My wedding was on Winter Solstice.
I didn’t plan it that way; it’s just what worked out. But I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to get married on Midsummer’s Eve, purely for the literary and poetic value of the day. Winter Solstice, half a year and one day later, (the shortest day of the year instead of the longest) not only provided a perfect opportunity to celebrate in Yule-tide style (you know…pine boughs, roaring fires, chestnuts, the whole deal) but also was a symbolic day, the beginning of longer, lighter days, and the hope of spring and Savior’s birth.
In short, it was the perfect day to be married.
I did a lot of the planning myself. And my wonderful friends and family all pitched in.
Well, you are asking, what kind of menu is appropriate for a Christmas feast? Look no further. Here it is, in all its winter wonderland glory.
~What every winter wedding feast needs:~
Three kinds. Chicken and Gnocci, chili, and sausage-cheese soup. Served hot, went down warm.
I made the chicken and gnocci the night before the wedding with the help of my bridesmaids. I’ve never made such a huge pot of soup!
>heaps of bread.
My little sister brought three dozen corn muffins to the wedding, and my sister’s fiance brought baguettes and boules from the area’s best bakeries and heaped them up by the soup pots.
This had to be amended just a bit – pickles and hard boiled eggs would have been perfect for Mole and Ratty’s picnic and even for the dwarf-feast during that infamous Unexpected Party…but we were going for a little more class and festivity, if you will. I chose pears to add to the cheese and cracker platters; a nod to French cuisine.
I also wanted to have a bit of my own family tradition reflected in the menu; my mom always put on a Christmas Eve service and served her secret-recipe cheeseball, cheese, crackers, summer sausage, and Christmas cookies. (To this day, one of my all-time favorite spreads!)
translation: Pirate Blend from The Blue Lion Mercantile.
hot and spiced. the good kind, from Bench Farms, where I worked last summer.
>Cake. The red velvet kind. Made by Emily.
…with a little forest on top, worthy of a wardrobe.
Put the whole feast on tables laden with pine boughs, winter berries, and flickering candles
Inside an Old Train Depot in Pierceton, IN…
…lots of dancing
(the best of all)
him, of course.
*a note: If you have questions about how I did any of the above planning/executing, feel free to contact me. I can help…with everything except the guy. I’ve already married him ; )
**another note: the professional photography in this post was done by AmeliaLynn Photography. The others (the unprofessional ones : ) were from my camera. Additional photography was done by Creationfoto Photography and can be found here.
Did ya’ll see how the apple gruyere pie turned out? Our Pushing Daisies evening was glorious, and the pie was probably one of the best I’ve ever made. I think it’s partly because I paid special attention to the crust…I used a few new techniques and focused on getting the details right. That goes against my nature because I’m in the “cooking is art” camp, as opposed to “cooking is science” camp…although, honestly one can’t exist without the other anyway. (To illustrate: I’m better at soups and pies than I am…bread, for instance. I’m awful at bread. So many temperatures and exact measurements and patience involved!)
Well, Emily is one of the “cooking is science” campers; but she wins in the art category too. She bakes. She made my wedding cake. And she hosted the most inspiring Hobbit Party (to celebrate the new movie!) two days before my wedding.
Did I seriously drop my schedule-full of pre-wedding planning two days before my own wedding, you might ask? Would I actually drive an hour and a half west, and spend a leisurely evening watching the (three-hour) movie, and feasting (or gorging?) on a feast worthy of a dozen dwarves??
See for yourself why I wouldn’t miss it for the world:
“Gandalf Tea Wednesday. Or at least this is what Bilbo should have written down … Some called for ale, and some for porter, and one for coffee, and all of them for cakes . . . A big jug of coffee had just been set in the hearth, the seed-cakes were gone, and the dwarves were starting on a round of buttered scones . . . ‘And raspberry jam and apple-tart,’ said Bifur. ‘And mince-pies and cheese,’ said Bofur. ‘And pork-pie and salad,’ said Bombur. ‘And more cakes — and ale — and coffee, if you don’t mind,’ called the other dwarves through the door. ‘Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!’ Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. ‘And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!’” ~The Hobbit
That is what we ate.
Emily made this feast to be as exactly like the one the dwarves enjoyed straight out of Bilbo’s larder. So, not only did her masterpiece make use of science (she used precise methods and also minced an entire pork shoulder by hand) but also history and literature (She meticulously researched what exact recipe Tolkien would have had in mind when he put them in his story and tracked down the recipe corresponding to the time period and the correct area of England, and of course studied the chapter of the Hobbit entitled “An Unexpected Party” for the exact menu.)
Basically, she’s a genius. And so was Tolkien. As Recipewise explains: “Tolkien’s obvious enjoyment of food and drink at communal meals with friends, family and colleagues at Oxford, is very much translated into his works. Many of the scenes featuring food are intended to lift the mood, and do so successfully; yet Tolkien also uses them to indicate many other things: the history of the place, the level of development reached, the status of a person (and the dwelling) and any relationship dynamics which are important to highlight.”
So, it wasn’t just cuz he was hungry!
Okay, your turn. Do you have a favorite childhood book? Wind in the Willows? Peter Pan? Chronicles of Narnia?
Did something out of your stories tantalize your tastebuds and simultaneously fascinate your imagination? I would love to hear about it!
PS*I’m kicking myself for not having pictures of the contract she sent out as an invitation – the contract, of course, like the one Bilbo received from the dwarves in which he agreed to burgle for them. Once he finally signed it, that is. Perhaps I will post some in a few days. Bug me!
For a long time, I’ve had a really difficult time sharing any part of my personal life in my blog. I guess it’s because I’m so competitive and perfectionist…I don’t want anyone (including myself) comparing my life to everyone else’s. But that’s not the point, is it…
So, for the benefit of you (dear seven readers), I’m going to change that. Stories are stories…and as the Henry Van Dyke saying goes, “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
So hello. This is me. MJ. The face behind all of the stoic and scholastic attempts at art and poetry (the food kind):
Here is also a picture of me after a trail race at Cuyohoga Valley National Park. That’s kind of an important part of me, too – I really love food and books and poetry and things…but I also love adventure sports and being outside and winning races.
AND GUESS WHAT PEOPLE??
This Friday I’m hosting a Pushing Daisies Pie Party at my house. I’m so excited! We’re going to watch a bunch of episodes of Pushing Daisies and eat Tart Apple Pie with Gruyere baked into the crust…Chuck’s specialty. (No antidepressants baked into the crust…we’ve got dark chocolate for that!) And head over to The Kitchen for another recipe for Pear with Gruyere Cup Pies (Another Chuck specialty) by Blondie and Brownie (who I’m really starting to like because of their shared affinity with both Pushing Daisies and Good Cheese)
Hopefully I will remember to pull my camera out during the festivities and report back to you all. Also, I really want to tell you about the Hobbit Party I attended 2 days before my wedding.
Speaking of which! I want to tell you about my wedding too! Since the food wasn’t catered, I have some fun things to share about the adventure of catering your own wedding food.
One more thing. I’ve decided to blog on Sundays. That way I don’t get overwhelmed yet I also stay consistent. Of course, I may have a few in between (like this one!) if I get the itch.
That’s it! Go eat pie!