Sunday, July 06, 2008
Freemasonry: It's About Food
Fortean Times is reporting that the Grand Lodge of England's Freemason Hall Museum will have a exhibition about our fraternity's love affair with fine dining. Stretching from the premiere Grand Lodge's meetings at the Goose and Gridiron pub in 1717, up through formal toasting and festive boards today.
The exhibit includes Masonic bottles, glasses, massive silver centerpieces, and even a square and compasses toast rack.
The photo above is from a huge feast on August 8, 1925, in Olympia. It was part of a fund-raising event for what is the present Freemasons Hall. More than 7,000 Masons at 5 miles of tables were served a 5 course meal by 1,250 waitresses - the largest sit-down lunch ever served in England. According to John Hamill's The History of English Masonry, the brethren gobbled down 3,000 pounds of salmon, 600 pairs of best end of lamb, 1,500 chickens, and 250 gallons of ice cream. They raised more than £826,000 at this single event.
Just to put that in its proper perspective, that's more than £36 million today (US$72 million). In one day. Cheers.
Square Meals: 300 Years of Masonic Dining runs at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ from 7 July to 26 September. The museum is open Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm, and entry is free. For more information call 020 7395 9257 or visit the website.
A related article on Masonic dining is in the Summer 2008 issue of Freemasonry Today.