[Sca-cooks] on topic: Healthy Feasts - was OT: diet, was sugar problems

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Sun Aug 6 15:00:55 PDT 2006

On Aug 6, 2006, at 4:55 PM, Tom Vincent wrote:

>> Do our health-conscious fighters acknowledge the potential hazards in
>> striking each other with a three-pound rattan whip, and say, "I could
>> have hit you there, so you should just acknowledge the blow. And by
>> the way, I'm Crown Prince now" ?
> D:  I don't see the connection, sarcastic or not.  My question was  
> about
> providing and promoting healthier feasts to a group that is more or  
> less
> as obese as the general public, not about D&D-type calls in stick- 
> fighting.

My response, which was more metaphorical than sarcastic, was to  
question how far we should be going to protect members of our group  
from hazards we should already be protected from by our preparation  
for everyday life.

Yes, we can certainly work harder to expose people to healthier feast  
menus and dishes, just as we could have a contact-free, and  
presumably injury-proof, Crown Tourney, but at what cost to our  
primary objective? What does this type of cooking have to do with  
medieval and renaissance history? Would period folk recognize it? Not  
recognizing it would be bad enough, but having it recognized as  
Lenten food or food for the poor, but certainly not for the gentry on  
a feast day, might be regarded as worse.

>> Our goal is to contribute to the period ambiance, and, ideally, to
>> directly educate about period food. If diners don't already have some
>> basic idea of nutrition, serving them healthy food one day a week
>> isn't going to reverse the damage they're probably doing the rest of
>> the time.
> D:  Every little bit helps, I suppose.  Maybe being exposed to a
> healthier feast would encourage people as well as show them that the
> chef(s) cared about their health.

It might, but I have to wonder what makes anyone feel we don't. I'm  
inclined to agree with the people who spoke of offering a balance of  
healthy and richer foods, which both offsets the effect of the  
extremely rich food that's there, but also provides options for those  
who really want to pursue a healthier regimen. I'm also a believer in  
portion control, and let's just say that I've come to realize that  
sources of saturated fats frequently tend to be the most expensive  
items on our menus, while things like whole grains and greens tend  
not to be.

By any chance were you on this list when I posted the menu for the  
last feast I cooked? It was designed to be as opulent as I could come  
up with, within certain space and equipment limitations. The event  
was kind of a big deal, my budget was pretty high, and I certainly  
didn't want a menu that screamed "Lean!" Nonetheless, I spent the  
money on good olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, and lean meats,  
and not on a huge amount of butter or cheese. My one concession to  
the "So-much-saturated-fat-it-makes-you-queasy-to-look-at-it" foods  
was that my beef was strip loin roasts, cooked over charcoal. It was  
well-appreciated, but the thing to do, for those looking to seriously  
limit their fat intake, was to eat a small amount of the stuff.

In other words, I tried to give people the choice, not make it for  
them. It would have been equally bad form for me to make the choice  
impossible by filling my menu with nothing but cheese, eggs, butter  
and bacon, as it would by imposing my well-intended dietary views on  
the masses.

>> Yes, it could be a problem if partaking of an SCA feast becomes the
>> equivalent of a Thanksgiving or other holiday pig-out once (or twice)
>> a week, every week, but this is a matter for personal responsibility,
>> IMO.
> D:  As everything is, but I also believe that "It Takes A  
> Village":  We
> help each other.

Indeed we do, but not everyone wants to be helped, and for those that  
do, help can take different forms.


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