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Seasonal Feasting at Saint Margaret's

Today our seasonal activities sit between the ending of one season and the beginning of the next. This morning marks the fourth Sunday in Advent, and tomorrow begins the season of Christmas. Yesterday was also a seasonal occasion, as it marked the end of my time as an Honourary Assistant at Saint Margaret’s.

Sermon for Jan 23rd, Third Sunday i...
Sermon for Jan 23rd, Third Sunday in Epiphanytide.

For the last 7 1/2 years, I’ve been involved in the Saturday evening service at Saint Margaret’s. However, my work load at St. Philip’s has been increasing, and I may soon be starting on other ministry adventures. Something had to give in all of that, and sadly it’s my involvement at Saint Margaret’s that is now at an end.

Saint Margarets Turkey
Meals have always been an important part of the Saint Margarets Saturday Evening Service.

Thanksgiving for Saint Margaret’s*

*There are no pictures of the people, because, while I don’t mind my food being a little out of focus, I wouldn’t want to do that to my friends.
Before I talk about the final Saturday meal it’s appropriate to take some time to say thanks. First off, to Rev. David Widdicombe. As rector you have been a good friend, confident, mentor and general inspiration. Thanks for inviting me to participate in the Saturday service. Your friendship will always be valued.

Dessert, such as this mixed berry and peach trifle, makes feasting all the more enjoyable

To others in pastoral leadership: Kirsten, Bonnie, Ruth, Elaine, Eric, Terry, Heather, Landon, Josh, and Nate. It’s been a great opportunity to work with you, to learn from you, and for those who have been starting out on journeys of discernment to see God at work in your lives on those journeys.
A parish doesn’t run well unless it has dedicated staff and volunteers. Two in particular, Liz and Kurt, have been great encouragements to me over the past few years. Along with them I’ve appreciated the efforts of Kate, Donicka, Julienne, Donna, Maria, Dustin, Mark, and Marion.
To others Jess, Neil, Kristina, Bethany, Solomon, Rose, Kristen, Anne-Lydie, and a host more, thank you for your friendships and presence in my life over the past few years. Also, those who weren’t part of the Saturday service, but who have become friends over the years, thank you for your friendships.
Finally, the end of this season of my life makes me think of Bob, Tony, Debbie, and Anthony. People who brought a fullness of life to the Saturday evening service, but are sadly no longer with us. Rest eternal grant unto them, and may light perpetual shine upon.

A Seasonal Feast

One of the seasonal things we’ve tried to do during the month of December is to have a potluck feast as part of our Saturday service. Generally it’s a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and maybe even a few extra dishes thrown in. This year Nate, who is one of the coordinators of the Saturday service took charge of the turkey. This was his first ever time roasting a turkey, but he is a talented cook, and the turkey ended up tender and juicy. Well done Nate (you can see the carved results in the top photo.

 mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are an integral part of any seasonal feast.

Along with the turkey, there were mashed potatoes, peas, brussel sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce, and gravy. I was planning on cooking something up for the potluck, but my time didn’t end up allowing for it, so I picked up a selection of Bothwell cheese, along with a wedge of Trappiste cheese that is now being produced by Loaf and Honey, to make up a nice little cheese platter. I’ll have more about Bothwell and Loaf and Honey in a later post.

Seasonal side dish.
A savoury green bean side dish.
Green peas, a traditional Christmas side.
I don’t know about you, but peas are the side dish I most associate with Turkey Dinners.
Seasonal Cheese Choices
A choice of cheeses. The Trappiste is the pale one right in the middle of the plate.
Seasonal Brussel Sprouts and Bacon
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, two of my favourite b word foods.
Seasonal gravy.
A pot of gravy to spread across the potatoes and peas.

Of course, no proper feast is complete without desserts, especially seasonal ones. We had no shortage of them last night. One of the joys of potluck is that there are often more desserts than you might normally have. Last night we had, Chocolate Melba, Berry and Peach Trifle, Stöllen, Fruit Cake, Peppernuts, and Christmas Pudding. I didn’t try them all, limiting myself to the trifle, fruit cake, peppernuts, and melba.
Eric, who’s a deacon at Saint Margaret’s brought the Christmas Pudding. He does it traditionally using Brandy which is then set alight. I tried videoing it, but it didn’t turn out the way I hoped. Nonetheless, it adds an element of fun to the feast.

Chocolate Melba
The delicious Chocolate Melba
Seasonal Stollen
The stollen, still in its wrapper, pre-feast.
Seasonal Fruit cake.
Homemade fruit cake to add to the festive dining.

In addition to the food, there was white wine to enjoy along with the meal, and to raise a toast as we enjoyed our time together. One thing with a feast like this is that it slows the evening down. It makes for the opportunity to better enjoy each others company.

Farewell Present

On this final time with the group, I was also the recipient of a very lovely farewell gift. I was quite taken by surprise by it. When the box was brought in I thought that it might be some books, given that I like to read. When I opened it, I discovered that it was a 4l Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

Seasonal cookware
The pot in the box.
seasonal red pot
The pot out of the box.

This is delightful. Such a cooking vessel is the kind of thing that requires cooking efforts worthy of the pot, so I think over the next few months I’ll have to try and find some appropriate recipes(feel free to send me ideas). There was discussion surrounding the gift but the final choice was made by Marion, and I must say it is a fantastic choice.
Once again, I must conclude with thanks. To everyone at Saint Margaret’s who has contributed so much to my life over the past several years, and especially those of the Saturday service. ‘Til next we feast together, be it here in Winnipeg, somewhere abroad, or at the feast of the Lamb, blessings and thanks to each and every one of you.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.