[Sca-cooks] Current farm prices and affects on feast budgeting

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Feb 18 17:40:03 PST 2008

> While that's a good idea in theory, I expect most cooks would be told
> that their standards are impossibly high and/or that they're
> cherrypicking for faults in such a feast. In the end, no matter what
> route you use to reach the conclusion, it will most likely be a lack
> of caring about the role of food in the event, except in the broadest
> possible sense which does not extend to high quality of a more period
> structure or atmosphere being worth paying extra for. And while I'm
> not suggesting that something like periodicity costs more, I am
> suggesting that a larger budget does appreciably broaden one's set of
> options, generally.

Good points, but ask 'em how much they spent for the last "bad" feast. 
Cooks who are sloppy about the cooking, tend to be sloppy on the logistics 
and the budget.  I know that Namron likes good food at a decent price while 
breaking even or making a profit.  Of course that doesn't mean that the 
feast is period, but as long as it doesn't cost more or taste worse, period 
is great.

I can't really speak for other groups.

> All true, IMO. Another consideration is that when a large percentage
> of the cook's time is in generating added value to the raw ingredients
> (say, boning out whole chickens, home-curing inexpensive meats, making
> sausages, etc.), you need to compare what you spent on that flat of
> broiler/fryers to what you'd spend on boneless chicken meat, or even
> chickens boned out by a high-end butcher, or sausages made to spec by
> a quality butcher, instead of, say, Johnsonville Brats or Hillshire
> Farms (bleah!) or whatever. You then point out that the reason why
> you're doing this is as a contribution to the success of the event and
> the group in your capacity as a Nice Person of Some Skill. Point out
> that being met halfway as raw ingredient prices rise, is only fair,
> and when discussing plans before an event, try to settle reasonable
> compromises as to where cuts can be made, and what the ramifications
> will be. If your group really just wants a big pot of stew and bread,
> you can do them a fine one, but there's really not much that's
> especially medieval about such an approach, especially for some of the
> clothes-horses (no disprespect intended) that attend some events.
> For some reason I'm always reminded, in discussions like this, of Tony
> Shalhoub's rant in "Big Night", where they're discussing the removal
> of the seafood risotto from the menu, and he suggests they try
> serving... " 'ow you say... 'ot dog? 'Ot dogs?" instead... because,
> you know, it's-a less money and the people will like it...
> Adamantius

I completely agree.  A large part of any menu planning I do is deciding 
where to spend my dollars and where to spend my time.  I don't usually tell 
people about the trade-offs, but it might make a point.  I moight also 
invite the finance committee to assist me in the prep work and save the 
Barony even more money.


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