presented by Friends of the McGill Library
Back by popular demand, the Library will be holding a second "Foodways & Fisticuffs" lecture with Montreal Gazette food writer Julian Armstrong and culinary historian Nathalie Cooke!
From world-class restaurants to popular and affordable foodstuffs, food has been an iconic part of Quebec identity across and through cultural, religious and linguistic shifts. Armstrong and Cooke will talk about a toolkit for cooking with historical recipes and explore how French Canadian passion and iconic personalities have shaped Quebec’s distinctive culinary traditions. Why did tourtière and pouding chômeur spark impassioned brawls? How did Joe Beef’s social advocacy support the working-class community in 19th century? Why have bagels and smoked meats become de facto Montreal food icons? Why do our latest food trends remind us of bygone days?
The event is now full to capacity.
Julian Armstrong has been reporting on food for newspapers for the better part of five decades and has covered everything from gastronomy and food prices to nutrition and food safety. She was food editor of the Montreal Star and then of the Montreal Gazette, for whom she now writes three weekly columns: Best Buys, about the best seasonal produce to be found at fruit and vegetable counters; Table Talk, about events in the local food world, and Six O’Clock Solution, which provides a quick and simple dinner recipe from a new cookbook.
But Julian is happiest writing about Quebec cuisine, where the latest developments in food and drink and centuries-old culinary traditions co-exist in harmony in a province in which residents carry on an enduring love affair with food that is perhaps unique in the world.
She is the author of Made In Quebec: A Culinary Journey (HarperCollins, 2014) and A Taste of Quebec (Macmillan, 1990, updated in 2001). She has helped to choose winners of national cookbook contests in Canada and the United States. The International Association of Culinary Professionals appointed her honorary writer-in-residence at its 2003 conference in Montreal. She is a founding member of the Association of Food Journalists and of the Cuisine Canada culinary alliance (now known as Taste Canada) and she has judged countless chefs’ contests. Most recently she was a judge at the Gold Medal Plates competition, which raises money for Canada’s Olympic athletes.
A noted writer, researcher and educator at McGill, Nathalie Cooke is currently the Associate Dean, ROAAr at McGill Library, a professor of English, affiliate member of the History Department and fellow of the Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas. Previously, she served as Associate Provost (2010-2013) and Associate Dean of Arts (2006-2010). She has also taught at secondary and post-secondary levels, served as University representative on the Commission d`évaluation des Programmes et Projets (2004-05) and as Chair of the Board of Governors of Cegep Vanier College (2008-2010).
Cooke’s publications focus on the shaping of literary and culinary tastes and practices in Canada, and have been supported by grants from SSHRC, FQRSC and the Max Bell Foundation. They include articles on a wide variety of Canadian writers, a biography of Margaret Atwood, a critical volume on her work, an edited volume on Canadian food history and critical editions of historical cookbooks and novels. She is founding editor of CuiZine: the Journal of Canadian Food Cultures; revue des cultures culinaires au Canada, an open access journal published by the McGill Library since 2009.
Cooke’s research has often involved close collaborations with University archivists and librarians. She is co-editor of The Johnson Family Treasury (2015) with Kathryn Harvey (Head of Archival and Special Collections at the University of Guelph), and working with University of Toronto librarian Liz Rodolfo to mount an exhibit of historical cookery books at the Fisher Library in 2018.