Diverse and indigenous cuisine brought by the many ethnic people to St. Maarten from all over the world piques our interest. To this end, we are on a quest to find where it comes from, if it is used for celebrations, if it is exotic to some but everyday food to others. Anything to do with keeping the body and soul nourished with that which is produced from good old terra firma, is what makes the world go around.
Many, many folks are caught up in movies – watching, discussing and deeply involved with the actors/actresses. Not so much in this direction – are we the odd ones out? Possibly in some circles, but really, life does not revolve around these “stars” and their lives. Oh, yes, we appreciate good acting and all that goes into it, but there are so many truly bad actors out there who are good looking, but act badly. Whether they are handsome, pretty or downright oddball, if their acting is good and believable, then they come in tops for us in that movie. (In the next one, they may not flop; but just because they are good-looking does not make them idols – not in our books anyway!)
All this hype about the Oscars is a bit lost on us. Still, it is fun to get together as a group and turn on the TV and provide a good spread and enjoy the antics of the Oscars with great friends. The Academy Awards ceremony was first broadcast by radio in 1930 and was televised for the first time in 1953.
Here is a little history (for those who don’t know) taken from Wikipedia!
A new organization got together in 1927 to discuss the goals. This new group belonged to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A dinner was held in the Crystal Ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. It was here that they discussed a method of how to go about honouring outstanding achievements, and how to encourage higher levels of quality in all facets of motion picture productions.
MGM art director, Cedric Gibbons, sketched the figure of a knight gripping a sword, standing in front of a reel of film. The five spokes of the reel stood for the original five branches of the Academy – actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers – and the sword symbolized protection for the welfare and advancement of the industry. The design was immediately adopted by the Board of Directors
In early 1928, Gibbons chose a Los Angeles sculptor to realize his design in three dimensions. In the finished design, the figure of the knight was streamlined and the film reel moved beneath its feet. This is now THE iconic statuette. The golden statuettes are hand-cast in bronze by New York-based Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry before receiving its 24-karat gold finish. The first awards took place in 1929 and up to now, 3,000 statuettes have been presented. The statuette stands 13½ inches tall and weighs a robust 8½ pounds. The design of the statuette has never changed from its original conception, but the size of the base varied until the present standard was adopted in 1945.
The origin of the short name “Oscar” – meaning “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” – has been lost over time! There are a lot of stories about the how and wherefores of the name being used, but the Academy itself didn’t use the nickname officially until 1939. Come Oscar night, a bunch of these statuettes having been made are present at the awards, but no one knows exactly how many will be given out that evening until the envelopes are opened. As in previous years, any surplus awards will be housed in the Academy’s vault until the next year’s event. The Oscar statuette is the most recognized award in the world – being given this award is an achievement in filmmaking.
The Emmy Awards for television; the Tony Awards for theatre; and the Grammy Awards for music – are modelled after the Academy Awards. The first Academy Awards presentation was held in 1929, at a private dinner function at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The post-awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel and the cost of guest tickets were $5 ($79 at 2020 prices). The ceremony ran for 15 minutes!
Holding an Oscar party!
Naturally, an Oscar party with the TV on at the time of the Oscars is a great time to hold such party, but you can hold an Oscar themed party anytime of the year – a Red Carpet affair is always fun!
No one needs an excuse to party, but themes are always great and this theme is one of the best where guests can dress up in outlandish outfits and eat sumptuous food. If the party is a small affair; getting the guests interactive and offering prizes for guests who pick the winners of the actual Oscars can be organized. Prizes do not need to be as expensive as those given out in fancy Hollywood and so plush velvet bags filled with fun, inexpensive gifts would suffice.
Decorate the entertainment area with splashes of two theme colours and use these everywhere – for napkins, tablecloths, candles and toothpicks; flowers will add the sumptuous feel. A red carpet leading to the party area would never go amiss, but that would perhaps not be feasible. So line the walkway with red along the ground – strips of red paper can be fitted either side, or line the path with red tins you have spray-painted with small plants therein. Drape gold tinsel about – it is tinsel town you are creating after all.
And have a sumptuous meal for your guests – your choice of finger foods, as guests mill about or a sit-down meal at beautifully appointed tables. Let your imagination fly – after all, that is what film making is all about!
Greet your guests with an elegant Kir Royale cocktail or perhaps with a sparkling white sangria!
1 TBL crème de cassis
6oz cold dry Champagne
A few raspberries, for garnish
Pour crème de cassis into a champagne flute.
Top off with a few fresh raspberries.
2 TBL brandy or cognac
2 TBL orange liqueur (Grand Marnier)
⅓ cup castor sugar
1 orange, halved
1 small apple, peeled and chopped
1 nectarine, chopped
1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine - Cava, Prosecco or Champagne
1 cup lemon-lime soda (Sprite)
A few bunches frozen grapes
Combine brandy, orange liqueur, sugar in a large jug or bowl.
Squeeze juice from one lime and one orange half into the jug or bowl.
Stir until sugar dissolves.
Slice remaining orange half into thin slices.
Add to jug or bowl.
Add chopped apples and nectarines.
Add sparkling wine, lemon-lime soda and a large bunch of frozen grapes.
Place ice cubes in glasses and some frozen grapes in glasses, top with sangria.
Serve garnished with a lemon slice on the glass.
Salmon Mousse – make ahead and set in a large fish shape mould or individual ramekins.
1 envelope unflavoured gelatine powder
2TBL lemon juice
1 small onion, cut fine
½ cup boiling water
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp paprika
1 tsp dried dill
1LB can salmon, drained
1 cup heavy cream
Put boiling water, onion, lemon juice, and gelatine into blender.
Blend at high speed.
Add mayonnaise, paprika, dill and salmon – blend again.
Pour cream into blender in 3 sections, blend again after each addition.
Pour into 1 quart fish-shaped mould or ramekins.
Chill until firm - 6 hours.
Place on a serving dish/plate.
Garnish with cherry tomatoes, parsley spring onion finely sliced, shrimp – your choice.
Cinnamon Tea Cake – serve this light ending in slices with some fresh berries on the side. This makes a small cake (6-8 slices) but can be doubled easily.
60g softened butter
75g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
119g Self Raising flour
1tsp baking powder
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1TBL butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1TBL caster sugar
Preheat oven 350° F.
Line an 8-inch round cake tin with baking paper.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy.
Add milk to the beaten egg.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt together.
Add spoons of flour mixture to creamed butter mixture.
Alternate with a little of beaten egg and milk.
Mix well after each addition.
Mix cake batter until smooth and creamy.
Pour into prepared tin.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the cake has risen and is golden brown.
Remove from oven, and brush the melted butter over the cake.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over cake while still warm.
Carefully lift the cake out of the tin after 5 or 10 mins onto a wire rack.
Do not remove baking paper until the cake is cool and firm.