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Food

Cooking across Canada

From First Nations traditions to modern dishes, these new cookbooks span the breadth of our country, exploring kitchens, culinary rituals, and how our communal table is shared

Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food

By Simon Thibault, Nimbus Publishing, $34.95

Using food as a lens, Nova Scotia journalist Thibault takes us on an open-hearted tour of his Acadian heritage and the ingredients, dishes and stories of a rich culture recovering after centuries of persecution. From a deceptively simple condiment of salted green scallions to a perilously multi-step recipe for headcheese, this beautiful cookbook is both sentimentally specific – featuring hand-written recipes and photographs from Thibault's family – and a smart exploration of the tasty, hearty foodstuffs that nourished and sustained some of Canada's earliest settlers.

Storm the Kettle: Resetting the Newfoundland Table

By Elaine Feore and Joanne Goudie, Whitecap Books, $29.95

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While former bistro owners and current Newfoundlanders Feore and Goudie are careful to include historical island favourites such as figgy duff and pease pudding – here the mashed soft yellow peas are presented as a dip – Storm the Kettle's flavours and approaches are unabashedly global. From fattoush made with Newfoundland-baked pita to Mediterranean-seasoned chicken thighs, this is a friendly cookbook that delights in multiplicity. Canadians searching for a new bedtime tradition would do well to pick a delicate "bed lunch" sandwich of crusty bread and melted bittersweet chocolate.

British Columbia from Scratch: Recipes for Every Season

By Denise Marchessault and Caroline West, Whitecap Books, $40

With its gentle coastal winters and sun-baked summer valleys, choosing what to cook from British Columbia's cornucopia can stump the most imaginative home chef. Approached with a French touch, this book combines seasonal fruits and vegetables – think asparagus and apricots – with Pacific seafood and pasture-raised meats. Pork and shrimp dumplings, smoked duck and sesame dressing are a nod to the province's Chinese and Japanese cuisine, in this beautiful, tip-filled book that allows Mother Nature to take the lead.

Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip

By Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller, Appetite by Random House, $35

The result of a cross-country adventure by two enthusiastic food writers, Feast pays homage to the home cooks, farmers, professional chefs and entrepreneurs comprising Canada's modern culinary scene. Diversity and profoundly delicious dishes are the stars here, including First Nations pemmican, an Israeli-inspired breakfast sandwich, B.C. spot prawn ceviche, European borscht, East Coast seafood chowder, and yes, Nanaimo bars. With gorgeous photos and appetizing taste-of-place recipes gathered from across the country, this cookbook will be dog-eared in no time.

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