Manitoba History: Dalnavert - Macdonald House Museum

by Tim Worth
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Manitoba History, Number 2, 1981

This article was published originally in Manitoba History by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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Following a very busy summer season which saw increasing numbers of American visitors to Dalnavert (a percentage increase of Americans versus a percentage decrease of Manitobans) the staff of Dalnavert commenced a full fall season of programing. The new Volunteer Coordinator, Mrs. Arlene Leslie, had a brief period of orientation before being thrown into the planning of the fall activities. The three main events other than the usual touring included the Gourmet Dinner and Fashion Show, the Craft Fair and the Dalnavert Baking Contest.

22, 23 and 24 September brought to a culmination the months of planning for the Dalnavert Gourmet Dinner and Fashion Show. Meant as a fund raiser for the museum the three evenings were also a tremendous social success. The combination of a dinner of “Beef Wellington” and the showing of fashions from three local Boutiques—“Joan’s”, “The International Set”, and “Mannequin”, made for very enjoyable evenings.

In the past years Dalnavert has hosted special projects where individuals could buy and sell antiques and collectables, again as a fund raiser for Dalnavert. This year a different tack was taken where instead local craftspeople could sell their wares. Over the four day period (30 October to 2 November) fifteen different vendors, representing a broad spectrum of local crafts, sold to an eager group of customers. Included in those who were selling their handicrafts were representatives of various needlecrafts—quilting, embroidery, needlepoint; those who worked with straw or wood workers; potters and doll makers; as well as those selling works of art and collectables. Although the emphasis was to provide space for local craftspeople, the opportunity was not missed to sell items which either came from the Dalnavert gift shop or were generously donated by the museum volunteers. This event proved to be so much more successful than had originally been thought, that planning is already underway for a repeat of the fall Craft Fair in 1981.

On 5 December 1980 the second annual Baking Contest was judged at Dalnavert. This year’s category was Christmas Fruit Bead. The three judges (Hon. Mrs. June Westbury, M.L.A.— ort Rouge; Mrs. Hedi Lewis, Radio Broadcaster—CJOB; and Mrs. Phyllis Thomson, University of Manitoba—Faculty of Home Economics) examined 14 entries on the basis of appearance, texture and taste and chose Mrs. W.R. Newton, 51 Pleasant Bay, Winnipeg as the winner.

This year’s contest was immeasurably aided by the generosity of the donors of the prize. Hardy and Buchanan Grocers, Eaton’s, and The Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation supplied the contents of the hamper—gourmet foods. Those in attendance at the event were given the opportunity (courtesy of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation) to sample whitefish caviar called “Manitoba Gold”.

Although Mrs. Newton’s recipe, entitled Christmas Braid is not an old recipe it is certainly a tasty one. For anyone who would wish the recipe it is as follows:

4½ - 5 cups flour
1 egg white
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 teaspoon aniseed
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup milk
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup mixed fruit
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 eggs

Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Let stand for five minutes.

Heat together milk, sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon salt until just warm. Stir until butter melts. Add eggs and egg white along with aniseed lemon peel, yeast, and 2½ cups of flour. Beat with an electric mixer for three minutes. Stir in remaining flour by hand to make a moderately stiff dough. Stir in fruit and raisins. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 - 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double – 1½ hours.

Punch down. Divide in half and set one portion aside for second loaf. Divide remaining dough in half, then cut one piece in thirds. Roll each third into an 18 inch rope. Braid loosely. Place on a greased baking sheet. Divide remaining piece into fourths. Roll three of these pieces into 14 inch ropes. Braid loosely and place on top of the first braid. Cut remaining piece of dough into thirds and roll each into 12 inch ropes. Braid loosely and place on top of the second braid. Brush loaf with beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of sliced almonds.

Repeat with remaining dough to make a second loaf. Cover both and let rise until double—about 45 minutes. Bake in a 350 oven for 25-30 minutes.

May be decorated with cherries, etc., or glazed with a mixture of icing sugar and hot milk. Chopped cranberries may be substituted for the mixed fruit.

Page revised: 19 February 2012