicious tomato sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches. I can almost taste them now as I am typing this.”

At Eleanor McLaughlin of Beachburg’s wedding in 1955, a dinner for about 30 was served on the family lawn. “Not sure what the menu was, but Mother & Sister & I prepared.” Ted Meyer from Waterdown reminisced about yearly parties to celebrate his father’s July birthday. “Mum and my sisters catered all the food. The veg trays were all our own produce we grew. We had a lot of traditional canapes … Mum also made Advocaat, a Dutch liqueur, from scratch … with Oude Genever [aged Dutch gin], eggs and milk. The best part was Mum let me lick the pot after!” 

Exceptions to this convention were cooking meat on an open fire or barbeque. For example, Theresa Kerr of South Bruce Peninsula recalled pork on a spit with a chicken while being basted and turned on a BBQ by the men in her family, “while wives made sides and kids played around the farm.” Peggy Parent of South River’s father built a firepit for barbequing meat for family reunions. 

Another widespread feature of summer gatherings was that dishes were brought or prepared by many participants. Annunziata Corsetti of Toronto’s family had an annual end-of-summer gathering, when each family brought homemade sweet and savoury dishes. Susan Hitchcok of Syndenham stated that “everyone brought something” for Sunday dinners at the family cottage. She wrote of hamburgers with Lipton onion soup, homemade potato salad and seasonal fruit pies. “Family reunions were the big summer events as a child. Every family brought enough food for themselves and everyone else, so there was an abundance,” recalled Marilyn King of Listowel. 

Camping elicited evocations of outdoors adventures. Debra McAuslan of Clinton shared that “the taste of food over open fire was so good!”, and Mary Williamson of Toronto reminisced about camping in Pipissewa in the late 1930s and early war years, when her mother cooked over an open fire. “BBQ was unknown . . . With rationing of butter, sugar and meat during the War, it wasn’t easy to create fun food.”

Ontario camping recollections are incomplete without mention of bug bites! Holly Diaczuk of Thunder Bay harkened back to a vivid memory of fishing in a “cedar strip canoe until dark,” then having to come back to set up a tent and fry the fish on a campfire, all while “the bugs ate us alive. That was a rough night!” 

The fun-loving Georges (Rosemary and David) of Whitby discussed “beer-ups”: post-rugby game parties featuring corn roasts and barbeques, though pig roasts were rolled out when overseas rugby teams visited. Susan Lindsay of Chatham also recalled food being a feature of weekly baseball games. 

The nicer weather of summer brought people together, and what seemed to matter most—aside from savouring the delicious, and often homegrown and homemade food was the break from routine, enjoying each other’s company and the sense of community and belonging that these summer gatherings brought. Hopefully that will never change.

Just A Bite Report #3: Family Foods

By Samantha George

Just a Bite: Summer Food Memories from Ontario Seniors was a questionnaire widely distributed during summer 2021 among seniors’ cultural groups, associations, clubs, and service organizations. CHC asked questions that invited the sharing of youthful memories. This column is the third in a series to summarize the memories contained in the 68 booklets returned.

Among the responses to our question about specialty food preparation, mothers, grandmothers and aunts featured significantly high as food influencers. Most respondents provided memorable comments about the women in their lives cooking and teaching, while a few noted that mom was just not a great cook, and that home economics or cookery classes helped them learn to be cooks in the kitchen.

A few had comments about dad raising the children and making special custard dishes, or being responsible for “making the popsicles, once a fridge was acquired in 1961,” which was Gaetano Tom Burgio of Virgil’s special summer food memory.

Memorable or special summer foods fell into several significant classes; fruit pies were certainly remembered fondly, with recollections of gathering and preparing berries as part of this cooking adventure. Eleanor McLaughlin (Beachburg) wrote that “those warm apple pies were her [mom’s] specialty, baked in the morning for noon meal.” Rose Murray (Cambridge) ended her sweet memory with “we also picked the berries together.”

Several respondents, including those originally from the UK, reflected on the seasonality and food variety in the harvests of the summer season, and their work, often as children, to prepare for preserves, pickles and jams. “Blackcurrant jam, pear and pear slices in sugar solution. We always made dill pickles,” is a memory of Melodie Atanowksi (Courtice).

“I remember sitting on the back step with the grinder—grinding cucumbers for canning relish or chili sauce, boiling peaches to get the skin off for canned peaches, peeling pears, apples … lots of prep for winter eating,” writes Clinton, Ontario, native Debra McAuslan. Kathy Fowler of Oshawa, fondly mentions “Hollie’s pickle (cucumber pickle), pickled beets, applesauce, and chili sauce” as things her mother taught her.

The standout summer food memory is the salads: not green, leafy salads, however, but potato salads and macaroni picnic salads, or salads to feed a work crew or, as Diana Dundas (Bradford) writes, “salads for large numbers: jelly salads, potato, macaroni salads.” Murray Borer recalls that “my mother taught me to put a tablespoon of relish in [potato salad].”

Lynn Clelland of Renfrew says she spent most of her summers working with the men, but did make “a batch of homemade salad dressing, every Saturday morning.” Lorraine Green (Kitchener) says she “learned to make the favourite potato salad by watching, in her three-generation kitchen.”

This food memory question and the shared learning experience sparked commentary that we will see investigated in future stories. Eleanor Aldus of Peterborough sums up summer harvest foods succinctly: “the abundance of fresh food meant that there were many special summer foods to look forward to each year.”

Just A Bite Report #5: Seeds and Harvest

By Carolyn Crawford

In this blistering hot summer of 2022, we look at what Ontario seniors told us in the Just a Bite questionnaire about seeds and harvests in their pasts. Many respondents saved seeds, canned, preserved, froze, sold and shared much of Ontario’s summer produce which many had grown in their family gardens or farms. I have tried to include as many recollections as possible for you to enjoy.

Eleanor Aldus from Peterborough writes of her memories from the ’50s, “The cellar was lined with jars and shelves of pickles, relishes, canned tomatoes and fruit preserves nestled beside the bottles of maple syrup from the spring sap run … The Department of Agriculture issued information on safely preparing and freezing foods [and] new cookbooks now had a section on freezing and canning.”

Betty Bender of Goderich states, “I remember my mother poring over seed catalogues. She even wrote a poem about how much she enjoyed doing that.” Murray Borer (Renfrew) says that his family in Dundas “bought seeds from the hardware store” and that “tomato plants were traded [with his neighbour] for horse manure.”


Steele, Briggs’ Seed Co. garden guide for 1928, back cover (detail), Harris Litho. Co. (publisher), Humanities and Social Sciences department, Toronto Reference Library, Public domain.

Gaetano Tom Burgio, who moved to Virgil in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area from Italy said that “We would dry the seeds from the year before … We saved them in jars. My brother gave me wild fennel seeds from Sicily, Italy, and I grow them today in NOTL. They taste so good in sauce.”

Lynn Clelland, formerly of Brampton, now in Renfrew, still remembers “coming home from elementary school to the wonderful smell of chili sauce.” Barbara Cook (Caledon) said her father “shared with neighbours, friends and co-workers … they would fill his vehicle with veggies before he went to work.” Lloyd Cook, also of Caledon, recalls that “we preserved earlier on … Before we had our own [freezer] we rented three freezer lockers at the farm Co-op in Brampton and at Kaufman’s store in Inglewood.”

Joseph Gray (Caledon) also mentioned that “we did not have a freezer growing up but had a freezer locker in Brampton at the Peel Seed Co-op store, where other members stored theirs…. We each had an area that was like large wire cages that had padlocks on it so others could not borrow your supplies.” Also, “Mother preserved …  many jars of different jams, pickles, and fruits that we stored in our basement [and] we used to store [apples] on the front verandah covered with blankets to keep from freezing until it got really cold, then we hauled the bushel baskets full of apples down to our cellar. Many springs a few bushels of rotten apples were hauled back out.”

Elizabeth Glenney from Oshawa shares that while growing up in Newcastle, “the corn on the cob was boiled and wrapped in butcher paper and tied with butcher cord … and put in the freezer. My mother preserved peaches, pears, plums, cherries, tomatoes, grapes, and beets.”

Susan Hitchcock from Syndenham says “mom and dad would make homemade chili sauce, dill pickles, jam … Dad even tried his hand at homemade wine. We spent an entire weekend picking wild grapes near his family home in Stanleyville.”

Marilyn King, currently of Listowel, shared that her family’s harvest was sold at the Stratford Farmers Market. Her mother froze, canned and pickled, and made Dutch apple pie which they froze in quarters.

Debra McAuslan (Clinton) tells us about their cold cellar in the basement: “In what I think was an old cistern, my dad would bring in dirt, and the potatoes and carrots would be buried in the dirt. I remember digging them out for supper [and] mom always had a few crocks of pickles with a plate over them … I would lift the plate and sneak my hand in to get a pickle!”

Margaret McMahon of Gorrie writes that “seed potatoes were usually the eyes off last year’s crop if any potatoes were left.” She also recalls “we had elderberry bushes growing right outside the barn … but we had to get them before the birds did. Shaking the berries into the big garbage bags was always a fun day. Pie to follow! Extras were frozen for the winter months.” Ted Meyer in Waterdown says his “big family preserved a lot…. As we got older and had our own families, we would share and trade produce with each other; we all had our own gardens. It was a social event.”


“Return from the Insect Fair” advertising card from Rennie’s Seeds ca 1890, Baldwin Collection of Canadiana, Toronto Public Library. Public domain

Peter Myers speaks of growing up in a suburb of Winnipeg called St. Vital. He writes: “the Dominion Seed Catalogue arrived every winter…. The best product was corn right out of the garden, into the pot, and onto the table. Summer food.” He also writes that “a Native person would come with blueberries once a summer … and mom would buy enough for a pie. Wild blueberry pie!”

He further mentions the summer tastes of Saskatoon berries, chokecherries, wild plums and caragana blossoms that he ate as child: “very easy to pick and the nectar delicious. Caragana were introduced to the prairies and became a characteristic element of the of towns and cities as well, I am sure, of shelterbelts when the first farms matured and before all were removed in the expansion of the massive farms of today.”

Margaret Pearson from Milton recalls purchasing her seeds mostly from the store but “as a teen got them from the Agricultural Society for 4-H.” Eva Norman-Vestergaard from London tells us that “heritage [garden] seeds were saved each year … and Dad would store clean grain and corn in bins.” They also purchased their seed from Stokes, Dominion Seed House and Rennie’s Seed Annual. “Fruit tree cuttings for grafting came from neighbours and family,” she says. She created and included her own recipe for Elderberry Squares:

Elderberry Squares

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter

Use parchment paper in bottom of an 8″ x 8″ pan for easier removal and cleaning. Combine well the flour, butter, and sugar. Pat the batter into an 8″ x 8″ pan and cook at 325° F for 20 minutes.

Topping:

  • 3½ cups elderberries
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour 
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Cook elderberries, lemon juice, white sugar, flour, salt, and butter. Add mixture to top of crust and spread evenly. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes. When cooled, chill in refrigerator, then freezer. Cut in squares and remove from pan.

Sherry Murphy of Toronto was raised in Boston and Florida. Her family picked mangoes and citrus fruits, which they sold. Her mother also preserved some oranges and made marmalade. Peggy Parent of South River says that her “dad donated lots of vegetables” to her mother’s church ladies’ groups to use as fundraisers. She remembered going to Midland (her hometown) Flour & Feed to purchase seeds by the pound.

Ruth Quast (Renfrew) states that her family “froze corn and peas, preserved the fruit, made apple pies and froze them—anything in abundance went to anyone who needed it.” She remembers that when the seed catalogue came in the mail, “It was almost as exciting as the Christmas catalogue—spring was coming!” Another Renfrew resident, David Reid, saved seeds “in hemp bags in a small mouse-proof wooden box that Grandpa had made.” The Reids “sold asparagus to the local hospital and apples in the community.” David notes that they did not have hydro until 1949, and they stored their frozen goods at the freezer plant in town.


Steele, Briggs’ Seed Co. garden guide for 1928, p. 6, Harris Litho. Co. (publisher), Humanities and Social Sciences department, Toronto Reference Library, Public domain.

Nancy West of Lakeside says her family sold their summer harvest “extra to neighbours and the local grocery store” and that her “grandparents’ place was well known for strawberries and raspberries that they planted in 1947.” She transplanted some to her current home and says that “the raspberries are great, but the old strawberry variety has no shelf life.”

Mary Williamson of Toronto shares with us many stories about wartime summer harvests. Her family grew their own small Victory Garden that had carrots and lettuce, and included an asparagus bed that her brother painstakingly dug for a month! She tells us that “rationing impacted the making of jams and jellies.” But her mother managed to take advantage of summer vacation time spent in Northern Ontario and cottage country; Mary recalls, “My mother would take a walk and, straying from the usual paths, look for blueberries and other wild fruits. She would gather them (with my help!) and take them back home where they would be boiled up into jam, with sugar acquired via the special sugar ration stamps.”

Mary’s uncles had a farm in what is now Burlington. She was “eager to help in picking fruit on their farms: mostly raspberries.” Mary wrote more of these summer food memories in an article she included in her Just a Bite booklet titled “Feeding the Family in Wartime,” which was first published in Edible Toronto issue 16 in the summer of 2011. She and her brother are pictured on its front cover picking raspberries. The article is based on a book she edited with Tom Sharp titled Just A Larger Family: Letters of Marie Williamson From The Canadian Home Front, 1940-1944.

Looking forward to the arrival of seed catalogues, planting, picking and preparing the harvest of fruits and vegetables, and doing these things as a family for themselves or for others, are prominently fixed in the memories of Ontario seniors.

Just A Bite Report #6: Family Road Trips

By Fiona Lucas

Just a Bite: Summer Food Memories from Ontario Seniors was a questionnaire widely distributed during summer 2021 among seniors’ cultural groups, associations, clubs and service organizations. CHC asked questions that invited the sharing of youthful memories. This column is the sixth in a series to summarize the memories contained in the 68 booklets returned.

We asked: “Do you have family memories of road trips, such as to Niagara or the Holland Marsh, to get fresh produce or to pick your own sweet strawberries or apples?” Barbara Rank’s family had outings to both: “I remember going to Niagara + Holland Marsh for fresh fruit + vegetables.” Melodie Atanowski of Courtice wrote that “We made an annual trip to the Niagara fruit belt to get bushels of peaches.” Many respondents reminisced about these happy trips.

Ontario has several regions that supply the province with stone fruit, berries, and vegetables. Of the sixteen destinations named, Niagara was mentioned most. As Tom Gaetano Burgio said of his hometown: “It’s a beautiful place. We grow so many fruits and vegetables here, in our own yards or in the farms around us.”

“Local organizations organized truckloads of peaches from Niagara—these were frozen for winter desserts,” commented Lynn Clelland of Renfrew. Eleanor Aldus of Peterborough wrote: “Niagara fruit, including peaches, plums and cherries, were purchased at local stores in large baskets, freshly picked ripe, and shipped. The party line phone would buzz with the news that the fruit had arrived, and the rush to buy, eat, preserve and freeze began.”

“We bought peaches, apples, pears, plums every Wednesday at the Brampton Livestock Exchange where Niagara growers brought their produce,” said Barbara Cook. Ruth Josephs of Elmira: “Peaches came from our uncle’s farm/ orchard at Vineland [Niagara]. As we reached a certain age, each of us—only one per year—accompanied Dad on this awesome trip. The back seat of the car was removed to accommodate bushels of peaches, some for other families.”

Strawberries were the most popular pick-your-own fruit. Susan Hitchcock remembered “thinking I was going to die of heat stroke picking strawberries at the local pick-your-own.” For harvesting corn, “the best place was on the south side of Burnhamthorpe Road [in Mississauga],” said Ted Meyer. Several seniors lamented the loss of these farms. Rensje Aalbers of Roslyn wrote, “There’s one pick-your-own farm left. They start with strawberries, then raspberries, peas, beans, Saskatoons, sweet corn, squash.” Brenda Standbury of Utterson said, “My children loved it, as do my grandchildren now,” then added, “Sadly as the years went by, more and more farms disappeared to make way for housing, and we had to travel further away for pick-your-own farms.”

The abundance of wild fruit—blueberries, strawberries, crabapples, highbush cranberries, raspberries—from places like Rankin and Petawawa also elicited memories. “Once a year a carload of neighbours and children would head west on old Highway 15 to the Kaladar area and the Precambrian rock country to pick wild blueberries. Children were well warned not to wander far away, as there were bears in the area eating the berries. The car would return with pails of berries and blue-faced kids.” Some families preserved vast quantities of that summer bounty for the cold seasons. Eleanor McLaughlin’s mother did: “about 70 quarts of [wild] raspberries each year.” Also, her “Raspberry Vinegar was so tasty!”

For Roberta Anne Walker, now of Peterborough, family outings included crossing into Quebec for “summer trips to Île d’Orléans outside Montreal in the 1970s–’80s. You drove around the island and bought the fresh fruit in season from local orchards: strawberries, cherries, peaches, apples; local cheeses, fresh-baked bread, with local wine = a feast with a view!”

Some respondents provided recipes. Here’s one for pickled peaches from Mary Williamson’s mother:

Pickled Peaches (or Pears)

  • ½ peck peaches
  • 2 lbs. brown sugar
  • 1 pint vinegar
  • 1 oz stick cinnamon
  • cloves

Boil sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon 20 min. Dip peaches quickly in hot water, then rub off fur with towel. Stick each peach with 4 cloves. Put into syrup and cook until soft, not too many at once. 

 

Just A Bite Report #7: Family Barbecues

By Sherry Murphy

Just a Bite: Summer Food Memories from Ontario Seniors was a questionnaire widely distributed during summer 2021 among seniors’ cultural groups, associations, clubs and service organizations. CHC asked questions that invited the sharing of youthful memories. This column is the seventh in a series to summarize the memories contained in the 68 booklets returned.

We asked: Did your family like to barbecue during the summer? Who did the barbecuing? Was it a family specialty? There were quite a few responses to the art of barbecuing, including a few who never had the opportunity (or even a barbecue), as some were too busy with work on the farm to enjoy a family barbecue.

I will start with Eleanor Aldus of Peterborough, who says she had no idea what a barbecue was until one day on a road trip her dad stopped at a store where hotdogs were cooking on a metal square with a grate on top, “so my dad got us all a hotdog each. So, I thought what a great idea for a family picnic. But our farm had such an abundance of food that we hardly ever had family picnics.”

Melodie Atanowski of Courtice says her dad used charcoal bricks with soaring flames so high that “we had to wait a long time before we could have our burgers and hotdogs.” Gaetano Tom Burgio from Virgil says that “in Italy we had a little wood-fired barbecue; my father would barbecue lamb chops and goat chops. Beef was rare. We did have veal cutlets at Christmas. Also, my dad had something similar to a hibachi where he did homemade sausage over the coals.” Shula Carmichael of Meaford said her father did the barbecuing.

Lynn Clelland of Renfrew writes, “Yes, barbecue was a Sunday picnic thing. Uncle always did the BBQs.” Annunziata Corsetti of Toronto reports that “family get-together was usually all summer long as there was always some sort of preserving or canning project of fruits and vegetables going on every weekend; after the work there was a barbecue.” Her son Don did all the cooking and barbecuing, mostly chicken, burgers, steaks and homemade sausages along with roasted sweet peppers; those that did not get pickled. Once he rented a barbecue to roast a whole pig, and “we had to take turns turning the crank on the spit to roast it completely; that took a long time, but it was work fun day.”

Pat Crocker of Neustadt said she had a charcoal BBQ, and her father would light it an hour before and grill hamburgers: “Although it took a long while for the coals to get hot, for my dad it was a big deal, and he loved it.” Holly Diaczuk of Thunder Bay writes “We had no BBQ, but dad made a smoker out of an old fridge, and he smoked those dreadful smelts and lake trout. This I thought was terrific! (Using what he had to make a smoker for food).”

Diana Dundas of Bradford said, “All members of the family enjoy barbecuing during the summer. It is usually the domain of all the males in the family, who say they love to barbecue.” David George of Whitby says, “we did barbecue all the time, mostly done by David.” Rosemary George also says her dad did most of the barbecuing but can’t remember any specialty. Susan Hitchcock of Sydenham writes that “our family would only barbecue hamburgers and hotdogs at the cottage. My dad made a homemade charcoal barbecue, and on windy days he fought that barbecue but never gave up. We may have eaten at midnight, but he would not give in.”

Noreen Mallory of Toronto reports, “Yes, Dad liked cooking that way, and he did it well. Mom did the cooking, but when it came time to barbecue, he was perfect. Also, mostly the BBQ was on the veranda, and so he would pass the cooked meat through the kitchen window!” Debra McAusian of Clinton writes, “when we barbecued, it was generally my dad who did the meat. Of course, after my mom did all the prep work and planned and prepared the rest of the meal.”

Ted Meyer of Waterdown said, “Not as a kid, but when I had my own family, we did a lot of barbecues (steaks, ribs and chickens, burgers and hotdogs).” Peggy Parent of South River says, “Dad built a keyhole fire pit and used one end to rake the coals into the BBQ. barbecuing was not such a big thing when I was a child.” Barbara Rank of Cheltenham says, “Sometimes, and a favourite of mine is onions and potatoes with butter wrapped in foil.”

Carmela Sannuto of Toronto reports, “Yes, we would BBQ in the summer months, My mom and dad would be doing the BBQ, Yes, it was our family specialty.” Brenda Stanbury of Utterson: “My dad was the King of the BBQ. We always had hotdogs and hamburgers, chicken legs and sausages.” Jean Steritt of Georgetown writes, “Yes, Mom did it. Usually the specialty was hotdogs and burgers.”