Each year as I compile my Fall Suppers list, I’m always on the lookout for new suppers to add. Since the season runs until about the middle of November, I keep up the search well after I’ve originally posted. This year one of the new dinners that I came upon was the Fall Fish Fry at Saint Ignatius Church.
Saint Ignatius Church is founded in memory of Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. Among other things, the Jesuits are known as the scholar priests of the Catholic Church. In addition to the church Saint Ignatius is also home to a school running from nursery to Grade 8.
This parish is one place that despite going past it hundreds of times while living in Winnipeg, I’ve never visited. I’ve worked with people whose children have attended the school, and I’ve had friends and parishioners who have taken part in the Spiritual exercises and the healing ministry course, but never made it there myself.
Saint Ignatius Fall Fish Fry
I was a little late getting organized for the weekend, but when I phoned the Church about tickets, but I was passed on to John Logan, one of the Knights from the Knights of Columbus who organized the dinner. While we talked as I ordered my ticket, John told me that the fish fry was something that had only been recently been brought back to the parish. This was their second fall one, but they had also done one in the spring.
With that knowledge I showed up Friday night ready for an enjoyable fish supper. One thing that comes with riding the bus is that I generally show up for such events several months before the dinner actually starts. This gave me the chance to connect with John and pick up my ticket. It also gave me a chance to wander about a bit before the meal started.
The hall itself is in the basement of the church, and was set up for about 175 people. One of the things I noticed was that the combination of round and rectangular tables was arranged in such a fashion that movement between tables was done without a lot a crowding.
Arriving early means that I get a good chance to check out the dessert table before the meal begins. This means I can reconnoiter and know where the dessert I want is placed rather than trying to search for it later. The fish fry was different from a lot of dinners that I’ve been to in that there were no pies on this dessert table. Instead it was a combination of various cookies, loaves, squares, etc. This meant the chance to taste a variety of desserts.
After a few minutes I was introduced to Father Joseph Newman one of the priests in the parish. The parish has two full-time priests and a variety of the other Jesuits in the city help out. This is good as the parish holds six liturgies a week, and as a priest I can tell you that it a lot for even two priests to deal with, along with all the other parish activities that they are involved in.
Being seated with Father Newman turned out to be a good thing. As a priest at one of these type dinners, one of two things usually happen. You’re either at the first table called up, or you’re at the last. Thankfully, in this case it was the former.
We received two pieces of fish along with a serving of fries and a dish of cole slaw. On a side table there was a collection of condiments available. I grabbed some vinegar to put on my chips, and then some tartar sauce to dip them in. I rarely use tartar sauce with the fish preferring it as a dip in place of ketchup for my chips. There was wine and beer available at the bar and I went with a glass of the red.
I had a pleasant dinner in Father Newman. In addition to the usual conversation about the travails of church life, we had a bit of conversation surrounding our time in various choirs. Father Newman studied for a time at McGill and during that period had the privilege in singing under the baton Wayne Riddell, one of Canada’s great choral conductors.
After finishing off the fish, I took a wander over to the dessert table. I big up a ginger cookie, a piece of fruit streusel of sorts, and a wafer type cookie. All three were quite tasty, and it was just enough to give a pleasant, sweet end to the dinner without being particularly filling.
When John and I were talking as I ordered my ticket, he asked me if I knew anyone connected to the parish, and I told him no. I told him about my visit to Christ the King, and running into former co-workers, along with a couple of other people that I didn’t expect to run into.
Sure enough, last night I ran into someone I knew. Marnie is a friend of mine through Saint Margaret’s. I hadn’t seen here for quite a while, and it was good to be able to catch up a little on what has been happening in each other’s lives over the last few months.
Last night’s dinner was only $10.00 for the ticket. The wine was $5.00 a glass, and the glass was well-filled. They also offered a 50-50 draw, selling tickets throughout the course of the evening.
The dinner started at 6 pm and I left just after 7:30. what I noticed was that even as I was leaving there were still many people who were sitting around enjoying dessert, beverage, and conversation. This was encouraged by the hosts who made sure that people felt welcome to stay as long as they want.
The Knights are planning on putting on another Fish Fry in the spring. It’s worth your while keeping your eyes open. I’ll try and find some way to let people know when the next one occurs.