The exploration, settlement and development of Canada depended on food. Literally and figuratively, food choices shaped this nation. Recall Sir Franklin’s fatal decision to provision with tinned food soldered by lead (re-imagined by Margaret Atwood in “Age of Lead”). Recall the Chinese community’s rethinking their cuisine to support a livelihood through restaurants, depicted in Judy Fong Bates’ Midnight at the Dragon Café, Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, and Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill. Or recall such policy interventions as residential schools (retold by Joseph Boyden in Three Day Road) and nutritional guidelines (recounted in Wendy Lill’s The Occupation of Heather Rose and Alice Munro’s “Half a Grapefruit”).
Canadian literature is notable because its many food narratives draw from diverse cultural heritages. Yet existing bibliographies and studies of food literature consistently overlook Canada’s contributions. So this resource is intended as an intervention. Here we gather a list of Canadian literary works in which food is a primary theme, or a way to reflect upon the stories that shape Canadians and notions of Canada. What a feast! We invite you to enjoy the literary fare and let us know what other works we should be bringing to the table.
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