"Snacks" is a history of Canadian snack foods, of the independent producers and workers who make them, and of the consumers who can’t put them down.
Janis Thiessen profiles several iconic Canadian snack food companies, including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and chocolate maker Ganong. These companies have developed in distinctive ways, reflecting the unique stories of their founders and their intense connection to specific locations.
These stories of salty or sweet confections also reveal a history that is at odds with popular notions of “junk food.” Through extensive oral history and archival research, Thiessen uncovers the roots of our deep loyalties to different snack foods, what it means to be an independent snack food producer, and the often-quirky ways snacks have been created and marketed.
Clearly written, extensively illustrated, and lavish with detail about some of Canadians’ favorite snacks, this is a lively and entertaining look at food and labour history.
Janis Thiessen is an Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg.
“A lively and entertaining look at our epicurian past.”
“Now, if you cannot fathom how a book about the history of snack food might be fascinating, then I’m not going to try to win you over, but if Snacks already sounds intriguing to you, you won’t be sorry. “
"A wide-ranging and comprehensive dive into the deep end of snack food.”
“Pizza and hamburgers and poke bowls and spicy tuna rolls are consumed everywhere; ketchup chips remain ours. Snacks are the id to supper’s ego. This is Thiessen’s starting point for Snacks: an important part of our national identity can be found in our vending machines. And her version of that history aims to include the people who make, market, and munch on this vital Canadiana.”
“In her new book, the whimsical and informative Snacks, Thiessen delves into the stories behind the independent makers of some of Canada’s most beloved snacks in the hope that readers will develop a greater understanding of the role snack food companies have played in our nation’s history, and ideally, a new respect for those who produce—and those who enjoy—junk food."