[Sca-cooks] Now where did I read that!!

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Wed Sep 19 13:24:48 PDT 2007

I found the following in the SCA Subtleties files-

It's a Roman feast  done in black.

Barones Faerisa posted the original material.


There is also a weird account of a hell/death themed feast staged by the
Emperor Domition (may be a little more morbid than what you're shooting
for) referenced in both Roy Strong's "Feast a History of Grand Eating"
and "Charlemagne'

s Tablecloth" by Nicola Flethcher:

"The Emperor Domitian was one of the more unpleasant Roman rulers, prone
to executing people on a whim. His was a triumphal banquet to celebrate
those who had died in recent war...his guests were instructed to arrive
at night without their servants; the event took place in a black draped
room; slabs shaped like gravestones were set beside each guest,
illuminated with small lamps of the type found in tombs. Naked boys
painted black came and danced like ghosts in front of the diners, and
then a banquet of the sorts of foods served at funerals, but entirely
black, was served up to them. Whilst the terrified guests ate this,
their host held forth on the subject of death and slaughter, leading
most of them to conclude that they were to be the next victims, such was
Domitian's bloodthirsty reputation. Each guest was dispatched back to
his home with a strange slave, but no sooner had he started to relax
after the ordeal, than word came from the emperor. Thinking that the
reprieve had been only temporary, he discovered to his relief that the
messenger had in fact brought him gifts from the banquet: the gravestone
nameplates turned out to have been made of silver; the dishes used at
the dinner were also of costly materials; and a painted dancing boy now
appeared washed and ready to work for his new master."
p 87 Charlemagne's Tablecloth

If you want a medieval subtlety interpretation of a Roman theme, try
architectural or portrait style (busts, relief plaques or even cameo
jewelry) made out of sugarpaste - classical themes were very popular in
Renaissance sugarworks.

Faerisa SCA Subtleties List Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:16 pm

otsisto wrote:
> I remember it was started during a thread on food dyes. I vaguely remember a
> mention of a black and white theme with squid ink for the black.
> Last year in the fall I think.
> De
> -----Original Message-----
> Hi there,
> Does anyone know of a source that talks about having colored-theme
> courses.  I seem to have misplaced my notes as to where I have read this
> or whose feast/banquet it was documenting.  Any help would be greatly
> appreciated!!
> Thanks,
> Caillin

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