European settlers introduced to Canadian aboriginals to use metal vessels to cook in, as well as basic ingredients such as cooking in fat, adding salt to food and the use of refined sugar and wheat flour. Potatoes, though grown by natives in South America, were introduced to natives in North America via Europe. In return, the natives introduced foods like wild rice, fiddleheads, and maple syrup to the Europeans.
Canadian cooking is rooted from the British-American. It was only during the 1970’s when ethnic food really came to the kitchens of Canada.
Before the 1980’s, Canada gave the impression that it was a “food wasteland”. The foundations of the food were basic by today’s standards and educated palates. But when Canadians talk about “good old-fashioned food”, it’s the pre-1980s dishes and foods that they are referring to.
There was a day of the week you made bread during the pre-1980’s, and a day of the week you made butter, and a time of church and community hall suppers, with tables groaning with food brought in by the ladies from their kitchens.
There was a wide variety of food at these events, and at home. The ordinary, every-day food list may have included: roast chicken, corn, gravy, mashed vegetables such as potato, squash, turnip and carrot, scalloped potatoes, cabbage rolls, devilled eggs, roast beef cooked well-done, pot roast, glazed hams, roast turkey, spare ribs in 4 different sauces, green and yellow beans, meatloaf and gravy, chow mein and tuna casseroles; pancakes, pork and beans for breakfast, baking powder biscuits, strips of American-class bacon, pancake syrup, chowder, boiled dinners with dumplings; relish, chow-chow, pickles hot dog relish, chili sauce; sparkling jelly salads in a place of pride to catch the light and reflect it; bean salads, coleslaws, tossed lettuce salads, potato salads with boiled dressings, Waldorf salad, macaroni salad; oatmeal cookies, hermit cookies, squares, pies, butter cakes, apple betty, brown sugar fudge, Queen Elizabeth Cake, banana bread, angel food cake, marble cake.