[Sca-cooks] Documentation

galefridus at optimum.net galefridus at optimum.net
Thu Aug 23 08:46:35 PDT 2012

Concerning the two messages below:

I consider documentation to be extremely important for several reasons, some of which have very little to do with evaluating entries in A&S competitions. These reason go well beyond food and cooking.

We are a society of re-creators. We attempt to at least partially emulate medieval culture(s) of one sort or another in how we do things -- we have kings and queens, a nobility of sorts, and a set of ceremonies that express this culture. Some of us focus on the martial arts, developing a set of skills bearing at least some similarity to those that would have been practiced in battles and peacetime martial tournaments. Some focus on the knowledge and skills -- the arts and sciences -- that were in use during our time period. These arts and sciences require at minimum two things:
1. A modicum of skill. Whether sewing or woodworking, smithing or illuminating, embroidering or cooking, those of us engaged in a particular craft try to do it well and to continually improve our ability to so. This aspect is the "how" of what we do.
2. A commitment to historicity. We try to do things the way persons in our period would have done them. Those who sew try to use fabrics that would have been available, making clothes like those which folks actually wore. Woodworkers try to use tools like those used by historical woodworkers, making objects that were known to have been used. And cooks use ingredients that were available at the time to make foods that would have been eaten. This aspect is the "where and when" of what we do.

In the absence of documentation, all I know of a person's work is his or her skill. That skill may be superb, and the person may be willing to teach the skill to all who ask, but it's only the how. We still need the where and the when that only documentation can provide. When I look at someone's work, regardless of whether it's within my area of expertise or not, I want to be impressed by both the skill and the research. And if it's something that I'm interested in, then I want to know both how to do it and where to go to learn more. Documentation is what makes this second thing possible, which is why I place a very high value on it. The skill involved in making tasty cheese is impressive, but it's the cheesemaker that does so using a 13th century recipe and with 13th century techniques that takes my being impressed and turns it into wonder and delight.

-- Galefridus

> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 22:25:36 -0500
> From: Stefan li Rous 
> To: SCA-Cooks maillist SCA-Cooks 
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Documentation
> Message-ID: <1F02DBB0-92F0-412B-9C33-61F40BBA0FA8 at austin.rr.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Tre said:
> <<< I'm still very wary of entering any competitions. By the 
> time I make something (food/garb/etc.) I have usually researched 
> through several sources, read and absorbed the information, and 
> then go for it. I couldn't tell you where I got what 
> information, and which sources I decided not to use for whatever 
> reason. Writing a paper on it would take away the enjoyment of 
> the activity. (Not to mention that I've often been told that 
> judges don't really have time to read a paper, so why bother?) >>>
> Writing a paper on it would take away the enjoyment of the activity?
> I'm sorry to hear this. I understand that judges, much less the 
> populace has a hard time finding the time at events to read such 
> papers. On the other hand, I would love to have such papers to 
> publish in the Florilegium. It is likely that more than a few 
> other people across the Known World would be interested in 
> reading about what you have found out.
> I wish more people would send me copies of the papers they've 
> written for A&S contests or the documentation. I am always 
> willing to replace such documentation with an article in the 
> future if you wish. Or to update a paper as you learn more. 
> Even if it isn't perfect, folks can still learn from what you've 
> already done.
> Stefan
> I'm behind a little bit here. My wife, Her Ladyship Alina 
> Mitchell, was involved in a serious auto accident Monday morning 
> and is currently in the hospital with a broken L12 vertebrate 
> and several broken ribs with surgery scheduled for Thursday 
> morning. Healing thoughts, prayers etc. appreciated.
> --------
> THLord Stefan li Rous Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra
> Mark S. Harris Austin, Texas 
> StefanliRous at austin.rr.comhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/marksharris
> **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: 
> http://www.florilegium.org ****

> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 08:46:22 -0700
> From: Ian Kusz 
> To: Cooks within the SCA 
> Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Documentation
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Yes, for some people, writing a paper is a bad memory come back 
> to haunt
> you. Keep in mind that not everybody had a good school 
> experience, and all
> too often, someone brings up a paper and ends up shamed or 
> ridiculed by the
> teacher. Some just felt devalued as students. So I can see 
> writing a
> paper being a problem.
> On Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 8:25 PM, Stefan li Rous
> wrote:
> > a paper, so why bother?) >>>
> >
> > Writing a paper on it would take away the enjoyment of the activity?
> >
> > Stefan
> >
> -- 
> Ian of Oertha

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