Sunday, October 3, 2010

Smoke In My Hair

Each fall, reenactors gather at old Fort Ouiatenon for the Feast of the Hunter's Moon for a weekend of sleeping in tents and wearing 18th-century clothing. Serious reenactors play soldiers who march in parades and recreate battles. Others serve as merchants at tents selling crafts, clothing, toys, and food from the time period. Tourists gather to buy wooden guns, drink root beer out of a blue glass bottle, and most importantly to soak up the smoky scent that lingers for days afterwards, even after showering.

I try to go every year if possible, because I think that it's one of those things that just can't be missed. It's impossible to capture the Feast in pictures or words, because more than the sights or sounds, for me the Feast is about the smells and tastes. Breathing in the smoke- and leather-scented air and clutching your hot cider for warmth (the Feast is always too cold or too rainy, but nobody minds) is the true essence of the Feast and the only way to get that is to head to Fort Ouiatenon yourself. 

This year, I went with Shriya and two other friends, none of whom I had ever gone to the Feast with before. We walked through many tents and ate tons of food, and the best part is that no one made fun of my obsession with the Amazing Budabi Brothers. But why am I still talking about the Feast? Let's get on with the food. And keep in mind when you look at the food below that this was food from all four of us, so I didn't personally eat all of it! I will acknowledge that I ate too much, but I sure didn't eat this much!

This right here is the reason to go to the Feast. Called a forfar bridie, these warm meat pies are perfect in every way and are totally worth the weird waxy aftertaste. 

These are marketed as Apple Sundaes, but don't have any ice cream, which I usually think of as integral to the presence of a sundae. Still, I'm all for apples and caramel.

I've never actually tried a croquinole, but the word on the street is that they are divine. Like donuts but square with a slit in the center, croquinoles are sweet fried dough dusted in cinnamon sugar. 

I'm really not a meat person, but something about the Feast turns me into a meat-craving caveman. I satisfied that with a nice piece of feasty beef jerky.

Mm. A warm sample of freshly baked bread. 

Corn on the cob is always sold perfectly buttery and salty by New Community School, where I went to school when I was really little. 

Cornbread, seen here with honey and sugar, is really more like a corn pancake. 

French onion soup is soul-warming. 

Apple dumplings are one of the most popular desserts at the Feast, and it is clear why. They line up the bowls of baked dumplings and then pour a warm gooey appley sauce on top.

The crispy, caramelly, burnt part underneath is the best. 

Cool pumpkin pie finished off the evening perfectly. 

1 comment:

  1. Note: In addition to being too cold or too muddy, the Feast can also be too hot.

    My favorite are the people who make and/or wear buckskin clothes decorated with elaborate colorful patterns made of tiny pieces of dyed, flattened porcupine quill. Try explaining THAT at the employment office...