• By: Sofia Donato

How Canadians are embracing their culture through food

A recent survey reveals that 67 per cent of Canadians connect with their heritage through traditional recipes. Almost half are concerned family history will be forgotten if recipes aren't passed down. The Leger Marketing survey was conducted in response to the upcoming Food Day Canada on behalf of Ancestry, a global leader in family history research.

Food Canada Day takes place on July 31st and is the annual celebration of Canadian food. The day is dedicated to sharing meals and stories with one another.

The survey reveals that seven in ten Canadians state their most important memories include enjoying home-cooked dinners with family. However, nearly half (44 per cent) of Canadians worry that their family history will be lost if their recipes are not passed down.

Food and recipes are one of the most vital traditions one can inherit from previous generations. Nearly three quarters of Canadians learned how to cook through parents or grandparents. Food is a way to keep one’s heritage alive and allows families to strengthen their bond with each other. According to the survey, 67 per cent of Canadians cook at least one recipe that has been taught by another family member. Fifty-eight percent believe family recipes provide insight into the lives of their ancestors.

Ancestry encourages Canadians to explore their own family recipes, cultural food traditions and celebrate the stories that are told by the food they eat. Family recipes are the key to the past and can serve as a pivotal starting point for journeys of personal discovery. Food can reveal a family’s past.

Lesley Anderson, family historian for Ancestry, credits her family “Cookery Book” as the inspiration for her introduction to the world of family history. The beloved recipe book, written in 1907 by her Great Aunt Mary Elizabeth Carr, was gifted to her when she was 21.

“Holding an item that is over 100 years old and knowing that my ancestors also held the Cookery Book and made these recipes is so poignant for me. Recipes and cookery books can be really meaningful family heirlooms, connecting you to your heritage and providing you with the opportunity to bring the stories of your family to life through cooking the same food they once made and shared,” says Anderson.

The Cookery Book contains Anderson’s favourite recipes, including a traditional scone recipe created by her ancestors in the UK. On the Ancestry website, Anderson has attached photos of the Cookery Book and its recipes to her virtual family tree, allowing her relatives to find inspiration for their next home-cooked meal.

Ancestry empowers Canadians to discover more about their history through family trees. Users can connect to other member’s trees to search for old recipes and traditions that have been celebrated for centuries. Digitized historical records, including censuses, marriage, birth and immigration records are available.

To discover more about your ancestors and the history behind your favourite meal, visit Ancestry.ca