Boar's Head Supper 2018
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The 107th Boar's Head Supper was held at the Club on Saturday 22nd December 2018 and attended by some 70 members, guests, spouses and partners.
This account attempts to capture the flavour of the occasion and those who attended - with apologies to anyone missed on the photos.
Alan Roden (Hon.Sec)
The Boar's Head Tradition
SOEC is one of the very few institutions who still celebrate the feast annually. The origins go back to pagan times but it has been reinvented in various guises over the centuries.
Those at Queens College Oxford invented an amusing story for their continued annual celebration. On a winter's day many centuries ago, it is said a student named Copcot went walking into the nearby woods. He carried with him a volume of Aristotle which he had been struggling to comprehend.
Suddenly a boar sprang towards him and he rammed the volume down the boar' s throat crying out "It's Greek to me!". The boar choked to death on this undigestible work. Copcot chopped off the boar's head and recovered his copy of Aristotle (which he could not afford to lose) and took both back to College where the head was consumed and the tradition was born. For a detailed account of of the history of the tradition Click Here for a good read.
Today, at the Club, Rosanne Norris painstakingly decorates the boar's head (nowadays from a pig) which is paraded into the main bar and another (the uglier of the two) is prepared which provides some of the meat for the night.
The head is paraded with a large pot of mustard - in keeping with ancient tradition.
Immediate Past President Roger Hadley welcomed attendees into the Club, resplendent in his seasonal pullover.
Meanwhile, other Committee members were preparing the beef and brawn rolls, suitably attired in decorative aprons, and with many "samplings" of the produce to ensure it was suitable to be handed out to the attendees.
Members and guests accumulated in the main bar for convivial discussions prior to the formal proceedings.
Parading The Boar's Head
At 8 pm sharp, the Hon. Secretary requested a gangway to be cleared in preparation for the parade.
President Brian Arch then led the parade of the very heavy pig's head from the Memorial Room into the main bar, followed by Vice President Rob Hill carrying the traditional pot of mustard and followed by various Committee members.
After positioning the head on the table laid out for the food, the President welcomed all attending; gave a brief history of the tradition; thanked Rosanne Norris for her sterling efforts in decorating the boar's head and also Tim and Tracy for the overall food preparation.
"Master of the balls" and organiser of the 50-Club lottery Clive Bowen-Davies then proceeded with the draw for the 4 December winners, ably assisted by the President's wife, Jocelyn and recorder Jem Norris.
This time, the formal balls were used, instead of the usual random number generator, in keeping with the occasion.
Clive stated we still have a few lottery numbers which can be acquired by members - the draw takes place monthly with an excellent chance of winning over the year. Click here for more information.
The beef and brawn rolls were then brought into the room and distributed by Committee members.
Cheese, pickles and a range of other items were readily available for consumption and enjoyment.