This week we introduce you to a fellow food researcher, Dr. Lenore Newman, who is currently Associate Professor of Geography at the University of the Fraser Valley, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment.  While her core research activity is focused on food security and agriculture issues, she is at heart a “foodie” – a person who simply loves food (particularly local foods) for preparation, consumption, and study.

She has three publications that we highlight.

Notes from the Nanaimo Bar Trail

According to the abstract:

Archival work suggests that the Nanaimo bar is based on a recipe for unbaked chocolate cake published in the Vancouver Sun in 1947 and republished in 1948. The bar itself was likely developed by a member or members of the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary, and the first known recipe was published in 1952 in that group’s cookbook. The mystery of the bar’s origins is explored, the bar’s place within the tradition of ‘dainties’ is noted, and its current role within Nanaimo’s efforts at place making is documented.

If you want to read more you will find the complete paper at:

Blackberries: Canadian Cuisine and Marginal Foods

Growing up in Roberts Creek, BC Dr. Newman frequently picked blackberries that have established themselves in the lower mainland of British Columbia as an invasive plant – but nonetheless one that produces delicious fruit. She describes them this way:

Part wild thing and part mutant pest, the blackberry was picked by almost everyone in town, and filled our winters with pies, crisps, jam, and wine. The promise of blackberries begins in the spring with a flush of delicate white flowers that carpets the great mass of the briar and calls out the bees that fill hives with a honey that is almost spicy in its intensity. The vines grow everywhere that nature is disturbed; every roadside, every empty lot or forest edge, rising in giant mounds five and ten feet high. The berries slowly ripen, hard green nubs swelling into sour redness and then maturing into collections of the deepest black drupelets. Hot sunny conditions stunt the berries slightly, but intensify the flavour, and a sudden rain can swell the berries to tastelessness. Harvesting is thus best done in intense bursts of activity, when the bulk of the fruit is at its peak. The thick tangled canes with their large razor thorns that can penetrate denim and canvas exact a toll for each berry picked.

If you want to read more you will find the complete paper at:

Speaking in Cod Tongues: Exploring Canada’s Cuisine

 This is her latest publication – a book that will be available in most major bookstores by the end of January. There will be a book launch on January 12 at the University of British Columbia. Information about the book launch is on her website:

Just in – this note from  the special collections librarian regarding the University of the Fraser Valley recipe collection:

“I wanted to let you know about our new special collection: The Newman Western Canadian Cookbook Collection. Here is a link to our resource guide on the collection:“.