[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, 
and salad

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. 
Bright yellow.

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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