From time to time we will add books that we have read and found interesting and relevant. New submissions are welcome. Contact bcfoodhistory(at)gmail.com
Book Reviews related to Food History in BC Studies This link will take you to a list of books reviewed in BC Studies, a peer-reviewed journal.
Memories and Meals
Enderby & District Museum Society. (1999). Memories and Meals, from the families of Enderby& District. Enderby, BC: Author.
NOTE: Book is available at the Enderby and District Museum and Archives, Box 367 – 901 George Street
Enderby, BC, V0E 1V0, firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-838-7170
This is a community cook book assembled by a Committee of the Enderby Museum Society. A former or present member of the community has contributed each recipe. Brief family histories are included as well as stories of the significance of a recipe in a family’s history or description of when it was prepared by the family. Recipes are simple and basic often using local ingredients. For example, in the section on vegetables and sauces that contains eleven recipes, three use turnips and two potatoes in their preparation. There are lots of recipes for sourdough breads and doughnuts. Some novel recipes such as “snake bread” and “Meeshlays” provide insight into local family traditions. There are recipes for the usual main courses, cookies, and cakes – in fact, lots of cake recipes including the 1937 Free Press $1.00 Cake; puddings, and pies. Novelty recipes for “tonic”, homemade yeast, fly poison, homemade soap and even beet wine add intrigue. Each of the thirteen recipe sections contains an introductory reminiscence about food from a community member and photos from the archives are scattered throughout. The book is a fascinating portrayal of Enderby and its people – Linda Peterat
Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts
Chinese fairy tale feasts, a literary cookbook.
Yee, Paul, Chan, Judy, & Wang, Shaoli (2014). Chinese fairy tale feasts, a literary cookbook. Vancouver, London: Tradewind Books. ISBN 978-1-896580-68-5
This is a gorgeous little book – beautifully illustrated by Shaoli Wang, with recipes by Judy Chan and stories by Paul Yee. It contains 13 chapters, each beginning with a story either written or adapted by Paul Yee. Each story involves food or cooking in some way and is followed by brief interpretive notes on the origin of story and its main messages. Judy Chan includes a related recipe with notes on how the recipe relates to her family practices and the story.
This is a fabulous book to work through with children. It inspires intergenerational participation – grandparent with grandchild, parent with child, teacher with a class of students. There is everything one needs – a story to read, notes for discussion, clearly written equipment and ingredient lists and instructions for making the recipe – and much to learn for all ages! The illustrations are vivid and support the stories and recipes.
This book provides a model for cross-cultural learning through food. Paul Yee explains the Chinese origin of the various stories and their themes, and links them to stories from other cultures when possible. The recipes become food for thought as well as for body nourishment. It is worth noting this is an award winning book (2015 Gourmand Award for Best Canadian Cookbook) that should enjoy widespread classroom and home use. – Linda Peterat
Fruit Ranching in British Columbia
Bealby, J.T. (1909, 1911). Fruit Ranching in British Columbia. Toronto: Macmillan.
When I came upon Fruit Ranching in British Columbia a few years ago in a used bookstore in London, ON I was drawn to the beautiful cover. I couldn’t resist buying it so I could find out who Bealby was and on what basis fruit “ranching” was being encouraged.
Paul Koroscil (2003, 2008) would clearly characterize Bealby as one of the “promoters” or “developers” who from 1890 to the 1920s were very active in promoting the sale and transition of the ranch lands of the Southern Interior of BC from cattle ranching into orchards. Usually these promoters were British settlers who saw that profits could be made by selling the ranch lands to other Brits or colonials who were seeking better farm land and climate. Bealby owned a “fruit ranch” in Nelson and used his book to promote his services that included advising on purchase of lands and managing them for absentee owners. He deals at length with how to establish an orchard, make it financially profitable, and grow award winning quality fruit. He explains the BC landscapes, the dangers of floods, droughts and forest fires, wildlife, and the manners and life of Canadians.
This book is useful to anyone who wants to understand the beginnings of fruit growing in BC’s Southern Interior and the forces that influenced settlement of this area in the early 1900s.
In addition to being published in Canada, this book was also published in Australia, the United States and India. It is now in public domain in Canada and available on line:
Koroscil, Paul M. (2003, 2008). The British garden of Eden, settlement history of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Burnaby: Simon Fraser University.