Unlike ordinary wedding receptions where fancy delicacies are served, Taiwan Rural Front member Hsu Po-jen (許博任) and Chiu Yi-chun (邱宜君) celebrated their union earlier this month in Taipei by dishing up vegetable-centered meals cooked with meticulously hand-picked ingredients.
Because Hsu, a graduate of National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, has been concerned about issues related to the country’s fast-dwindling agricultural industry, the couple said they wanted to use their wedding banquet as a valuable opportunity to advocate their philosophy toward the land.
With experience working with farmers in rural areas, such as Taoyuan County’s Dasi Township (大溪), Hsu purchased ingredients for the banquet straight from the growers and designed the menu himself.
In his search for fresh vegetables for his wedding, Hsu traveled to various parts of the country and placed orders with the growers in person.
He personally selected a variety of ingredients, including baby corn grown in Greater Kaohsiung’s Meinong District (美濃), sweet potatoes in Wanbao Borough (灣寶) of Miaoli County’s Houlong Township (後龍), grape tomatoes and citrus fruit in Changhua County’s Sijhou Township (溪州) and rice in Singjian Village (行健), in Yilan County’s Sansing Township (三星).
“Most of our friends seldom purchase environmentally friendly farm products in their everyday lives, which was why we thought our wedding would be the perfect occasion to promote such agricultural produce,” Hsu said, adding that he also handed out flyers with the contact information of farmers whose produce were used in the 12-course banquet.
Lee Ching-hui (李靜慧), the chef in charge of the couple’s banquet, lauded Hsu’s insistence on buying vegetables directly from growers, saying the fresh ingredients Hsu prepared made her cooking a lot easier.
Most guests at the ceremony also gave Hsu’s vegetable-centered menu the thumbs-up, with even those who dislike vegetables saying the wedding feast served “the best vegetarian dishes they had ever tasted.”
Entrusting wedding banquets entirely to restaurants may have become more prevalent, but the practice inevitably deprives couples and their guests of a chance to learn about the food they put into their mouths and their growers, Hsu said.
“Although organizing the feast on my own was indeed troublesome and arduous, I was also able to rediscover from the process the cooperative atmosphere existed in traditional society,” Hsu said.