[Sca-cooks] al-Hafla breakdown ...

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 12 12:50:01 PST 2009

Hello the list!

After having planned what turned out to be a pretty successful al-Hafla, I just wanted to say "thank you" to all on the list. Mostly lurking on here, I learned a lot about how to make up for the deficiencies of a kitchen and what kind of food prep can be successfully done in advance; how to divvy up responsibilities; and how to get volunteers into the kitchen to wash the pots and pans Now that it's been a month I can look back and say, "Wow, glad I did it, but I won't be doing this again too soon. If ever." ;-)

Because al-Hafla is an event centered on music and dancing and storytelling, and because of the size of the kitchen in the facility, I had opted to go with an all-day-into-the-evening spread of foods that people could pick up when they felt like it. Because al-Hafla brings together a spectrum of personas from Persia, Turkey, the Middle East in general, and the Meditterranean, the food reflected this diversity as well. Many of the recipes I got from Master Rashid, who was tireless in providing advice.

I had split the day into a breakfast board, a lunch board, and a dinner board, as well as having things on the board all day long.

Things on the board all day long: spicy cheese dip, hummus, olives, fruit, pita bread, torshi (Persian pickles), cut-up vegetables (cucumbers and celery, and anachronistic grape tomatoes

Breakfast board: Eggs and lentils (eggs baked on top of a spiced lentil mash), apricot pudding (cream of wheat, dried apricots, sugar and orange essence), Arabian shortbread, carrot halwa

Lunch board: The Emir of Catania's chicken (cooked chicken mixed with bread crumbs, capers, and lemon juice, served in a breadloaf), chickpea stew, mujaddara (rice and lentils), baklava, Persian rice pudding

Dinner board: Chicken legs and thighs cooked in lemon juice, lemon vinegar, broth, whole herbs, and whole cloves of garlic; manti (Turkish ravioli); cauliflower in tahini sauce; Persian salad. Sweets were the carrot halwa, baklava, Arabian shortbread, and Persian rice pudding.

Things I would do differently: not freezing the manti (it was very difficult to get them out of the layers of waxed paper and several opened up when boiling, disgorging their meaty insides); and making more chicken (I thought to myself, people are so tired of chicken; but apparently smelling it cooking drove folks nuts and they wiped out the two enormous trays in five minutes flat).

But overall, it was a successful event and I was told by some that the food was the best they ever had at an SCA event. :-)


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