Recipes for settler colonialism: Edith Snook, ‘The Recipes of Jonathan Odell and 18th-Century Settler Colonialism in the Maritimes’, Acadiensis, 2022


Abstract: Recipes provide one lens through which to examine the history of settler colonialism. In the 18th-century Maritimes, for example, settlers wrote, collected, and circulated instructions for making medicines, food and drink, and agricultural and household products (such as fertilizers, cleaners, and paints). From print and manuscript sources, largely in English with a few in Latin, German, and French, the 18th-century settler recipes that survive in archives in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia are mostly the work of Loyalist men writing in the later decades of the century. This research note will focus on the recipes of Jonathan Odell, whose papers contain several recipes in his hand – specifically six recipes recorded in an 18thcentury commonplace book where five medical recipes and one for ink have been copied alongside verse fragments, epigrams, and poems and a recipe for “Indian Chocolate” Odell sent by letter in 1816 to Ward Chipman, the solicitor general of New Brunswick. While scholars have written about Jonathan Odell’s Loyalist poetry – work that situates his verse within the context of the American Revolution – looking at his recipes requires the framing of his writing not only by political debates among White men but also by the deeply political relationships in an 18th-century colonial context between settlers and Indigenous peoples in what we now call eastern North America. Recipe scholarship has illustrated the importance of networks of knowledge exchange to recipe culture, including colonial ones.

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