Back in time to Elizabethan era

The Marketplace’s Elizabethan feast put Shakespearean delicacies on display

Alexandra Cline

The Washington and Lee community stepped back in time and treated itself to an Elizabethan feast of Shakespearean delicacies for a special dinner on March 31.

The Marketplace became a Renaissance-themed gathering place for students and faculty to enjoy traditional food and music of the historic time period. The meal was available to students as a regular meal swipe and to adults at a cost of $12.

The decision to host a Shakespearian dinner coincided with this year’s university-wide celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy for the 400th anniversary of his death.

With the guidance of Professor of English Hank Dobin, the dining services crafted the event in the style of Renaissance tradition to incorporate various cultural elements of the time period.

“[We collaborated] on an event that would be both distinguished and reflective of the Shakespearean era,” Marketing Manager of Dining Services David Khoshpasand said. “We are continuously looking to build new relationships and host events that build engagement with students. This was a perfect opportunity to do just that.”

Along with the Shakespeare Feast, Dobin also planned many of the other events for the year-long celebration, which continues throughout spring term.

“We have speakers, performances, special events, and even a Shakespeare garden,” Dobin said. “I was really responsible for convincing the department and the community that it would be a good idea to organize all this.”

This past week for the Elizabethan dinner, a special menu featured a spread of main courses and sides: oven roasted top round, turnips and potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie with lamb, mince meat pie and several stews.

“The menu was a collaboration of [Dobin] and our head chefs,” Khoshpasand said. “Together, we were able to foster a menu that replicated Elizabethan food and can be found in the Shakespearean era.”

In addition to the main courses, the vegetarian dishes of slow cooked cabbage and vegetable lentils with roasted mushrooms provided an alternative to the meat options featured at The Grill and Daily Dish stations.

To conclude the Shakespearean meal, trifle pudding, fruit tarts and a birthday cake for Shakespeare were available to sample, along with an apple cider beverage bar, to celebrate the poet’s birthday and heritage.

Accompanying the meal were recitations of Shakespearean soliloquies and traditional Renaissance era dances — activities driven by student participation and open to anyone willing to try them.

“The dancers and the soliloquy recitations were really interesting, and I admire them for their passion of Shakespeare,” Bailey Sanders, ‘19, said.

In the coming weeks, the themed festivities will conclude with a University Orchestra performance, a lecture by Quentin Skinner and a birthday celebration in Shakespeare’s honor.