What’s so feminist about food history? Women and food in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s

Jello advertisement, circa 1964.

What’s so feminist about food history discussed food, feminism, and society in Canada during the 1950s and 1960s.  We ate our way through foods that graced many Canadian tables in the ’50s and ’60s, including Jello salads, Spam sandwiches, Mennonite 7-Up Salad, and the ever-present grilled cheese, complete with a square of plastic orange ‘product’. This talk took place on November 24, 2011, at the Gladstone Hotel.

Franca Iacovetta is professor of History at University of Toronto, and co-editor of the Studies in Gender and History book series at University of Toronto Press.  For more information, please see Franca Iacovetti’s faculty profile.

Franca Iacovetta, Valerie Korinek, Marlene Epp, Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History (University of Toronto Press, 2012)

The Gladstone Hotel is the oldest continually operating hotel in Toronto.  Built in 1889, the hotel was managed by widow Susanna Robinson, who also lived at the hotel with her 13 children.  Today, the Gladstone is managed by the Zeidler family.  Please see Gladstone Hotel for more information.

Use this in the classroom

Learn more

  • Food, Inc., dir. Robert Kenner (Magnolia Pictures, 2008)

Suggested bibliography

  • Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History, eds. Franca Iacovetta, Valerie J. Korinek, Marlene Epp (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012)
  • Just Heat it ‘n’ Eat it! Convenience Foods from the 40s – 60s, by Adeena Sussman (Collectors Press, 2006)