Sunday, December 26, 2010


How on earth do people do it?

The maximum crowd I ever had to cook for was 36, a daunting task about 15 years ago for my annual Ladies' Brunch/Women's Christmas.

Today, at the Hash, food was prepared for ninety people. 90! And mainly by one person.

And yes, it was all hash. Hash turkey, hash ham, hash beef, hash beans, hash potatoes. All piping hot set upon the outside BBQ, portable electric roasting tins, oven, stove top and hot plates. At one point I could almost see the sides of the house bulge with all the guests wandering about.

The old folk have passed on now but their adult children use the house for parties and get-togethers and summer and winter stays and hunting (the menfolk all went out to hunt a moose early this morning, and yes, they were successful).

All ages were in attendance and there must have been forty different kinds of dessert all homemade. The walls were covered in the paintings of the deceased matriarch whom I knew for a few years before she died. A well-known artist.

The history of the family has been written by a professor out of Boston. Massachusetts and Newfoundland are so well connected through the centuries by the intermingled fishing grounds that Massachusetts is still called “The Boston States” here. The family is still very active in fishing and now it is a daughter, recently certified as a master mariner, who is set to take it over.

I met many interesting people including the family chaplain, a couple of lawyers, a media consultant, a police chief, a politician and a judge. Before I left, I was presented with a copy of the aforementioned book which I can hardly wait to get into it as it reads like a novel. I can't imagine fishing in these tiny dories out in the rough ocean. Countless fishermen died in them, including the direct ancestor of the host family who left a wife and seven young children who were all successful in spite of their incredible poverty.

Along the way over the holidays, a friend gave me this gorgeous handmade driftwood/drift glass piece to hang in my window.

It says:

“How Sweet The Salty Air”.

But as “Alone at Sea” reminds me, the sea can be deadly too.


  1. I'm always impressed by people who seem to throw a big meal together effortlessly. I would be stressed and not find it an enjoyable experience at all, even though I'm not a "bad" cook. I mean, I can follow a recipe as well as the next person, but putting a meal on the table for company almost always feels like a burden and pressure, to me.

  2. What struck me as well Katie was that she had the time to greet and SERVE everyone and clear away fresh spots for people to sit at. I have never seen anything like it. She made it all appear so effortless with no evidence of frazzle at all. And she had that rare gift of making it seem like you were the only one who was important in the house.
    It is truly a gift.

  3. Those of us who think we have difficult lives should spare a thought for the likes of fishermen, who face huge dangers and very tough demands when they're out at sea. They really do have difficult lives.

  4. do you have any snow? In the photo it looks rainy and green. We are just getting our first snowfall now and it is welcome here in skiing country. It helps the local economy which is mostly tourism.

  5. Did the hash taste as good as the event sounds, WWW? I bet it did !

    Love the window hanging. We have a big box filled with "sea glass" that we collected on the beach in East Yorkshire when Himself came to stay during the time we waited for my visa, our wedding etc. We should get around to doing something with the glass - it's so pretty. :-)

  6. It sounds like a 'hash' is a very good place to be. It seems like there are lots of interesting people there and lots of good food. What a thrilling night.

  7. Did you also have moose hash for teatime?

    Sounds like a memorable gathering indeed. I certainly couldn't cater for 90 either. Or even 36.


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