The HPR caught up with Maureen Kelly Jonason, the Executive Director of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County to learn more about the current exhibition of the St. John’s Bible and the upcoming fundraiser, Foods of the Bible, with all proceeds supporting Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible, the society’s major exhibit of the year.
The brunch fundraiser is Sunday, October 29, and only features foods that would have been available in the Middle East during biblical times.
The St. John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. According to the Library of Congress, this work is “at once old and new: a masterpiece of the ancient crafts of calligraphy and illumination that could only be made by artists of today.”
High Plains Reader: Where did the idea for Foods of the Bible come from?
Maureen Kelly Jonason: “I am not sure who originally came up with the idea, but Kelly Wambach from Rex Café did research into what foods were available in the Middle East in Biblical times and which ones weren’t. People are often surprised that there were no potatoes, nor chocolate, nor even coffee at that time. Kelly came up with a menu and we have already had one Foods of the Bible fundraiser which was really popular. We decided to try it again during the exhibition.”
HPR: Tell us about the menu.
MKJ: “The menu is a grown up menu. There are really no children’s choices unless your child is a great adventurer in eating. There will be various greens for salad along with a bulgur salad that is kind of like tabbouleh, using olive oil, dates, figs, and caraway seeds. These were all available in biblical times.
“For the main course there will be lamb, beef and tilapia, a fish native to Middle Eastern waters. There will be interesting whole grained breads. And to top it off, there will be delicious warmed, spiced milk and honey; it is a lovely beverage to go along with the interesting meal.
“If you are looking for a different, interesting experience, this is for you. It will be buffet style. The price of the meal also includes admission to the exhibition, which is normally $15. So for $25 you get a meal and entrance to the St. John’s Bible exhibit.”
“To register go to Event Brite and search for ‘Foods of the Bible’ or contact Lynelle Martin in our office. We are limiting it to 100 seats so it is important to buy now. There will be no tickets at the door and it must be prepaid. It’s going to be a fun food adventure.”
HPR: Tell us more about the St. John’s Bible exhibit.
MKJ: “This is the first week the exhibit has been open and we are absolutely thrilled with the response. We’ve already had quite a few bus tour groups. The illuminations are absolutely beautiful. We have trained docents to welcome people and to help them explore the exhibit. The exhibit is something where you will want to dwell on it and take a magnifying glass and see the tiniest details.
“The trained docents are all local people who are passionate about the exhibit for multiple reasons. We have artists, calligraphers, people with a spiritual connection, and college art and public history majors.
“I want to emphasize again that it is important for people coming to the exhibit to plan on spending some time with the illuminations. This is not an exhibit you want to whisk through in 15 minutes.
“It will be running through December 31. We also have 32 different activities connected to the exhibit going on throughout the community; there is a free program guide for anyone who wants one. Some of the activities include a scriptorium every Tuesday and calligraphy demonstrations every Friday.”
HPR: Anything else coming up for the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County?
MKJ: “We are having a fun event on October 24 at 5 p.m. As the opener for the regional art exhibit, Masters of the Red River Valley, Jon Crane will be unveiling his watercolor of the stave church. The Red River Masters exhibit will focus on local artists, early artists of the Fargo Moorhead art scene.”
IF YOU GO
Foods of the Bible: A St. John’s Bible Brunch fundraiser
October 29, 11 am-1 pm
Hjemkomst Center, 202 1st Ave N, Moorhead
$25, must be prepaid.
Lynelle.Martin@hcsmuseum.org, 218-299-5511 Ext 6739 Contact: Maureen.Jonason@hcsmuseum.org, 218-299-5511, Ext 6732
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