What do you get if you cross an inability to cook with the catering needs of twenty five hungry Europeans and a healthy dose of chutzpah? Cheese on toast masquerading as Welsh Rarebit. Tesco’s fish, McCains’ chips and a copy of the Macclesfield Express becoming traditional English fish and chips. A pan of scouse cooked by a Widnesian morphing into Irish stew. And what can only be described as people getting merrier than expected on Laphroaig being reborn as a Scottish whisky tasting evening.
Mid-March saw the General Executive Body of Don Bosco Youth Net meeting at Savio House in Bollington. With twenty-three of our continental cousins flying in from across Europe (including an Italian with some Russian vodka and a Slovak whose only previous visit to Britain had been to pick strawberries in Scotland) there was a good deal of meeting and greeting and catching up with old friends and food and drink played an integral part in the (successful?) week.
With a deferential nod to the Provincial Economer, the GEB meetings – to plan for the coming years and to look at exciting things like finance and working groups – saw delegates provided with the finest sweets and lollipops that Poundland (the cheap-as-chips shop not some new Eastern bloc territory) could provide. And though the coffee eclairs went largely untouched the discussions themselves were productive – you can see more about the outcomes at www.donboscoyouth.net
A Slovenian introduced us to a breakfast of Cornflakes and coffee…in the same bowl. The British introduced others to hairnets, aprons and gloves. A trip to the Poachers on Friday saw trepidation abound as our guests discovered pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and the dubious pleasure of pork scratchings. Mmm, hairy. Saturday morning saw the British introduce paracetamol. On a previous occasion when a delegation of Germans had arrived we had innocently offered them some Lancaster Bomber beer but fortunately such international incidents were avoided this time. This year, we played it safe and in addition to the whisky we offered such traditional British staples as Stella Artois and a nice Australian Chardonnay. Don Bosco Youth Net is all about non-formal learning – I think we put the theory into action.
I like to think that Jesus was a foodie. The gospels are full of miracles where He made sure people were well fed and watered (or wined)…whether at Cana or the shore of Tiberias He knew the value of a good meal.
And at the Last Supper He took simple food and drink and changed it to become His Body and Blood – feeding His disciples in a manner which could last forever. For those at the DBYN GEB, long after the taste of dried pig fat has faded and the hangovers have been dispatched (or replaced with new ones) the memories and the mission will remain.