Cooking the Books

Waste not, want not: Toronto Public Library (TRL)

In an era when restaurants and food shops come and go, it’s difficult to remember food trends from even a couple of years ago, let alone decades or centuries. But everybody eats – preferably three times a day – and over the years, the changes that have taken place in terms of food in Toronto are vast.

Until January 11th, 2009, the Toronto Reference Library (TRL) is offering a peek into the history of food in Toronto through an exhibit in their gallery space called Local Flavour: Eating in Toronto, 1830-1955.

Curated by librarian Sheila Carleton of the Special Collections, Genealogy & Maps Centre, the idea for the exhibit came about because of the opportunity to restore some historical cookbooks in the TRL’s collection. “In 2006, the Toronto Reference Library was invited to apply for a grant from the Culinary Trust for restoration of up to 4 historical cookbooks in our collection,” explains Carleton. “Our application was accepted and two local conservators were commissioned to carry out the work. As it is an honour to be invited to apply for the grant, we thought that the public would be interested in seeing these and other cookbooks in our collection.”

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