The Gates Way to Medieval Times

Authentic. That’s the word that best sums up the feast served this week in the home of Nyack College English Department Chair Dr. Jonathan Gates for Nyack College Honors Program students in his Humanities Core: Medieval World.

The twelve freshmen dinner guests who represented nobility, peerage and commoners were Kaelah Byrom, Joanna Corl, Hannah Klumb, Caleb Mucklow, Daniel Riddell, Anna Lynch, Josiah Liotta, Andrew Bischoping, Marissa Antonucci, Rhoda Maendel, Cece Humphrey and Tirzah Kaiser. They were served by upperclassmen—Trisha Frazer, the chief steward; Grace Anger, the minstrel; Anna Jarbeck, the butler; and Cassidy Crossett, the serving wench.

Dr. Gates shares, “During the meal, we listened to and sang period songs, discussed the types of foods, sources of food and compared and contrasted to a contemporary world diet. (Students observed that foods are natural, normally grown or available in the immediate surroundings, very little use of sugar and limited spices.) We learned etiquette at a Medieval banqueting table and used period prayers.”

The behind-the-scenes role that raised the bar on the entire event was played by Nyack College's Manager of Special Event, Mrs. Nancy Gates, who began preparing the meal a full week in advance. But this meal “fit for a king” was, according to freshman CeCe Humphrey, like a “time travel experience.” In fact, when she saw pictures of from previous Medieval Banquets, she thought the dishes were pictures pulled from the internet.

Mrs. Gates prepared it all—from the fig and goat cheese, quail eggs, rabbit stew, pork and innards pie, dates in honey to a whole roasted pig—(yes, with an apple in its mouth). The Gates home is known for entertaining students throughout the academic year and always with such attention to detail and a literary twist. Both the professor and his wife are known for making any gathering for students memorable. The Medieval Dinner is one such exceptional festivity.

Authentic indeed—right down to eating pig tongue, pig tail, and pig ears, as well as fish eyes—all, of course, with their hands!