[Sca-cooks] Queens Tea
Jim and Andi Houston
jimandandi at cox.net
Sun Jan 27 20:47:22 PST 2013
I've done two Queen's Teas at Gulf Wars. The Queen's Tea at Gulf Wars is
served on the field between tournaments, no kitchen available. Gulf Wars is
a week long and the Tea is always on Wednesday, so you either have to bring
everything from home and keep it cold for 4-5 days, or you have to be able
to find it in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Both Queens agreed to period food
and let me choose my own theme.
1st year I did a crazy Asian romp with finger foods from Persia, India, and
I did super-authentic food and modern themed cocktails ("Sneaky Hindu" and
"Pink Persian"). The food was delicious and everything was admired and
eaten, but at the end of the day the attendees cared as much (or more) about
the booze as they did about the food. I about killed myself cooking those
dishes in a primitive kitchen, even with lots of help. I made the food too
The next year I was asked again. I decided to do a themed luncheon by
dressing in kampfrau with my minions, building a simple camp kitchen behind
the royal pavilion, and cooking at least some of the food right there during
the luncheon. I stripped the menu down to the simplest I could and made
everything ahead of time that couldn't be cooked over coals behind the
Here's the menu:
We didn't do the apple fritters or the cherry tarts. Everything was cooked
ahead of time except the sausages and the funnel cakes. I cannot even tell
you how excited those royals were to get fresh, hot funnel cakes. They were
positively giddy. I made the sausages and cured the tongue at home, froze
them, and brought them with me. My apprentice took the marzipan tarts
description and turned it into these awesome heraldic-painted tarts with
molded marzipan, they were amazing. Once again, I served this very medieval
food with modern mixed drinks (French 75s with muddled strawberries and
mulled wine I think) and it was very successful. We had an absolute blast.
What I learned is:
They cared as much about the booze as they do about the food. Have good
drinks and plenty of them. Mixed drinks are the best way to stretch your
budget, and make sure they're not too strong.
Everything should be finger food. Nothing dripping or messy.
Don't bother serving raw vegetables, no one eats them. "Crudite" are a waste
of time and money. If you serve vegetables, hide them in pie crusts or under
cheese. People want sweets, carbs, and meat. If you're worried there's
nothing green, serve a bit of salad for people to put on their plate so they
won't feel so guilty.
Don't volunteer to decorate the pavilion. This is what chatelaines are
*for*. Tell the queen that you'll do the food but her people have to provide
the serving ware and table decorations. This means you don't have to get it,
transport it, set it up, or carry it home. This was a sanity-saving measure
for me so I could concentrate on the food.
Get twice as many volunteers as you'll think you'll need. Make sure one
volunteer has a car and is willing to make emergency runs, like when it's an
hour until serving time and you realize you don't have any ice for the
Get one volunteer to do nothing but sit by the drinks coolers, pour drinks
in 4oz disposable cups, and chat with people. This keeps anyone from filling
their 42 ounce mug with rum punch. Also make sure there's plenty of
non-alcoholic drinks... and not just water!
Have fun. Make sure your staff is having fun.
Good luck to you!
More information about the Sca-cooks