For the next few months, Canadian Literary Fare is heading to our oceans and waterways to sample stories of Fish and Seafood.
As we cast off to explore this new theme, Canadian food historian Dorothy Duncan provides some initial reflections. In “Not Just on Fridays” from the proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, Duncan notes that “for over 11,000 years before European contact, the First Nations” of what is now known as Canada harvested a diverse range of fish and marine life. (116) But over the past 500 plus years since John Cabot witnessed the abundance of fish off the Grand Banks of Canada’s east coast (apparently European sailors simply lowered baskets into the water to secure their catch), much has changed. (116) Overfishing, pollution, and climate change have had drastic impacts on fish stocks. What many Canadians once “considered a rich renewable resource” is no longer so. (Duncan 118)