[Sca-cooks] Atlantian Twelfth Night Feast

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Tue Jan 16 16:50:17 PST 2007

Thanks for the feast writeup. It sounds like a great meal.
As for pastries, I think training and practice go a long ways towards
being able to create these sort of things. If you make
pastries for a living and are trained in pastries, then one would
hope that you could make uniform pastries by the hundreds.
Also one probably tosses out or keeps behind all the less than perfect
ones, whereas with the Society, we are serving every last one because
of the budget and cost of food. Also just because they were perfect at home
doesn't mean that they stay perfect at the event. Who hasn't had a 
mishap or a kitchen mishap when the subtletie or pastry was 
inadvertently damaged?
And it's a matter of equipment and
making do with less than the needed molds or pans or even the cutters.
Who buys that equipment for their home use? Also we tend to be
overburdened with all the other things that have to be done.
Can we spend that much time on one dish when we need to
also be creating another 12 or 15 dishes for the four courses.
We work full-time at other jobs and try and create these feasts
on weekends in sometimes sub-par environments with enthusiastic
but often unskilled help. I think we are lucky at times to ever see
a meal put on the table at all.


Elise Fleming wrote:
> The Atlantian Twelfth Night Feast (13 January) in Charlotte, NC, was
> delicious. snipped 
> Dessert was small squares of pastry with two different "fillings".  Mine
> was nut and (honey?).  I will admit to looking at them and thinking it was
> too bad that Valharic purchased commercially-made pastry after such a fine
> meal had been served.  I found out later that night from Valharic that the
> pastry was not commercially-made but it was professionally-made.  Valharic
> works for one of the universities and deals with food provisions.  He had
> asked their pastry chef if he'd be interested in trying the German recipe. 
> He was, and he taught Val some of the techniques while the chef made 300 of
> each pastry.  They were far more flavorful and delicate than the
> commercially-made kind that one can usually find in a large grocery store. 
> For some reason, I hadn't ever really thought about the skill of the period
> pastry workers.  They specialized in their craft and could have - indeed,
> would have - produced uniform, well-made items.  Somehow I've gotten used
> to the irregularities that many of us produce when trying to reproduce a
> period pastry.  I am not meaning this as a criticism of our amateur SCA
> cooks.  Most of us aren't the professionals that would have been working in
> the high nobility's kitchens.  I was just taken aback by my assumption that
> since the feast's pastry looked uniform, it must have been purchased and
> made by machine.  It wasn't commercial; it was _professional_.
> Alys Katharine, longing for another piece of that moist chicken!

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