[Sca-cooks] feast organization/service question

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Fri Aug 18 10:19:31 PDT 2006

>I have a question (several actually) about feast service. Do you folks use
> a hall steward in your Kingdoms to set up the hall and decorate it?

There is no fixed method of handling the hall in Ansteorra.  Because I take 
absolute control of the hall, the feast and the service, I generally use a 
steward (Marshal of the Hall) to organize the hall, the entertainment and 
control the access while I concentrate on preparation, cooking and plating.

Is this
> person seperate from the one who organizes the servers?

Usually, but a large feast might require a further division of labor or if I 
have a hall steward who is more comfortable with organizing the inanimate 
while someone else runs the service crew.

Is there a seperate
> person who puts the food into serving dishes (the co-feastcrat perhaps)?

Depending on space and kitchen and hall layout, I commonly have three or 
four people working on getting the food plated and out.  At times when space 
is tight or I have a menu that suits, I do it myself.

> When I cook I like to stagger the courses so that everything comes out 
> hot.
> That means I am still busy cooking and can't do the food presentation part
> myself. I like to have a seperate person than the hall steward be my
> "server organizer" because by the time feast rolls around, my hall steward
> is exhausted from all the hall duties and it makes for a much longer day
> for them. Plus we always camp here in my kingdom, so the hall steward 
> works
> Friday night too. Which means that running the hall for me takes four
> people - me as feastcrat, food plater, server organizer and hall steward.
> How does it work in your Kingdoms? Anybody have another term for "server
> organizer" that is more period yet still describes what the job entails?
> ~Aislinn~

It was common for the "waiters" to be organized by the "Marshal of the Hall" 
for serving the tables and that the waiters clearing the table be under the 
direction of the "almoner."  Technically, the term "marshal" derives from a 
Germanic term meaning "horse servant" or groom, but by the Middle Ages the 
marshallate of a household were those knights who served as marshals, their 
gentlemen, servants and staff all of whom were engaged transportation and 
logistics.  They also acted as travelling officers for their lord's assizes. 
The almoner was commonly a cleric serving as one of the chaplains of the 
house and whose duty it was to dispense the leftover food as alms.


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