“Wow, well yes that is a pig, that is a bit confronting…” this was the words that a friend that had come along for my wife’s 40th stated as she saw me lift the suckling pig rotating over the coals onto the cutting board.
It was my wife’s 40th birthday and too many it was both a revelation and a bit confronting to see where their meal really came from.In the end everyone handled it well particularly our 4 year old who is well aware of where her meat comes from.
My wife and I had run around for a couple of days madly cooking up a storm, rather than outsource it we decided that we would make it ourselves. It ended up being a lot cheaper and allowed us to control the process and to a greater degree the ingredients.
To people it was like “you made all of that” and yes we did. My parents helped. We organized what we could in advance. Baked the quinces, blood plum crumble, rhubarb crumble and nectarine pie. We purchased the veggies from our local farmer’s market stall holders, the birds and meat from our local butcher and what we had grown ourselves we used first. The rolls from our local family bakery down the road. The cake from the local lady who runs the Greek deli. As with so much else in our country we had to buy some things from the duopoly supermarkets but we kept that to a very small minimum.
We tried to do the permie thing of slowing water down but with the money getting it into the smaller businesses that are family run, letting it drip down into the society growing people and the local community not just letting it run away like a flood gouging our society an then being stored in huge dams that destroy much of what was once there beneath it.
Yes I could have outsourced it, it would have cost me a bit more been a lot easier but there is value in cooking a meal for those you value enough to invite to such an event.
Yes we cheated, some party pies and some crackers (cheese from the local cheese maker and the quince and pear from my mum) and small goods from the local family run Mediterranean supermarket. We did what we could and didn’t lose any sleep over what we couldn’t.
I think for some the idea of catering for 60-70 with a whole suckling pig is just a bit big to start with and that is fine. Start small make one course but give it a try and even if you can’t do it go and get what you can from a local supplier. Do what you can.
You are inviting those nearest and dearest to you, most of them are statistically are likely to work for a smaller business in this country so if you just outsource it or go to the big two for everything then you are to a degree having a party at their expense where they are invited along.
At the end of the day we had a great time, kids ran around and had a ball, 15 kids sang happy birthday to my wife which she thought was just the cutest happy birthday she had heard. We spoke to friends we ate, yes we ate and all in all we have a great time.
And as a side note people looked at my garden and many said they got inspiration from it they browsed chatted made new friends.
We used to celebrate this way. Something special now I see people eating out every day we are so wealthy we can feast by times gone past standards every day.
They out, outsource their meals to restaurants or to large conglomerates (see people doing the birthday party at MacDonald’s).
The feasting is supposed to be a special occasion thing to celebrate a milestone, the harvest, the birth of child a wedding, a religious milestone. Hopefully people will head back this way. We cannot continue to feast each day. It does not at all help the world, the poor get poorer the world gets more waste but for us it is just as corrosive. It makes us unhealthy, it becomes the norm, the gray, it ends up having no value. It makes our minds as fat as our bodies. A feast is an event and should be something to look forward to. Very different from celebrating the day to day with our friends, family and neighbors with a simple meal.
Go out and plan a feast for an event. Do what you can yourself and see if the feast is so very different from your normal day to day? If it is not then we you may need to get back to some peaks and troughs to enjoying things simple and really enjoying the feasts.