Catharine Parr Traill’s genteel life in England did not prepare her at all for life on the frontier in Ontario in the mid-1800s. But one of the ways she found to support her family in her new world was to write about her experience for other immigrants. Her writings both public and private deal with the many joys and tribulations of the wintery backwoods in early Canada.
Traill had practical advice for her readers, from maintaining a yeast supply to choosing a parlour stove to sewing a warm cloak. She revealed much about bottling, pickling, smoking and hunting foods for the mid-nineteenth century pantry, then making winter meals. Her how-to advice benefited many immigrants unprepared for the cold and ice, as she had been once unprepared, but she also came to love the sparkling snow in her Canadian wilderness.
Fiona Lucas, who with Nathalie Cooke, co-edited Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic (2017), speaks knowledgeably and entertainingly on Traill’s experience and writings. Her half hour presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.