Guest Photo Essay: Amy Hille Glasscock on her Proud and Beautiful Kentucky Wedding Feast
Readers: prepare for a treat. Amy Hille Glasscock's story and pictures of her Kentucky wedding will make you both hungry and happy. Amy is both daughter of a respected colleague, Peter Hille of MACED, and a member of my tribe, the United States Peace Corps. Amy and her Kentucky husband, Will Glasscock, write a fine blog from Indonesia, Two Cups of Java. Every time a new post of theirs shows up in my email inbox, I read it first and enjoy it most of anything else I'll read that day. I am grateful they are our real-time ambassadors in Asia, and I hope they will both run for president of the USA as soon as they get back home.
In addition, I hope Amy's post will encourage you to make even more effort to serve local food at any special events you control. Every locally sourced event helps our growers and our local economies. End of sermon. On with Amy's short bio and then her delectable story.
Amy Hille Glasscock was born and raised near Berea, Kentucky. After graduating from Berea College and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, she moved to Washington, DC to work for Congressman Ben Chandler, where she met her Winchester-native husband, Will. She also worked for the American Public Power Association for four years before joining the Peace Corps with her husband. They are now serving in Indonesia as high school English teachers and getting their fill of tropical fruits and Southeast Asian cuisine before returning to the Bluegrass in 2014.
When my husband and I were planning our Labor Day weekend wedding two years ago, we were living in Washington, DC, but always knew that as Kentucky natives, we would get married in our beloved Bluegrass. As our vision for the wedding formed we knew that we wanted the day to reflect the things we care about while representing the best of Kentucky. We had friends and family coming from around the country, many of whom had never been to Kentucky or Appalachia, and I looked forward to show them the unique sites, nature and flavors of my home.
We incorporated Kentucky into our wedding in many ways. We had a Wendell Berry reading in our ceremony, favors of sachets made with Kentucky cedar, and put our napkins and flatware in antique Ale-8-One crates. But for us, this especially meant that our food needed to be local, in season, organic when possible and delicious. Because this would be the biggest party we had ever thrown (and therefore the most money we'd ever spent entertaining) we wanted to support local Kentucky vendors and sources as much as possible. And since we were having 240 guests in my parents' back yard outside Berea, this wasn't going to be a DIY job—we needed a caterer. A good one.
We talked to a few different caterers, but when we weren't finding exactly what we were were looking for, my wedding planner recommended Dupree's in Lexington. She used them for her own wedding and told us that we wouldn't be sorry. As soon as I saw Dupree's website, I knew we were on the right track. They too have a commitment to sourcing local food and supporting local farms. My mom originally talked with Eileen at Dupree's, explained what we were looking for, and Eileen came back with a menu so mouthwatering that we barely changed a thing.
Imagine going to an outdoor wedding with over 200 people out in the country. There is a buffet and you think to yourself, “How good can this be? How far did this food come and in what kitchen in the nearest city was this prepared?” It would be hard to get excited for cold rubbery chicken and fish and a bland pasta. Then, imagine your surprise when, during the cocktail hour, servers bring out trays of Jessamine County fried green tomato canapes and huge glass vessels of homemade Kentucky Ale beer cheese and crudité. Then you get to the buffet—laid out before you is hot freshly fried Kentucky catfish, baked Broadbent ham with Kentucky Proud chutney glaze, freshly sliced local heirloom tomatoes, farmers' market green bean and walnut salad, hot Weisenberger Mill garlic cheese grits, biscuits, whole wheat rolls, and corn fritters. Is your mouth watering yet? I'll let you in on a little secret—because the food was local and in season, it happened to be the most affordable option they gave us.
Dupree's staff arrived at my parents' house early that day and turned our family's kitchen, living room, back deck and side porch into their kitchen and prep area. They were frying catfish on the deck and slicing tomatoes in the living room. They used the side porch to prepare all of the pies that many of our friends and family baked and brought to the wedding. Honestly, as the bride, that's about all I know of the preparation because I was a bit busy that day myself. What I can tell you is that I made sure to eat the food at my wedding, and it was delicious. Many guests told me (and still do) that the food was outstanding and the best wedding menu they have ever had.
Dupree's even took the extra step to label the food, telling us what it was and where it was from, because they “got it.” They knew that it was important for us to tell people that what they were eating came from Kentucky soil and water and was harvested by Kentucky hands. I hope some of our friends who hadn't really thought about it before went home thinking, “local, in-season food is exceptionally delicious.”
Henkle's Herb's and Heirlooms
People say that nobody remembers what food you served at your wedding so it's not that important. Maybe that's because most wedding food is just not that memorable. As a couple who really loves to eat good food, and is passionate about that food being local, fresh and sustainable, it was an important opportunity for us to share that passion with those we care about most.
The money spent on weddings is no joke—Americans spend $72 billion a year on weddings. What if every engaged couple in Kentucky asked their caterer to source the wedding food from local vendors, and made a commitment to serve what is in season even if it's not the standard wedding fare that guests have come to expect? How would just this one category of events impact the local food industry? And how delicious would weddings be?
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Photo Credits: Sarah Alair Photography