[Sca-cooks] serving unusual foods

Antonia Calvo ladyadele at paradise.net.nz
Mon May 11 17:11:37 PDT 2009

Susan Lin wrote:

>Yes, this is the feast I took over 3 weeks before the event.  Most of the
>menu had been set - we made some additions and modifications to accommodate
>vegetarians and gluten free and the likelihood that court might run late
>(which surprisingly it didn't).  With an apology to people who prefer a more
>period feast but the comments have all been positive.  People seemed to
>enjoy themselves.
First of all, well done you for stepping in and rescuing the event-- I
know how hard it is to do these things on short notice.

I'm surprised by something there.  Is it the norm in the Outlands to
publish a very definite menu in advance?  I just ask because it's very
much not the norm here.  People usually find out exactly what they're
having on the night.

Court delaying the feast is a thing not to be borne.

>Things to remember - if you serve bread they will eat it - all of it -
>regardless of how much you put out or whether they know there is more food
>to come or not - and then they will be full.  

I find it's best to restrict the bread supply to one loaf or four
manchets per eight diners, so that they don't stuff themselves with it.

>A little soup goes a long way.  Expect that people who do eat it will likely
>eat only about 1/2 cup per person.  It's easy to make too much.

Sometimes they'll eat a bit more-- if it's something really yummy like
Zanzerelli (basically broth with parmesan cheese, eggs, and crumbs), or
soup with some kind of dumplings or ravioli, they'll eat a bit more, but
they all seem to think vegetable soup is some kind of trick to draw them
away from the real food.

>Prepping as much as you can beforehand makes for lighter work and a much
>calmer kitchen on the day of the event.  We had all the sausages and pierogi
>done prior to the event so all they had to do is be cooked.  Also, the bread
>and the pudding was made in advance.  As long as you have the
>refrigerator/freezer space it'll help keep you sane.

I can't *imagine* doing something like pierogies for a big group any way
but made in advance and frozen.  Ditto sausages.

>Note on the pierogi - I should have pre-cooked one to see how it went -
>boiling was a disaster but thanks to my Mistress (Aldyth)'s quick thinking
>we put them in the oven and just finished them off browning in butter - huge

What went wrong with the boiling?

FYI, you can actually make, boil, freeze, thaw, reheat as an alternative
to make, freeze, boil.

>If you don't have enough burners put the vegetables in a roasting pan with
>some water, cover and bake - again, Thank you Mistress.  Check on them often
>so they don't over cook.

Actually, *lots* of recipes for stovetop simmered dishes can be
converted into oven recipes.  For larger quantities, the oven method may
be the easiest to use.

>Not all ovens cook the same - case in point - some of the gratin savoyard
>were cooked beautifully and some were unfortunately not cooked as thoroughly
>although nobody seemed to complain.  The potatos were not crunchy hard but
>some did have a bit of "tooth" to them.

It's 100% worth investing in an oven thermometer as well as a meat
thermometer.  They can be picked up for a few dollars and save you a
whole world of grief.

>If you put condiments out - make sure the servers know wht they're for so
>they can explain (we put out the sour cream before the pierogi and not many
>people knew what it was for).  Continuity seems to be key.

I'd take it one step further-- make sure the condiment is on the plate
with the intended food :-)

>You don't need a fully staffed kitchen at 8am - especially if you have
>wonderful people coming in all day offering to help.  We had about 6 or 8
>key people in the kitchen on and off throughout the day and everything got
>done pretty much on time.

I like to plan for about a 7-hour runup to a feast. More than that makes 
it a *really* long day.

>I think those were the big lessons.

Once again, yay you for saving the day!

>And now my plan for most of the rest of the year is to power lounge at each
>and every event I attend!!  Maybe I can finally wear my pretty garb.

I keep saying that... I've been saying it for ten years :-)

Antonia di Benedetto Calvo

Habeo metrum - musicamque,
hominem meam. Expectat alium quid?
-Georgeus Gershwinus

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list