Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ukrainian High Tea & the Talent Show at L'Abri

One of my favourite times of the week at L'Abri is Sunday evenings, high tea.

High tea is a time where a worker or a team of helpers craft together a special meal with some sort of activity for the community to participate in afterwards. Past activities have included games, book readings, story tellings, poetry writing and readings...

Liz and I were given the honour of putting on one of the high teas in the middle of term. For the weeks leading up, we discussed different meal and activity combinations such as camping and a scavenger hunt.

In the end, we decided on a Ukrainian theme and a talent show.
The meal would be comprised of борщ (borsch), варе́ники (varenyky), and капуста (cabbage). The dessert would be classic apple pie - Liz is a pie whiz and we couldn't miss this chance to whip up a pie.
The activity would be a talent show.

Liz got started on the borsch on Saturday night, prepping the beets to be cooked. In the morning, we both skipped church to rest and start working on the meal. We wouldn't be serving food till 6 or 6:30 PM, but there's a lot to do when you're feeding 13 people.

I started by peeling potatoes and Liz was the Queen of the Apples.
We progressed into make the dough and the filling for the varenyky.

Varenyky are Ukrainian dumplings. They're like pierogies but pierogies aren't Ukrainian. We would be making the dough with a kefir and the filling would be a simple with potatoes and cheese.

Two giant pots of borscht were concocted. It felt good knowing that, guaranteed, at least one part of the meal was ready and edible and in abundance.

The varenyky were time consuming but worth it. We filled sheet after sheet with the little dumplings and then put them in the freezer. The great thing was that we could cook them up in just a few minutes, right before the meal was to be served.

Mid-varenyky-fold, it was announced that someone had some archery equipment in her van.
"Archery?" "Archery!"
The lads of the house were especially excited. Most folks made a quick run for the outdoors while Liz and I stayed and worked in the kitchen. Jessamy Louise and Tim took pictures for me of the moment.

The presentation of the meal is also of some importance for high tea. At L'Abri, we like beauty and we strive to present things in a beautiful way. At one point, at L'Abri, I could count 14 different vases and pots of flowers and plants, all scattered about.

Liz not only is the Queen of the Apples and the Queen of Pies, she's also the Queen of Décor.

One day I saw her wander into the woods and about 10 minutes later, she came out with this in hand:

In the end, our table setting looked like this:

All credit goes towards Liz.

Cabbage was chopped into slices and then deliciously roasted.

Varenyky was pulled out of the freezer and then boiled.

And the meal was served.

After all that has been happening in Ukraine, it's been on our minds, hearts, and in our conversation lately. We said a prayer for Ukraine. I love that country.

The meal was delicious.

After the meal, we had a talent show. Here's a few highlights from it:

I'd love to add captions but that would take another hour of time that I don't have in me. I think many of them are best left un-captioned...

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