[Sca-cooks] A Local Feast

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Tue Jan 30 09:13:57 PST 2007

Greetings!  Last Saturday our Barony had one of its annual events but this time at the county fairgrounds where there was no kitchen.  The head cook was Hely, assisted by Master Aiden (C&I Laurel).  I have to boast about them and the feast!  The food was basically prepared off-site on previous days although roasting pans were used.  There was a refrigerator; an old, small, regular size, four burner stove with oven and a small sink.

The food was good.  We had a lively discussion at our table about the spicing.  Two of us thought that some of the peppered dishes were too peppery but another person defended the spicing saying that she couldn't detect any spices in the dishes that we favored.  Taste bud variations!  The plating was just right.  Virtually none of the dishes near us went back with food on them, and all the dishes had some type of decoration or embellishment.

Aiden is absolutely tops with sugar paste - trying new things, making his own molds.  For head table (TRH Midrealm and TRH AEthelmearc) he made a butter fence with cinnamon stick posts.  It was glorious!  Inside the fence was a sugar paste goblet painted gold (or gilded, I don't know which) filled with salt.  The rest of the tables had small, round butter "dishes" made of dough.

The first course consisted of hand-made sausages with hand-made mustard; apples dusted with cinnamon (and sugar?); cabbage in coffyns (the coffyn was not meant to be edible) and decorated with pomegranate seeds; a mixed green salad; and dates and nuts on a sugar paste plate/bowl.  The latter had a fancy shape which is hard to describe but was done with a mold from a dish that Aiden had.  There was a blue decorative line on each plate.  We saw later that he'd put a maker's mark on the back - Aiden China!  There also was a dish of dates and period gingerbread cut into decorative shapes.

The second course consisted of beef and onions with a sour pepper sauce and a fish tart which was presented in a fish-shaped coffyn!  Making and shaping coffyns was very period and I haven't seen much of it.  Aiden did the shaping of all of the tarts.  Additional dishes included a compote of pickled carrots, parsnips and pears; a mushroom pie (one of my favorite dishes at this feast); spiced pears and finally buttered pasta with pepper.

The third course contained an attractively arranged dish of pickled beets and slices of regular pickles with egg quarters for decoration.  There also was a dish of sugared lemon slices and sugared orange slices.  Most of us thought the lemon needed a bit more sugar but it was fun to watch some teenagers down three or four slices while trying not to pucker up their faces!  There was a scallion pottage, pretzels and rye rolls.  There was a platter of chicken pieces - garlic, rosemary and (thyme??) which were well cooked.  And, hurray!  They were already cut up into serving-sized pieces.  The herbed sauce arrived at our table a little too late to eat with the chicken, but it was tasty by itself.  By this point, we were stuffed even though most of us were limiting the amount we were taking.  And then came a sour cherry pie!!  This was, for me, the best dish.  The top of the pie was covered with a crust, but not just a plain crust.  It was made of several overlapping pieces with the top piece cut into the nebuly shape of the Cleftlands' device!  Delightful!

And then came the announcement that we were invited to the back of the hall for the 'banquet' course!  Aiden and Hely had set up a small, latticed and decorated booth that they'd used at earlier events (back side closed with a roof and fabric overhanging the top).  On the table top of the booth were more "desserts" - dried apricots; sugar paste almonds colored with cinnamon and "glued" together with sticky tragacanth; sugar paste walnuts; a green-icing cone-shaped tree with marzipan fruits stuck into it; shortbread and fancy-shaped period gingerbread.  There also were small plates with the comfits that Jehenne and I had spent days and days making.  Whew!

None of the photos of this feast are yet online, but some from earlier feasts by Hely and Aiden are available:




I have a dial-up connection and it was taking too long to access the pages so I can't give you any descriptions, but you might enjoy seeing some of the previous dishes at earlier events.

Alys Katharine

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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