[Sca-cooks] Largesse: What to avoid.

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Mon Aug 10 05:59:53 PDT 2009

1. I LOVE feeding people, so I hate to say it, but avoid food items  
for largesse.

If someone comes to eat at your table, they can ask what ingredients  
are involved. Before they come to eat with you, they can ask if you  
keep kosher/halal/Hindu vegetarianism/vegan/other religious/ideology- 
based dietary practices. They can ask if your foods are gluten-free,  
nut-free, egg-free, or whatever allergies and sensitivities they have  
to honor. If you say "No, we're omnivores," or "I'm not sure what's in  
it anymore -- I made the basic spice blend a couple months ago from a  
recipe I found online, and I just threw it all together," then the  
person knows that, with obvious regret, they can't eat by you, so  
they'll explain, and no harm done.

But largesse is a gift from the heart, and one that would be very hard  
to refuse without hurt feelings for both the giver and recipient. Even  
something as simple as salt can be problematic for some. The same,  
unfortunately, goes for those beautiful wooden cups that came from  
Goodwill -- since they're secondhand, neither the giver nor the  
recipient knows what has been in those cups before, and someone's  
allergies could be activated in a dangerous way.

2. Religious items

Crosses and rosaries are a very Period gift, but avoid them unless you  
are certain that they are appropriate to both the persona and the  
modern person. For the religious Christian these are a marvelous gift.  
A person of a different faith might find them problematic, since  
bearing the symbol of another faith might be against the dictates of  
their own religious convictions. For the non-religious SCAdian, too,  
this could be an issue -- not for the recipient of the cross, but for  
Christians, who surely don't deserve to see the symbol of the faith  
they take seriously, being worn or used as a mere costume element, and  
possibly being worn (and the wearer being mistakenly identified as a  
Christian) in a situation that could cause embarrassment for those who  
do profess Christianity.

3. Modern items

Batteries will probably get used in modern life, but if the  
recipient's campsite is totally non-electric/Period, they won't be  
useful in the hobby that we share. Ditto for mini-propane tanks,  
replacement lantern bulbs, and so on. Of course, a mini-first aid kit  
or sewing/repair kit would be a very good exception to this rule, but  
for the most part, modernity shouldn't be part of what we do for each  
other -- unless, of course, the gift is a ride to and from the next  

Other thoughts?

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