Feasting and Fasting


Feasting and Fasting is an introduction to the foods and beverages that were a central part of how our ancestors celebrated important events.

Long before the arrival of newcomers, the First Nations were celebrating the passages of life, the changing seasons, and the gifts of the Great Spirit with feasting. As settlers from around the world arrived on Canadas shores, they brought with them the memories and traditions from home. Diverse and unique culinary histories began to develop as the newcomers were unable to find some of their traditional ingredients and were forced to compromise. Wild game, fruit, plants, grains, vegetables, and maple sugar were often transformed from survival foods to the foods of celebration.

Food brought families and communities together to pay tribute, to honour, to celebrate, to mourn, and to be comforted. This is a sampling of their events and what was on their tables at births, weddings, funerals, religious holidays, garden parties, and more!


Feasting and Fasting certainly gives readers plenty of food for thought.

Canada’s History Magazine

A great purchase for anyone interested in Canadas culinary history.

Bradford/W.Gwillimbury Times

Attendees at a Dominion Day picnic held at Uxbridge in 1876 certainly didn't walk away hungry. Or bored...The generous spread is one of many recounted within the pages of Orilla Author Dorothy Duncan's recently published book.

Midland/Penetanguishene Mirror (December, 2010)

This book is a delight to read.

Resource Links (June, 2011)

About the Author

Dorothy Duncan

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Dorothy Duncan

Dorothy Duncan has worked with organizations across Canada and around the world to ensure that Canada's culinary history is recognized, researched, and recorded. In 2007 her book Canadians at Table won the Cuisine Canada and University of Guelph Culinary Book Gold Award. She lives in Orillia, Ontario.