Lunch with Lady Eaton: Inside the Dining Rooms of a Nation


206 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55022-650-9
DDC 647.95'092





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



For many, Lunch with Lady Eaton is a full menu of nostalgia, served with
style and elegance. The authors succeed in capturing the culture,
standards, and pride of the great Eaton’s dining rooms that were so
much a part of genteel social life in Winnipeg, Montreal, Vancouver, and
Toronto from the early 1900s until the mid-1960s.

More than 100 photos and reproductions of archival documents make the
book a visual feast, supporting the very readable text and adding
atmosphere as only great visuals, thoughtfully selected, can do.

The aura of these great restaurants is built up layer by layer, detail
by detail: the price of a piece of pie in 1903 (five cents), how a
kitchen worker was instructed to pick up garnishes (with both hands),
the number of people served, the pounds of butter churned each day, the
name of the workroom supervisor in 1919. Such details pack every page,
bringing history to life.

Lady Eaton was Flora McCrae Eaton, daughter-in-law of Timothy Eaton,
the famous mercantiler. She was best known as a philanthropist and
socialite, with her considerable expertise as a businesswoman not as
widely publicized. The book helps to address this, making clear that she
was the active decisionmaker behind Eaton’s food services coast to
coast, a huge business that she ran with innovative thinking and
unwavering adherence to quality and high standards.

The history of the various Eaton’s restaurants, cafeterias, and
grocery businesses is supplemented by a selection of 30 recipes for
simple yet delicious foods many Canadians will forever associated with

Lady Eaton used her dining rooms to make memories for a nation. Readers
will happily use this history to keep those memories fresh.


Anderson, Carol, and Katharine Mallinson., “Lunch with Lady Eaton: Inside the Dining Rooms of a Nation,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,