Dorothy Duncan


Historic shortbread and sugar plums, made by D. Duncan (photo by J. Ralph)

Dorothy Duncan speaking at the OHS
Dorothy Duncan speaking at the OHS

You feed your pigs and cattle more scientifically than you feed your families: the History of Women’s Institutes examined the relationship between food science and Women’s Institutes. This talk took place at the Ontario Historical Society.

Dorothy Duncan first became interested in the history of Canadian food when she was  the Curator of Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.  Later, as a Museums Advisor for the Province of Ontario, she encouraged and assisted many museums to research and present programmes based on the food and beverage traditions of their communities.  In 1982 she became the Country Fare editor for Canada  Century Home magazine, published in Port Hope, and until 2000 when the magazine was sold, wrote over 150 articles on the history of Canadian food and beverages.  She has lectured at many universities in both Canada and the United States, as well as at the University of Oxford in England on this topic. In 2003 Dundurn Press, Toronto published “Nothing

More Comforting: Canada’s Heritage Food” and in 2006 published “Canadians at Table:  Food, Fellowship and Folklore”, a culinary history of Canada that won the Gold Award in the Culture Category from the University of Guelph and Cuisine Canada.  “Feasting and Fasting: Canada’s Heritage Celebrations”  was published in 2010.  Her latest book “Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst:  Everyday Life in Upper Canada, 1812 – 1814”  explores the families, farms, homes, gardens and fabric of everyday life leading up to the War of 1812 and during the conflict that raged  between the young United States and Britain, its former master.  Dorothy has been recognized in many ways including:  Fellow, Canadian Museums Association; Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Ontario’s Heritage;  Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, University of Waterloo;  Order of Ontario; Woman of the Year 2005, Women’s Culinary Network; Gold Award for Media and Publishing 2006, Ontario Hostelry Institute; and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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