Food for the Settler


96 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-86505-013-9




Reviewed by Dean Tudor

Dean Tudor is a journalism professor at the Ryerson Polytechnical
Institute and founding editor of the CBRA.


The Crabtree series on Early Settler Life has been enormously successful in presenting some of the broad outlines of what early frontier conditions must have been like, primarily in eastern Canada and northeastern United States. Drawing upon sources such as (among others) Gibson House, Colborne Lodge, Montgomery Inn, and Black Creek Pioneer Village in the Toronto area and Century Village, Lang, and Upper Canada Village in Ontario (and even American locations such as Williamsburg, Jamestown, Buffalo, and the Library of Congress), Ms. Kalman has skillfully woven together material that indicates the fight for survival in the early frontier days. The text is meant for young people, but older folk would profit, too. Covered are such topics as hunting, fishing, fruits (berries, apples), maple sugar, vegetable gardens and corn, domesticated animals, and the varieties of kitchens and dining areas. This latter section comments on potluck dinners, Thanksgiving and Christmas foods (which appear to be interchangeable), the various gadgets and methods of food preservation, and even table manners. There is a long chapter on bread and how it is made at the Gibson House, as well as comparable material on making one’s own butter and cheese. Strewn throughout are about 75 recipes, some in narrative form and all metricized and relatively easy to follow. And, of course, the copious illustrations (photographs, line drawings, reproductions) emphasize the role that young people played in helping out at home by depicting both boys and girls at work.


Kalman, Bobbie, “Food for the Settler,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,