Final Events & Finale Dinner!


ATTLEBORO – Crews on whaling ships out of Nantucket, like those in the NEA Big Read: Attleboro book, “In the Heart of the Sea,” left port with enough food to get them, hopefully, to their next port.


While hardtack was a seaman’s staple, their ships put into many island and continental ports in the whale-rich Pacific Ocean to refresh their stores.


It was not unusual to find chickens and goats on a whaler’s decks, and tropical fruits stored below.


With that in mind, the culinary arts department at Attleboro High School has prepared a menu for the Big Read dinner in the school’s Blue Pride Cafe, the finale of the two-month celebration of Nathaniel Philbrick’s book. The dinner is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24.


The meal was financed by a $600 grant from the Attleboro Rotary Club, and all ticket revenue goes to the culinary department to support its programs. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Attleboro Public Library. Seating is limited.


Access to the AHS Blue Pride Cafe is from the doors off the parking lot just past the main entrance.



Here is the menu for dinner, in their own words, created by Michaela Lynch and her culinary crew at AHS:


Mock Tortoise Soup

Tender, not tortoise, with savory spices (stolen from the captain’s quarters), local island vegetables, river or rainwater, citrus, cured tomato and what could be salvaged of the potatoes, and hardtack to soak it all up.

Captains Quarters Only

Cured hams, pickles, cheeses, fresh fruits and the finest nuts (not the crew).

Polynesian Chicken

After a long journey to the Hawaiian Islands, enjoy a feast of fresh chicken with curry, coconut and lime, with mashed plantains and grilled pineapple and papaya.


A fruitcake of sorts: dried fruits, lard (or blubber), rum, of course, and molasses.


Leading up to the dinner, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, Dr. Akeia Benard, Curator of Social History at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, will make a presentation about how the whaling industry brought people from all around the world to New England.


The lecture will cover both the historic origins of these immigrant populations and their impact on Southeastern Massachusetts today.


The program, “The Arrival of New Immigrants from Whaling Ports of Call,” is 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Attleboro Public Library on North Main Street.


On Thursday, Oct. 17, the APL Writers will present “An Ancient Seafaring Tradition: A Storytelling Event” in The Pub Room at Christopher Heights Assisted Living at 45 South Main St.


The APL Writers collaborated with Christopher Heights residents to create their stories. There will also be musical entertainment and refreshments. The program runs 6:00-8 p.m.


On Monday, October 21, Dr. Mary Malloy, will present “African Americans in the Maritime Trades,” 6:30-8 p.m. at the Attleboro Public Library on North Main Street.


Also on October 21, 7-8 p.m., the Parent/Child Book Group will be discussing a partner read, appropriate for children in grades 2-4, “Shipwreck” by Gordon Korman at the library.


To help fund Big Read programming, Attleboro’s 1ABC Committee has received a $15,000 NEA Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Also contributing funding for the two months of events in September and October are Bristol County Savings Bank, the Attleboro Cultural Council, Friends of Attleboro Public Library, Rotary Club of Attleboro and the Trustees of the Attleboro Public Library.


NEA Big Read: Attleboro partners include the Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative, Attleboro Council on Aging, Attleboro Land Trust, Attleboro Public Library, Attleboro Public Schools, Attleboro YMCA, Bishop Feehan High School, Bristol Community College, DoubleACS, The Literacy Center, The Sun Chronicle and Wheaton College.


For more information and to register for events, visit or call the Attleboro Public Library at 508-222-0157.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. It encourages residents of a community to read the same book at the same time and enhance the shared experience through local arts and culture activities.