[Sca-cooks] The Menu

Euriol of Lothian euriol at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 23 20:00:50 PDT 2010

Comments below

----- Original Message ----
From: Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com>
To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 7:25:36 PM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] The Menu

Euriol wrote
> When you speak of the "Spanish tradition" how far back does that tradition go?
> Many traditions that I grew up sprouted from Colonial or Victorian times. Many
> food traditions that I am aware of, also sprouted from the classical cooking
> techniques that were post period.
I thought we were talking medieval or Renaissance. Colonial or Victorian times 
hardly enter into this.

-- You had only said "tradition", and there are many conversations that happen 
on this list that are about out of "period" food. It is why I asked.

> As to the fruit... Melons are cold&  wet by the humoral theory. I thought this
> would be very appropriate to the conditions expected at Pennsic (which were,
> since the heat index was 100F-110F most days I was there). The berries also
> played a role for providing someone with fruit that could not have melon. I
> believe that Strawberries are considered cold&  dry.
> I don't have any of my notes handy here at work, and I won't be able to access
> them until I get home on Friday. So what I say below is based on what I 
> of my decisions.
Here I ask when were fresh fruits admitted into dinners? And were they served 
before or at the the meal? My info is that stewed fruits were served at the end 
of the meal as desserts.

-- I can not give you a definitive answer on this. There is a fine line of what 
was recorded down and what was available. I've not focused my research on what 
was eaten that was not a written down recipe. Were things eaten that were not 
specifically written down? (rhetorical question)

> The dishes for the main course was served altogether. When I was looking at a
> couple of menus from that time period the meat was paired with a side dish. So 
> chose side dishes that I thought went well together as well as with the meats
> (mix&  match if you will).
> As to the onion pottage, it was handled with just enough liquid to ensure the
> onions were cooked through and infuse the flavor... it was not my intent to 
> a soup with it. It came out looking much more like sauteed onions with a 
> just not caramelized since I wanted to highlight the color of the red onions I
> used.
Pottage was a side course in your case but according to Ziryab in the 8th 
Century Cordoba pottage was a first course. Taking into account that you were 
serving one course, I think it would have been more appropriate put the pottage 
first in line and as I said previously that gave you time should grilling 
meat/fish be delayed.

-- There was a two hour window for everything to occur, including a bardic 
competition. I did what I felt was best for the situation. Also, the recipes 
I used were from sources at least 6 centuries later than the source you cite. 
Also, I attempted to indicate that the food was served all at once... there was 
no "first in line" so to speak. I just wrote things down in the list as I 
recalled the menu.

> The Barons&  Baronesses that I served have no particular passion for period
> cookery.
That is where I would sign off. If your public is so naive than they should go 
to fast food, I would never, never have done what you did for them. When I 
prepared my first American stuffed turkey in Spain, a friend of my husbands 
arrived late. He demanded to be served in minutes. I threw him out telling him 
to go to MacDonalds.

-- Not having a "passion" for period food is not the same as not liking it. This 
is my area of study. Those Barons & Baronesses have other areas of study. These 
include but are not limited to: Costuming, Callilgraphy & Illumination, Brewing, 
Equestrian Arts... shall I go on? Everyone has their own particular interest and 
a degree of interest. I believe that I was educating them by the experience... 
rather than just cook a meal that I might for having a few friends over for a 
game night. Cooking this dinner for these wonderful people was one of my big 
highlights for this Pennsic war... I'd happily do it again... but that I suppose 
is just me and what I enjoy doing.

> My goal was to provide them with food that was inspired by the recipes
> yet would still be comfortable to people who are not familiar with period
> cookery.
Understood but we are back to the merrygoround. Are you going to change food 
history to accommodate your customers or are you going to teach your pupils 
something about medieval cooking? If it is about Victorian cooking then that is 
a different story. THAT IS NOT MEDIEVAL!!!!

-- I really do not appreciate the tone that appears to be implied in the above 
comment. Just because I did not serve it as you did, does not mean that I did 
not educate them in some fashion about period cooking. One of my big goals in 
cooking period food for feasts and lunches is to make it more approachable to 
people, that it is not all "weird and strange". I'm not about to brow beat my 
interpretations of "period cooking" into those who are not interested in it, but 
I can let them enjoy eating it. Each recipe I cooked was redacted from 
translations to the best of my understanding of the recipe as described. Many of 
these recipes leave much room for interpretation and interpretations will vary 
from one person to the next.

    Now you say something about omlettes - not accepted by pure vegetarians.  
Eggs are an animal product, por amor de dios!
    Furthermore, I do not bargain with vegetarians especially after my 
daughter's wedding. The night before I, a relative on the groom's side and a 
friend of ours all organized a buffet dinner in my daughter's garden. We, being 
over 50 invites, were very careful to present vegetarian dishes. We found that 
there was only *one* "vegetarian," - a Jew who loves pork!!!! This colleague of 
daughter is very funny but we three organizers died totally exhausted when she 
told us that. We would have grilled more pork sausages for her instead of making 
so many vegetarian dips >:o !!!

-- The individuals with dietary restrictions informed me quickly after the menu 
was published to this small group of people. One of my goals for this dinner was 
to make 14 well respected members of my kingdom feel special. With the help of a 
number of volunteers we succeeded. Yes, there was an Ovo-lacto vegetarian, there 
was one who could not eat red meat, there was one that is allergic to citrus, 
another allergic to ginger, and yet another allergic to pineapple. Ginger and 
pineapple were not present in the menu. The rest was mitigated through planning.

    Give the cook a break - please!

-- Please remember that all the choices were mine. I offered to make the omelet 
for the Ovo-lacto vegetarian (I'm quite fond of this woman and it was simple 
enough to do). If I wanted to have a "break" I would not have volunteered to be 
the head cook of this dinner. Believe me, I've cooked feasts that were far more 
complicated for almost 10 times the number of people. This dinner was far 
simpler by comparison.


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