[Sca-cooks] Coping with limited cooking facilities for feast
lilinah at earthlink.net
lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 30 11:09:24 PDT 2011
Check the site personally if possible. Make sure what is there is
I had ovens at one site that heated significantly below the setting
on the dial; having a stand-alone oven thermometer meant i could make
sure i got the temperature i needed anyway. At another site, one of
the ovens didn't work at all - good thing to know ahead of time.
Sometimes things like refrigerators are not working as they should,
or not working at all. So bring a fridge thermometer to check, too.
At one site the fridge, which we were assured worked, was
non-functional. Fortunately we had plenty of coolers and access to
ice in a nearby supermarket.
And check the sink! One site i worked in as a helper had drainage
problems we didn't know about and water backed into a corner of the
kitchen from a drain in the floor!
Also, with all those recommendations for crock pots, roasters,
microwaves, etc., don't assume there is more than one accessible
outlet. Make sure there are enough electrical outlets, and that they
can actually handle the load; know where your circuit breakers are!
And bring powerstrips.
I cooked a feast to feed 150 for a Kingdom event, to be served at a
camp site with no facilities, which i knew ahead of time.
Refrigeration was standard camping coolers. I planned to reheat three
or four dishes i had cooked ahead of time and frozen, and for some
simple dishes that would require no cooking or the addition of warm
water only. When we arrived, there was a fire hazard warning in
effect and we were allowed to cook only on a black topped parking
lot, so we had to reorient our kitchen. We set up a propane 2 burner
stove (the tall kind :) and pots of hot water for thawing stuff.
Fortunately I had some very nice helpers.
So planning ahead is essential when using limited kitchen facilities:
-- Make as much you can ahead of time, so you will be doing as little
prepping & cooking from scratch as possible.
-- See if you can enlist some trusted cooks to make some of the
dishes ahead of time, so it isn't all on your shoulders; for the
feast above, i had one person make the desserts, and one other make
Andalusian meat balls, all from recipes i put together.
-- Make a time line for use of the burners and the oven so you don't
have dishes vying for access in any one course.
-- Make sure what you do make on-site doesn't take too long to cook;
do what prepping is possible for those dishes ahead of time as well;
if possible do some pre-cooking.
Given your limited facilities, it might also be good to plan for a
couple cold/room temp. dishes in each course.
After pre-cooking at home, make sure to cool the food properly. For
the above feast, i made a few "stew" type dishes (i made SCA period
Middle Eastern food) each a day apart. Once cooked i divided it into
freezer bags and put them in the freezer... then every 15 minutes i
rotated the bags so all sides were exposed to circulating cold air (i
have a side-by-side, so there was decent vertical space). If you just
let things sit in the freezer, hoping they will freeze, there will be
hot spots that don't cool properly, and you risk spoilage and/or food
I think someone mentioned tarts/pies. I second the recommendation,
depending on your feast's theme, of course. They can be found in many
time periods and cultures, are relatively easy to prepare at home,
relatively easy to cool and store, and pretty easy to transport. When
i make a lot of tarts, i transport them stacked in paper shopping
bags - i put each tart in its own zip loc bag, then put a sheet of
cardboard between each tart so they stay in shape; don't stack more
than four, or it risks crushing the one on the bottom.
Good luck! And ask more specific questions. I have always found this
list marvelously helpful when i was a new feast cook.
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita
More information about the Sca-cooks