[Sca-cooks] Newcomers to the list and SCA
countgunthar at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 25 08:51:56 PDT 2009
The list gets this kind of reaction at least once a year.
It is often from someone who is a good and experienced
cook and who is even pretty successful in either regular
or SCA cookery. They often come to the list to give their
knowledge to all of the unwashed masses out there and
are quite surprised by the knowledge and depth of the
personnel who are subscribed. There is often hurt feelings
and defensivenss on the part of the newcomer until they
start to understand what this environment is about. Some
who come here leave in a bit of a huff because we seem
to be unwelcoming and stuffy purists. Others stay but
become lurkers, afraid to offer any opinions in fear they
will get burned. And some learn that it is okay to state
an opinion but to be ready to either back it up or have
some other opinion tossed back at them.
We aren't stuffy purists or flamers. We welcome new people
and I demand polite discourse. We do strongly encourage
people to look at period cookery in a different way, that
period cuisine is just that, cuisine. It could be considered
the same as any other ethnic cuisine and we try to encourage
the joy of creating the new tastes and sensations of this.
We need to put that idea into people's minds, that this is
an "ethnic" cuisine just like Mexican, Chinese, Japanese
or any of the other hundreds of food types out there. And
there are right ways and wrong ways of going about this.
Using period ingredients or spice mixtures or such is perfectly
fine to create a form of "Fusion Period" cookery. The same as
using Sake and ginger instead of Pernod and shallots in
Sole en Papillote is used to create "Japanese/French fusion".
But the error lies in considering the fusion to be authentic.
What you cook in your camp is only the business of you and your
campmates. Giving them a taste of period cookery and slowly
introducing them to having no tomatoes, corn, peppers, etc...
or adding sweet spices to savory dishes and yet still having it
taste wonderful is great.
I don't cook period food all the time at events and certainly
don't make up dishes I think could be period and declare them
to be so. There is nothing wrong with that. I can, and do,
cook perfectly authentic recipes as well and serve them in a
"non-competitive" manner in camp or for buffets or whatever.
The thing about this list is to encourage people to go about
finding out just what these "lost cuisines" are all about. How
the flavors and techniques work. What the people back in time
REALLY ate as compared to what 99% of the human population
THINKS they ate.
I can grab a roasted chicken, a wheel of cheese, some fresh baked
bread and a bottle of wine from the local supermarket for my
lunch and feel quite Medieval as I eat it in garb at an event. But
I also know that it really isn't correct. It does FEEL right and I
can get into the mental mindset of a period man having a period
Modern roasted chicken, cheese, bread and wine may not be period
to the most correct term, but they are a hell of a lot better and
less distracting than me sitting there with a McDonalds bag in front
of me eating a Big Mac and fries.
To Judith, the people really aren't picking on you. They are seeing
someone who is interested in learning period cookery but has a
wrong idea about some of it and saying to you, "You can do that if
you like, but here is how to do it correct and it is just as easy and
The people on the list are passionate about food and their hobby
and must often suffer the slings and arrows of the stickjock crowd
who feels that "Period food sucks and just give me a steak" as
well as the just as bad, "Spices are used to cover the taste of
rotting meat and bread should have bits of rock in it" crowd.
Be patient with us and you will learn a great deal about period and
non-period cookery, neat places to eat, our favorite Food Network
personalities, Anthony Bourdain, clothing, Leroy Jenkins, and pretty
much anything about anything. Just ask and keep an open mind
and you will see this is a pretty fun place to hang out.
And they really aren't that all mean. I don't let them.
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