Thursday, January 17, 2013

Centennial Food Guide #4

© The Canadian Centennial Library 1966
I'm re-reading The Centennial Food Guide this week, and am sharing a short excerpt each day.
E.A. Howe, writing near the end of his life in the 1880s, described a sugar social  from his boyhood near Glengarry on the St. Lawrence River, Ontario:
   The house would be crowded, but  "the more the merrier." Milk pans, dish pans, pans of all description, as long as they were big enough, were packed with snow. A large boiler filled with syrup or broken sugar was placed on the stove and carefully tended. When the contents of the boiler had reached the required consistency, which could be decided after repeated tasting, quantities were ladled out upon the snow, where it congealed into the finest confection man has ever encountered here below. The paying guests were armed with a table fork and given the personal responsibility of seeing that they secured the worth of their money. There was nothing particularly refined about the whole affair, but there was a happy lack of constraint; since no authority had ever dared to lay down rules of etiquette for such a function there were no rules to be broken. The only restriction was individual capacity, and this was a matter only of private concern; each was master of his own fate and did not worry about it. The Sugar Social was always popular and profitable...

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