Bush Cakes and Buckwheat Pancakes: Interpreting Historic Cookbooks and Recipes

Elizabeth Driver and Fiona Lucas

November 11, 2019 - 13:00 to 15:00

Culinaria Kitchen, SW 313, U of T Scarborough

According to the Female Emigrant’s Guide, originally published in 1855, buckwheat pancakes were considered a favourite “national dainty” in Victorian-era Canada. A seemingly simple recipe can tell us much about the lives of settler emigrants. But how do we interpret historic cookery? What tales do the ingredients tell us?  Join us at the Culinaria kitchen for a workshop on how to read and interpret historic recipes and cookbooks. Liz Driver will discuss some of the most influential cookbooks in Ontario’s history that touch upon the main strands of Canadian cookbook publishing history, while Fiona Lucas will introduce participants to Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide. Driver and Lucas will share their cookbook enthusiasm and extensive knowledge, while also guiding participants in a hands-on cooking demonstration. After the presentations, the workshop will take to the kitchen to prepare the iconic Buckwheat Pancakes and sample historic Bush Cakes.


Liz Driver is the Director/Curator of Campbell House Museum. Her Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825-1949 (UTP, 2008) won the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s Tremaine Medal, and she has lectured and published widely about food history. She is a past president of the Culinary Historians of Canada.

Fiona Lucas is an historian of cookbooks, foods, kitchens, and culinary material culture. She has an MA in Canadian History. In 1994, she co-founded the Culinary Historians of Canada. In 1996, she started the Volunteer Historic Cooking Group of the Toronto Museums. Her first book was Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking (2006). Her second book, co-edited with Nathalie Cooke, is Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic (2017). She presents regularly on Ontario food history.

This event is part of the course HISD73- Engendering Canadian Food History.