The Bracebridge Dinner

LORELAI: For the Bracebridge Dinner.
JACKSON: Geez, you guys are going crazy with this dinner.
SOOKIE: Jackson, I told you, this dinner is not just about food. We are recreating an authentic 19th century meal.
LORELAI: The servers are all gonna be in period clothing, they’re gonna speak period English. Here, look at the costumes.

The Bracebridge Dinner is an annual tradition which has been held at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, California since 1927, when the hotel opened. The interior of the Ahwahnee was an inspiration for the hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining – a hint as to how Lorelai may have become interested in holding her own Bracebridge Dinner.

The Bracebridge Dinner is a seven-course formal gathering held in the Grand Dining Room and presented as a feast given by a Renaissance-era lord. It was inspired by the fictional Squire Bracebridge’s Yule celebration in a story from the 1820 work, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., by American author Washington Irving. Music and theatrical performances based on Irving’s story accompany the introduction of each course.

Tickets to the Bracebridge Dinner cost around $400 and are generally difficult to obtain, sometimes being awarded in a lottery system. In 1992, there were 60 000 applicants for the 1650 seats available. This could be the reason why the Trelling Paper Company from Chicago have decided to hold their own Bracebridge Dinner at the Independence Inn.

Sookie says they will be serving an authentic 19th century meal, but in fact it is a Renaissance-themed meal. There’s not that much authentic about the dinner really, however I’m pretty sure the 19th century one wasn’t either. It’s a bit of fun and frolic, not a history lesson.

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