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Cooking Essays

Book of Donair

Everything you wanted to know about the Halifax street food that became Canada's favourite kebab

by (author) Lindsay Wickstrom

MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.
Initial publish date
Aug 2020
Essays, History, Canadian, Reference
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price

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Whether you call them gyros, kebabs, doner or donairs, this guide tells you everything you want to know about the history of the world-famous street food.

Book of Donair: Everything you want to know about Nova Scotia's unofficial food, is the definitive guide to this much beloved delicacy. In Book of Donair, Lindsay Wickstrom explores the history of the donair, and the people who shaped this Halifax-born kebab into the iconic Canadian street food it has become.

Donairs were originally not for the lucky-in-love, but the recourse of the degenerate. They were the butt of toilet humour, the scapegoat of indigestion. The mystery meat with the secret sauce was wrapped in urban legend. It was so commonplace that we took it for granted, no more significant than hamburgers or spaghetti.

We didn't realize that it was ours. It wasn't until we made westward pilgrimages to Ontario or Alberta for school or work that the donair became a symbol of "home." Book of Donair has everything you want to know about donairs—and were going to ask anyway.

About the author

Lindsay Wickstrom is the author of the award-winning blog, Eat This Town, in which she delves into the Canadian culinary landscape, throwing light on the regional and the obscure, with the goal of creating cohesion and pride across cultures and provincial borders. She lives in Halifax.

Lindsay Wickstrom's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A dish even more Nova Scotian than lobster! Donairs are the true cuisine of us East Coasters and Lindsay's book gives us the story behind this iconic street meat!" —Andy Hay of The East Coast Kitchen, runner up MasterChef Canada, Season 5

"Lindsay Wickstrom's delicious object biography puts the humble street kebab's cultural, economic, and political history through a blender, drizzles it with humour, wraps it with pride, and serves it with love. Finally someone has demystified my favourite mystery meat." —Omar Mouallem, food and travel writer

"As a book lover, chef and donair enthusiast, I tore through these moving tales like greasy foil. Laughing, crying, devouring it all—not unlike clutching a donair at 3 am on the Grafton Street stairs. What a meaty, sweet, delicious book! Like sauce dripping down your forearms, 'authenticity' is such a slippery idea; Wickstrom masterfully traces the touching and intimate Greek, Lebaneseand cross-Canadian stories behind our beloved delicacy." —Jennifer E. Crawford, Chef, Writer, and Host of My Queer Kitchen, Xtra Magazine