[Sca-cooks] My Frankish dinner Saturday night
Laura C. Minnick
lcm at jeffnet.org
Tue Sep 7 13:53:12 PDT 2010
First the hard stuff.
There was no water on site, so we had to bring our own in. I brought in
ten gallons, Randall brought about that much. Dishwashing was... not my
usual setup, but it sort of worked.
The second stove did not arrive. I had a couple of minutes of blind
panic, then I recovered and re-worked the schedule for dinner prep and
it mostly worked. Sorta.
It turned out that Their Highnesses of the Summits, who were to have
been guests, were in court at the time we began serving. (I found this
out about an hour ahead of time.) So their dishes were sent out by
runner. I don't know if things got there warm enough, but they got there.
Among the things I forgot- the broth. This made several dishes
difficult. We adapted.
The food was conjecturably Frankish, roughly Carolingian era. I found
huge lists of what plants they were growing and what livestock they
raised in a number of cartularies from Charlemagne's reign, and I tried
to use foods only from that list, adjusted as per what is available
seasonally. I also poked through my copy of Anthimus- he doesn't have
recipes, per se, but general guidelines for food preparation. He's a
couple hundred years early, but still useful, in my opinion.
The menu consisted of:
Soup course- A cabbage soup
First main course: frumenty, roast beef, and a fennel/carrot/leek dish
Second main course: a chicken dish with sauteed onions, blackeyed peas,
Dessert course: apple pastry, ypocras and wafers
The cabbage soup should have been done in broth, which I'd forgotten, so
we added a bit of the bacon grease from breakfast (never throw it away
in camp- it is too useful!), some spices, and a half-bottle of beer. It
was actually pretty good!
The frumenty also should have been done in broth, but I put some saffron
in with the milk and eggs, and that actually came out really good.
The roast beef was good. Slightly drier than I like, but I was having a
bit of trouble with the grill, keeping the heat even. Flavor was really
nice- I'd poked it all over and then marinated it in red wine with lots
of garlic, a bit of pepper and ginger, and some caraway.
The fennel/carrot/leek dish was sort of a re-run from the Egils menu. At
Egils it was fennel/carrot/parsnips, but parsnips are not really in
season, so I used leeks. I was not as happy with it as I was in May, but
it was still tasty. Part of the difference may be because in May we
cooked it with chicken broth, and we had none this time. So I may give
that one another chance.
The chicken dish had originally been slated to be a boiled chicken (in
broth with wine) but that takes a lot of water, so I did sort of a
saupiquet-like thing, with sauteed onions, white wine, and some spices.
Again, should have had broth.
The black-eyed peas had salt pork in them, a little parsley, and a
little mustard greens. Again, no broth.
The salad was mixed greens, parsley, sage, and some watercress, with oil
and vinegar to dress.
The pastry for dessert was... ok, not *exactly* period, but. The apples
I cooked in spices and sugar. I'd forgotten square pans, so I laid the
sections of puff pastry (the not-period part) in them, smeared the
apples on the pastry, and then folded the corners over. It worked ok.
Slit the pastry, popped it in the oven. The bottom was a little dark,
but it was very tasty. Next time I attempt something like that, I might
try a sweet yeast dough. The bread dough I used last May didn't work so
good, but a thinner sweet dough might.
The ypocras was good, and as the Romans did spiced wine, I think that it
is plausible that the Franks did. The wafers probably weren't
appropriate to the 8th c., but I need to look through the roman sources
more. The cookies were, however, tasty.
Overall, not my best experience, but not too bad. I plan on trying again
next tourney season.
Questions and comments are welcome!
"It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." -Albus Dumbledore
~~~Follow my Queenly perambulations at: http://slugcrossings.blogspot.com/
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