A Taste of Culinary History at the Toronto Reference Library

From now through 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."

And for the recession-wary, a look at a few old menus is sure to amuse – in 1904, the calf’s head with mushrooms was only 25 cents at Webb’s; and a chicken dinner with soup, salad and dessert, plus tea, coffee or hot chocolate was $1.25 at Traymore Savarin on Bay Street in 1925.

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