A Schitt's Creek supper club in true Midwest style
Sometimes watching Schitt's Creek can seem like you've gone into a world reminiscent of a bygone era. Not quite new. Not quite old. Sort of retro. Definitely unique.
The same could be said of old-school American Midwest supper clubs, where the menus are usually short and feature traditional American fare. Think oversize servings of steak, chicken, Friday fish fries, and the like.
Recently, Toronto catering company Urban Acorn Catering hosted a virtual Schitt's Creek themed supper club event, part of their Vegan Supper Club series.
Here's what Marie Fitrion, co-founder, CEO and event manager at Urban Acorn, had to say about the event, and how she thinks food can bring people together despite social isolation, stay-at-home orders, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
How would you describe a Schitt's Creek-themed supper club meal to someone who had no idea what Schitt's Creek or a supper club were?
Truth be told, I was late to Schitt's Creek, but while watching, I was immediately struck by how many parallels exist between the show, its production and our catering company. It's a fish out of water story with lots of heart and wit that hinges on themes of growth, inclusion and community, wrapped up in a hilarious and eccentric package.
Schitt's Creek wasn't overly food-driven, so how did you choose the dishes for the dinner?
While not food-centric per se, some pretty hilarious moments happened every time someone visited the Herb Ertlinger Winery, or Café Tropical… and of course who could forget David and Moira's meme-worthy culinary fail "folding in the cheese!"
Our menu was a callback to episodes where food and drink drove the plot:
A farmhouse quiche from "RIP Moira Rose," where David & Alexis meet with a cheesemaker for Rose Apothecary that turns out to be Ted's new girlfriend.
Lover's Curry Soup from "The Jazzaguy," where David and Stevie go on a "honeymoon," dinner.
The infamous enchiladas from "Family Dinner," where Moira "teaches" David to make her signature recipe.
An almond milk and fruit wine panna cotta inspired by "Milk Money," when Johnny and Bob sell illegal raw milk and "Moira Rosé," where Moira gets tipsy creating her own fruit wine blend.
What is it about the way that food drove the plot on Schitt's Creek that stands out for you?
For Schitt's Creek, I think you can plot their character development and personal growth through gatherings involving food & drink.
If you look at "The Drip," and the dinner with the Schitts, where you see the two families awkwardly interact when arriving to town compared to the "Happy Anniversary" dinner where the Roses defend the Schitts and Schitt's Creek to a couple from their past.
What sticks out to you as timeless and trend-free elements in Schitt's Creek? The town? The characters? Whatever?
Trends don't hit small towns at the same rate and when they do, they don't leave nearly as quick. Small towns tend to have diners and watering holes like Café Tropical with large menu full of staples and crowd favourites.
It's not so much about innovation but comfort: everything on the menu is familiar.
Due to the pandemic, you've adapted your Vegan Supper Club to run virtually. What was that experience like?
We had our first post-lockdown dinner planned for March 24, 2020, and within days of the order moved everything to Zoom. The response has been good, however it's less about the food now and more about the connection between people.
My husband is an incredible chef and his plating is simply stunning; sadly this is an element that has been simplified due to the nature of take out.
With the switch to online via delivery or pick up option, the events have become more accessible and flexible for a greater number of guests. We've seen lots of new faces and regulars. I get notes and emails from guests thanking us for keeping these events alive during such a challenging time.
Traditional supper clubs seem to have an enduring appeal. What makes the idea of a supper club appealing to you?
My husband's family is actually from the midwest (Wisconsin,) which is arguably the birthplace of traditional supper clubs whose roots are steeped in prohibition.
Those supper clubs served as a place where guests could spend an evening and feel like they belonged in a fun but unpretentious environment. I think the Vegan Supper Club offers a similar experience.
The themes explored in Schitt's Creek of loss, starting over, love, growth, and redefining happiness all have very human characteristics. Because I started watching the show in 2020 and binged 6 seasons in a short amount of time, I couldn't help but feel like the show very subtly showed the Roses going through the five steps of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.)
Their journey closely mirrors our collective situation during COVID, highlighting a need to rely on our community during these unprecedented times, to keep the momentum going and move past the feeling of discomfort.
Urban Acorn Catering's upcoming events page can be found at at https://www.urbanacorn.ca/events and Urban Acorn is on Instagram at @UrbanAcornCa.