Janis Thiessen -- Book Launch--Snacks: A Canadian Food History

Tuesday Oct 10 2017 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, McNally Robinson Atrium at Grant Park

Launch of Snacks: A Canadian Food History (University of Manitoba Press) featuring special guest Sarah Elvins. Snacks provided by Old Dutch Foods and W.T. Hawkins.

Snacks is a history of Canadian snack foods, the independent producers and workers who make them, and the consumers who can’t put them down.

Janis Thiessen profiles several iconic Canadian snack food companies, including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and chocolatier Ganong. These companies have developed in distinctive ways, reflecting the unique stories of their founders and their intense connection to specific places.

These stories of salty or sweet confections also reveal a history that is at odds with popular notions of ‘junk food.’ Through extensive oral history and archival research, Thiessen uncovers the roots of our deep loyalties to different snack foods, what it means to be an independent snack food producer, and the often-quirky ways snacks have been created and marketed.

Janis Thiessen is an Associate Professor in History and the Associate Director of the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg. She is the author of two previous books, Not Talking Union: An Oral History of North American Mennonites and Labour and Manufacturing Mennonites: Work and Religion in Post-War Manitoba. Her favourite snack food is dill pickle potato chips.

Sarah ElvinsGuest Sarah Elvins is Associate Professor of History at the University of Manitoba. Her research involves the study of consumption and culture in modern America, particularly consumer identity and local cultures. She is the author of Sales and Celebrations: Retailing and Regional Identity in Western New York State, 1920-1940 and various articles on the Great Depression and alternative currency, consumption, retailing, and cross-border shopping.