Vancouver Opera In Schools' Joshua McFaul dishes on dinners with the Cinderella crew...
I really enjoy food. My tastes may be simple and my palate undiscerning - my wife will lamentably attest to this - but neither of those things detract from the satisfaction I take from a good meal.
Such reflection was certainly abundant during this season's VOIS tour, not only due to the culinary sensibilities of my colleagues, but also due to their meal making expertise. From the start, we agreed that each of us individually would take an evening as part of a weekly rotation to prepare dinner for the others while we were on the road.
This path, while excellent in theory, was not easily traveled; for various reasons, meals were required to be entirely void of eggs, dairy, and gluten. Those who know me will find some humour in this because those three things occupy a special place in my heart and heritage, and as such, compose the bulk of my diet (can anyone say 'pancakes'?). Heedless of this fact, I accepted the challenge and strove blindly into unknown territory.
What came next was a string of delicious and satisfying meals, the likes of which I have not experienced in some time. Menus were guarded, ingredients were bought, borrowed, and scrounged, and humble hotel kitchens came to life. In the evenings, we converged at the table to enjoy exciting new dishes prepared with skill and care, which exhibited the personal touch of that night's chef. Rice, chicken, squash, carrots, corn, beans, tomatoes, kale, and other foods were woven into impressive fare that recalled fond memories of family suppers at home.
After witnessing the wide array of recipes offered, I realized that cooking for 6 under such conditions was an easier task than I first thought, and a tasty one, to boot. Also came the added benefit of a solid night's work followed by a break while someone else worked their feast-making maneuvers.
Over our time together, I have observed that we function not entirely unlike a family, working together each day and sharing our ups and downs through 107 shows and counting. So, too, have we sat and shared food and drink on many occasions. We have reached a remarkable rapport, and this is, I believe, why I have enjoyed our meals together so much. I've heard it said that it's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal.
Food is good by its own right, but I can only hope to always have the opportunity to partake in it with friends. Cheers!