It is difficult for us to grasp just how labour intensive preparing food was
in the primitive kitchens of Canada's early settlers. Cooks throughout most of
the 18th and 19th centuries had to do everything by hand. Trees had to be cut
down, firewood cut and split and then carried to the kitchen wood box. Fireplaces,
and later wood stoves, required constant attention. Refrigeration was provided
by cool running springs or a cold box buried in the ground. Bread was made at
home. Butter was churned by hand. Food was either eaten fresh or dried: commercial
canned goods and home-canning methods were not yet available.
The foods available to Canada's pioneers depended largely on what region of the country they settled in. In recent years, continuity between past and present Canadian kitchens has been encouraged by cookbooks featuring regional traditions and pioneer recipes.
Food preparation for survey party no. 8, National Transcontinental Railway, Whitemouth, Manitoba, January 1905