April is my father-in-law’s birthday month so he got to choose the movie for April’s Disney Movie Night. I was actually excited when he chose The Sword in the Stone. When I say “actually” I don’t mean to imply that I don’t love the movie, the scene where Arthur is turned into a bird/fish/squirrel is one of my first movie memories – except for my favorite, Sleeping Beauty. What I mean is that a movie set in a solid stone castle does not immediately prompt instant visions of décor and tablescapes; however, I was excited with what did immediately pop into my head, which was the menu.
My father-in-law, Jeff Sr., affectionately nicknamed “Senior” by yours truly, has one requirement when we go to Disney. Our first drink in Epcot has to be at the Rose and Crown Pub in the UK section of the World’s Showcase. The guys have to have a glass of 21 year Macallan, yes, it’s pricy; but it’s only once every other year. The girls usually end up having a Bloody Mary or screwdriver; we’re wine drinkers and if you start with red wine at 11:00 am, it’s just downhill from there.
We always make it a point to eat the fish and chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop, but we’ve never eaten a meal at the Rose and Crown. When Senior chose a movie set in Britain, I knew I had to channel all that we loved from the Rose and Crown, and try to make a menu and setting that would take us back to Epcot and the great memories from the World Showcase.
As I mentioned above, it’s hard to think of something that represents the Dark Ages – well there’s The Plague and that’s not appetizing – besides stone walls and a banquet hall. Since I had done a banquet hall type feel for DMN: Sleeping Beauty, I wanted to do something different here so we wouldn’t have a total DMN repeat. Banquet Hall being out, I tried to think of other indoor settings in the movie. I thought of Merlin’s old broken down tower or “lair” and how there were old books and things everywhere and thought that would make a great setting. Jeff’s study is decorated in old world maps and we even have an old world map globe-bar so I had some great pieces to start with. We also have some old books that line his bookshelves so I used those and borrowed an old bird cage from Ivy that was perfect for a nod to Archimedes.
I re-created the Rawls family crest for DMN: Sleeping Beauty and made shield-type banners, so I wanted to use them again. Reusing the banners was perfect for Senior’s birthday since the picture of the crest was a Father’s Day gift from several years ago. I did want to change up how I displayed them so I used one for the backdrop of the sideboard and the other on the windows. I needed to cover the nails used to hang my regular dining room painting so I cut out crowns to hide the nails and one for the top for esthetics.
Along with the globe bar, Jeff has an old world map humidor so I centered that on the sideboard and then used the cage and books to even out the large pieces. I stacked the books and scattered a few around so it would look more organic, including putting the cage atop some so it would look like Merlin just sat it the first place he stopped. My mom got Jeff some wooden 3-D puzzles for Christmas so I placed them around thinking that might also be something found in Merlin’s lair. There was no electricity back then so I used some candles left over from DMN: Sleeping Beauty in my dollar store candle holders for some ambiance and filler. Rounding out the décor I took cardstock and rolled it up like parchment with some twine so that it looked like he had old scrolls lying about everywhere. I also added an old sugar bowl for a nod to the enthusiastic bowl in the scene. Lastly, I set out Jeff’s Gandalf pipe to represent Merlin’s pipe; they’ve always reminded me of one another so I don’t think either would be too offended.
The menu was the main focus for the theme, so I wanted the tablescape to highlight that and feature the menu. Since I used the shields with the Rawls family crest, I thought I could reflect that in the design. I cut out shields with my cricut and put the menu on the back. I added the crown from the Rose and Crown under the menu text to emphasize the nod to their own menu. Using the shields really helped bring color to the table and incorporate the banners at the same time. I was also excited because I got to use my Lenox china that my grandmother passed down to me when she passed away; it has a silver band so I liked having the silver included in the plates and silverware. I used our Disney flatware that we use daily and some napkins my friend, Becca, gave me for Christmas to finish the place setting.
With the place-setting being the main focus, I didn’t want to do too big of a centerpiece. Jeff has a sword from our Scarborough Faire days, but I didn’t have an anvil on hand so I couldn’t recreate the actual sword in the stone. Instead I took Jeff’s sword (pardon the rust, it was just for show so we haven’t take care of it properly) and a decorative crown and added a wand to represent Merlin. It’s actually Viktor Krum’s wand from Harry Potter that my brother-in-law, Chris, let me borrow; but, apparently, this is the movie night for mixing awesome literary works with DMN. Hey, they’re all British so it works, right? I was just happy I didn’t spend any money on décor, it was all things I had on hand or previous Dollar Tree purchases.
You regular readers know that along with the table and sideboard, I always decorate the island with something themed. This one I kept simple with just a gold frame with the quote from the sword printed on card stock. Since the main focus of the night was the food I wanted to showcase the food versus the décor, but it still felt like the movie was represented.
Now that I’ve said the food was the main focus, and then blithered on about décor for 1000 words; I will now address the menu. Our appetizers were fresh baked bread and butter and bloody Mary shrimp cocktail. I thought having fresh bread would be rustic and give us something else to munch on besides the shrimp. There’s no substitute for fresh baked bread and I have a focaccia recipe that is just divine, but Italian bread at the British DMN just wouldn’t be kosher. I found a great recipe for a simple loaf and timed it so it was out of the oven right before everyone arrived. I also found a recipe for homemade butter and made that too. I had expectations of golden buttery deliciousness but I was sadly disappointed. I probably could have used more salt and it would have been a little better but the texture wasn’t as creamy as I had hoped and it made a huge mess (even with the towel as instructed) which was a pain to clean. Just not worth it – I actually missed my Brummel and Brown so I’d advise you faithful readers to leave the butter making to Ma Ingles and just buy the stuff.
When I was originally looking up the Rose and Crown menu, they had a bloody Mary shrimp cocktail and I thought that would be perfect to start off the meal. It was great because I just dressed up the cocktail sauce that came with the shrimp platter with our favorite bloody Mary mix, Zing Zang, and some Worcestershire sauce. It really did taste like a bloody Mary, so that was really cool.
If you’ve followed our other DMNs then you know that we always have a signature cocktail, but this DMN was more like themed booze. The guys had 12 year Macallan since that’s the whole reason we have the Rose and Crown theme, and the ladies drank red wine. The food was the star of this menu versus the booze; but I promise that next month’s DMN: The Lion King, will be back on cocktail track.
Along with having themed drinks and eats, we try to dress themed as well. Jacs had the perfect pettiskirt for Mad Madam Mim so I couldn’t resist, and she was so cute. I borrowed Courtnei’s scarf and was Arthur and Jeff was Merlin’s “Blow me to Bermuda”. We didn’t get a picture of them, but Ivy was in brown with an owl necklace so she was Archimedes. Chris wore a shirt with a chainmail texture as his nod to armor.
I always have a craft or a project for Jacs to do while we are eating and drinking our apps and cocktails. This DMN she got to color some Sword in the Stone coloring sheets. (Her crayons have been thrown away since she colored on her bed with them, thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser), so she colored them with a pen. Uncle Chris had given her storybook themed dress up stuff for Christmas so we got out her sword and shield and had a sword fight while daddy grilled the main course.
One of Senior’s favorite things to grill is steak, so our main course was filets with blue cheese butter, a medley of roasted potatoes and mushy peas. Let me tell you that if I could roll in that blue cheese butter I would. It.Was.Fabulous. I mean, you put BUTTER and CHEESE together, how bad could it be, right?! The roasted potatoes felt more feast like than the mashed potatoes that are actually on the menu and being a British themed menu we couldn’t not have the mushy peas. I’ll keep the blue cheese butter, but you Brits can keep your peas, more room for dessert anyways.
Speaking of dessert, you can’t get more British than sticky toffee pudding. My favorite local tearoom, The Glenwood Village Tearoom, has THE BEST sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and the recipe is in one of their cookbooks. Sharon, the owner, has great recipes and I’m so happy she has shared them with us so we can bring a little taste of Brittan into our homes. Waiting tables at the Glenwood was my job during college and I LOVED it; what young lady obsessed with food and atmosphere wouldn’t love working there?! If you are in the Shreveport area you must go visit. I suggest the tea finger sandwiches and either the sticky toffee pudding or buttermilk scone for dessert, but I digress.
My mother-in-law, Donna, loves caramel so I was excited that I had a special nod to her too. It wasn’t quite as good as the caramel from Karamell-Küche in the Germany pavilion but we all loved it, so much so that I forgot to take a picture until halfway through, oops.
As you can see from this blurry picture, Senior had a great time and that is what it’s all about. Bringing family together and making memories; another successful DMN and one month closer to Walt Disney World!
Now if only I had Merlin’s trick for making the dishes do themselves, but a girl can’t have everything. I’m sure close though, and for that I am thankful and blessed! I hope you enjoyed our DMN and it has inspired you to make memories of your own. Stay tuned next month for Naaaaants ingonyama…..DMN: The Lion King.
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