[Sca-cooks] Current farm prices and affects on feast budgeting
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Feb 18 19:55:15 PST 2008
On Feb 18, 2008, at 8:40 PM, Terry Decker wrote:
> 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
> 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
> feast is period, but as long as it doesn't cost more or taste worse,
> is great.
Part of me is insulted by that, but I know what you mean. I'd say most
around here would pay [a little] extra to know they'd get better and
more period food, but I can certainly understand a refusal if the
option represented a drawback. On the other hand, if the situation
allows for even the very idea of a straight comparison between my
feast, or yours, and the breakfast buffet at [I was gonna say Denny's,
but I have no real experience with them, both by choice and, more
importantly, geography -- I'm talking about uninspired bulk fressing
for $4.99; research suggests this is not Denny's]. I'm talking about
the cook's version of not going on the defensive. You shouldn't have
to remind folks that you're doing something nice for them; they're not
doing you a favor by graciously allowing you to turn $3 worth of
ingredients into a $25+ meal for 400.
Of course, it takes a little tact to keep things on that level without
seeming like a jerk.
> 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.
You might give it a try. When you serve people Taillevent's boneless,
stuffed, gilt-glazed roast chicken, it's really grossly unfair to say
that chickens are $.69 a pound, so you should be able to do that and
several other comparable dishes for $3 a head.
I don't know about you, but I started doing SCA feasts when I was
about 23. I'd think nothing of coming home from my full-time job,
doing kitchen prep through the night, washing the pork out of my hair
and going back to work for three days out of the five immediately
before my feast. I thought nothing of hefting full, 80-quart
stockpots, standing on my feet without a break for 16 hours or more,
and diving headfirst into the occasional convection oven. I realize
now that I've been doing this for about half of my life, and I just
can't physically do that sort of thing regularly anymore.
I have to find shortcuts, and sometimes that involves spending a
little more on some of my ingredients, and that's not even counting
inflation. I'm not going to stand there and try to blackmail my group,
but they do understand that if they want to spend less for a feast
than they would for breakfast or a burger at the local diner, it's
possible they may not get the same feast as they would if I had a
little input on my budget. We do what we can; more than that we cannot
do, and so far, that has been regarded as more than enough. And I've
> I moight also
> invite the finance committee to assist me in the prep work and save
> Barony even more money.
I think this is a terrific idea. A little pork in their hair is just
what some people need to understand that elusive balance of
inspiration and perspiration. They may simply think Bear, or whoever,
likes this sort of thing, he's good at it, he can just wave his magic
wand and it all gets done magically, right?
One thing I do, and I admit it is an utter conceit, is sit out in the
feast hall in some... less than hidden... location after the last of
the food goes out, trying my best to look like an ace starting pitcher
in a baseball game sitting on the bench after being replaced by the
closer with a lead in the ninth inning. Arrogant? You bet. But what
I'm going after is for a little exposure of how difficult (or at
least, how not easy, if you get the distinction I'm trying to make)
the job can be, as people approach and feel the heat and steam
emanating from me, so they won't just dismiss what we do as a bunch of
nuts having such a good time they can be exploited. Well, we generally
_are_ a bunch of nuts, but even a bunch of nuts appreciates please,
thank you, and what can we do to help?
More information about the Sca-cooks