[Spit-project] Long Member Introduction & Questions

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Tue May 29 13:15:13 PDT 2007

Hi, all:

I joined the list a while ago, but had a problem with my subscription 
and never received any messages. Our gallant and gracious host, 
Gunthar has kindly remedied that. Today i downloaded the archives, 
and will be reading through them in the next day or so. In the mean 

Gunthar asked me to introduce myself, so...

I am probably known to most if not all other listees. I am al-Sayyida 
Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya bint 'abd al-Karim al-hakam al-Fassi. I live in 
The Kingdom of the West, near the inimitable San Francisco Bay 
(Exploding Gasoline Tanker Trucks! Wayward Humpback Whales!).

This summer, after 8 years in the SCA, i will be going to Pennsic for 
my very first time (just for the second week). I'm sooooo excited!!! 
Additionally while i'm there, the Queen of the West has asked me to 
cook a meal for Her and the King and Their guests.

Friends of mine who may not be on this list - the lovely Vittoria and 
the dashing Vyncent - will be cooking a 1 or 2 meal-a-day food plan 
in the West camp. They have a period set up, with a spit over a 
trough for a wood/charcoal fire. (i gather there's more to the set 
up, but i haven't seen it yet). They've kindly given me permission to 
use it, and depending on their schedule, may be able to assist me.

However, i don't have the opportunity to cook over wood or charcoal 
when not at events because I live in an upstairs flat. And i don't 
own a "standard" West Kingdom elevated fire pit, because, while i 
often camp with others, i arrive at most events by myself (my consort 
works Saturdays, so only gets off for a few events), and i am 
developing arthritis, so i can't really manage my own heavy 
wood/charcoal fire set up.

Since i have so little experience cooking over a wood or charcoal 
fire, i'm hoping this list can help me learn a few things.

(ooo, ooo, i just discovered an hibachi i never used lurking in a 
back room - i've got 2 months to start practicing with cooking over 

Queen Kaaren is doing "Persian" for Her reign, so i will be cooking 
period recipes mostly of Persian origin. I'm in the meal planning 
process. Right now i'm leaning toward :
- kababs of spiced ground lamb (many recipes in period sources)
- a "stew" of chicken with spices, nuts, and peaches (from a 9th C. recipe)
- a Central Asian dish, manti, that involves pasta filled with greens 
in a yogurt sauce (from a 15th C. Ottoman recipe).

Given there there is a spit, and that V&V roasted a kid at a West 
Kingdom event last year, with the assistance of me and several others 
(and in 112 degree F. weather, whew!), maybe i should try roasting a 
whole lamb or kid, although it may be too late in the year for a 
young animal. If so, what else is good to roast on a spit? (not pork, 
of course)

I'm still looking for a vegetable dish or two (i'm not asking for 
help, just explaining where i am in my process). I intend to make 
saffron rice. I'm steering away from lentils, much as i love them, 
since they can sit a bit heavy in a hot humid summer. And i'm trying 
to figure out if i can bring modern Persian flat bread, sangak, with 
me from the West coast, since i've no experience cooking bread. (this 
is a question: could this work? I don't know when the Royal meal 
would be..)

For the end of the meal, I figure fresh fruit would be a good dessert 
on a hot humid summer evening. I have read that fresh fruit was eaten 
in SCA-period Persia, but i wonder if there was a particular protocol 
around it, so i need to study up on fresh fruit in SCA-period Persia. 
I am toying with the idea of bringing some ice cream with me, 'cuz 
around here i can get things like: curry coconut ice cream, 
saffron-rosewater ice cream, orange flower ice cream with pistachios, 
pomegranate sorbet, etc.

I don't really know about the availability in the nearby town of 
things like: fresh cilantro, fresh mint, flat-leaf parsley, fresh 
dill (used in Persian cuisine), fresh or frozen fava beans, Chinese 
won ton or spring roll wrappers (for the manti), etc. Anyone have any 

Things i need help with regarding cooking over a wood/charcoal fire 
(bearing in mind that the "bed" for the fire is relatively long and 
narrow) are:
- how long ahead of time to start the fire before i can bring to a 
boil a pot of water on it?
- how to judge when the fire is ready (down enough) to cook skewered 
meat? (yes, i don't do standard American barbecues)
- does one move the coals around to create a hot spot and a medium 
spot and a warm spot to cook different dishes?
- should i be hanging pots over the fire or is setting them on a 
grill as good or better?

Thanks for any ideas, help, hints, etc.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

More information about the spit-project mailing list