[Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild: opinions

Susan Lin susanrlin at gmail.com
Mon Feb 27 09:52:16 PST 2012

I absolutely agree that polling the populace (not just once but
periodically) and finding out what they want is key.  When I moved to my
Barony I took over the cooks' guild which had gone dormant.  I was very
enthusiastic, we didn't have a cooks' guild in the Shire I came from back
in the East - everyone just knew who cooked and who didn't.  At our first
meeting we discussed things people wanted to do and I wrote a list.  I
tried to schedule things on the list and sometimes got a great turn out and
sometimes I'd be sitting in my kitchen alone.  Some people, as has already
been mentioned, do not think their skills are strong enough.  They need to
be encouraged to participate all the same.  Also, we like to include
children (8 and up) as long as a parent is there also.  Teaching the young
ones to cook is great succession planning.

We don't rely on the guild to do all the cooking at events - each autocrat
decides for themselves who they want to work with (guild or not) and go
from there.  There are many talented cooks in our Barony who do not
consider themselves part of the guild but are always quite willing to pitch
in for events.  When I sent out a request for assistance I always included
the entire Barony and not just the guild.

I had to learn that I could put forth as many ideas/projects (mine and
others) as I wanted but I could not force people to participate.  We are
next to Caerthe that has a very active guild and they are always gracious
to invite us to join them.  I too invited them to join Caer Galen - and I
think that enhanced our programs a great deal.  I think it is helpful to
join forces with other Baronies/Shires to cross-educate everyone.

Some of our more successful guild programs were cheese making, bread
making, canning, macaron making, and firepit cooking.  I think if I had
more knowledge of period recipes and techniques I could have brought more
to the table.

Others wanted to be in charge so I no longer run the guild and sadly it has
fallen dormant again.  I wish you great success and would love to hear how
you do.


On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 10:32 AM, Raphaella DiContini
<raphaellad at yahoo.com>wrote:

> I agree with Euriol whole heartedly! I have worked with several local
> guilds as well as restarting and driving the local guild where I now live
> and the Kingdom culinary guild, and they all have their unique needs. I've
> found that even within the same group it works best to be open to changing
> with the group's needs.
> In working with other groups as well as starting and driving one myself
> I've also found that the interest and experience level of your attendees
> will also make a difference in how to best organize the group, e.g. with
> the Madrone Culinary Guild they have two meetings a month. The first
> meeting is a planning meeting and potluck where they disguss guild
> business, vote on things, plan events, etc. The second meeting is a hands
> on cooking night, where they will often work on recipes for the next
> banquet, testing for a new pamphlet, or other research.
> I love that format, but I have found that not only is my local group's
> calendar so busy that it was hard getting just one night a month on the
> calendar, but that how feasts are run here are completely different and as
> a result, so is the roll that the Culinary Guild plays in feast planning
> and preparation.
> When I first moved to my new barony and started having cooking nights here
> I'd sometimes get 12-20 people (some of whom just came to be social and
> sample), and now I get much smaller groups who are all interested in being
> hands on.  I've also found that posting reminders a week before and then a
> day before the regular monthly cooking nights seems to have the best
> outcome as far as giving enough warning and then a closer reminder.
> I would humbly suggest that you poll your populace, and be flexible about
> accomodating requests. I've found that if you have what you love doing as
> the default, but offer to have other meetings, cooking nights and classes
> by request that it keeps things fresh and fun! If you have a consistant
> number of participants, perhaps you could take another page from Madrone
> and ask for volunteers to take turns hosting the meetings to how far people
> have to travel varies and it's not always far for the same people.
> In joyous service,
> Raffaella
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