The Watson residence, situated in the village of Doon on the outskirts of Kitchener, served as a home, studio, and gallery to members of the Watson family between 1883-1947. During this time, the Watsons hosted many parties, events, and gatherings at their home and extended their hospitality to friends and relatives that frequently visited.
“Phoebe’s specialty was a predinner drink of apple cider, brown sugar, raisins, and dry mustard, which was looked forward to as a special treat.”
– Homer Watson’s Niece, 1987, recorded by Fran McIntosh
In 1987, an interview with Homer Watson’s niece provided detailed descriptions of food served during the family gatherings regularly hosted at the Watson residence. One recollection described an apple cider drink which was a specialty of Homer Watson’s sister, Phoebe. Although Phoebe never shared her recipe, it was believed to be made from apples, brown sugar, raisins, and the special ingredient of dry mustard!
Food served at these gatherings included roast beef dinners, fowl, elderberry pies, and Roxa’s signature salad comprised of lettuce, topped with banana, onions, and a creamy dressing.
Jane VanEvery, another niece of Homer, also shared descriptive memories of the family gatherings at the Watson home in her book, ‘With Faith, Ignorance, and Delight’. VanEvery recalled the busy atmosphere of dinner time, with a table ‘heaped with food’ surrounded by family members in deep discussion.
“Around the table were more beards, and bosoms covered with frills, puffing, and furbelows, over which hazards food and drink were carried without mishap.”
–Jane VanEvery, With Faith, Ignorance, and Delight (1967)
After dinner, conversations dispersed across the house, and on warm days, continued outside into the long summer evenings.