Skip to main content

Jake Breadman (PhD Candidate) publishes article with Ontario History

Jake Breadman (PhD Candidate) has published "Calories and Culture: Food, Drink, and the British Army in Early Nineteenth Century Upper Canada" in Ontario History 115, no. 1 (Spring 2023). 

This article analyzes what British soldiers in early-nineteenth century Upper Canada consumed in both peace and wartime, and how food and drink impacted human social relations between soldiers, officers, and Indigenous people. Consumption is about getting enough energy to survive, but it can also bind or break social relations. Here, both calories and culture, and the intrinsic connection between them, are analyzed. The first section looks at the calories which soldiers procured from food beyond their daily rations: fishing, agriculture and, sometimes, hunting and purchase. Out of these, fishing and hunting particularly divided enlisted men and officers. The availability of consumables, though, depended on class and environmental knowledge. Then the difficulties of hunting and fishing in wartime are outlined. Section two turns to culture: food and drink, and the rituals and settings surrounding consumption, positively and negatively impacted human social relations within the British army and with Indigenous people.

Jake is completing his dissertation under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey McNairn and Dr. Scott Berthelette. His dissertation assesses how non-human historical actors affected combatants and the war in Niagara, from the tiniest microbes to the largest draught animals. He gives special consideration to food and drink, sickness and disease, weather and climate, and animals to understand how these non-human historical actors impacted soldiers and Indigenous warriors on the ground. Jake seeks to depart from the historiographical focus on warring nation-states by focusing on historical actors that do not respect national, racial, or ethnic boundaries.

Congratulations, Jake!


Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.