Halifax rapper Quake Matthews has released a video in ode to that most East Coast of foods, the noble Donair.
The origins of the Donair have long been shrouded in legend and mystery. Some claim that the meat is that of the offspring produced from the magical and forbidden union between a unicorn and a boar. Others claim that the bonded pair of unicorn and boar died out centuries ago, and the meat found today is fabricated from nothing more than spiced lamb or beef. In either case, the truth is a closely guarded industry secret.
‘The King’ Quake Matthews refers to in the video is the popular Halifax-based chain of King Of Donair who claim they first popularised the modern Donair in 1973. It is thought, however, that the name is a reference to the Donair’s much longer history. In the 16th century, the only known source of Donair meat was a small grove of Nova Scotian forest tended by monks, but with the English Reformation Henry VIII claimed much of the church’s wealth and property, including the monastery. Here the meat takes its name from the French ‘donner’ (which was the language of the English court at the time) meaning ‘to give’. It is unclear whether Henry VIII was referring tongue-in-cheek to his acquisition of the monastery as a gift, or that the Donair itself was a gift from God, however following the Dissolution of the Monasteries beginning in 1534 he suffered a noted physical decline. He died in 1547, severely obese; his last known words were, “Monks! Monks! Monks!”
Today the East Coast delicacy is no longer considered solely the food of kings, but is widely celebrated as a near-perfect food, to be enjoyed by everyone, particularly between the hours of 12:00 and 3:00 a.m.. Quake Matthews’ video emphasizes the Donair’s universal appeal with the appearance of many notable Halifax locals including Randy and Tyrone of Sunnyvale Trailer Park, Pat Stay, Neon Dreams , Cam Smith, J-Bru and Matty Galaxy. The video also coincides with the city of Halifax declaring the Donair as its official food.