[Sca-cooks] Vegetarian & Vegans was Re: lethal drinks
lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 21 17:17:57 PDT 2008
I hesitated to jump in, because i've said most of this before, but,
well, here i am.
VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
I was a vegetarian back in the late 60s and early 70s, and i still
don't eat a lot of meat.
My daughter, all on her own, gradually became a vegetarian, starting
when she was fairly little, around 10 (she'll be 28 this year). She
began by eliminating beef, of which she was never fond, and lamb,
which made her gag - i'm not fond of the flavor, but at least i'm not
that sensitive to it. I raised her to at least taste everything, so
eating other things was not a problem. In the next couple years she
eliminated pork and fowl, and then all fish and seafood. By the time
she was 12 she was vegetarian (i.e. includes eggs and dairy, excludes
flesh). She said it made her feel better. She still wore (and wears)
leather and silk. In the last year or two she added fish and seafood
back into her diet (i.e. pescatarian), but still doesn't eat it often.
I'm in NoCal and we have some vegetarians at feasts. I'm happy to
cook so they can eat. It's easy. I just use a rich flavored vegetable
broth in non-meat dishes that call for meat broth. So they can
generally eat everything except the meat. Simple. I've never had any
expect special treatment, in fact they are often thrilled to find
they can eat the feast!
I do not cater to vegans (no fish, no eggs, no dairy, and usually no
honey), as that is difficult to do with Medieval/Renaissance recipes,
unless it's Lent, and that's only, what? 40 days a year? I've never
had one contact me, so i don't yet have a reason to prepare purely
vegan dishes for one or two, on the off change a vegan will show up.
As for allergies, my first feast had almonds in a huge percentage of
recipes (i love almonds :-). I can only hope no diners had almond
allergies. I realized what i'd done on the evening of the feast. Now
i just plan a feast so that common allergens are usually not featured
in more than one dish per course. AND i keep a hawk eye on my cooks
so that there's no cross-contamination. By autocrat request, i have
made feasts that were light on gluten - not gluten free, but those
with celiac disease could at least eat some of the grain dishes.
As for allowing those with allergies to have a few clues, i print up
"menus" for every diner that list all the ingredients in each dish,
so people can figure it out for themselves. (i'm in a college town
and photocopying is cheap - usually only 3 cents/person.) This is
becoming fairly standard practice here in the "Central West".
I have always requested that potential diners with food issues
contact me before a feast, but hardly any ever have.
Only one Principality feast was tricky. I planned a Greco-Roman
feast. Then not long beforehand i discovered that the Prince kinda
kept kosher (so no dairy and meat together); the Princess did not,
but was deathly allergic to nuts and honey (and honey was in nearly
every dish); and there were the usual vegetarians and some people
with fish allergies (and fish sauce was in nearly every dish).
So i added a non-pork meat dish into a course featuring ham. Then
on-site i had the cooks make every dish up to a certain point,
leaving out the honey, nuts, dairy, and fish sauce. Then we separated
out a serving for the Prince w/o dairy (but added everything else), a
serving for the Princess w/o nuts or honey (but added everything
else), and one table's worth for the vegetarians and fish-allergics
w/o fish sauce (but with soy sauce for flavor, and added everything
else). Then everyone else got all their food with everything.
I figured that there would be about a table's worth of vegetarians
and fish-allergics (i.e. 8 diners), and i knew they would not all be
sitting together. So made sure i had a sharp person as their server
who'd remember where they were.
It required some planning but was not difficult. I still only made
one feast, not a whole bunch of tiny servings of special dishes.
When i joined the SCA 9 years ago, people almost never reserved
tickets for feasts. They just showed up. The Feast Cook had to assume
a certain number of diners based on how many came the previous year.
But a couple years ago, for financial reasons, we began limiting
feasts to 60 paying diners (royalty being comped theirs) and that
meant people really had to reserve a place. We still don't always
require the money ahead of time, and if someone doesn't show, then
someone else can get a place. This is only a problem when feasts are
during bad weather season - some folks who didn't pay don't show, and
often there are no others to take their places.
That happened to me last fall. More than 60 people requested tickets,
so at the autocrat's request, i planned to serve about 72+Royalty.
Then the day of the event, the weather sucked - we had only about 48
paying diners... Fortunately i planned a more modest feast than is my
usual - anticipating this problem during rainy season, and we still
made money on the feast. We just tossed out the extra noodles and
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita
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