Monday, December 9, 2013
“I’m jealous and I’m trusting. It’s cognitive dissonance. F. Scott Fitzgerald talked about it.” – Gil Pender in “Midnight in Paris”
I admit it. I was jealous when Gil Pender, played by actor Owen Wilson, got to travel back in time to 1920s Paris in the Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris.”
In his nightly journeys, Pender got to rub elbows with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein.
We may not be able to actually travel back in time, but we will be able to visit the 1920s in spirit at “The Great Gatsby” party that On the Marsh Bistro is throwing in Kennebunk Sept. 15 to celebrate Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel. The party is a fundraiser for the food pantries of York County.
For $110 per person, guests will be able to dine on updated dishes of the 1920s prepared by executive chef Jeffrey Savage and sip cocktails of the era from cash bars. Cocktails and hors d’oeurves will be served at 6 p.m., with dinner following an hour later.
The sit-down dinner will be served under a tent in the meadow, and there will be dancing to the jazz stylings of the Straight Lace band.
Although it’s not a requirement, guests will be encouraged to dress up in Prohibition-era clothing. So get out your cloche hats, straw boaters, flapper dresses, flashy head pieces and cream suits.
Here’s a beaded mesh flapper dress from Nordstrom’s.
And for the guys, how about these wingtip loafers with tassel from Macy's?
Denise Rubin, owner of On the Marsh, says “Midnight in Paris” was not her inspiration, nor was the new Baz Luhrman adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo diCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. (Catch the trailer for the movie, due out at Christmas, here.)
“I came up with The Great Gatsby because it’s one of my favorite stories,” Rubin said. “It’s sad, but it’s one of my favorite stories. And I wanted to come up with something that people could identify with.” Her inspiration, she says, was the Titanic party she threw at the restaurant last January, just for kicks.
Rubin claims she had no idea that this year marked the 100th anniversary of the doomed voyage. She just thought it would be fun to play dress-up and serve authentic food from the voyage “but refined to modern-day standards.” (On the Titanic menu: Poached salmon, boeuf bourguignon, stuffed zucchini and, of course, a salad made with iceberg lettuce.)
Rubin also hired a theater group to portray passengers on the Titanic throughout the evening, and she plans to do the same for the Gatsby affair. She also has a few Gatsby-esque surprises up her sleeve, including “one big whopper.”
She wouldn’t even give me a hint. (“Nice try.”)
Maybe it was the whole anniversary thing, but that Titanic dinner sold out at 146 and had a waiting list of 68. Rubin says she can fit 200 under the big tent for the Gatsby soiree.
Yes, this will be a wild celebration of the decadent decade known for bootleg likker, cool flappers, hot jazz and loose morals. But it’s for a good cause, and the food pantries will thank you. “They are in such dire need of support,” Rubin said.
Guests with the best outfits will win prizes, and this year there will be no excuse for not having an authentic-looking costume. Turns out the fashion industry has come down with “Gatsby Fever,” and flapper clothes are expected to be all the rage this fall.
Here's Katy Perry in her flapper duds:
For more inspiration, here’s a slideshow from British Vogue of all the 1920s-inspired clothing that turned up on the runways this spring.
On the Marsh promises that all the staff from the restaurant will be channeling their inner Nicks and Daisies through appropriate, Gatsby-glamorous attire.
The restaurant is already taking reservations for the event. Call (207) 967-2299 or email email@example.com to reserve your spot.Tweet
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod