First, a note or two about our guide…
Boars have a long and sordid history with feasts. In the early years (medieval times) Boars were known as the “king” of the forest and wielded their power in a ferocious and menacing manner. Men feared the boar as an evil creature. Indeed, this reputation caused many a boar to lose their head —quite literally, for the first dish served at many Roman feasts was a Boar’s head.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Boar’s Head Feast which originated in the dining hall at Queen’s College in Oxford, England around 1340. Legend holds that a scholar, studying a book of Aristotle on his way to the Midnight Mass, was attacked by a less-than-convivial wild boar. The scholar triumphed by cramming his philosophy book down the throat of the boar. The Boar’s Head Feast was held in celebration of man’s triumph over the boar.
But from the moment philosophy was introduced (rather forcefully) to the boar a slow and steady progression began. And now, just think, only a few hundred years later, a much more refined and wise boar presents as our guide to the philosophy and celebration of feasts —ahhh, the ironies of life…you just can’t make this stuff up.
What is a feast?
According to dictionaries, a feast is a large meal typically prepared in celebration of something. When used as a verb feast means to eat and drink sumptuously. And as delightful as those definitions are, allow me to suggest a more liberating view.
For our purposes, let’s focus on the experience of any celebrated and savored moment ushered in by food and drink. Using this lens, a feast need not be large —one or two feasters can be plenty. The food need not be elaborate (though it can), for one unique, storied creation will suffice. Nor, must it be an accepted holiday or particular celebration —any moment will do and is often the best.
For you see, my friend, Marrow & Nectar is not simply the marriage of food and drink…it is the celebration of devouring life’s moments and savoring their essence.
Our quest is to appreciate the art of feasts and feast-making and the power that unique creations can have on an otherwise ordinary moment. Along our path, there will be feasts! We will chop, stir, smoke, sauté and whisk our way at times. We will navigate through study of ingredients, techniques and inspired dishes.
Occasionally, we will seek help from experience-tested guides. But our path is not on the straight and narrow, for it meanders, and we must stroll through philosophical wisdom, humorous anecdotes, historical meanings and musings of the moment. Oh, and don’t worry about those ferocious and menacing boars, the ones we encounter will likely be of the convivial sort—but let’s arm ourselves with a philosophy book just in case.
Much like the creations and moments we will celebrate, what makes our quest unique is the lack of any formulaic rigidity and our knowledge that it belongs only to us in this moment.
Shall we begin, my friend?