We know about early food preparation and social events because women kept records. They wrote letters home, or kept diaries where they described many of their day-to-day activities. They also passed down to their daughters and granddaughters the lore and the skills associated with those activities. Traditionally these have not been the basis of historical scholarship – often few people outside the woman’s family knew of the existence of their documents and their artistry or considered them worthy of saving or study.
This view is changing, however, and the stories our foremothers recollected and the customs they taught are being rediscovered and cherished as they should be. Even the most ordinary list of ingredients and instructions for preparation becomes a treasure once its historical context and character are revealed.
I’m sure you will enjoy discovering the women [in “They Came] who beat and stirred and baked and roasted to feed their families in the frontier lands of Western Canada. You will probably remember a story or two from your own family history. Please share them with someone who can appreciate them and strengthen the chain of our remembrances.
City of Edmonton Archivist and Supervisor
Heritage and Special Facilities Citizen Services