[Sca-cooks] Honey Bacon War Siege Cooking review

Tre trekatz at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 23 00:54:50 PDT 2012

I read this yesterday and thought about it overnight before responding.

I love the idea of this kind of contest. In fact, I was discussing something like this with a friend of mine just a couple days ago. (The contest I described to her was almost exactly like this, actually.)

That being said, and I know it's probably sticking on the wrong point, I wouldn't call this a "siege cooking" contest, but simply a "cooking contest", and here's why. The concept I always heard behind a siege cooking contest was "you're stuck in the castle, here's the ingredients you have available...feed the people." The modern equivalent would be if you were snowed in for a few days and couldn't get to the store, but have to feed your family from what is in your pantry. That's a much different skill set than following a recipe, historical or otherwise. 

As I said before...I really do love the idea of providing ingredients and a recipe and having the contestants interpret and prepare the recipe to see the differences between the preparation techniques. I would suggest, though, having some judges that were not contestants as well. A contest I ran had a panel of three judges - one was a cook in mundane life (ran a military chowhall), one was a laurel (not a cooking laurel, but someone experienced in judging A&S contests), and the third was our "everyman" judge (a guy who had wandered onto site earlier that day and decided that the event looked cool, so he went home and brought his family back for their first event).

Another idea for a contest that might be closer to "siege" cooking, but also include the idea of using period recipes, would be to provide the contestants a few recipes, and identical sets of ingredients...but not all the ingredients for any single recipe, to see how they make it work with what they have been provided. Perhaps the more experienced competitors could be told "Your Lord wants _____ for supper tonight"...and they are required to prepare that dish, where the beginners have the option to prepare whatever they wish from the provided ingredients.

 From: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>
To: "Antir_culinary at yahoogroups.com" <Antir_culinary at yahoogroups.com>; Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org> 
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 4:23 PM
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Honey Bacon War Siege Cooking review
I'm excited about using a method for Siege cooking that I picked up from watching Baroness Fiamma. I think it helps teach more about historical cooking, evens the playing field (all entrants are provided a recipe or recipes and all the ingredients needed), and hopefully helps take the mystery out of interpreting historical recipes. Basically, all the teams assemble at the same time, and "shop" for the needed ingredients in the cooler and dry good provided. I tried to have all of the ingredients ready in individual portions both for portion control (as I had purchased 6-12 sets of the ingredients), and to help keep as tight a control as possible on the safety aspects of the ingredients. All of the teams dispersed back to their own encampments to cook. We all gathered back at the same time, and all of the contestants tried all of the dishes (so everyone got to experience how other teams interpreted the same recipes, discuss what choices were  made,
etc. ) and then vote on the dishes.   

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