Month: November 2015

Kitchener’s 100 Mile Feast and Feast History

Chef Lori Maidlow shows her passion as she prepares for Kitchener's 100 Mile Feast of 2015 - A Taste of Spain.

Chef Lori Maidlow shows her passion as she prepares for Kitchener’s 100 Mile Feast of 2015 – A Taste of Spain.

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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.

Roasted Simcoe, Ontario, tomato soup with crisp Pingue

Roasted Simcoe, Ontario, tomato soup with crisp Pingue “Iberian Ham” and extra virgin pristine canola oil.

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.

Veal striploin, saffron rice, romesco sauce, lemon, homegrown sage butter

Veal striploin, saffron rice, romesco sauce, lemon, homegrown sage buttergrowing, harvesting, butchering, preparing, and serving are really the unsung heroes of the food we put in our mouths 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. 

Iceland’s Pylsur (Hot Dog) History

Serving Pylsur at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur stand that has been in Reykjavik since 1937.

Serving Pylsur at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur stand that has been in Reykjavik since 1937.

As we rounded the corner there was a line up of people waiting for …. Hot dogs.

After watching a stunning symphony orchestra performance at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, we walked across the street to the famous hot dog stand, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Hot Dogs, and particularly those from this famous stand, are known to be a perfectly acceptable “after theatre dining out experience.”

Pylsur is Icelandic for hot dog and this popular street food is sold all over the country at gas stops and take out stands.

It is definitely the most affordable ($4) meal in Iceland.

It may not seem historic in the true sense of the word, but the Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand has been proudly serving dogs since 1937. I was in Reykjavik in the winter of 1973 and remember buying a hot dog from what must have been that very same stand.                                                                                                 Many famous people have dined there since my visit.

The wiener in these tasty hot dogs is made from lamb with some beef and pork added. Because of Iceland’s high standards, only grass fed, organic lamb is used to make the pylsur.

The pylsur are served in a bun, on a bed of crunions, (crunchy dehydrated fried onions.) Although they serve several types of hot dog toppings, the usual are ketchup, remoulade, a mayonnaise-based sauce that contains a sweet relish and sweet mustard. “With the works,” say most, or in Icelandic “eina med öllu”

A line up at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, that has been serving Iceland hot dogs since 1937.

A line up at the famous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, that has been serving Iceland hot dogs since 1937.

Now, hot dogs may be considered to be at the bottom of the food chain, but this food definitely comes with a history.

National Day is celebrated each year on June 17, which is the day that Iceland declared itself to be a republic in 1944. Hot dogs and

Coca-Cola (kok) are popular fare on that day. Coca-Cola has a long history in Iceland and has higher per capita sales than any other country.

There are many Danish influences in Iceland’s food history and pylsur is similar to the Danish pölse. In the early 1900’s, vendors in Denmark sold sausage and often they became too old to be easily sold. Creative, poor, vendors tried dipping them in red dye and lowering the prices and the rest was Danish hot dog history.

Although hot dogs in Iceland are quite different from Danish Dogs, the idea likely travelled from Denmark.

I joined the after- theatre line for a pylsur, and then enjoyed a few more before leaving Iceland.

Every meat-eating visitor to Iceland should give it a try.

Coca-Cola has been consumed heavily in Iceland for many years.

Coca-Cola has been consumed heavily in Iceland for many years.

A fully loaded Pylsur is donned with crunions, ketchup and remoulade.

A fully loaded Pylsur is donned with crunions, ketchup and remoulade.