[Sca-cooks] Largesse: What to avoid.

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Mon Aug 10 06:58:04 PDT 2009

--On Monday, August 10, 2009 7:59 AM -0500 Judith Epstein
<judith at ipstenu.org> wrote:

> 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. 

Food largesse should be handled just like an item sold at the grocery
store. Always, always, always, list full ingrediants, and package it to
avoid cross contamination. Other than that (and that some people are leery
about eating something whose origins they don't know, I don't see a problem
with food based largese.

Now, one thing that is true -- don't give alchohol (most people feel it is
extremely foolhardy to drink from an unsealed container of unknown origin),
and don't give anything that can "go bad" without refrigeration.
> 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. 

Again, why?  Often the purpose of largesse is not to give the royalty
something to where, but to give the royalty something they can distribute
to their people.  While I would not go overboard on these, I think rosary
beads (especially in some of the period variants) are lovely largesse.

> 3. Modern items

See above. I've had royalty comment that some of the best largesse they
have received were little travelling toothbrush/paste kits (great for
handing out to their people, or for helping with last minute travel needs
for themselves or the folks travelling with them). If this is what the
given can provide, I don't see why they should be encouraged not to give it
if they like.  Same for stamps, gas cards, sewing kits (although I'll
admit, you can make some lovely period sewing kits), batteries, etc.

I asked some royals a few years back what they would prefer not to receive
in largesse baskets, and their replies were:

  1. Homemade alchohol (see above).
  2. Soap. By the 2nd week of the reign, soap in largesse baskets if like
zuchinni at the height of the season.
  3. Smelly things not well sealed in a bottle. Speaking of allergies, this
can be a big problem (imagine putting the rose scented incense in the
basket going to the queen whose eye's swell shut at the smell of
roses...and something like this will permeate the basket and everything in

Anyhoo, that's my two cents worth.

toodles, margaret

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