Community Fall Suppers Food

Staycation: Fall Supper and Cake

Last Monday I started my vacation. actually, a staycation. In the past I’ve tried to take a week or two in June or July so that I can find time to take in the Jazz Winnipeg Festival or the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
However, earlier this year it occurred to me that although every year I prepare a list of Winnipeg Fall Suppers, it seems that I don’t get to any of them until mid-to-late October. One of the things that keeps me from getting to the earlier suppers, is that September is back to church time in the parish, and once that rush is over I kind of forget that I intended to attend any of the dinners.

Staycation dessert table
The dessert table the heart and soul of any fall supper, and a staycation treat.

One thing that has affected my past holidays is that I’m involved in three parishes. St. Philip’s is my main spot, but I’m also involved at Holy Trinity and St. Margaret’s. I don’t always make sure that I’ve let everyone of them know I’m going on holidays and have one or two services to deal with. This time around I got all those things sorted in good time.
At the beginning of the, Saint Philip’s celebrated the return of the fall season with a baptism on the 9th of September and then our annual Fall BBQ on the 16th. After that it was me out the door for the next three weeks on my staycation.

Staycation Fall Supper at Maranatha EFC

Saturday marked my first fall supper of the year. Maranatha Evangelical Free Church got in touch with me last year to add their supper to my list, and this year I ventured down into St. James to give their dinner a try. I’ve been to this church before. They play host every year to the Prairie Voices Dessert Concert that I wrote about a few months ago.

Staycation table settinga.
The table settings at the Maranatha EFC dinner are each arranged by a different family in the church.

I arrived about 20 minute before the supper was to begin so I had a few minutes to wander around and take pictures of the dessert tables and the place settings. When I found my table it was right in the dead centre of the room. Most of the tables were round, but I was at one of the few tables that were slightly larger and oval in shape.

Because we have held dinners at St. Philip’s one of the things I like to check out at fall suppers is how the meal is organized. One thing I learned during the meal was that each table was the responsibility of a different family in the church. That meant that while each table was set in the same fashion, each table was different from the table next to it as far as place settings. Then at the end of the supper, each family takes their dishes back home to do the washing, meaning that the dishes aren’t left for two or three people to do.

basket of buns.
I forgot to take pictures of the main course, but this is one of two baskets of buns on our table.

The food was served in two lines along the walls of the church hall, and the service moved along quite quickly. This dinner is a classic turkey dinner. There was turkey, mashed potatoes, meatballs, stuffing, corn, gravy, and a selection of fresh, uncooked vegetables with dip. Unfortunately, besides the desserts, the only photo of food that I remembered to take, was of the buns that were on our table.

Staycation crumble for dessert.
My blueberry-apple crumble dessert to finish off my meal.

One of the things I like about going to fall suppers is that I always seem to run into someone I know. Even if I know them only slightly. This supper was no exception. Just before the meal we joined at the table by a group of three, one of whom, was someone who I met several years ago when I was involved with a group known as Focus Africa.

Focus Africa is a group, run by African woman who live in Winnipeg, who help fund Beacon of Hope, just outside Nairobi, Kenya. It was nice connecting, however briefly, and bringing Focus Africa and it’s work back into my thoughts.

The supper finished not long after seven, which meant that I also had time to get back downtown for a friend’s housewarming. That went fairly late, so come Sunday I found myself getting up a little late, and wondering where I would visit for church(it’s great on a staycation to be able to just be part of church and not have to worry about helping to make sure the service goes smoothly).

First Lutheran House Cake Day

It just so happens that I’m only a couple of blocks away from First Lutheran Church. Now that Anglicans and Lutherans are in full communion, I find that I’m getting to know more of my Lutheran colleagues. Michael Kurtz the pastor at First Lutheran is one I’ve actually known for several years. When I first started attending Holy Trinity we held a Tuesday lunch service, where different local ministers would come and speak, followed by soup and a sandwich.
In addition to being the Pastor at First Lutheran, Michael is also quite a coffee aficionado, and like me enjoys the offerings available at Strong Badger Coffeehouse which is just down the street from First Lutheran.
This was my first time at First Lutheran for a service. I had been there earlier in the year. The church hosted a performance of the Mission Potluck, a play based on the fundraising efforts of the women of First Lutheran, back in the 1920s, as they tried to raise money to open the first seniors home for the town of Gimli, Manitoba. The play is really funny and quite an entertaining way to spend an evening.

The cupcakes from the Laufey House table

It turned out that I showed up for House Cake Day. House Cake Day is when the church celebrates the start up of the various houses that take turns looking after things such as greeting people, offertory, etc. After the service, we met in the lower hall. Each table had a sign saying which house was to meet there(they are all named for early members of the congregation).
There were a lot of different cakes and some cupcakes, but I noticed that there was one cake that was homemade, so that was the table I started at(visitors were encouraged to visit several tables, and with all those cakes who was I to argue).

chocolate cake
A very delicious homemade chocolate cake.

The chocolate cake had coffee added as a liquid ingredient. this made the chocolate flavour pop out and helped make for a very moist cake. I also tried a chocolate swirl cake, and one that was heavy on the icing. One advantage of being able to drift from table to table is that it also gave me the opportunity to visit with a fairly broad cross section of the congregation.
The worship service had been good, and I went home feeling refreshed, and thanks to all the cake, quite full. A great way to end the first week of my staycation.

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.