mmm... Manitoba

The Stories Behind the Foods We Eat

Kimberley Moore (Author), Janis Thiessen (Author)


A tasty oral history

In 2018, Janis Thiessen, Kimberley Moore, and collaborator Kent Davies refashioned a used food truck into a mobile oral history lab. Together they embarked on a journey around Manitoba, gathering stories about the province’s food and the people who make, sell, and eat it. Along the way, they visited restaurant owners, beer brewers, grocers, farmers, scholars, and chefs in their kitchens and businesses, online, and on board the food truck. The team conducted nearly seventy interviews and indulged in a bounty of prairie delicacies, from Winnipeg’s “Fat Boys” to Steinbach’s perogies to Churchill’s cloudberry jam.

Thiessen and Moore serve up the results of this research in mmm... Manitoba. Mixing recipes, maps, archival records, biographies, and full-colour photographs with fascinating stories, they showcase the province’s diverse food histories. Through the sharing and preparing of food, the authors investigate food security and regulation, Indigenous foodways and agriculture, capitalism’s impact on the agri-food industry, and the networks between Manitoban food producers and retailers. The book also explores the roles of gender, ethnicity, migration, and colonialism in Manitoba’s food history.

Hop on the Manitoba Food History Truck and journey into the province’s past with engaging essays and easy-to-follow recipes for kjielkje and schmauntfat, snow goose tidbits, chicken karaage, the Salisbury House flapper pie, duck fat smashed potatoes, Ichi Ban cocktails, pork inihaw, and more. mmm... Manitoba offers a thoughtfully nuanced, deliciously digestible, and wholly unique regional history that is sure to satisfy.


“Pushing past stereotypical depictions of what many believe Manitoban food to be, this study, rooted in oral narratives, offers a particular view of a place, a people, and the food that is made and eaten there.”

Stacey Zembrzycki, Dawson College

"Over seven chapters and 300 pages, mmm…Manitoba explores everything from colonialism and migration to gender through the lens of food, with interactive elements available through QR codes and recipes. The book highlights stories about local burger joints, such as Salisbury House and Junior’s; the importance of barbecue among diaspora communities; underground perogy production; and the agricultural history of manomin, or wild rice."

Eva Wasney, Winnipeg Free Press

"Manitobans hungry to learn more about the origins of some of our most beloved foods are in for a tasty literary treat."

Ben Sigurdson, Winnipeg Free Press

About the Authors

Kimberley Moore is Adjunct Professor and Programming and Collections Specialist at the University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre. She holds a Master of Arts in History from Concordia University. She teaches workshops in oral history and related technologies, assists in ongoing oral history projects, and manages the Oral History Centre’s archival collections.

Janis Thiessen is Professor of History at the University of Winnipeg, and the author of Snacks: A Canadian Food History (among other books). One of her favourite Manitoba foods is the cheese dog at VJ’s Drive-Inn.

Table of Contents

List of Recipes

List of Illustrations

Introduction: The Manitoba Food History Project

Ch 1: Number One

Ch 2: Fat Boys and Nips

Ch 3: Unlawful Perogies

Ch 4: Ubiquitous Barbecue

Ch 5: The Warm North

Ch 6: Manomin

Ch 7: 1491

Conclusion: Beyond Manitoba Food History


Works Cited