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Diet in New France
Transcript of Diet in New France
New France's Finest
Did you know that Bread is 60-85% of New France's daily food intake? And that back in the 17th century brown bread was considered unfit for human consumption, so they just gave it to there captives and prisoners? Also, wheat bread was so popular that people rejected corn as a cereal suitable for bread making. They ate bread almost every meal!
Meat was also important in New France, but only for the rich. Peasants didn't rely heavily on meat, as hunting grounds were reserved for the wealthy. Cattle for example, were slaughtered young(except the reproducers),by about 4 years so that they would have a smaller chance of getting sick. Once they're sick, they're useless. Did you know that beef was 10-15% cheaper than pork and beef was their favorite meat anyways. If you were to go onto a farmyard in New France, you would see that they have Cows, Hens, Roosters, Capons (which are baby roosters), and Pigs. Fish was important too, as on most days, meat was prohibited because of religion, but fish was not. Catholics relied mostly on Eel, Cod ,and Salmon.
What is this?!
Even though there was lots of new food in the Canadian wilderness, plants only satisfied the europeans until they could established their own crops and livestock. The newcomers didn't like corns or sunflower seeds, but beans and squash were good enough.Iroquois pumpkins were popular, but cherries, apples and plums weren't as satisfying as blueberries, cranberries, and butternuts.
Did you know that the consumption rate of lard is five times more than butter? This is caused because of the low milk production, so the people of New France had to turn to other sources, and so they chose lard. The colonists raised pigs mostly for the lard, and not for the actual meat itself. The only reason they liked lard so much was because it was good for cooking and it was more available then other things like olive oil and butter.
Milk and dairy products wasn't a huge hit in New France. Butter was never really appreciated because of the long process, low milk production and lard. It was usually eaten salted, during winter and once on fasting when it could substitute for lard. Cheese was never really popular in New France. Small quantities were made but never large amounts. Throughout the entire time settlers lived in New France, cheese production remained of little importance, and little demand.
and now for some old french cuisine...
Ohh, Sugar Sugar
Comparing to today...
In response to our guiding question, the inhabits of New France didn't end up with a diet too different from the population back in Europe.
Nowadays, the New France area is Ontario and Quebec, where there is almost any food you can imagine. There are now hundreds of thousands of places to buy food, not make it; these places are called stores and restaurants.Since society doesn't have to focus on staying alive as much anymore, it is very different from today. Diet is something that doesn't change much, all it does is grow in variety and nutrition.
Diet in New France
What was the variety and nutritional value of cuisines in New France compared to today?
Originally, in the 16th century, cabbage, peas, lettuce, beets ,and mustard were the first plants brought by Cartier and Roberval. The list expanded greatly through time though, and it got to the point when they had almost all the herbs and veggies we grow here now. Some fruits they grew were apples, plums, melons, and pears.
They introduce meat too, but not in the time period of New France. Cartier introduced cattle, goats, and pigs to raise at Caprouge in 1541.Canadians loved horses. The first ones were owned by Governor Montmagny, but then got so popular that people were restricted to 2 horses and one colt. They did'nt even eat horses during the seven year war!
Back in New France, sugar wasn't as high demand as today, with only 1.5% of the population in New France requesting it. Maple sugar was made in New France, but sugar loaves,highly refined sugars and Cassonade had to come by boat. Cassonade was a coarser, rougher form of sugar, and ranged from hues of brown to white. Maple sugar from New France was produced at a rate of 6800-13600 kilos in the St.Lawrence valley annually.
Coffee was reserved for the elite, and gained popularity in the 18th century. French Antilles was the most popular along with mocha.
How did they preserve their food?
Food preservation had various forms and depended on the place, the time of year or the social or occupational situation. The winter cold was a great way to preserve meat and fish. Vegetables were kept in a underground root cellar. The vegetables stayed good, although their flavor started to change by the end of the winter. As for fruits, only apple seemed to keep well, except for the ones preserved in sugar. Salt seemed to be one of the most effective preservatives, and was frequently used for meat and fish.
Beverages in the 17th and 18th century ranged a wide variety, but not as much as today, especially alcoholic beverages. Water was extracted from wells for drinking and fire-fighting purposes. In the summer, milk was a popular beverage that replaced most of the meat and alternatives section. It was consumed cold or curdled with sugar and wheat.
Did you know that some people even drank spruce needle beer because of Vitamin C deficiency? "Back in the day", there were two types of booze; rum and imported spirits from France. Little is known about beer in New France, although we know there was a brewery in Quebec from 1668-1675. They drank a lot of it though, they consumed was was equivalent to a shot every morning !