Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them: Chewonki

Chewonki, as an institution, is all about food, and I would say we, as a semester, are all about celebration. When you put the two together it’s pretty fun, especially when it comes to holidays, like Passover and Easter. Students prepare dinner every Saturday night and brunch every Sunday morning, so we split up the two for our big weekend of feasts.

On Saturday, a group of students prepared an amazing Passover dinner. We had matzo ball soup, matzo pizza, coconut macaroons, and our very own semester Seder plate. We pushed all the tables together, calling it a mega-table, and ate as a whole semester (usually we sit at tables of 7).  We drank grape juice, laughed, and listened to the story and history of Passover.

My family celebrates Easter, so with a couple of friends who also celebrate Easter, we prepared an Easter brunch for Sunday morning. With 3 of us on the main cook team, we each had a plan for a traditional Easter recipe in our family. Carly made traditional Sicilian Arancini, Grace made Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (a simplified take on her grandmother’s Pineapple Souffle), and I made Pavlova, a meringue-like dessert with berries and whipped cream, my family’s traditional Easter dessert. We also had ham and green beans to supplement.

You may be thinking, only three main dishes, that sounds pretty simple… It was not. We spent an hour and a half on Friday afternoon during the work program prepping, jamming out to Kid Cudi and the Lumineers. I pre-made the meringues, Grace prepared the batter for her pineapple upside-down cake, and Carly spent the whole time trying to boil a 15-gallon pot of water.

Saturday afternoon we spent another hour and a half in the kitchen helping Carly make the risotto for the Arancini. This time we listened to Phoebe Bridgers and One Direction.

Sunday morning we all woke up bright and early and decorated the tables with easter eggs and candy, set out tablecloths, and then finished making brunch. Ella and I decorated the little pavlovas with whipped cream and berry compote. Grace cut up the pineapple upside-down cake, and we all helped roll risotto into balls, stuffing cheese and exactly three peas into the middle of each one. Carly fried up each of the risotto balls and piled them high on a plate.

We set the Arancini, ham, green beans, and pineapple upside-down cake out on the beautifully decorated table, and as students walked in, their jaws genuinely hit the floor. I may be biased, but the spread was pretty impressive. Growing up overseas, away from family during the holidays, food is the most important piece in making a place feel like home. This meal certainly did exactly that. I loved our collage of a meal; bringing together traditions from everyone’s family to make one big semester celebration!

The best part was on Wednesday (we always have leftovers on Wednesdays) we had leftover Arancini (everything else had been devoured on Sunday)!

Natalie Williamson, Milton Academy, Miami, FL

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