People in New France worked hard and ate a lot. People usually ate three or four meals a day. Mealtimes varied among farmers. In fact, with all the work they had to do on the land during the summer months, farmers often set their schedule according to the movement of the sun.

Breakfast was eaten very early so that the habitants could start working right at sunrise. For breakfast, people ate bread.

At noon, people stopped working to have dinner. Dinner was usually soup made of broth and vegetables, which was served with bread. Bread replaced potatoes, which were not grown here at the time. The main course came next; this was usually meat that had been boiled, roasted or stewed. Dessert, when there was any, was usually fruit.

Famers worked all afternoon and stopped only at sunset. Supper was therefore eaten at the end of the day. People often ate the same thing as at dinner. In fact, people prepared a single large amount of food that served as both dinner and supper.

On Friday, the catholic religion forbade people to eat meat. So people ate vegetables, fish and eggs instead.

The food people ate varied according to the seasons. People ate vegetables and fruits when they were ripe. During the rest of the year, people ate their stores of food and the meat of slaughtered animals.

Food also varied according to how wealthy people were. The seigneur ate more refined foods like chocolate, which came from elsewhere. Meanwhile, peasants had to make do with what nature provided.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See also – Traces of the past: