Listening to the professional singers perform early music was quite an extraordinary experience for me. Up till this class, the only type of early music I have heard is instrumental works, mostly played by the lute, and the viola da gamba. Apart from those in Shakespeare’s plays, I have never heard any vocal music from before the Baroque era. Hence it was a wonderful novel experience to listen to the professional singers perform live in class. I especially liked the love song and the farewell song – both of which had rich and charming lyrics, as well as enchanting melodies.
Moreover, learning to sing and singing together was both an immersive and a liberating experience. I like choral music, but I am not a talented singer at all, and so I all the more relished the experience of learning a simple song and singing it together in a group. The feeling of losing one’s own voice to a greater whole is simply wonderful.
As for the cooking, I chose to do the “Golden Sops” because I have never cooked anything like that before, and the mix of ingredients sounded interesting. We weren’t given the quantities, and so we decided to slowly add in bits of saffron while slow-heating the mixture. I was very delighted to see how those strands of saffron slowly illuminate the mixture as I stirred it. It’s quite therapeutic to just stir it and watch the streams of yellow flow out from the saffron strands, changing the color of the mixture from a light pink color to yellowish-green, before becoming somewhat golden.
This was also my first time eating a grouse. It’s a neat little bird with a rather unique aroma. The thighs are the tastiest parts. Its texture somewhat resembles that of the pheasant, but a little bit rougher. Some parts of it have a slightly bitter aftertaste.