Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amid the Feaste!

On Friday night, Adam, Anna, and I drove to Greenville, SC, and participated in a grand event. We were a footman (Adam) and two wenches at a Madrigal Feaste. Huzzah!!
We were volunteers, but this evening is so flamboyant, so grand, so glitzy and glorious, that you don't really need to be paid to work. As a matter of fact, Adam said he had much more fun waiting tables this time, than a few years back when we sat as guests at table.
Here's my old college friend, Bill Higgins, and his lovely wife. They are the Lord and Lady of the feast each year. Bill has his character nailed. All the rich banners in the hall are made by the wife of the art professor at my old college.
Adam placed a lemon in each glass before we started. He did not want his picture taken, in tights :)
Anna, in her wench's costume:
I snapped a shot of the singers' table, before all the chaos, uh, um, er, dinner, began. Actually, it was very well ordered. I was just a beginner, so it was rather a blur. Adam can run a dining room with one small corner of his brain, so it was no challenge to him.
The hall. 45 tables. This event was begun as a pattern of the Madrigal Feast given at Covenant College for many years, but I must say in all honesty that this feast has far outstripped what Covenant does. My old college buddy, Steve, is the music director at this church, and he and his precious wife Cathy have gone far, far beyond what any of us at Covenant could have ever imagined. Steve always had a bigger imagination than most!
There were singers, and a young girls' choir, and a children's choir, a brass choir, a handbell choir that processed through the tables, ringing, in monks' cloaks. I mean, really!! There was a magician, a beggar, this excellent recorder choir. And that doesn't even include the food.
This group of girls, led by Cathy, was amazing. What beautiful tone!
Alright. Now I must confess to one aspect of the evening that I expected to be disappointing. Steve had mentioned that they would have bag suppers for us. Bag suppers, at a feast. Sniff. I envisioned a brown bag with a cold ham sandwich, a bag of Cheetos, and a cookie. And a bottle of water. And guess what? That's exactly what they gave me. It was a bummer.

And then ....

Part way through the dinner, after the first main course of pork, potatoes and green beans, some stray wench mentioned that there was food out in the foyer. I had been too busy to get out to the foyer. So I went to investigate. Oh my!! (DON'T TELL STEVE. AND REALLY DON'T TELL CATHY.) But there was a round table out there, with lots of greedy footmen and wenches standing around it, eating "shark food," as Adam says they refer to it in the industry. It's the leftovers. Platters from the tables. Perfectly good food. I took a few nibbles, but not being a fan of pork, I was soon back to my wenching.

The next course was roasted chicken, rice with cranberries, and sweet carrots. I went back out to the foyer. Now, each table had two (yes, two) whole roasted chickens. That's 90 chickens. And that's after all the diners had had soup and the pork course. So there was quite a bit of moist, delectable chicken leftover. Picture if you will a round banquet table mounded with about 20 oval platters of chicken carnage. I hunted for all the skin pieces I could find, and I'm not ashamed of it. I needed a way to eat the rice, and even I couldn't just scoop it up in the palm of my hand. The chicken, bowls of rice and carrots were just piled, hither and yon, on the table -- no cutlery, no plates. It was "get as get can," as we say in our house. So I put some rice inside a piece of chicken skin, and rolled it up. It was divine. And the carrots -- Ahhh!!! They had cooked them in pure maple syrup and butter. So good! I haven't had so much fun eating, in a very long time. It was fairly embarrassing, but I was so very hungry, and they had dressed me as a wench after all! I told myself I was just in character, and munched away! I think I had rice and maple syrup up to my elbows. Oh well!

So, I came back a couple of minutes later to get a photo of this place of delicious carnage, but they had already begun clearing it away. Here are a few pitiful remains:
By 10:00 the guests were leaving, my feet and legs were screaming at me for relief, and we had a 90 minute drive to get home. But what an evening! Adam said he had so much fun he'd eagerly do it again. I'll have to ask permission from my feet, but my mouth is saying, "More chicken!"

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