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Jan. 13, 2007

Hebb's Cross Fireman's Breakfast

Hebb's Cross, Nova Scotia

The winter season is a bit of a dry spell for community suppers, so when we saw this one advertised, it was a 'must attend'.   I had heard good things about this breakfast, and there was only one other breakfast wayyyy out in Blandford.  

Once we figured out how to find Hebb's Cross, we were off to the races.  It wasn't hard to spot the hall once we got close.  The parking lot was jam packed full of hungry diners, we were lucky to find a spot.


Inside, it was the usual affair, rows of tables and the captivating smell of smoky bacon grease wafting through the Fire hall.  We sat down and waited for one of the busy staff to make their rounds....One of our nearby elderly diners suggested we try one of the tea biscuits on the table.  We were not dissapointed!

The first round of people at our table left and then the fun started.  They looked like men, but they gossiped like a bunch of 'old hens'.  They seemed to know everyone who came in the door, "oh, he's from dayspring....that's a long way to come for breakfast!"  (it's about, oh, 10 km or so, not really a 'long' drive...), "oh, she's the manager at Boston Pizza, you know her husband.."  "It's some crowded in heyah, I don't recognize a lot of people"  

Then, the conversation drifted to various breakfasts in the area, "I don't care for the Bridgewater breakfast...christ allmighty, well, the plate's is cold when you get 'em..i don't care for that...and then by the time you got your food, it's cold."  Another guy commented, "I don't know, I like their breakfast, the bacon is some good theyah."  Then conversation drifted off to other topics that interested me less than the hot, steaming and greasy plate of food that arrived.

What a pile of food!! And this is an ALL YOU CAN EAT breakfast...I don't know who would eat more than one plate, but judging the size of some of the folks there that morning, some people do actually eat more than one plate. Everything was delicious, the bacon was crispy and well cooked, the sausages were passable, the toast was crispy, the eggs were cooked (ehem, fried) well, the beans were very tasty and the home fries...wow, as good if not better than the Dayspring Fire Dept. breakfast home fries. 

It was hard to get the attention of the fellow pushing around the juice and cofee/tea  cart.  Once we did, we got tiny glasses of juice, and in typical Fire Dept. Breakfast style, the tea and coffee were indistinguishable from each other, nice 'n'  dark! 

All in all, I highly recommend this breakfast if you happen to be in the area, or if you are willing to  make the long trek from Dayspring, Pinehurst or Newcombville.

 

Nov.  26, 2006

Maitland Annual Christmas Tea

Maitland, Nova Scotia 

How can you not fall in love with a plate of food like that?  It was a breakfast and supper filled weekend....starting off with the Dayspring Fireman's breakfast on Saturday, and the New Germany United Church Smogasbord supper later that evening.  The real highlight of the weekend was the Maitland Annual Christmas tea!

This was my first 'tea', and most likely not the last.   The hall was festively decorated with fir boughs and garland, gold and silver banners and other 'tinsel-y' type decorations.  The tables were arranged in a cafe-like style, rather than the long tables normally associated with suppers.  As usual, Lisa and I were the only ones there under 60, I kept getting knowing/smiling glances from some of the grandmas there as we ate our meal.  It must be kind of sad for them to only see their peers and few younger people participating in their 'events'...

As I've said before, reason #1 to go to a supper or tea in Maitland:  the tea!  I do not know how they do it, but it is always amazing and this time was no exception.  We both chose a chicken salad plate (see above), in the words of my mother "it looks so good, I can't eat it!"  Everything was perfect, the scoop of chicken salad, the potato salad nestled on a bed of crisp iceberg lettuce, the tiny portion of cranberry jelly, it was just what the doctor ordered!

To top it all off, one plate, then another plate of sweets were delivered to our table with a smile.  I am kicking myself for not taking a photo!  Lemon squares, tiny butter tarts (amazing!), chocolate dipped peanut butter balls, nanaimo bars, I could go on for a while....all were delicious, except for the butterscotch/marshmallow concoction that almost made Lisa's throat close up!

On our way out, we visited the bake table, but it was mostly filled with peanut brittle and gingerbread cookies.  For some reason, none of those tickled our fancy.   The real deal, was the craft table.  We bought 3 pairs of hand knit mittens and one pair of hand knit socks.  Grand total:  8 dollahs!  Long live the Maitland Annual Christmas Tea and those who make it happen! 

 Oct. 21, 2006

 St. James Anglican Roast Beef Supper

 Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

This one has got to go on my 'greatest hits' list of suppers, a delicious, undeniable roast beef supper in Mahone Bay.  

We arrived just as it was starting, we managed to escape waiting in line outside in the blustery and decidedly cold winds that were blowing that day.  The smells permeated the hallway as we awaited our dinner.  A cute rotary phone hung on the wall along with some assorted posters advertising upcoming church and community events.  The line moved swiftly and we soon gained access to the hall.

Next time, I'll have to arrive early to photograph the table settings and the amazing table cakes that graced each long table, simply amazing!  I did manage to scoot over to the table of pies before they had been disturbed/served to the first round of diners, see for yourself:

This table seemed to stretch on forever, filled with all manner of tasty cakes and pies, with enough variety to suit anyone's tastes.  The table was set with buns, coleslaw and nice crystal 'boats' filled with bread and butter pickles and pickled beets, these were a hit at our end of the table!  

The hall was alive with activity, a long row of servers waited at the kitchen window to fill up their empty plates and they hustled back to the tables to feed the hungry masses.  As you can see, we were not to be dissapointed.


The dinner conversation around us mirrored the latest copy of The Bulletin, talk ranged from the 'problem' of boats moored on the Lahave in Bridgewater, to the suggestion of an off leash dog park at Miller Point Peace Park.  One fellow diner commented that her aquaintance had removed some 200 dog 'deposits' from said park, and had promptly written the municipality to inform them.  As the boyfriend of an avid dog owner, I am quite impressed by the availability of dog bags at the municipal parks! All in all, another successful supper.  Next time you see this one in the paper, check it out! 

Aug. 26, 2006

Conquerall Banks Fire Dept. Planked Halibut Supper

Conquerall Banks, Nova Scotia 

I think I have a new favourite.  I'm glad there are two planked fish suppers reviewed back to back here...move over Planked Salmon Supper, there's a new champ in town!

We were starving Sunday afternoon and decided to head on over to the hall a bit early.  The paving from Bridgweater => down the river has been completed, so we had a smooth ride on the lighthouse route/autobahn to the hall.

We arrived ~4 pm, the supper started at 4:30 pm.  The Conquerall Banks fire hall is quite large, and luckily they were able to provide a waiting area with lots of seats.  As usual, we were just about the only people there not sporting grey hair.  I felt left out, since i didn't have any suspenders.  They seem to be popular among the gents that attend these functions.  We sat down in the back of the crowd, listening to the usual musings over whether or not we'd make "the first sitting".  This time, I was wondering/hoping we'd make it as my stomach slowly digested itself.

Our wait was brief and pleasant and before long, the pre seating began.  The hubub of converstations quickly subsided as a hush descended over the room as a portly suspendered man announced, "we will start with tickets numbering 735, to 750".  Most of the room groaned, while the lucky first batch smiled and were promptly seated.  This process continued until virutally all of the early goers (my party included) were seated, waiting to be fed.

This fire hall has some cute paintings adorning its wood panelled walls.  One depicts a boy ice fishing, with a balsam fir tree (is there any other kind in lun. county?) to his back to shelter him from the cold wind blowing off the Lahave River.  Another mural at the back of the waiting area depicts ice fishing shacks in the nearby cove. Any one who doubts the effect of climate change should talk to the smelt fishers of this area.  Growing up, it used to be an annual event to see the cove in Conquerall Banks dotted with humourous and practical fishing shacks during the winter.  This has not been the case the last few years.  Warm winter temperatures and the subsequent thin ice have thwarted most ice fishing.  Of course, you can spot the odd, brave sole sitting on a bucket, trying his luck.  But it seems the days of a cove full of fishing shacks are dwindling in this neck of the woods.  

Soon enough, the food arrived.  A simple offering, but everything was absolutely delicious.  First off, the portion of planked halibut was generous, slightly salty and had a delectable fire cooked skin. The mashed potatoes brought exclamations from my grand mother two suppers ago, now I realized why. They were perfect, smooth, potato-y, 'down home' style mashed potatoes.  A perfect compliment.  The coleslaw was also tasty, as were the freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumber.  Our smiling servers filled our empty mugs with that dark tea you can only find at one of these functions.  Only the mild taste of tannins on the tongue confirmed that I was, in fact, drinking tea.  The colour of the beverage was not a reliable indicator ^__^ .

We devoured our meals, savouring every last bite.  Nearing the end of our dinner, another server brought around a desert cart with all manner of pies.  We chose the peach pie and coconut cream pie for our deserts. These were 'boughten', not made from scratch, but a tasty end to our supper nonetheless.  We chatted with our dining 'neighbours' for a bit about pies.  Peach, raspberry and blackberry/apple pies were mentioned.  

Afterwards, I snuck out back to view the fire that produced such tasty morsels.  Believe me, they tasted even better than they look in these photos:

 


So, next year, keep your eyes peeled for this supper, it is a MUST attend function!  I'm still waiting for the Pentz "Dinner of Many Delights", stay tuned..... 

July 29, 2006

Greenfield Fire Dept. Planked Salmon Supper

Greenfield, Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, once you leave the 'hustle and bustle' of the towns, the adage "some things never change" really means something.  I know, in Bridgewater, Dominion is now Zellers', Brady's is now the Super Store and old Dixie Lee Chicken is now the Blockbuster....But in Greenfield, tradition is alive and well at the planked salmon supper.

The drive out to Greenfield is a scenic cruise past aging farm houses, cut and uncut fields, perennial yard sales and other gems of the Lunenburg County back woods.

It was hard to miss the supper as we approached Greenfield, first you could smell the smoke from the large wood fire and there were plenty of signs pointing us in the right direction.

It was a rather sparsly attended affair.  Last year there were easily over a thousand suppers sold, but this year it sounded like they missed that target by a couple hundred supper goers.  Too bad, they don't know what they were missing. 

We promptly went up to the ticket booth and acquired our tickets, I had the unfortunate 'ticket of the beast..

Luckily, we are seasoned veterans and we brought some lawn chairs for our suprisingly brief wait.  Smoke from the fire wafted through the parking lot and the clackity clack of the gambling wheel added to the ambience.  Groups of 20 were granted access roughly every 5 or 10 minutes and our wait seemed to fly by.

When I say things never change, I mean that quite literally at this supper.  I can describe this supper to newcomers EXACTLY  how it will occur.  The same people do the same tasks and the menu has been the same for the last 4 years I have attended.  I'm sure there would be a full scale riot if anything changes.  Maybe that's the satisfying part, the familiarity of knowing what's coming.  

For those of you who haven't attended this supper, to the left is what you'll expect:  one honkin' portion of planked salmon, 2 ice cream scoops of potato salad, one cup of coleslaw, on sliced tomato and several slices of cuke, one roll and pad of butter, one lemon tart, one cup of McD's orange drink and one packet of cutlery and a knapkin.  It was all tasty and the sentiment around the table was more of the same. 


The crowd must have been smaller than expected.  Near the end of our meal, one of the staff announced that whole cooked salmon were available for $20 a piece.  Why I did not buy one, I will never know, what a deal!  And so tasty....on the way out I snapped one last picture of the salmon as they come off the fire:

If you are around next summer, be sure to check this event out.  Keep an eye out for the planked halibut supper in Conquerall Banks later this summer!


 

 

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2006

La Have and District Fire Department Chicken Barbecue

La Have and District Fire Hall, La Have, Nova Scotia

Freelance review courtesy of J.D.

You have to really want to find the new La Have and District Fire Hall.  If you go to the old fire hall across from the ferry landing, you will find nothing but a bunch of fire trucks, which is okay if your house is on fire; but if you're looking for chicken barbecue you have to go up a steep narrow road named the School Road even though  there hasn't been a school on it in decades.  It is hard to know why anyone would hide a fire hall -- let alone a school -- up such a desolate road, anyone, that is, except Stephen King who would love to use such a setting for one of his novels.  Lunenburg County abounds in settings for Gothic horror, an attribute seldom mentioned in the Doers and Dreamers Guide.  Take for example the Lunenburg Academy which overlooks a cemetery.  We chose to drive up the old School Road in broad daylight Sunday, July 23.  We were in search of barbecued chicken laid on by the fire department.  We intended to get our dinners to go and to sit on the deck in a keyhole of sun which had appeared through the sea fog and river mist.  We were prepared to sacrifice the ambience of the spanking new fire hall for the fully licensed service of our front porch where we intended to complement dinner with a nice Zinfandel, insouciant yet not impertinent.

The supper started at 4:00.  By 3:45 we were too hungry to wait.  We expected to find the parking lot bustling with gate crashers, but we were the first.  We actually placed our order through a side window.  When we came around to the front, the full contingent of volunteers was lined up to greet us, smartly tricked out in red golf shirts.  We paid $10 each and were handed styrofoam clamshells warm with promise.  We had first choice of the pies: coconut cream, chocolate cream, apple, lemon, blueberry and "Bumbleberry."  We liked the sound of Bumbleberry, although the woman cutting the slices didn't like the look of it.  But it tasted good, she said.  We were out of there in jig time.  We passed the first wave of patrons coming in.  It is a good thing we hadn't planned on staying, for we would have been sadly underdressed.  Apparently in La Have the folks treat a fire hall dinner on a Sunday like, well, a Sunday dinner.  As we rolled down the precipitous gravel road, our tires crunched like grating ends of broken bone, grasping tendrils of undergrowth flailed at our fenders with corpselike insensibility and overhead the shroud of mist wrapped about us in a stranglehold.

On the front deck it was sunny, though.  We opened the styrofoam giftwrap.  It contained what baroing would call "half a frickin chicken," two scoops of potato salad, a dollop of cole slaw with parsley garnish. a fat dinner roll with butter and the Bumbleberry pie which was now a little worse for wear.  Both salads met our high demands.  The chicken had a flavourful glaze of barbecue sauce and even if you peeled off the skin -- making the healthy choice to make up for the pie -- the meat was tasty.  There was enough to save for tomorrow's lunch.  Ditto the dinner roll.  We did not spare the Bumbleberry pie, however.  It seemed to be a concoction of apple, cherry and blueberry, although what might have been slices of apple could just as easily have been pear or even banana, due not so much to the bumble of ingredients as to the bumble of our judgment, having stayed our proceedings with the Zinfandel and gone straight to the Smirnoff Ice in celebration of fifteen minutes of uninterrupted sun.  For my money, the La Have and District Fire Hall chicken barbecue is good quality, good service and if they ever have a Halloween dance at midnight, I'm not going anywhere near the place.



 

July 15, 2006

Salad Supper

Lahave Islands Marine Museum Hall, Lahave Islands, NS

Freelance review courtesy of J.D.

We were on Crescent Beach anyway, so it seemed the most natural thing in the world to go five minutes down the road across two bridges to Bell Island for the salad supper at the La Have Islands Marine Museum Hall, July 15.  It was a Saturday, the beach had been lovely for the first time in, oh, roughly a year, I had actually been in the water floating on my back between the waves without every muscle and fibre knotting up, we were relaxing in the sun, it was five o'clock and we didn't want to cook for ourselves.  Plus it was for a good cause.  

The museum on Bell Island is, to my way of thinking, the best in the world.  It has the atmosphere of a backyard clubhouse.  The islanders use it to store parts of their lives, from a rosary found in the belly of a codfish to a full size dory.  Every time I go, and I go every time I can, I find something new.  But the museum has no room for fundraisers, so we all parked on the shoulder by the two-storey museum hall just a short walk down the road.  We included cars from Massachusetts and Delaware.  

In the hall we took numbers and sat against the wall as if waiting our turn in a doctor's office.  There was one table downstairs for those not able to make the climb to the dining room.  The last time we went to the hall, we were served downstairs.  It was an all dessert affair.  An all salad supper was just the kind of ingenuity we've come to expect of people supporting the museum.  A prime example of their pluck is an astounding fact which I will reveal at the end of this narrative.  We were happy to spend $7.50 just to see what they had come up with upstairs.  

We only waited fifteen minutes or so.  The numbers were called out clearly and accommodation was made for a group of three who wanted to sit together.  The stairs are as steep as a ladder, but not many chose to take the table on the ground floor. Upstairs, the door to the fire escape was open and a nice ocean breeze was sweeping the dining room which might seat 30 people.  Promptly we were brought plates of potato salad, two slices of ham, lettuce and tomato.  On the table were purple cole slaw and whatever you call the usual kind of cole slaw, something like cold sauerkaraut (baroing. I believe this called sauerkraut salad), pickles, pickled beets, macaroni salad, cucumber salad, whipped orange jello and cucumber jello, rolls and table squares.  We were offered tea or coffee, but we wanted water.  The water in the pitcher on the table was ice cold, even more delicious if you know the amazing fact about the hall which I am not about to reveal to you now.  We ate enough and stayed long enough to see empty bowls quickly replaced.  We also saw the erasure of one of the pie choices from the chalkboard on the wall by the pass-through to the kitchen where workers in rubber gloves were swabbing silverware as if there were nothing extraordinary about the act, as if everyone took for granted the mind-boggling fact which I still have not revealed.  

Understandably, knowing what it is you do not yet know, the supper was served on paper plates.  When coconut cream pie disappeared from the menu, someone wrote "Boo Hoo!" on the chalkboard.  The apple pie looked good.  The cherry pie was reported good.  The lemon pie came with mile-high meringue and those golden drops of oil on top.  Most people chose to exit by the exterior stairs to cut down on congestion indoors.  When we left, we stood a minute looking out over the gut where the fish shacks are perched on rocks.  

Having dinner at the hall is like stepping back into history because -- here it comes! -- every drop of water has to be packed in.  There is no running water in the hall.  All wash water and cooking water and drinking water has to be carried to the hall and up the stairs.  And did I mention the water was cold and delicious?  We took a walk on Crescent Beach on the way home.  The tide was out and a good breeze was blowing onshore.  It was perfect for some casual stunt kiting.  Just as we were ready to go home, the wind dropped and it was easy to make a stall landing of the kite near the rocks we had used to climb over the dunes.  We had spent the whole day at the beach, not travelling more than five mintues away.  In another five minutes we would be home.  Try that in Massachusetts or Delaware.

July 8, 2006

Petite Riviere Strawberry Supper 

Petite Rivier Fire Hall, Petite Riviere, NS

Freelance review courtesy of J.D.

We parked behind the fire hall in the last spot available on the river bank.  The supper had started at 4:30.  By 5:00 cars were lining up along the shoulder of the river road where the bridge is still out.  Has the government forgotten?  As a token of the government's attentiveness, there is a big sign at the other end of the closed road which says "TRUCKS AND LARGE CAMPERS USE ALTERNATE ROUTE."  Now, when you really think about it, if there is a big gap in the road with running water underneath, everyone has to use an alternate route unless driving the General Lee with capability of rocketing over chasms.  And while we're on the subject, what are the trucks and large campers supposed to do at this point when it is already too late to take an alternate route without making a U-turn which is, to say the least, difficult for trucks and large campers?  Furthermore, "alternate route" to where?  How about an alternate government?  

So, as I was saying, with all those cars parking at the fire hall, we expected a long line at the door, but we stepped unimpeded inside, out of the hot sun, paid our $8 each, found ourselves behind another couple waiting for seats, and that's when our troubles began.  But let me jump ahead to say that the meal was fine, our seatmates cheerful and the strawberry shortcake scrumptious.  Flashback to us waiting in line as we had been told by a man in a checkered shirt.  Queueing up like good Canadians.  Not good Canadians waiting for food, however.  Within minutes we were being passed on both sides by gray-haired locals as polite as roller derby line-breakers.  "We're supposed to wait..." we said, "that man told us...  we're not supposed to... ouch!  Excuse me!"  Front-of-house security at the fire hall was simply outnumbered.  The man in the checkered shirt was lost somewhere in the middle of the line and there was no one to keep order at the front except us.  The problem was that empty seats at tables were plainly visible.  Anyone in the line spotting two empty seats and noting no one moving for them would grab a partner and high-tail it for the serving line.  Before we knew it, we were leaning back with arms outstretched against the oncoming horde like bouncers at a [fill in name of generational specific performer] concert.  I was starting to lose my appetite.  I was starting to think about pictures of bodies stacked four deep at jammed exits of burning nightclubs.  I looked frantically over my shoulder.  The man in the checkered shirt had been swallowed by the crowd.  The mob was surging ahead.  Just as I was afraid we were going to have to raise our voices, a woman in a white blouse appeared from the head of the serving line.  "You can come in," she suggested.  "We're supposed to wait!" we shouted.  She looked at us as if we didn't understand English.  "You can COME IN!"  

From there on, everything worked smoothly, except for the woman doling out macaroni salad in level tablespoons which amounted to three curls of pasta and half an olive.  And the man carting juice and water around who, we all discovered too late, was deaf.  And the woman wearing latex gloves who told us she would bring us our strawberries and who never did and who told us pleasantly when we went for dessert ourselves that if she got caught letting customers serve themselves she would be fired.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that the man dishing out potato salad offered us two ice cream scoops if we wanted and the two women serving one leaf of lettuce and one slice of tomato worked well together as a team and there was a vat of beans as big as a wash tub and we were allowed two slices of ham -- one slightly smaller than the other -- and coleslaw and brown bread were easily within reach on the table and the last woman in the serving line artistically placed one strawberry on top of the whipped topping.  

We didn't know a soul in the whole fire hall, although we have been coming to strawberry suppers for about 30 years.  Across from us sat an impish woman with hearing aids as big as holsters.  She gesticulated animatedly through the whole meal.  We smiled appreciatively.  Her companion -- who we guessed to be her son -- looked like Don Knotts.  He kept pretending to steal her strawberries.  The average age of diners would be in the mid-80s.  The temperature in the hall was cool, thanks to the open back door and the onshore breeze.  The exit was conveniently located next to our car which by now was hemmed in by other cars which had created new "last" parking spaces.  We worked our way back to the pavement and decided to take a stroll on Sperry's Beach, public since time immemorial, now decorated with barbed wire.  We squeezed between the strands and took our shoes off until we found a rotting corpse of indeterminate species washed ashore.  It was the size of a small pig -- not a seal, as we had expected -- with its face gone and its entrails coming out.  I wish we had had a digital camera to take a picture of the jawbone, because I'm sure someone could identify it by the tooth structure.  Suffice it to say it had long upper canines like a vampire and corresponding lower fangs making it look like a monster designed by H.R. Giger.  We found some driftwood and carted it up to dry sand where we buried it perfunctorily.  I, for one, didn't want it lolling about in the waves the next time I go frolicking at Sperry's Beach after a lovely fire hall supper.    

 

July 1, 2006

Middle Cornwall 'Awesome' Chicken BBQ

Middle Cornwall, NS

Canada Day seemed a suitable day to do the seemingly impossible.....two suppers, in one day.  I know, my doctor wouldn't approve, but how could we resist?  Especially with a supper name that included the word 'awesome' in it!  After a brief detour to an excellent house sale that Saturday, we made our way out to Middle Cornwall.  We came upon this cheery setup:

 Nautical flags flapping and hungry diners seated at tables, a lone woman waiting in the canteen for someone to play her 'games of chance', but our eyes were on the chicken.  Now, this has to be one of the slickest food delivery setups I've seen this summer.  It was ridiculously fast.  No sooner had I ordered our dinner, the man taking orders shouted "one chicken dinner" and a styrofoam container with our dinner promptly appeared on the counter.  

We were not dissapointed, as you can see.  Sheesh, it was half a frickin' chicken! (no frickin' laser beams, though...) Fries and coleslaw to boot..We split this supper between the two of us and then booted over to Baker Settlement for stage two........

 

 

 

July 1, 2006

Baker Settlement Canada Day Strawberry Supper

Baker Settlement, NS

As you can see, this is one popular event.  Folks must've started lining up well in advance of the "4:30 pm sharp" opening time.  We arrived at ~4:15 pm, and you can see the size of the line that was there before us....

Luckily, we had already eaten dinner, so the hour long wait gave us time to digest our first dinner (^_^).  We listened to the pearls of wisdom "every car that leaves the parking lot means we're that much closer to getting in" and other gems....There were the usual 'counters' who obsessively counted how many people there were ahead of us, how many people were in line last year and other tidbits to pass the time.

Once we got to the head of the line, the door to the hall was decidedly closed.  Every now and then the 'door keeper' would pop his head out and ask, "how many?"  After his check of the seating, he granted us access.  As odd as this seemed it was a nice touch.  No hungry onlookers making you feel rushed, almost....civlilized...The main course was a little....how shall I say, 'meh?'  I guess I've had my fill of baked beans and ham this summer, but the side dishes, especially the potato salad made up for it.  Oh, did I forget the Strawverry Shortcake?

Unfortunately, my photo of the table of strawberry shortcake came out blurry and was not deemed "All Good" worthy :-(  The moral of the story, either you arrive an hour early and wait, or show up any time and wait the same amount of time anyway.  Oh, and bring a lawn chair for the wait! 

 

June 24, 2006

Conquerall Mills Variety Supper & Horse/Ox Pull

Conquerall Mills, NS

This supper has been amazing every time I've attended it.  This year was the third time I've enjoyed the cavalcade of comfort foods that is the Conquerall Mills Variety Supper, and it did not dissapoint.  If anyone remembers, it was one year ago that Lunenburg County felt more like Rio de Janeiro than Risser's Beach.  Luckily, it was not as hot this year, but the rain seemed to keep people away, which might have accounted for the sparse attendance.

The variety supper was heavy on the ground beef, which suited me fine.  Off the top of my head, there was:  pasta salad, Lunenburg pudding, cabbage and weiners, meatloaf, sweet meatballs, various forms of hash, chili, scalloped potatoes, and several casseroles that I can't name.  It was awesome, to say the least.  And, of course, there was table cake and brownies and delicious home made brown bread on the tables.

A proud grandfather cradled his grand child in his arms as he walked around the hall, his large wallet attached to his blue Dickies by a chain, while his wife and neighbours looked on and smiled.  Several young 'fullers' piled their plates high with food and cleaned them completely!  Helping out with the horse pull is hungry work.  

Here are some pics of the horse pull courtesy of Rawktron.....

(above left) This is a fiesty team of Percherons, note the teamster 'skipping' around on the right

(above right) This is a team of oxen in the Heavy Ox class.  Note the kids on the left who are helping move the weights on and off the sled.  These kids really struck me when I was watching....who needs video games when you can help out at pull?  There's everything a kid could want:  mud/being dirty, danger, heavy equipment, elders/mentors, etc...I think it's sad that fewer and fewer children experience this type of life, disconnected from their elders/mentors, from the 'old ways'.  Luckily, there are these committed people who keep this life alive.

 

June 17, 2006

Firefighter's Breakfast

Petite Riviere Fire Hall 

Petite Riviere, NS 

For anyone not from the area, Petite Riviere is locally pronounced, "petite reveer"....sort of half french, half anglo.  I've never attended this breakfast and it was a mad dash that morning to make it in time.  We were not to be dissapointed for our efforts.

There was a little sign at the entrance that read, "bring your appetite", and they weren't kidding!  It was fairly packed for ~10 am.  Most likely the majority of the patrons were CFA's (come from aways) who frequent the cottages in Green Bay, Crescent/Risser's Beach and the surrounding area during the summer.  At any rate, we were just glad they hadn't run out of food!

There was so much food in one serving, that they had to bring an extra plate for the pancakes!  We wondered most of the breakfast whether or not the syrup on the table was 'real' maple syrup or just table syrup.  We never did ask anyone, but by all accounts it appeared to be 'real', which was an unexpected treat!

The baked beans were framed by two sausages in a 'V' pointing inwards, the frozen hash browns left a little to be desired, but the pancakes, syrup, home made biscuits, delicious bacon and the friendly volunteers more than made up for that.

We ended up facing an easel for the duration of our meal.  It had an "ARE YOU PREPARED?" list of emergency supplies each household should have in their possession.  It was a little imposing, but I'm sure everything on the list 'should' be in our homes.  A little reminder now and then never hurts, eh?

Apart from some noxious Old Spice (or the closest senior men's cologne equivalent) 'next door', the breakfast was great and highly recommended. 

May 27, 2006

Newfie Breakfast

Chester Basin Legion

Chester Basin, NS

This was my first Newfie Breakfast, and it happened to coincide with a quick trip in to 'Haff-a-laff'.  The ad in the classifieds said it ran 'till 11:30, which worked perfectly.  

Pulling in to the parking lot, I wondered if it was still open due to the small number of cars in the parking lot.  I should've known better, this was in Lunenburg County after all.  That means that everyone was lining up for breakfast at 7:30 am and had half of the field plowed and planted and 2 acres of Christmas trees sheared and fertilized before I woke up that morning.  At any rate, we had about 20 minutes to spare before the 'official' closing time for the breakfast so we headed on in.

The setup at the legion was unique.  Rather than long tables, the set up was more 'cafe' style.  There were about 15 tables of four set up with blue vinyl tablecloths (is it still a table cloth when it's made of naugahyde?) and only one table was occupied.  Our order was taken at the door where we paid (also unique) and we plunked ourselves down.  Unfortunately, since we arrived at the tail-end of the breakfast we missed the fish cakes.  Too bad, since that was the main reason I wanted to try this breakfast.  The tea ran out as we arrived and I knew better than to dare try the toxic sludge at the bottom of the coffee urn.  I grabbed a couple glasses of juice and sat down to soak it all in.

The only other table that was occupied was full of 3 portly gents discussing the various types of pizza available locally..  From my best guess, one of them worked at a pizza joint and the rest just loved pizza.  One guy was talking about some B.L.T. pizza, complete with mayo...I hope I heard him wrong, it sounds dangerous...soon after we sat down with our juice, our breakfasts arrived:

The beans were the highlight of the meal, soooo tasty!  Scrambled eggs were the only choice and were passable.  The biscuit was made from scratch and worth the drive to Chester Basin.  The tater tots were somewhat warm and forgettable.  The bologna was fried like it should be and a tasty treat.

I would try this one again, but next time I'll have to wake up early to git some of those fish cakes!


May 13, 2006

St. Luke's Turkey Dinner

Rhodes Corner, Nova Scotia

Amidst the onslaught of yellow in the form of daffodils and forsythia bushes, the newly budding Indian Pear/Shad Bush trees and the black flies, we made our way to a delightful turkey supper in Rhodes Corner.  While it was a beauty of a day inland, the coast was blanketed in a cool, damp fog.  Still we soldiered on, and luckily there wasn't much of a wait.

The entrance to the supper was a hub of activity, purchasing your ticket was only the first 'obstacle'.  There were several raffles on offer, I bought tickets for something...Who knows, by the end of the summer I might actually win something?  We were promptly greeted and served by...well, she could have been your grandmother or mine.  She was soft spoken and very helpful.  A quick scan of the table failed to locate any 'table cake'.  Luckily the pickled beets and buns were easy to find.  Then, the main course arrived, feast your eyes on this!

What a spread!  Trust me, it tasted better than this photo looks. I think I'm finally getting the hang of taking shots inside the halls, this one is much crisper than other ones I've uploaded.  The meal was delish and filling.  The stuffing was great, and everything tasted like a Sunday dinner made by one of the family.  The real entertainment, was our 'neighbours' at the dinner.

We were situated across from three eldery ladies who seemed to know what everyone was up to.. Conversation ranged from whether some woman left her house alone earlier in the day or if she had received a ride from someone.  It sounded like they stare out of their windows and take detailed mental notes on who is going where and when..and with whom....Later one of the women tried to point out a gentleman at the end of the table, "he's down at the end, with white hair."  Sorry, gramma, but in case you hadn't noticed, almost everyone had white hair:

  Desert finally arrived, but we got an early peek at our senior table mate's deserts.  They all ate coconut cream pie and were comparing notes on whether or not their pies were box mixes or they were made from scratch.  I had the lemon meringue, which was sugary, meringue-y and perfect...

As I was leaving, I asked if I could take a picture of the pies, just so you can see the spread!

Another succesful outing..  Bellies full, raffle tickets purchased and hopefully some much needed money going towards a project in the church hall.

May 6, 2006

Maitland Variety Supper

Maitland Community Hall, Maitland Nova Scotia

A drizzly afternoon kept the ravenous hordes away, but our trusty team of supper-goers was not to be deterred...We pushed on through the showers and drizzle and arrived at the hall, luckily there wasn't a line up.  None of us relished the thought of waiting outdoors in the rain....with kids....hungry....you get the picture...

Inside, we were greeted and luckily we were all able to sit together.  For a party of 4 adults and 2 children, that is no small feat at a supper!  The table was adorned with a mouth watering selection of salads:  potato, coleslaw and broccoli salads, pickled beets, home made brown bread and rolls and my personal favourite, Lunenburg pudding.  Lunenburg pudding is our local German-style blood pudding.  It is definately an acquired taste, but I love's it!

After our 'orders' were taken, we received our hot plates of food:

Ham, baked beans, scalloped potatoes, meatballs, 'shake & bake' chicken and a weiner!  Not exactly what I was expecting, but grub is grub.  As the meal progressed I was surprised by how much I was enjoying the hot dog as I cut it up and mixed it in with the baked beans.

As I mentioned, the crowd was light, but all inside the hall seemed to be enjoying themselves.  The highlight, though, was the tea.  Last summer, Lisa and I attended another variety supper in the same hall. It was our first in Maitland.  When we asked for tea, our suspendered server informed us, "we make the best tea in Maitland!"  And you know what?  He was right!

This year,  the tea was not to dissapoint.  As expected, the same suspender-wearing gent  served us  tea again and it was still delish.  We overheard one of the 'usual suspects' (sitting close by) telling his friends about the tea as well.  Apparently word is getting out!  From what we heard, the tea is boiled in a big pot for 'a spell' and then transferred to the usual coffee urn you see at these gatherings.  However it is made, it was the perfect antidote for a rainy Saturday in May.  The same gent joked with us when we asked him to pass the puddin' down to our end of the table, "oh, we're gonna have to hold on to it over heeyah!"  Several chuckles later, the pudding was mine (cue sinister laugh)

Not to dissapoint, there was also a gorgeous.....wait for it....TABLE CAKE close by:

I noticed one of the servers and her friend pointing and laughing at me as I took this picture.  I'm sure I look out of place, I was definately the only one photographing the event.  She asked me, "you like that cake"?  "Of course, it's so pretty", I replied.  Judge for yourself. Could you have resisted this marble table cake?

I felt bad about the turnout, but the weather is always the wild card, isn't it?  We noticed that almost every place setting had matching plates, mugs and serving bowls.  It was very cute, I wonder where they acquired all of it?:

Stay tuned for the suppers and breakfasts from next weekend, and support yer local hall, fire department, church, etc...! 

April 29, 2006

Dayspring Fireman's Breakfast

Dayspring Fire Department Hall, Dayspring Nova Scotia

What a day, what a day. This breakfast is my favourite, and for good reasons, which I'll get to shortly.  The parking lot was packed at ~9 am, and there was a fund raising car wash going on in front of the fire station so there was no shortage of activity.  We were greeted by the enthusiastic and friendly faces of the women's fireman auxilliary and we quickly found our spot and waited to be served.  

This breakfast is unique because they really seem to have a lot of 'spirit' and I have yet to attend a Dayspring breakfast that is not decorated.  Check out their fun decorations:

They had all manner of spring time decorations:  whirlygigs and kites hanging from the ceiling, variouis wind toys, cardboard flowers, butterflies, brooms, plastic tennis rackets and streamers adorned the walls of this typical wood panelled fire hall.  This was not a one-off occaision. I have personally attented a valentine's day, hallowe'en (nothing cuter than seeing various 'grannies' dressed up as a hobo, lil' devil and a gypsy) and christmas themed breakfasts in Dayspring.  They never cease to suprise and delight with their creativity and enthusiasm.  I wonder, where do they store all of these decorations?  In the words of the lovely elderly lady selling raffle tickets near the entrance, "we like to have fun."  They sure do. 

As far as the breakfast, it is also my favourite...so far.  Baked beans are notably absent from the menu, but that is made up by the awesome hash browns.  The hash browns are made from scratch (not frozen) and have fried up onions with them as well, delish!  The bacon is thicker than the usual fare and very tasty.  The table offers home made muffins and squares of orange cheddar cheese to snack on while waiting for the 'main course'.  We were quickly attended to and gave our orders in robotic fashion.  I've ordered enough of these, I didn't need to think about it.  

There were plenty of characters there, as usual.  One; dressed in his janitor-green Dickies button down shirt, simply raised both his arms high in the air...each hand holding an empty ketchup bottle.  It was if he was signalling in some unknown form of semaphore that is only observed at a fireman's breakfast.  Of course, it was all in good fun and the helper had a good laugh along with the gentleman as she collected his empty bottles.

Our nearest 'neighbour' seemed a bit bummed out that he had been forgotten, and was anxiously waiting for his 'hungry man' serving of breakfast...He lamented, "mom must like you best" as Lisa and I received our hot plates of food before him.  I'm sure he had given his order before we arrived, but, hey, it ain't the Ritz!  

One of the male helpers was joking around with a buddy.  He motioned to an empty store room, opened the door and said, "it's a little chilly in there, but you'll get used to it."

Thank you Dayspring Fire department, for a great start to my weekend!


April 29, 2006

Roast Beef Supper with "all the trimmings" 

St. James Anglican Parish Hall, Mahone Bay Nova Scotia

Now, you might notice that Lisa and I attended not one, but two breakfasts/suppers today.  My doctor would probably not approve, but we could not help ourselves!  In the face of so much good food and company, it is hard to resist the allure of a church supper.  We were not dissapointed.

We almost went to the wrong event.  I had this weekend and next weekend mixed up, but luckily I consulted the local paper and realized that the only event to attend this afternoon was in picturesque Mahone Bay.  We arrived roughly 15 minutes before the 'offical' start of the supper and by that time there were already 20 or 30 people ahead of us in line.  We amused ourselves with idle chatter and had a chuckle at the local characters who were 'putting on a show' for the other diners in line.  Apparently I missed a bit of a dance one fellow performed, next time I must pay attention!  The people in line were decidedly less about complaining while they waited and were more cheerful.  Who knows why, but it was a welcome change from the moaning and groaning I often encounter waiting in line for these functions.  

We were greeted at the entrance to the hall by the gracious and smiling priest who welcomed us to the supper and gave us the 'lay of the land'. We were reminded to visit the Church's youth group bake table and told to seat ourselves where we liked.  Luckily we arrived early.  The hall rapidly filled to capacity as we sat down and waited to be served.

The table had the usual offerings:  dinner rolls, mixed sweet pickles, pickled beets, coleslaw and luckily....TABLE CAKE, hurray!  Our food arrived hot and enticing (sorry for the blurry photo):

Everything was delectable.  The mashed potatoes were smooth and almost creamy, with nary a mealy trace of lumps.  The turnip was also good and a rare treat since I never prepare it for myself.  The thinly sliced carrots and peas complimented the tender roast beef and gravy to perfection.  The coleslaw was crisp and tasty.  The pickled offerings were as good as it gets.  What a great meal!  But the good times were not over, the second act was perhaps the best...dessert....There were so many choices, I'm not sure I can remember them all.  Coconut cream pie was off the list by the time we ordered our dessert.  The remaining choices were: pumpkin, cherry, apple, blueberry and lemon meringue.  I'm probably forgetting some....

We took the lead of our 'neighbours' at our table and ordered our choice of pie along with a piece of table cake.  We really ran our helpers ragged, since we chose table cake from the nearby tables.  It was a good thing that we did because we got to enjoy this masterpiece:

For those of you unfamiliar with this offering, it is called Checkerboard Cake.  Luckily, the elderly woman to my left explained what it was and how it is made.  It involves a special pan to bake.  From what she said, this particular cake was rather fancy.  Checker board cake usually only has two types of batter; chocolate and vanilla.  This cake seemed to have one type of batter and was dyed into four different colours.  What a masterpiece!

I ravenously devoured my lemon meringue pie as my rapdily expanding belly tried to accept my piece of chocolate cake as well.  The icing tasted like it was made of the cream filling in a Boston Cream Pie.  Whatever it was, it was super.  There was also a tempting Angel Food tablecake with a lemon layer in the middle, a double chocolate table cake and  no doubt, many others as well.  

As you can see, there was no shortage of sweets at this supper.  I think the parish should reconsider changing the name of this supper, don't you?

The only complaint I have about the supper was the cramped conditions at our table.  It felt like I was eating on a commercial airplane with my arms close to my sides.  Nevertheless, we persevered and as you can see, it was well worth the effort!

Check out the far wall in the last photo, for some reason, the upper wall appears to be carpeted.  I wonder why?

 

The parish hall remained packed for the remainder of our dinner, but the line had abated slightly by the time we left.  I did notice many people standing and sitting as they waited for a spot to dine.  I guess the moral of the story is to follow the lead of the local supper veterans and get in line early!

Kudos to all involved with this supper.  Our gracious hosts, our helpful servers, the cooks and all other volunteers I have forgotten to acknowledge.  A fine end to a beautiful and tasty Saturday!

Stay tuned  for next week's review of the  Maitland  Variety Supper.  Home of  'the best tea' in Lunenburg  County.

 

April 22, 2006 

Parkdale/Maplewood Maple Syrup Supper

Parkdale/Maplewood Community Hall, Maplewood Nova Scotia

Another weekend, another round of community suppers, but which one to attend?  There was no contest this weekend, it had to be the annual Parkdale/Maplewood Maple Syrup supper.  The parking lot was packed, no surprise there...though I remember cars parked along the highway as well last year.  Regardless, we braved the rocky parking lot and surveyed the lineup for the supper:

The line didn't abate while we were standing in the warm springtime sun.  A cool breeze blew steadily as we listened to the locals chat:  "dere come anothah 6 people out....oh, another 2"...it seemed like a constant tally of how many content 'diners' were leaving the supper as the anxious supper-goers tried to calculate how soon they would be admitted.

As usual, I felt like we were the only people attending under the age of 50, but oh well.  There were various levels of 'dress-up-edness' and we definately fell somwhere between the teenagers wearing their hip hop gear purchased at the Bridgewater Mall and the Gospels (Pentecostals) waiting behind us wearing their Sunday suits and dresses.  Folks commented on how, "dey say dey brung down chartah busloads...mmmm, m'agine, this one is some popular....how many come out just now?....figger they'll have the horse pull here again...deow, they d'asn't...caledonia has the best one".....Never a dull moment while waiting in line, that's for sure!

We actually worked our way up the line much quicker than expected.  There seemed to be a bit of jostling at the doorway entering the hall where a kind woman with thickly penciled-in eyebrows was trying her best to seat all of us as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  Her young soft-spoken pimply faced 4-H helper was relaying the seats available to her as she announced what was free, "I have 2 singles.....3 over here....6.."  Six, we thought?  I looked back behind us and asked, "we've got 3 pairs here, right?"  The folks behind us quickly agreed and we were in like flynn.

Once we found our seats by the stage we entered the short lineup to get our grub.  Pancakes, hash browns, boiled ham, breakfast sausages, baked beans and Lunenburg sausage were the meal of the day and everything smelled great.  The workers in the kitched scurried around frantically, refilling small maple syrup jugs from one enormous container, cleaning off plates so they could be washed and handed out again, cooking pancakes, it was quite the sight.  Finally we sat down to eat.

Trust me, this picture does not do the meal justice.  Actually, looking at the picture, it does look kind of gross, but believe me; it was all delish.  After a liberal dose of maple syrup was applied to just about everything on my plate..well; everything actually, I dug in to my meal.

The woman assigned to our table was friendly and helpful, though getting the attention of the gentleman with the carafe full of strong tea was a little difficult.  After several attempts, I just walked over to the table he was attending and plopped down our mugs.  I think he was a bit perturbed, but this reviewer needed some hot liquids, and fast! 

The supper was as good as always, especially the ham.  Maybe it's because I rarely cook ham for myself, for whatever reason, it tasted great.  I have a soft spot for Lunenburg sausage and 'pudden', the sausage was spicy and as grey as it should be. (^_^)

The table was stocked with some nice looking homemade brown bread (I passed on it this time, my plate of food was plenty), bread and butter pickles, pickled beets and some buns.  For desert, they offered vanilla ice cream.  I drizzled maple syrup on it as well and at that point I probably entered a mild hypo glycemic state.  My final mug of tea had no sweetener in it, I had all the sugar I needed in my belly!

The closest estimate was about 7 or 800 people were served from 1-6 pm, quite the turnout!  Afterwards, we perused the community musuem , checked out the maple syrup, powdered maple sugar, maple roasted coffee beans, maple sugar, jams and preserves for sale as well as the stand of Watkins products being sold by my old junior high math teacher.

All in all, another successful supper..Keep your eyes peeled for the Maplewood Lunenburg County Traditional Supper later on in the summer, it is an event not to be missed! 

April 14, 2006

Good Friday Baked Bean and Salad Supper

Upper Cornwall Community Hall, Upper Cornwall Nova Scotia

After a leisurely cruise (looking for brake burns, of course!) from Mahone Bay--Chester Basin--New Ross--The Forties we arrived in Upper Cornwall shortly after the supper had 'officially' started...I have observed that the 'hard core' supper element arrives to these functions extremely early and this event was no exception! 


As you can see, there were plenty of folks already in the hall eating when we arrived at ~4:10 pm, only 10 minutes after the 'offical' start....Luckily, the sun had just started to come out, so we didn't have to contend with rain/drizzle while waiting.  The talk of the other people in line turned to the usual topics....the length of line, how big the line was last year, whether or they thought they'd make the 'second sitting' and so on.....I noticed the same woman come out of the supper that I ran in to at our aborted attempt at the First South supper...her belly full, and full of tales of the delights that awaited us inside.  By all accounts, she arrived at 3:30, and "just in time".  I thought I was a veteran, but sadly, I think I'm still a 'newb'... (^__^)

The process to get seated was one of the most orderly I have seen, there was a clear lineup that snaked from the door and back again to a makeshift 'door' that we entered through (you can see the frame at the top left in the photo)...this was interesting, since we had to stare face to face with the supper goers who were facing us in line...they were the lucky ones, only 10 bodies away from sustinence...As always, it was hard not to look at those eating supper, but we tried our best to not gawk and make people feel rushed. 


Once seated, we were quickly served and presented with a plate with 'the works':  goulash, baked beans and scalloped potatoes.  All were tasty, though none were stand-out offerings, but scrumptious nonetheless...All manner of goodies were also on the table including:  rolls, bread and butter pickles, coleslaw, potato salad (decoratively presented in bowls lined with lettuce leaves---nice touch!), pickled beets, choice of tea, coffee, water and Kool-aid (OH YEAH!!)....and of course...table cake.

Now, for those of you who are unaware, table cake is not standard at every supper I've attended, but not uncommon either.  I'm sure the gentleman seated across from us was glad that the desert was on the table and not on the standard 'desert' table.  I personally watched him eat 4 or 5 pieces of chocolate cake after dinner!  He kept goading his 'neighbour' at the table with taunts like, "you ain't full yet, ahr yah?"  The man he was talking to was actually quite plump but seemed to eat a reasonable amount of food unlike his wife.  Unbeknownst to me, but carefully observed by my partner in crime; Lisa, his petite wife packed away more food than her rotund 'better half', then proceeded to give the plate of squares the 'once-over' and then ate a chocolate brownie, chocolate cup cake, and then a piece of that delectable chocolate-chocolate table cake and as we were leaving she asked one of the young servers to bring her yet another plate of squares to peruse after she had 'clearcut' the first plate...Ah, good times in the Maritimes....Personally, I had the carrot cake and it was to die for!! 

After all was said and done, we tried to make as rapid an egress as possible, but not before I captured this video of the hall to try and convey how packed and busy it was!  The line did not let up the entire time we were there, I wonder if it is this possible every time they hold it?  All in all, a great time, with lots of fodder for stories and the food was 'some good''.


April 9, 2006

First South Variety Supper

Well, as you can see from the pictures, this supper was 'off the chain'!  Best estimate was a 45 minute wait, so we decided to bail...I feel like a quitter, I think this is the first supper I've ever bailed on because of the wait...still, the aromas of all the staples of the church supper wafted enticingly into the foyer...calling me....

 

At any rate, it was just fun to see so many people out for a supper! 

 

April 1, 2006

Blandford Community Hall

Corned Beef and Cabbage supper 

Last weekend was slim pickin's for suppers, but 'the season' has just started, so beggars couldn't be choosers, right?  After tossing around various options, the plan for the day was to drive to Halifax for some lazy day shopping/browsing and to hit the supper on the way home...

Now, the last time we tried to find this hall for a breakfast was about a month ago and we failed miserably.  Blandford is on the tip of the Aspotogan Peninsula:

 

If you've never taken this loop, I highly recommend it.  There are a couple of neat coves nestled with the typical 'rustic' Nova Scotia fishing villages that populate most of the post cards churned out in Upper Canada or whereever they make those 'Halifax in Fog' post cards....At any rate, it's a fun drive.

After passing a couple of interesting beaches (note to self, check 'em out!), we entered Blandford proper and started to get nervous....Beyond a dead end road with Covey's auto recyclers, a fishing plant and the requisite number of churches (who goes to all these churches?), we found no sign of the Blandford Community Hall...Luckily, we didn't panic and further down the road we found the road side sign pointing us towards the supper. 

The parking lot looked packed, I was reminded of a supper last year where some old bitty kept nattering on about "I think we'll make the second sitting..yes, we should make the second sitting, I think they just finished the first sitting, etc.."  Luckily, she was not here to ruin our fun and was probably driving her husband crazy in some backwoods corner of Chelsea....A couple of people who stumbled in after us echoed those same concerns, but only jokingly...

As with most suppers, Lisa and I were just about the only people there under 50 who weren't related to someone who was working at the supper, so we felt right at home...There was a little wait to buy a ticket and then the fun started...

The Blandford hall is basically a big gymnasium and this made for a comfortable setting.  There were plenty of overflow chairs waiting at the ready, though none were being used when we arrived.   There were probably at least 100 people sitting down when we arrived.  The tables were long and there was plenty of room to sit (unlike the sardine can seating arrangement at last year's Chelsea Fire Dept. strawberry supper, but that's another story), so we sought out the "woman in purple" who was running the seating arrangements.   She was 'hands on', with her cold hands clutching our arms, she graciously led us to our spot, next stop...the grub.

Corned beef and cabbage is about as Lunenburg County as it gets and this supper did not dissapoint.  By the time I reached the end of the food table, my plate was heaped with a generous portion of corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes and turnip.  On the table, we had prepared mustard, mustard and bread and butter pickles and dinner rolls to choose from to adorn our plates.  There was also vinegar in spice jars with a hole punched in the top as a condiment.  I was puzzled, as I had never used vinegar as a condiment, but a kind co-diner informed me it was for cabbage, though she "never used the stuff".

Lisa informed me that the corned beef could have been rinsed another time.  I had to agree, as the corned beef was plenty salty, but, it just meant you didn't need to add any salt to the meal, that's for sure!  Cheery servers made regular rounds offering tea, coffee and water.  The water was ice cold and heaven sent after ingesting a year's daily requirement of salt, and I gladly took up every offer.

For desert, we were presented with a seemingly neverending table of sweets.  Each group had a corresponding piece of masking tape at the foot of the table identifying what it was.  Lemon meringue pie, apple crumble, blueberry and pumpkin pies, it was hard to choose.  Lisa chose the dark pumpkin pie and I chose the light one, turns out the dark one was better and more spice filled, but both were yummy.

The meal ended with a pleasant conversation with some folks who had just sat down.  Talk turned to upcoming suppers (April 22 maple syrup festival in Maplewood seemed to be the event to attend), where we were from and other pleasantries.  Somehow, we found the energy to stand up and head home, bellies full and flowing with funny observations of those seated next to us at dinner.

If you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend a drive out to Blandford for another iteration of their community suppers.  Apparently their roast beef supper can sell out and they have run out of food in the past, so remember...in Lunenburg County, if the dinner  starts at 4:30, expect a lineup for 4:30.  Folks around here eat supper EARLY!



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