[Sca-cooks] Kiri's Middle Eastern Feast

Elaine Koogler kiridono at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 18:41:32 PDT 2008

On Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 8:35 PM, Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

> What was the event and when and where was it?

The event was "A Day in the Middle East" and it was a hafla-type event,
featuring classes on Middle Eastern culture (dancing, garb, drumming, games,
etc.).  The dayboard was called a mezze and, according to my research, was a
common feature of parties in that area of the world in our period.

> How common is it to have one headcook for both a dayboard/lunch along
> with a dinner or a dinner along with a breakfast?

I'm not sure about other Kingdoms, but usually they are cooked by two
different people in Atlantia.  However, up to now, we've opted to do it this
way...the feast is served as a single course, so it seemed to me, at least
up until now, that this was the way it should be done.  If we do switch to
having two people do it, there will need to be coordination between the two
so that the food will be varied, yet compatible.

> <snip>

> Did you use the toasted sesame oil or the non-toasted (which I've yet
> to see)?

You always used the fresh, untoasted sesame oil for Middle Eastern cooking.
I am told that it can be often found in health food stores.  I have found it
in gourmet stores down here in southern MD, and have ordered it from places
online.  It's a very light oil and very pleasant to work with.

> So how specific was the original recipe on the type of fish to be
> used? Do you think it needed a firmer fleshed fish? Or perhaps the
> recipe was expecting a fresher fish than the frozen/refrigerated fish
> you had? Or perhaps the original recipe was expecting salted or
> stockfish to be used instead of fresh?

We used a fish that was the most commonly used in the Middle East, tilapia.
Possibly, in period, it was done with the skin on, though that doesn't seem
likely.  I wonder if maybe the translation may have missed a shade of
meaning for the word rendered as "boil".  I just did what seemed reasonable
to me.  And it turned out wonderfully!  I do think that, in addition to the
way I decided to actually cook the feast, letting the sauce age for a couple
of days brought it the flavors in that component very nicely.

> So, do you think you were a victim of substitution by the website?
> Was it a matter of ignorance at the website? Or is this one of those
> naming problems we have discussed here previously, such as the
> cardoon/artichokes/chard discussion in another thread?

It's mostly my fault.  I didn't check the order confirmation closely
enough.  And it did say "Rigatoni", so it's my own stupid fault!  The Web
site I used, http://www.rao.com,  had many types of pasta available and, as
dried pastas go, it was reasonably good.

> Does anyone know of a website (or other resource) that defines
> different pastas, preferably with photos? Is there one specific to
> the pastas in our period? ie: which pasta shapes or types are likely
> to have been used in period. There's probably still the problem that
> a name for a pasta in period might now denote a completely different
> pasta.

I don't think you'll find one with pastas from our period, specifically.
However, in all fairness, this one had pictures of most of its types of
pasta.  However, the picture/selection for orichiette was  right above the
one for rigatoni, so I guess it's possible I could have selected the wrong
one.  Sigh.

> <<< As it was, the
> pasta sort of, IMHO, overpowered the wonderful taste of the lamb and its
> seasonings. >>>
> In what way? Because it was larger than expected and thus there was
> more "noodle" than wanted? Or the taste of the "pasta" itself was not
> what you expected? So far, I've found that most pasta noodles taste
> fairly similar to each other.

It wasn't the taste...it was more a matter of very large rigatoni noodles vs
small, disk-shaped pasta.  The relationship between individual pieces of
pasta and the lamb mixture wasn't as it should have been.

> Yes, please. I'd have sent this by email, but since I was asking
> these other questions...

as I mentioned in another message, the recipes are on the SCA Cooks'
Yahoogroup site.

> Some recipes had a single (*) and some had a double (**). Were these
> doubly copyrighted :-) or something else?

Nope...just forgot to remove the double asterisk...sorry about that.  The
recipes that were copyrighted were part of the feast...I may have neglected
to remove all of the asterisks from the mezze part.


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