Student Handout: Traditions of the Table

Student Name: ___________________

Part 1: RECIPE RESEARCH AND PLANNING: Step back in time. Let your inner investigator take over as you examine historic recipes and cookbooks to learn what and how pioneers cooked on Canada’s frontier. Then choose a traditional recipe you would like to make.
Part 2: FOOD ARTIFACT RESEARCH: Go back in time once more to examine recently recovered farm artifacts from along the Little Bonnechere River near present-day Algonquin Park in Ontario. Learn more about the kitchen utensils, dishes and cutlery used by local cooks about 150 years ago.
Part 3: MEAL PREPARATION AND SERVING: Prepare your dish and share a traditional meal with classmates.

Refer to the traditional recipes in this learning object. You can also research early Canadian cookbooks and recipes by using the Internet and your school or community library. If available, study family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Answer the following questions in your notebook.

1 a) What sorts of foods do you prepare using a recipe?

b) What foods do you make without a recipe? How did you learn how to make these dishes?

c) Do you think all pioneer cooks used cookbooks? Why or why not?

2 a) In pioneer cookbooks were recipes published in the same format as they are in more recent times?

b) What format was used for indicating measurements in traditional recipes? Were measurements always used? Why or why not?

c) Were oven temperatures indicated in early recipes? Why or why not?

3. How do the ingredients of traditional recipes differ from those in dishes we prepare and serve today?

4. Why were sections such as Useful Hints, Simple Cures, and Food for the Sick often found in pioneer cookbooks?

5. Choose from the recipes you have found to plan a class meal. Ideas:
- meat: stew, roast, sausages, smoked, fried
- potatoes: scalloped, pancakes, hash, fried
- salads: coleslaw, potato, beet, greens
- vegetables: onions, parsnips, beets, peas, cabbage, carrots, turnips, asparagus, tomatoes, beans
- desserts: biscuits, puddings, doughnuts, fritters, custard, fruit
- condiments: pickles, relish, sauerkraut
- preserves: jam, jelly, stewed fruit

Refer to the images of the food and cooking artifacts included in this learning object. Answer the following questions in your notebook.

1. What is the major difference between the kitchens of yesterday and today?

2. See Image 1: Stove
Most pioneer food was prepared using a traditional cast-iron cookstove.
a) What fuel was used to fire these implements?
b) How would this affect traditional cooking habits in summer versus winter?
c) What are some of the other challenges and benefits of cooking on a cast-iron cookstove?

3. See Image 2: Utensils
a) List the basic cooking utensils used by pioneers.
b) List the cooking utensils in your home or school kitchen.
c) How do these two lists compare?

4. See Image 3: Plate
a) Study the manufacturers’ marks of the dishes found in your home and school kitchens. Where were the majority of these manufactured?
b) How does this compare with the origin of the china used by early Canadian pioneers?
c) List several challenges of transporting glass and china overseas to Canada, circa 1850 and today.

Gather ingredients for your recipe, prepare the dish in the school kitchen and share a traditional meal with your classmates!

Treena Hein
Betty Biesenthal
1800 - 1950
Ontario, CANADA
© 2007, Davenport Centre - Heritage Hall. All Rights Reserved.

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