[Sca-cooks] Cooking and Serving Equipment

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Thu Feb 21 14:01:26 PST 2008

> Can others on this list discuss how their branch or guild does the
> "own their own cooking and serving equipment" thing, please?

The cooking gear in my shire** in the kingdom of the East, has a long and
somewhat contentious history, and looking back I'm rather startled to
realize how much I've had to do with it.

12 years ago, when I joined the shire, it really owned little to nothing
in the way of cooking and serving gear. The first two feasts and dayboards
I participated in used gear from our main site, the Ukranian homestead.
But the site coordinator noted that they were thinning out the ranks of
their serving gear, and I pushed for us to buy some gear ourselves. We
also got donations from shire members of bowls and some silver-plate.

When we first used a site (National Guard Armory) with no serving gear of
its own, the shire agreed to purchase some serving gear as well as
borrowing/renting some from the Homestead. The group had carefully built
up some savings, and over time, we started using it in small amounts to
buy sets of serving gear and some cooking year.

Finally, when the group hit a high of 5 events a year, I and some others
put together a plan to purchase enough dishes to serve a feast for 200 (in
tables of 10) a 5-course feast, in sets of 20 matching bowls, 20 matching
plates, etc. with serving utensils and everything.  Because of the cash
reserves and careful shopping (nothing cost us more than $1-2 each) we
were able to do this. We also purchased storage containers. At the same
time, other shire gear was being purchased, such as Pop-Up sunshades,
water coolers, list-enclosing stakes, etc. We also purchased several (3?)
sets of 4 different sizes of inexpensive stainless steel pots. eavier,
less expensive ones might have been a better choice, but finding those at
affordable prices has been... difficult.

Over time since then, some things have been replaced, some removed, and
some did not work out. Glass bowls, purchased in desperation for soup
tureens, had almost a negative lifespan. Wooden bowls and wooden serving
spoons, however accurate they may be, have been problematic because if
they get put away damp, the whole container gets moldy. We also got a
large donation of plain ceramic coffee cups which have been a headache--
neither of our main sites have automatic dishwashing facilities of any
kind, and in fact their dish-washing facilities are awkward. Those mugs
have recently been disposed of.

Storage of this equipment has been something of a struggle, once it became
more than 4 boxes that could be stored in anyone's basement. We did have a
storage locker for some time, but once storage prices soared to the
$150/month range it became impractical. Currently we rent a storage space
at the Homestead for a nominal fee. The cost of storing and the
arrangements for hauling this stuff has been a hassle; I think many of our
shire members would almost prefer to use nothing but aluminum trays. In
addition, there have been some difficulties over borrowing the gear for
SCA-related functions or for other group's functions.

I also have a large collection of personal gear, mostly suitable for
display tables and dayboard serving (small period-like bowls, for
instance, one-off serving trays, etc, and some pottery and crystal servers
for items such as comfits that would be foolish to give over to group
ownership, since when everyone owns it, no one takes the best care of it).
I loan these out and bring them to events when they are needed.

** name omitted lest I be accused of discussing my group's financial
affairs in public.
-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

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