Supper club | The Coast Halifax

Supper club

Dear Jennifer,

Dad and I really enjoyed visiting with Stewart in Halifax this weekend; his new apartment is full of character. I didn’t know you could buy street signs (surely he wouldn’t have taken them, would he?) and I’ve never seen such a large collection of shot glasses—bigger than even Aunt Mabel’s spoon collection! His room is nice—he calls it “college chic”—and he has a Canadian flag for his window (so patriotic). It’s amazing what he’s done with milk crates. Almost as nice as that Ikea modular furniture, they are. He got the classes he wanted; none of them start before noon, which gives him plenty of morning library time. We thought his roommates were very nice, even if your father did stare a little too hard at the boy with all those rings in his lip and the tattoo on his face—your brother introduced him as Crazy Harry, but your father and I can just call him Harold.

I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear your brother cooked a gourmet meal for us—I know, he doesn’t really cook, but he went all out, and on his own budget and everything.

First we started with cocktails and h’ors d’ouevres. Your father had an Old Milwaukee and I had a glass of white wine, Great White, I believe it was called. Not sure of the vintage, but the white went nicely with the seafood canapes. After the first couple of sips, the harshness faded and I was able to really enjoy a few more glasses. The canapes, I think they were tinned sardines on crackers. The crackers were the plastic-wrapped kind that come in twos, like the ones in cafeterias for when you order soup.

And speaking of soup, our first course was an interesting tomato consomme. It was a little acidic and sharp, but the colour was good, a deep red. Oh, I must remember to send him up a care package, I noticed his ketchup bottle was empty. There was a nice herb garnish as well, which for some reason reminded your father and I of our college years.

Next he served a cold Oriental salad. It was a little bit of ramen noodles, with seasoning sprinkled over the top. He doesn’t have much in the way of dishes, so he served that right in the cardboard bowl it came in, and we passed it around and ate communally as the Asians do. Very authentic! In fact, I suspect the whole meal was planned around an Asian theme, certainly Japanese as we ate sitting on the floor. Stewart does have a table, but it was full of empty bottles. Apparently, Harold is very charitable and is doing a bottle drive for orphans.

Your brother is so ingenious. For our palate cleanser, he served a sorbet ice—we watched as he scraped it right from the inside wall of the old refrigerator’s freezer compartment! I wasn’t sure about that, but your father says a little bit of Freon won’t hurt anyone.

Our main course was pasta with cheese sauce. It was an interesting noodle, short and round, almost like macaroni but straight. The sauce was a brilliant orange, and quite thick. There was some kind of meat on the side; I’m not sure what that was as it was very crunchy—I didn’t want to hurt Stewart’s feelings by asking, so I only ate a little of that, your father ate all his and the rest of mine. I think it may have been donair meat, although your brother said he hadn’t had any donair for a week and I’m sure he wouldn’t have kept it that long.

For dessert there was a specialty of his that he calls mock apple pie. He made it in the sandwich maker that we gave him, you know, the one we saw on television. Who knew that crackers, butter and slices of bread could taste so much like real pie? For a special touch, a little bit of Velveeta cheese spread was on the side—it’s practically the same thing as cheddar.

Anyway, it was a lovely meal, so nice of him to want to do it all. We offered to take him to dinner, but he insisted on doing this. We’re looking forward to coming down to Wolfville to visit you next week and hear about your new semester. The pictures you sent were very nice; your dorm room looks so cozy with the matching curtains and quilt that Nana gave you. Is that nice restaurant that we went to last time still open?

Well, Jen, that’s it for now. I really must go check on your father; he seems to be suffering a little gastrointestinal distress since we got back from the city.

Love Mom

Stewart’s gourmet dinner Menu

Seafood Canapes1 tin sardines ($2.99)Crackers (free at any place that sells soup)Smear sardines on crackers, pass around

Tomato consomme1 bottle No Name ketchup ($2.79)4 cups hot water (from tap)Garnish ($1, at current rate of $10/gram)Heat water in large pot, empty bottle of ketchup into potSprinkle with garnish of choice

SaladMr. Noodle-in-a-cup ($1.29)Follow package directions

Main CourseMacaroni and Cheese (No Name version) (99 cents)Donair meat (collect at Pizza Corner any weekend night from leftovers or drunks)Boil water as per package directions, cook al dente, drain and stir in orange cheese powder. Lay bits of meat along the side.

DessertCrackers (free, see seafood canapes)Bread for crust ($1.29/loaf)Velveeta ($1.39/tube)

Crush crackers, and sandwich between two slices of bread. Cut in half and press in triangular wells of non-stick sandwich maker. Remove when golden brown. Squeeze on Velveeta.

Bon appetit!

Originally published September 1, 2005.