“The teeming autumn, big with rich increase…” (Sonnet XCVII, 6)
| In this issue:
“Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy…”
(As You Like It, 4.3)
| Feasts in Shakespeare – a Few Toothsome Readings
A convivial setting for a meeting of minds, an opportunity to unveil a cunning plan, or a sneaky excuse to catch out a nemesis… Beyond being a site for pageantry and elaborate culinary merry-making, and offering a sociological snapshot of largesse, Shakespeare’s feasts often serve as set pieces enabling plots to twist. To use an art-historical analogy, the Bard’s feasts are less Dutch stilleven, more italo-renaissance bacchanal – particularities of foodstuff take second place to the figures around the table, and their machinations.
For those who want to tuck in to a spread of Shakespeare-ish food facts, we offer up the following choice morsels:
- “In Shakespeare’s Plays, Mealtimes Were A Recipe For Drama” – Anne Bramley, writing for NPR’s The Salt, tracks feasts as dramaturgical devices across a comedy/tragedy divide in the Bard’s opus.
- Liza Picard, in an article for the British Library, offers an overview of some of the socio-culinary realities of “Food in Elizabethan England”.
- “Dangerous Feasts and the Social Appetite in Macbeth and Titus Andronicus” – From the 2012 Colloquium of the Société Française Shakespeare, Natalia Brzozowska presents a reflection on feasting, ritual, and deviance in two of Shakespeare’s bloodier works.
- For those with a ravening appetite for information about 17th century foodways, exhibition notes from a 1999 exhibit at the Folger (curated by Mary Anne Caton), Fooles and Fricassees: Food in Shakespeare’s England, offer up a fair few explications, and trails to contemporary sources.
“Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
| A Warming Fall Recipe
Carrot Ginger Soup
Inspired by the changing leaves, this soup is bright, and spiced enough to keep any ill-will away. (Begone plague!) I used a Chatelaine recipe as a jumping off point, and modified it to what I had available (that, in my opinion, is the best part of soup-ing: COVID-friendly cupboard shopping).
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion
- 2 tbsp butter, or olive oil
- 6 large carrots (organic if possible)
- 2 tsps grated fresh ginger , or 2 1/2 tsp bottled minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I didn’t have any)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth (I quickly made my own using extra veg in the fridge)
Chop onions and garlic roughly, heat the butter (or oil) in a large pot, over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Peel and chop the carrots (you can add sweet potato, parsnip or squash) into 1 cm coins and add to the onions along with the ginger. Add the seasonings and stir, followed by the water and broth. For a thicker soup, add more carrots or ½ cup less water.
Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer, cook until the vegetables are tender.
Ladle ⅓ of soup into a food processor and blend, repeat with remaining thirds until smooth.
And, as Shakespeare would have it, serve warm, with fresh cracked pepper (and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt), at a banquet dinner with your ghostly, backstabbing friends and treasonous daughters. Can be enjoyed next to an ale, “For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.” (Winter’s Tale, 4.2).
As Repercussion adapts to the profoundly altered arts landscape during this time of crisis, we humbly ask that you consider becoming a monthly donor, or making a charitable contribution.
Your valued patronage enables us to keep developing new works, kickstart theatre careers, and nurture strong community connections grounded by the arts.
“They are the books, the arts, the academes, that show, contain and nourish all the world.”
(Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3)
| A Note on Art-as-Community
Although we’re all still navigating shifting pandemic levels, ongoing physical distancing, and trying to settle what, exactly, live entertainment looks like in these latter months of 2020, there’s something to be said for the doggèd determination of arts practitioners and aficionados to keep on keeping on. While reflecting on what we may be thankful for in this humdinger of a year, let’s be sure to include the art that continues to sustain us.
Even though we can’t necessarily sit in the same theatre, or meander through a museum together, there’s nothing stopping us from showing some #ArtsAppreciation, and sharing, even if only digitally, art that remains vital. Why not tag us, and your friends, with a favourite piece, virtual exhibit, or artistic reflection? No context necessary.