[Sca-cooks] English Food

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 11:36:13 PDT 2008

Johnnae spoke up, as I hoped she would!

> Given costs these days, don't you want to choose your meats first and get
> those prices locked in? What can you realistically afford in terms of two meats
> on $6.00 per head. How many ounces per head? If the meal will be chicken
> and something else, why not ask for chicken to start?

You are correct - I should have just asked for chicken recipes. ;) I
was figuring that for meats I would do a chicken dish and a pork
sausage, I found a sausage recipe in the footnotes of English
Housewife that calls for breadcrumbs - that should make the sausage
cheaper. And I have a student who is obsessed with making sausages
(George Ploppey the Mad Butcher of Netherwallop - I kid you  not) so
that will help with the labor.

> How many are you serving and when?
The event is in mid-September and the Autocrat is very inexperienced,
she wants me to decide on a number we are going to cook for. I haven't
decided yet but I am leaning towards 100. It is proving to be very
difficult to estimate how many people we are going to get because of
the increase in travel costs. The event itself is planned with a
break-even of 99 and it is an event that traditionally pulls 200 -
250. We are not optimistic.

>Do you want a seasonal meal or are you willing to mix spring dishes with fall ones?
Normally I would try to stay seasonal, but for this I am willing to go
with whatever is tasty and cost effective.

>Where do you live and what will be in season locally?
I live in Atlanta GA, seasonality doesn't make that much of a
difference. Asparagus & Strawberries will be out of season, but I
don't think that was ever an option. It is the beginning of apple
season and the tail end of watermelon season.

>What kind of kitchen will the site have and how complicated
> a meal can be prepared onsite? Grills? Roasters? Cafeteria style?
Here in Merides we are blessed with a State Park system with Group
Camps that have pretty good Kitchens. It is a circa 1970's commercial
kitchen. 3 door industrial oven with 8 burners & a flat iron griddle.
Unfortunately it does not have a convection oven. I can access Turkey
roasters, Grills, an electric hot smoker, propane Turkey Fryers ... I
am industrious when it comes to finding auxiliary cooking methods.

> There's several thousand medieval English recipes available. Browsing
> through Hieatt & Butler or Austin would be a great start. You could read the new
> Peter Brears book or check out the recipes indexed in the Concordance of English Recipes
> to see what strikes your fancy. Hundreds of English medieval recipes have been
> redacted afterall, and one can google recipe titles and find those redactions.
> After 1500 and the start of printing, there are even more recipes added to
> the mix. Think of all the Shakespearean dinners that have been done.

I know, it is boggling. Would you believe that I have managed to not
acquire a copy of Pleyn Delit by now, nor 1,000 eggs - English just
hasn't tickled my fancy before. But the sheer number of available
recipes is why I wanted to start here, to narrow things down a bit. I
have already done a research intensive feast this year - this one is
supposed to be more for fun. That is not to say that I do not want it
to be period food - but the focus of the event is the fighting and we
are going with the Tavern theme to keep things light and playful. We
are going to have all serving wenches for the feast. We will most
likely have a co-ed service staff, but they will all be dressed as
wenches - including a couple of Knights.

> Great salads if prepared properly are quite spectacular but they too take time and a good selection of large platters.
> Sweets range from small cakes to raised yeast cakes with fruit.

By Great salads do you mean a really, really good salad or is a Great
Salad a specific dish? I have a load of large platters - if you have
any specific recipe in mind I would love to see it. I have never had
luck with the small cakes - they always come out like hockey pucks
(except for Shrewsbury cakes - I swiped Bear's recipe and they come
out awesome) could you point me in the direction of the yeasted cakes?
As far as bread goes - I don't know, I have never had luck with bread.
It just doesn't seem to like me. I tend to go with pasta, but that
doesn't particularly scream "English" to me.

Thank you for all of your thoughts!

Serena da Riva

> Hope this helps

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