[Sca-cooks] Dry sites (was: Officially serving modern food at SCA events)
teucer at pobox.com
Wed Jan 30 09:00:59 PST 2013
On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 9:08 AM, Kathleen Roberts <karobert at unm.edu> wrote:
> Hmmm.... let me put on my pair of cranky pants. ;)
> Alcohol consumption determining whether or not to attend an event. It is getting harder and
> harder to find liquor service or permission at large feast sites around New Mexico. It's hard
> enough to find a venue for a large amount of people, much less with the ability to consume
> alcohol on site.
> Some people don't attend an event because they can't drink at the event. Forget the good food,
> forget the fun, just stay home because you can't have a beer.
> Don't get me wrong, I drink. I enjoy my Scotch et. al. But I can surely stand to be at an event
> for four to five hours without a drink in my hand.
Respectfully, my mileage does vary, and I think putting it in terms
like "forget the good food, forget the fun, just stay home because you
can't have a beer" or "you can't go without booze for a few hours" as
an interpretation of why some of us feel wet sites are a must for at
least some events is uncharitable in the extreme. Allow me to weigh in
as somebody who will be staying home from an upcoming event because it
is at a dry site.
I'm not in the SCA to drink. I'm in it to have fun with people by
doing medieval things. I can do that with or without alcohol being
available, and am perfectly willing to attend most events whether or
not they are at wet sites. But at the same time, while I find medieval
food fascinating and delicious (hence reading this list a bunch and
commenting occasionally), it's not my primary A&S activity in the
society. (In fact cooking is a very marginal part of my SCA life. I
don't help cook feasts, because while I have a great deal of gratitude
for those of you who show up to an event, pay a site fee, and then
spend the day in the kitchen, I prefer to be out enjoying other
activities during the day. My hat is off to those of you who do,
though, because the food never fails to be extraordinary and a great
feast serves as a wonderful capstone to any event.)
I am, however, a brewer.
I'm confident I'm in the majority on this list in the fact that my
enjoyment of the society is greatly improved by my ability to share my
work in period arts and sciences. That fact should not be taken as
evidence that I have a drinking problem, any more than the fact that
people on this list enjoy cooking and eating period food means we're
all compulsive overeaters urgently in need of a new diet.
I'm content to only be able to share my art at some of the events I
attend rather than all, just as I don't personally know any fighters
who skip all events without martial activities or cooks who will only
attend an event if there's a kitchen on site. My involvement in the
SCA is quite strongly enhanced by there being wet sites, but it's most
certainly not contingent on all sites being wet, as no single event
should have to be all things to all people. On the other hand, I do
feel that autocrats should (and almost always do! thank you
autocrats!) look for wet or discretely damp sites and should (and
often do! thank you autocrats!) ask sites that don't offer that by
default whether the site contract can be adjusted for our purposes.
I'm aware and understanding of the fact that they will not always be
able to achieve this, of course, and I won't be kept away from most
events by the fact that it's not always possible.
(The exception is Atlantia's upcoming Kingdom Arts and Sciences
festival, a day specifically dedicated to showing off your A&S
activities as long as they aren't that one. I thought about going and
decided not to. That's not because there's something horribly wrong
with such an event happening, mind, it just doesn't appeal to me; I
imagine most cooks would feel the same about an A&S event at a site
which prohibited food - especially as every event I go to requires
tweaking my work schedule, which is heavy on the Saturdays.)
But even though I can have a great time at an SCA event without
drinking a drop, the words "dry site" do somewhat reduce my desire to
attend a particular event, simply because they mean I can't share the
latest cool things I've made. (Brewing isn't my only A&S activity, but
it's hard to spread my excitement about having recently translated a
cool new poem.) For me, at least, it's not a matter of having a
crippling alcohol addiction that prevents me from getting through a
Saturday without a drink in my hand, or of choosing to stay home and
drink beer over enjoying the company of great people with a shared
interest in medieval and Renaissance history. But I do want the
opportunity to help recreate that history by spreading the enjoyment
of my particular art. Is there something wrong with this desire now?
Yes, I go to events at dry sites, but yes, I would enjoy myself more
if they were not dry. Please do not dismiss this preference by telling
me I have a problem and it should not be your problem.
- Jaume de Monçó
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