[Sca-cooks] My first Feast - what worked and what didn't

Christopher Canatsey canatsey86 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 22:26:40 PST 2013

Here in Trimaris, the annual Hero of the Chalice event has come and gone. It is hosted by the Barony of Wyvernwoode (the Tampa Bay area), and was home to my very first Feast :). The Feast was themed around war, and almost all the dishes were pulled from the Plain Faire collection of camp recipes courtesy from the Kingdom of Drakenwald. 

I've been working on a blog entry for how it went and my impressions, but I figured I would share my what worked and what didn't with the group. Special thanks to my Laurel for letting me make my mistakes so I could learn from them!

What worked:

. Pre-planning, dear lord I cannot praise this enough. 

Multiple copies of my recipes and schedules saved me many a time, and countless tests of each dish let me know immediately if something was working or not. Keeping my Royals in mind saved me when our Paleo diet King surprised us by dropping in, planning with him in mind I was able to ensure he could eat most dishes in each course. 

. Knowing when to trust, and when to do myself was spot on. 

I knew I could trust my Hall Steward to handle servers, heralding, decoration and food distribution once it was plated and handed off. All day I had server/seating/decor questions and all day the answer was "speak with my Hall Steward", because I knew I could trust her totally! I also knew that sometimes the quickest route was doing it myself, which I felt safe doing because I trusted the help in my kitchen. Too often I've seen messengers delayed/distracted when the head cook NEEDS and answer, so I resolved this problem by finding the answer myself when it was most important. Its not that I didn't trust them; I just knew the messages would be passed accurately and quickly if I did it, and I trusted my kitchen help to stay to task.

. Mandatory rest!

I scheduled time to rest, which was key to me being successful I feel. I made sure to set time aside for me to sit and eat, to take time to converse with friends and even a small meditation break to calm my nerves. Keeping myself hydrated and rested really helped me steel my nerves during crunch time.

What didn't work:

. Know when to plan, know when to go with the flow!

I am a rather organized and scheduled person by nature, and its a habit for me to try and schedule everything. One thing that didn't fit my schedule no matter how hard I tried was court/royal timetables. Court ran late, and thus the mood of the gentles eating changed as they desired chitchat time prior to and during the first course. Also I should have checked with the lyst field for lunch, while lunch was set for noon the fighters didn't finish a set till 12:30 thus delaying lunch. In the future, being more flexible during these flux times is key.

. Take more than I need, instead of exactly what I need.

The camp we were using has a good amount of cookware available to be used, but you have to check it all out for loan. I'm always nervous about other peoples gear, so I checked out exactly what I needed instead of a few pieces extra just in case. The idea was to lessen my stress AND have less dishes to wash, except that it turned out I needed extra pots and pans quicker than I had thought. I was scrambling to wash dishes, and later scrambling to get extra pots when I should have been resting. The same goes for milk and creamer, I thought what I had was enough exact but there are a GREAT many more coffee drinkers than I had counted on.

I'll link the blogpost when finished, just thought I'd share some of the lessons learned :)

 - Christoff Koch
~With great cupcakes, comes great responsibility.~

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