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Cooking History

Dulse to Donairs

An Irreverent History of Food in Nova Scotia

by (author) Steven Laffoley

Pottersfield Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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When Steven Laffoley first arrived on the rocky shores of Nova Scotia, he discovered some rather exotic food fare: deep-fried seafoods, oiled crustaceans, and an otherworldly, post-beer, Middle Eastern fusion food called The Donair. They all stimulated the appetite and captured his attention. He was transfixed. Far from the canned ravioli and Jell-O salads of his youth, Laffoley discovered that Nova Scotian food could be fresh and fascinating, frivolous and fun. As a result, he was determined to change his wayward ways about food and learn more. It just took him thirty-odd years to get around to it.


When he did, he did so with a true cook's call to action. Laffoley began making meals from real food and made a genuine effort to understand real food's real relationship to the people and the place. He wielded sharpened knives, wooden ladles, and steel whisks with the agility of a seasoned chef, and in doing so discovered that he actually had a gift. Indeed, he possessed the exact gift his mother had. Not only was he a bad cook – he was a spectacularly bad cook. Still, Bluenose fare had captured his imagination, so he remained undeterred.


Determined to improve his food knowledge and cooking skills, Steven chopped, diced, sautéed, and fried his way to meals fit to consume, though, sadly, his culinary expertise remained (spectacularly) limited. However, his interest in how food shaped the people and culture of Nova Scotia only grew. So, no longer wanting to harm sentient life with his cooking, he set off with notebook and pen to discover the real story of food in Nova Scotia. What he found was a 10,000-year-old tale in turns fascinating, funny, and just downright strange.

About the author

Steven Laffoley is a writer, educator, and traveller. For almost two decades now, his numerous fiction and nonfiction books – including the award-winning Shadowboxing: the rise and fall of George Dixon, The Blue Tattoo, and Halifax Nocturne – explore the compelling people, unique character and uncommon stories of Nova Scotia. He lives in Halifax.

Steven Laffoley's profile page

Other titles by Steven Laffoley