November is the month that Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, chooses to celebrate harvest time with an annual fundraising event known as The 100 Mile Feast.
The 2015 theme was – A Taste of Spain. The Chamber of Commerce hosts this event annually with a different theme each year.
The 2015 feast was a grand six-course meal with wine pairings. The feast was celebrated with a themed spread of food that offered too many ingredients to count, all from sources within 100 miles of Kitchener. This trend towards buying and eating locally celebrates the local farmers and food producers of this area. The variety was astounding and to be celebrated.
I peeked in the kitchen for a few moments to appreciate the work that really goes into creating a modern day feast. I saw Chef Lori Maidlow running the kitchen like a Culinary Queen, without wasting one movement or moment but performing with the grace of kitchen royalty.
The elegant table settings covered the table with china, glass and cutlery, to accommodate the many tastes we would experience.
The menu was extensive, but to give a nibble of just two of the six courses we experienced at this modern day feast:
Roasted Simcoe, Ontario tomato soup with crisp Pingue “Iberian Ham” and extra virgin pristine canola oil
Served with Faustino white (Viura grape)
Slow cooked Fearman’s Pork Belly; smoked paprika infused squash puree and fino sherry gastrique
Served with Lan Crianza red (Tempranillo grape)
At our table, among other guests was food commentator Andrew Coppelino. We discussed how we, (all of us) have little appreciation of how our food makes it to the table. The people involved in raising, growing, preparing, and serving food are the unsung heroes of what we eat each day.
Enjoying this sumptuous modern day feast was one way to celebrate those who work so hard to feed us each day.
A Very Grand Feast 1465
Five hundred and fifty years ago was a very grand feast. I could not resist digging back into history for a description of a feast that is difficult to imagine.
This elaborate feast of the past took place to celebrate The Enthronement of George Neville as the Archbishop of York in 1465, at Cawood Castle. Two thousand and five hundred guests were fed at each meal.
Here is a list of the animals used to provide meat for this feast. (Old spelling is used)
Oxen 104, Wild bulls 6, Muttons 1,000, Veals 304, Swanns400, Kids 204, Cranes 204, Chickens 2,000, Connies, 4,000,Bittors 204, Heronshars 400, Pheasants 200, Partidges 500, Woodcocks 400, Curliews 100, Cappons 1,000, Piggs 2,000, Plovers 400, Quailes 1, 200, Rees 2,400, Peacocks 104, Mallards and Teals 4,000, Staggs, buck and does 500, Egrits 1,000, Porpoises and seals 12.
There is some speculation that the list may not be completely accurate, but it does tell us of the birds and animals consumed at that time in history. The complete list of food for the feast can be seen on the Yorkshire Archeological Society website. Here is the link. https://www.yas.org.uk/content/treasures/neville.html
Feasts continue from the past to present. Guests dress in finery, and enjoy food cooked by those who perform culinary magic.
We should celebrate the work of those who put the feasts on our tables everday.