Showing posts with label foodlore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foodlore. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - Recipe for Chop Suey

Where is that recipe from?

On a recent trip to Spaniard’s Bay for the Oral History Roadship Judy Symonds brought out some papers she had recently found while cleaning out her mother’s belongings. There was an old newspaper clipping from 1950 as well as a small recipe book. Although I didn’t have a chance to scan all the recipes I had a look through the book and scanned a couple of pages. The recipes inside were reminiscent of the time with white layer cake, salads with fruits like bananas and pineapple topped with sliced eggs, and fruit cake filled with raisins, sultanas, cherries, and almonds.

Among the recipes for shortbread and cakes was a recipe for Chop Suey which includes mince meat, tinned tomato soup, rice, macaroni, onion, boiling water, and fat pork. These ingredients seem to resemble Newfoundland’s version of goulash which typically consists of minced meat***, and macaroni in a tomato sauce with variable vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and occasionally mushrooms more than a Chinese meal. After a quick internet search and a discussion with a friend from New England it seems like the chop suey recipe is a version of American chop suey which is a pasta dish resembling Newfoundland goulash with macaroni, ground beef, onions, and peppers in a tomato based sauce. It is interesting that the recipe showed up in a handwritten notebook in Newfoundland. I would love to know the background behind the recipe, where she found it, and why Judy’s mother kept the recipe.

The origin of chop suey itself is a hotly debated topic with folks arguing it is an American Chinese creation and others saying it was a Chinese dish which was adapted to the available American groceries and particularly vegetables. If you want to learn more about the Chinese community in Newfoundland and their expression of Chineseness check out Dr. Mu Li’s thesis “Wanderers between Cultural Boundaries: Exploring the Individual Expressions of Chineseness in Newfoundland”.

Share your stories and knowledge of food with the hashtag #FoodwaysFriday.
Tell us your favourite recipe and let us know the origin story!

***Judy Symonds emailed to clarify that the minced meat in the recipe simply means ground meat. 

~Terra Barrett

Monday, April 17, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Easter Buns with Betty Rumbolt

On March 31st, 2011,  Melissa Squarey interviewed Betty Rumbolt about her tradition of Easter Buns. Rumbolt is originally from Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland.

In this interview she talks about her first memories of the baked good, Easter celebrations in Upper Island Cove, the tools used in making Easter Buns, when they are prepared, and some specific memories tied to the tradition. Rumbolt goes into detail about how to make the buns as well as referencing differences in recipes and alterations made within the family. Rumbolt speaks to the tradition of baking goods among the women in her family, and concludes by speaking about the importance of traditions in families.

Listen their chat about Easter buns here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#Folklorephoto Is there something wrong with this picture? How do you open a can of Carnation milk?

At our recent Tea Bun Workshop, a can of Carnation milk was opened like this, to the shock of many participants. How do you open a tin of evaporated milk?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Living Heritage Podcast Ep067 Cod Sounds

Lori McCarthy grew up in the small fishing community of Bauline, of about 200 people, on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The traditional foods of her childhood feed her passion to tell the stories of her province through its people, culture and food. Out of this passion she started Project NL Food, a province-wide endeavour to visit various communities and speak with generations of people that hold their culture close to their heart. Lori also owns and operates Cod Sounds, a company which is devoted to celebrating the province’s unique foods with travellers and locals alike through hands on experiences like beach boil-ups, mussel picking and berry picking.

In this interview, we talk about how the Project NL Food got started, traditional recipes, family foodways, the barter system, hunting, teaching, workshops, and food tours.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Friday, February 3, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - Name that meal!

Photo by Meghann Jack.
Last Thursday Dale, Kelly, and I drove to Marysvale for a series of oral history interviews as part of the Collective Memories project. The interviews took place at the Heritage House which functions as a museum and tea room during the summer. The community has received some funding to have the interviews fully transcribed and these first four interviews were sent to a transcription company in central Canada over the weekend.

We received the full transcripts this week and noticed something a little curious. During the interview with Patricia Whalen and Shirley Ryan, the pair discussed garden parties in the community. They were talking about a particular food which was eaten at the party as well as taken away. The transcribers in mainland Canada were unable to figure out what food was being discussed. Read the excerpt or listen to the clip below and let us know what food they were talking about!

Shirley: And when I first moved down here we had garden parties. I'd never seen a garden party, I mean we had fairs up in the mainland, but garden parties, oh my gosh … Oh it was marvellous.

Dale: So what would happen at a garden party?

Shirley: They'd have little boats for the children and they spin wheels for numbers and they had boats and … Oh it was grand … In the churchyard … Either that or in the hall … On the hall. It was great, oh my gosh. And they had a big meal. [Unintelligible 00:32:12] plates, everybody would go in the hall and sit down and pay for their [unintelligible 00:32:17] plate and have it … Either that or takeout.

Patricia: Take it home.

Shirley: Either one.

Name that meal!
~Terra Barrett

Friday, January 27, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - Berries with Bridget Jacobs

Local blackberries - also called black crowberries, heathberry, earthberry, and curlew berry in some locations.
When we discuss foodways of Newfoundland and Labrador the first food that comes to mind is the codfish. Cod has played a major role in everything from the province’s economy to its culture. It is featured in many traditional dishes however it is not the only food tradition in the province. Seafood and fish, caribou, seal, sea birds, berries, root vegetables, and imported products such as molasses and tin milk all play a part in the province’s food traditions. In celebration of the diverse foods harvested, grown, cooked, and eaten in Newfoundland and Labrador we will be doing a #FoodwaysFriday feature on the ICH Blog.

This week we are featuring a series of photos and videos taken by Maureen Power with Bridget Jacobs of Joe Batt’s Arm. The collection features a number of local berries including blackberries, marshberries, tea berries, blackcurrants, goose berries, raspberries, partridgeberries, poison bush, blueberries, crackerberries, and blue herts. Maureen takes short video clips of Bridget showing her the location and type of berries. Bridget also gives little stories about the berries including the clip below where she describes how blackcurrant cured her niece when she was sick.

If you would like to see the full collection click here!

Share your stories and knowledge of food with the hashtag #FoodwaysFriday.

~Terra Barrett

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep047 Baking as Biography

Diane Tye is a Professor in the Department of Folklore, Memorial University. Most of her research over the last twenty-five years has explored intersections of folklore and gender and with Pauline Greenhill she is co-editor of Undisciplined Women and Unsettling Assumptions. For the last decade her work has included examinations of foodways in Atlantic Canada. She is author of the book, Baking as Biography. A Life Story in Recipes, that tells the story of her mother’s life through her recipe collection, as well as articles that explore a range of foodways topics from the food we eat on storm days, to the significance of making family recipes, and the cultural meanings of regionally iconic foods. We discuss Diane’s academic interest in food, her book Baking as Biography, food and nostalgia, gender and food, and where her work has taken her.

Listen on the Digital Archive:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Traditional Bread and Jam making workshop in Pasadena, July 23, 2016

Strawberry jam, fresh made bread, and heritage: a perfect combination!

Our friends at the Pasadena Heritage Society are starting up a series of traditional skills workshops, and their first one is happening on July 23rd, as part of the the Humber Valley Strawberry Festival.

You'll learn how to make bread and strawberry jam from scratch! The workshop is only $5 and is open to all ages. For more information, and to register, contact

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Two more Newfoundland recipes for #mustardpickles (and one from Niagara Falls!)

Our ongoing quest for mustard pickle recipes continues. First up is from Jason Sellars, who writes, "This recipe comes from my mom and is made annually by the case from ingredients grown from her vegetable garden in Winter Tickle, Newfoundland. Try finding that on a map, I dare ya! Way better than any store bought."

5 lbs green tomatoes
2 small cucumbers
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
2 1/2 lbs onions
1 head cauliflower
1 small cabbage

1/2 cup flour
1 cup vinegar
2 tbls tumeric
2 tbls dry mustard

Cut vegetables in small pieces and soak in water and 1/2 cup salt overnight.
Drain and add:
2 cups vinegar
4 cups white sugar
Boil for 45 minutes.
Add paste gradually to thicken.
Place in sterile bottles.


Next we have a recipe from Sheila Cooke, who writes, "This is my late husband's recipe with comments (in parentheses)."
WAYN'ES MUSTARD PICKLE RECIPE using a food processor

(Note: I double dry mustard, and put all veggies except cauliflower through French fry blade on processor. You choose.)

Step #1
Use a stainless steel or granite enamel bowl

3 quarts cucumbers (baby dill size) sliced like bread & butter pickles
1 large head cauliflower--broken into tiny flowerettes
3 - 4 large yellow onions
1 large Jalapeno pepper, cut fine (wear rubber gloves as these have oil that skin sucks up)

Salt all above with 1/2 cup pickling salt and let stand over night (or all day)

Step #2

After standing time passes, drain well and rinse well using sieve.
1 bunch celery cut to preference (I slice across the stalks)
4 large sweet red peppers, chopped (I use pimentos if they are available)
8 cups white sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) white vinegar
2 1/2 cups water Use half the water to blend 4 tblsp dry mustard
1 scant tblsp turmeric
1 1/2 tblsp mustard seed
1 1/2 cup flour into paste to thicken the juice
Boil 20 minutes, stirring constantly.

Seal in sterilized pint jars. Let sit in jars at least 1 month before using--if you can wait this long. Enjoy!


News of the 2016 Pickle Crisis has spread far and wide. Wendy Lechner writes, "I just read of the mustard pickle crisis in Canada. Here’s my grandmother’s recipe. She lived in the Niagara Falls, Ontario area. Unfortunately she never wrote down her recipe for butter tarts." Here is her recipe:


6 quarts

1 quart large cucumbers, cubed
1 quart small cucumbers, whole
1 quart silver-skinned onions
1 quart green tomatoes, chopped course
2 red sweet peppers, chopped fine
1 large cauliflower, broken into small pieces

Brine solution

1 quart water
½ cup canning salt


6 tablespoons Coleman mustard
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
2 quarts vinegar

Place clean, prepared veggies in crock.
Cover with brine solution. Let stand 24 hours.
Bring to boil in same solution. - (make sure the whole batch is up to boiling temp, but don’t boil for very long - it makes the cukes too soft.)
Make dressing: mix dressing ingredients thoroughly and cook until thick.
Stir in pickles and heat thoroughly, BUT do not let cukes get soft.
Place in jars. Process

Obviously, I need to do some butter tart research next... - Dale

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Traditions at Risk - Saving Traditional Mustard Pickle Recipes! #mustardpickles

As some of you may have heard, mustard pickles under the Zest and Habitant labels have been discontinued by producer Smucker Foods of Canada Corporation. Mustard pickles are an important part of Newfoundland and Labrador foodways, and people have been upset!

Of course, there are other options for pickle lovers (Belbin's makes mustard pickles, as does the Newfoundland Jam and Pickle Factory).

Numerous people have responded on social media saying, "I'm not worried, I make my own mustard pickles."

So here at the intangible cultural heritage office, where we are always thinkings about traditions in flux, we want to help! We want YOUR mustard pickle recipes! In the tradition of sharing and transmitting knowledge about local foodways, we will share those recipes and get people making pickles the old fashioned (and maybe new-fashioned?) way!

You can send your family mustard pickle recipe to:

and we'll share them on

Let's get pickling!

- Dale Jarvis

Monday, September 28, 2015

Welcome to the world of intangible cultural heritage, here are your fish heads!

I am in Victoria BC this week, teaching a course on Intangible Cultural Heritage for UVic's Continuing Studies program. Today was our first day, and we had a series of great discussions around ICH in communities.

Before students arrived, I gave them all a pre-course assignment. And, because I love food, I made them all think about food experiences and the link to culture. We all eat, but we sometimes don’t think about the deeper meanings of food behaviour, and how the symbols and practices of food consumption are embedded in our daily lives.

Students were asked to prepare a short report on a food event, tradition, or event that has meaning to them, their family, community, or region.

I started them off with a discussion about the Mediterranean Diet, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013. We talked about the link between food, community, and traditional skills, about Newfoundland cuisine, and then I showed them one of my favourite short foodlore videos, "Green Jell-O and Fry Sauce: Food Folklore at the Fair," with folklorist Eric Eliason of Brigham Young University.

Then it was their turn, and we were treated to an amazing array of food experiences. We talked about Iranian Nowruz food traditions, BC sport salmon fishing, NWT cranberry hooch, Starbucks rituals, cider and cured meats, two battling presentations on traditional vs vegan Tourtière, fish heads, potlatches and bum guts, Vietnamese Thit Kho - braised pork with eggs, Norwegian lefse, and Chinese dumplings.

Yum, b'y.

Tomorrow we are off to explore Chinatown, hopefully with some Dim Sum along the way.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Roy Hiscock of Champney's West - Weekly Meal Pattern

Snelgrove, Eric and Olive. Vegetable storage in their historic Quidi Vidi home.
LaDuke, John.
Photo courtesy of Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.
What is your weekly meal pattern? Do you have one? Have you ever followed the one below?

Today I have a short video clip of Roy Hiscock of Champey’s West which is located on the Bonavista Peninsula in Trinity Bay, NL. If you saw the video earlier in the week of Ben Hiscock, Roy is Ben’s older brother. During a trip to Port Union and Champney’s West doing some workshops Dale and I interviewed these two older members of the community.

Ben and Roy Hiscock are brothers whose families have been in the community for generations. They had great memories of growing up in the community, ship wrecks and rescues, square dancing, old graves, and local characters. Both brothers had great stories and I would like to showcase a couple of their stories on the blog.

In the short video Roy describes the meals the family would eat during the week. I did a quick search on Memorial University’s DAI and came across a thesis on traditional Newfoundland foodways written by Pamela Gray in 1977. I included two pictures below of Gray’s work with examples of weekly meal pattern. I’ve seen the tradition of the weekly meal pattern mentioned in other articles but it isn’t something my family followed growing up.

How about your family - do you follow a weekly meal pattern? Is it similar to these examples of the traditional weekly meal pattern? Do you still have a cooked dinner (Jiggs dinner) on Sunday? Let us know in the comments below!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Something fishy this way comes

Plowing under caplin for fertilizer [VA 110-32.2] 1930
International Grenfell Association photograph collection
Fred Coleman Sears photographs
Photo: Courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives.
Although it is not quite caplin time – the weather we have been having for the majority of June could be considered caplin weather. The RDF (rain, drizzle and fog) which prevails during Newfoundland’s “spring” and early summer is also known to coincide with the appearance of caplin which roll across our shores late June or early July.
Caplin used on field as fertilizer [VA 14-105] 1939
Newfoundland Tourist Development Board photograph collection
Gustav Anderson photograph album
Photo: Courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives.
In honour of the lovely caplin weather and the hope that summer is just around the corner I took this opportunity to select some caplin related pictures for today’s folklore photo.
Caplin used as fertilizer in garden [VA 14-106] 1939
Newfoundland Tourist Development Board photograph collection
Gustav Anderson photograph album
Photo: Courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives.
These pictures from The Rooms Provincial Archives show one of the many uses for caplin – as an all natural fertilizer!
Home Gardening, Decks Awash [vol 11, no.1, February 1982]
Photo: courtesy of MUN's Digital Archives Initiative 
In my search for garden fertilizers I also came across this lovely article from the Decks Awash newsletter proclaiming all the benefits of seaweed and fish offal as a natural soil conditioner and compost.
Gathering kelp on Back of Beach [Kenneth Nash]
Jackie Nash personal photo collection
Photo: courtesy of MUN's Digital Archives Initiative 
What do you use for fertilizer and compost in the garden? Any tips on what could help a garden grow on this rock?
The benefits of kelp and caplin seen in a potato garden [William Snelgrove]
Terra Barrett personal photo collection
Photo: courtesy of Digest [vol 3, issue 1, summer 2014]
For more information on the local food system check out these videos done by Root Cellars Rock showcasing seniors’ food knowledge.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grey Socks, Pidley Stick, and Traditional Food

In this edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: we introduce the Grey Sock Project, linking the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War with traditional knitting skills; the Food Security Network on their "All Around The Table" seniors' oral history project; and researching tiddly, hoist your sails and run, and other children's games and pastimes.

Download the newsletter in PDF and other formats

Photo: The Williams children in front of their family home on Cable Avenue, Bay Roberts, undated photo.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nan’s Cookbook in the Digital Age

Digitizing and preserving family heirloom cookbooks and recipe cards.
Date: February 21, 2014, 1-4:30 p.m.
Location: ANLA office, Suite 201, 15 Hallett Crescent, St. John’s

  • Dale Jarvis, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nicole Penney, Intangible Cultural Heritage Programs Assistant
  • Mary Ellen Wright, ANLA Professional Development and Outreach Officer
Do you have your nan’s recipe cards? Did your mother keep a scrapbook of her favourites? Do family members reminisce about that old copy of the Cream of the West Cookbook with the comments and changes written all over its pages?

This workshop will teach participants how to create and preserve digital copies of these important family and community heirlooms. We’ll also talk about how best to preserve the original documents! Participants will be encouraged to bring examples from their own homes or collections.

Registration fee: $30
Registration deadline: February 17, 2014 Some financial assistance for transportation costs is available for ANLA
members: please contact the ANLA office for more information.

Mary Ellen Wright
Professional Development and Outreach Officer Association of Newfoundland
and Labrador Archives

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rugelach on the Rock: a delicious Jewish pastry-making workshop!

On Sun. November 24th, Memorial University’s Public Folklore class will host “Rugelach on the Rock,” a pastry baking workshop at St. Thomas’ Church Hall. This instructional workshop led by Jonathan Richler will teach participants how to make rugelach (roo-guh-lakh), a traditional Jewish pastry packed with sweet or savory filling. Participants will learn to roll, prepare, shape and bake this crescent-shaped treat with a Newfoundland twist.

The workshop is organized by Folklore 6740: Public Folklore, a graduate student course at MUN on local traditions, in partnership with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Jonathan Richler, a St. John’s native, is president of the local Jewish Community Havura and an organizer of the J-Deli pop up deli at Chinced Bistro.

The event will take place from 2:00pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday, November 24th at St. Thomas’ Church Hall, 8 Military Road, St. John’s. Registration is $20 and includes all materials and detailed instruction. Space is limited. To register, contact Nicole Penney at the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador at 1-888-739-1892 ex. 6 or

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine's themed ICH newsletter, sealed with a kiss!

In this special February edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador, our contributors get all romantic. Learn about the Heritage Foundation's celebration of Heritage Day 2013, enjoy some traditional Czech pernicky (gingerbread), explore love stories from the appropriately named community of Heart's Content, see how an outport nurse celebrated her honeymoon, and lock up your loved ones. We love you, folklore!

Download the PDF

Contributors: Andrea O'Brien, Christina Robarts, Lisa Wilson, Nicole Penney, Dale Jarvis

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Help wanted - The Cultural History of Jam Jams, Billy Boots, and Pineapple Crush

Purity Jam Jams, Billy Boot garbage bags, and Pineapple Crush pop have become iconic Newfoundland products, with unique ties to Newfoundland history and culture.

Morgan Murray at The Scope is trying to unravel/uncover/figure out the history of the cultural significance of these products in NL, e.g. how and why they have become so popular, and the important political, historical, and social factors that have made them, and kept them so.

If you have any information, theories, insights, or wild guesses about any of these products, please contact Morgan at