The process of becoming an Anglican priest is a very involved one. In addition to attending a theological college, and several months working on Clinical Pastoral Education, I also spent time doing practical work in a variety of parish settings. I started off in my home parish of Holy Trinity. My second placement was at Saint Aidan’s in the River Heights area.
The main purpose of these placements is to allow the priest top be to get a sense of the various traditions with in the Anglican Church. Along with that you are also given the chance to work with established priests who can assist you with developing the wide range of skills that are required of a priest. Finally, although not necessarily an intended consequence, you make many friend who remain part of your life even when you’ve left the parish.
At Saint Aidan’s I developed friendships with people who I later reconnected with when I started writing about food. Two of these were Susan Kapilik and Kathryne Grisim, the latter being the author of FoodMusings. You can find better pictures of the dishes there. Last year they invited me to be a judge at a parish cook off. This year Susan invited me to repeat as a judge, along with Kathryne, along with Richard Neufeld a young Saint Aidan parishioner working in the restaurant business.
It is fun judging a competition with others, but it can be tricky at times. we all have our different preferences, and yet in the end we were quite easily able to come to a consensus on the dishes which we thought most deserving.
Zesty Pork with Bourbon Mushroom Cream.
This dish had my attention from before I put it on my plate. As I stuck the serving tongs into the meat, there was a release of scent from the grated lime that flooded my nostrils. The pork (shoulder) itself was extremely tender and the Mushroom Cream added a wonderful flavour counterpoint to the citrus.
Ribs in Sauce
A straight forward name for a straight forward dish. Don’t let that fool you. Ribs can be very hard to get right. Even with a cut that was on the tough side, this cook produced a dish that was tender with a sauce that permeated the ribs.
Orzo with Shrimp and Feta
The third place dish was a complete one dish meal. Much like getting the ribs right, it can be really tricky trying to keep the Shrimp from being overcooked and tough, while making sure the Orzo is just right. Both were done real well, with a sweet herb being used to offset the acidity of the tomato in the dish.
Saint Aidan’s School:
All this eating and judging had a greater purpose. The cook-off was a fundraiser to help support the work of Saint Aidan’s Christian School. After we had sampled and written up each dish, they were enjoyed by people who had purchased tickets for the event. Tickets were only $7.00 and it was a great value for an enjoyable meal and the chance to help out the school.
Having done a little literary palate cleansing, I’ll move on to the dishes in the sweet category.
Blueberry Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce:
This dessert presented a classic mixture of sweet and salty. Plus, it was loaded with Blueberries throughout.
These were entered by the same cook who made the Ribs in Sauce. They were nice and soft, with a clean Lemon flavour to them.
The name says it all. Easy to make and real tasty. This was also the winner of the People’s Choice in the sweet category.
I should add, that there were several more dishes that while not winning an award, were well-prepared and quite tasty. This was my second year acting as a judge in the Saint Aidan’s cook-off. All I can say is, if they want to do a third one? I’m definitely available.