Feast of Longing

 

Ethel Mulvany dared Her fellow Prisoners of war to dream of home.

We invite you to our Feast of Longing, a Virtual Dinner Party to celebrate those who made sure we had enough and to donate by setting a place at the table for those who do not.

Break out the good dishes, the cherished recipes and the sparkly bits that bring back memories of family & friends and of celebrations gone by. Snap a few pics and send them along as we gather in spirit, supporting our families, neighbours and friends.

Ethel Mulvany, a Canadian teacher, was sent to the Changi prison in Singapore during the Second World War, March 1942.  She lost 50 lbs while held there for 1,294 days along with 1000 other women.

Food became an obsession as they were only given one bowl of buyam soup a day, a green slimy substance made by boiling a spinach-like weed.  They resorted to eating spiders, grasshoppers and green slugs to stay alive.  Once she swallowed a three page article from National Geographic before she realized it had no nutritional value

As a friend lay dying in the prison hospital weighing only 55lbs, she asked Ethel to tell her about the different kinds of omelets she had made.  Her eyes lite up as they talked and she passed away a few hours later.

Ethel decided to test her theory that talking about food activated the salivary glands and helped fool their bodies into thinking they were full.  She would gather the women each afternoon and plan what their dinner parties would look like when they were released, right down to the recipes they would make.

Upon her release she had the recipes made into a cook book and paid for 2000 copies to be printed.  She only added her initials to the book as she wanted the focus to be on those who had contributed, living or not.  She sold the book from a leather suitcase she carried with her, sent all the money to the remaining POWs as they continued their recovery.

This remarkable woman reminds us of the power of food to bring people together, to help us manage hard times and celebrate great times.  In our lives we have come across those who have made sure that we have enough to eat, who marked milestones with celebration and who built lasting memories for us to hold onto.

We invite you to our Feast of Longing, a Virtual Dinner Party to celebrate those who made sure we had enough and to donate by setting a place at the table for those who do not.

Let us know that you are joining us!