Monday, November 25, 2013

A Wedding Celebration: Wine, Food, Laughter

In Nova Scotia this past summer the family celebrated the recent marriage of Paula and Laurie's son Kenneth to Christine.  The wedding had taken place in Ontario and a couple or so weeks later Ken and Christine  arrived in N.S.  As none of us had been able to attend their wedding, we decided to celebrate it in our own unique fashion.  Little did they suspect!

We are known for our skits--at least by friends and family.  Over the years we have had many celebrations but always with a twist and a lot of good humour: birthdays, weddings, a sister's  university post graduate degree (with the shenanigans that no university could possibly outshine) and another sister's induction into the Catholic church (one no church could possibly equal).  All of the earlier celebrations were held some years after the fact.

These, of course, were dress-up affairs, with hats and clothing found in our basements or attics and many made up from cardboard or whatever else could be found.  All of them were kept secret from the honorees, which meant that much of the fun (with lots of laughter) was in the actual preparation beforehand.  It was no different this time, even though the actual wedding had been only a short time before.
Christine and Ken surprised us all by coming down the stairs in full wedding regalia, he in his great dress suit and Christine in her beautiful white gown.  All of it had been carried in suitcases on the flight from Ontario where they had been married in Christine's home town.  Both Ken and Christine are university professors and that is where they met--at the university.  Little did they know what was planned for them on this summer afternoon.  
The Toast

John Brier, a close friend of the family, brought the Mumm's Champagne and he poured for the toast to the bride and groom. 

Laurie, the father of the groom, gave the toast to the happy couple.

Below, John, the bride and groom and my sister Carol.
On the table was a German bottle of Henkell Trocken which one can also buy in Nova Scotia.
John pouring the Champagne at right.

 Below, the father of the groom in centre toasting his son and new daughter-in-law.  Sister Carol at right.

The kiss and the dance

Below left, something funny going on!  Sisters Paula (mother of the groom), Anne and Carol. To the right, the line-up:  John, Laurie (father of the groom), Ken (groom) and Stephen (uncle of the groom)

The bride and groom did not know that we had more planned.

The Skits

Half of the fun is getting ready for the skits.  Paula and Anne did most of that this time, with Paula hauling out everything she could find from her attic.  Carol and I joined in.  After the toast, we headed outside to the back yard where the bushes were in bloom and the sun was shining.

Anne (on the left below) made a unique Mistress of Ceremonies.  Her husband Stephen was a knock-out as was Paula, the mother of the groom.  The bride looked beautiful and totally normal!  Below, centre, the groom taking pictures of the show. 


Christine is of Dutch descent, thus the wooden shoes in her honour.  Amazing what can be found in an attic or a secondhand store.

 The guests arrive.

For posterity:  The family

A moment caught!

A step in time!  Four sisters and friend

The Feast

No wedding is complete without food and a special cake.

Carol and Paula above getting things ready with a few appetizers
My camembert appetizer almost melted away in the oven.  This is simple to make and excellent.  I have given this recipe previously in one of my earlier blog posts, but it is popular enough to give again.  I have served it many times over the years.  Crackers were placed in the dish later.  I prefer thin slices of French bread with the cheese, although crackers are fine as well.  Along with it, serve hot pepper jelly on the side to spoon on if wished.

Baked Camembert:  Slice a 125g (4.4 oz) round camembert (or brie) in half horizontally.  Mix together in a small bowl 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, 1 teaspoon lemon juice.  (Don't use more garlic unless it is a small one as you don't want it to override the flavour.)  Spread parsley mixture over the bottom half of the Camembert; top with remaining cheese disc.  Place in heatproof serving dish; cover with foil and bake in 375F/190C oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is softened and starts to melt.  Serve from the bowl with crackers or French bread.  (On this occasion, I used a large-sized camembert and doubled the recipe.  This recipe was from Canadian Living, Dec. 1995.)

Now for the main course:  Ham, cole slaw, bean salad and potato scallop, prepared by Paula.

On the plate:  the potato scallop at right, top, with ham and two salads

The red cole slaw was lovely.  Here is the recipe, which Paula found in a cookbook by The Best of Bridge authors.  It is in The Best of the Best, one of their later books, which was published in 1998.  I have that whole collection and many I have tried and they are very good.  I believe they are still in print.  If not, look in a secondhand bookstore.  

Recipe for the coleslaw is called Regina Beach Coleslaw in the book.  It calls for cabbage without specifying the type.  For effect, Paula made it with both green and red.  She mentioned that the red cabbage bleeds if left in the slaw too long and suggests using just green.  However, I find that even though it did run, it was colourful and tasted great.

Cabbage Slaw:  Makes 3 quarts/liters. 

Vegetable ingredients:  Place in a bowl 3 lbs of cabbage shredded , 2 large carrots, coarsely grated, 1 white onion, chopped and 1-1/2 cups sugar. 

Dressing Ingredients:  1 cup salad oil, 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon celery seed. 

Place the cabbage, carrots and onion in a large bowl; sprinkle the sugar over the top.

Place the dressing ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil; boil until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour it over the vegetables in the bowl and mix all well.  If using that day or the next, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  (Or, as the recipe says, place in sterilized jars as the salad will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.)  Drain before serving.

The icing on the cake at the end of the meal! 

The most important food at any wedding is the cake.  John made and brought the cheesecake.  I still wish I had eaten another piece!  It was so, so good.  I do not have his recipe but perhaps next summer he will give it to me.  Another happy couple, a small set of mice, top the cake.

The bride and groom cutting the cake

That ended a special day with the happy couple, family members and a good friend.  Champagne, delicious food and sunshine added to it all.

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