Sir John's Table: The Culinary Life and Times of Canada's First Prime Minister

Lindy Mechefske. Goose Lane (UTP, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-0-86492-881-8
Mechefske (A Taste of Wintergreen) succeeds in taking a fresh, fun, and novel approach to her biography of Sir John A. Macdonald, who's been extensively written about. The central theme is the food culture and traditions of the era, and his life events are viewed through this prism. Mechefske charts Macdonald's diet from his birth to his death, including typical Scottish gruel, meager rations on his ocean crossing, French Canadian cuisine, alcoholic beverages of all sorts, and diplomatic dinner parties. It's like a roadmap marked with various gastronomic stops. She includes authentic recipes from various historical sources such as Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) and The Cook Not Mad (1831). These recipes are unedited, and they often eschew modern cookbooks' typical measurements, gear, and oven temperatures. This book takes the premise of "you are what you eat" very seriously, suggesting Macdonald's life was shaped by how his body was fueled. Surprising and revealing anecdotes give a very real face to a Canadian icon, and images such as old photographs, paintings, letters, and ads enrich the reading experience. This is an all-encompassing look at the man behind the history, part exposé of past culinary habits and part celebrity biography. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/16/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-86492-839-9
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