[Spit-project] Long Member Introduction & Questions

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed May 30 09:47:50 PDT 2007

Gunthar replied to me:
>Welcome to another on the list.
>>Our gallant and gracious host, Gunthar has kindly remedied that.
>She obviously never met me in person.

Hey, i'm just practicing idle flattery ;-P

>>- kebabs 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).
>Well, make sure everyone you will be feeding likes lamb. Some folk

I don't usually like lamb myself. But i find that out here in The 
West, anyway, most people like it. Plus i can get it quite cheaply at 
the local halal butcher, sometimes even more cheaply than chicken! So 
i end up making lamb at most of my feasts. I even eat my own lamb :-)

>If you make the lamb kabobs then make some others from
>beef and/or chicken.

I could certainly throw some ground beef kebabs on the barbie, too.

I can offer a period ME garlic sauce and a period mustard sauce for the kabobs.

Lessee - ground beef kababs, flat bread, mustard... Does that sound 
like something more familiar? But if someone wants catsup (what's 
that?), they'll have to bring their own :-P

>Since not everyone is as enamored over period cooking as we are,
>make sure you have a couple of "easy" dishes for the picky eaters
>as well. Make these recipes and serve them to your average modern
>food eater and make sure they like them.

I've found that in the West, that vast majority of people are willing 
at least to taste just about anything, even stuff they don't normally 
like. For example, i served a period eggplant dish at a feast, and 
several confirmed eggplant haters tasted it and ended up eating 3 or 
4 helpings. However, the King is allergic to eggplant - although the 
Queen likes it - and that dish is quite labor intensive, so i don't 
want to try it at Pennsic. I may make it for a cold lunch buffet for 
the Royalty at June Crown.

The chicken dish i've made before, and it is something everyone 
seemed to enjoy.

And i think that the manti are similar to ravioli, but maybe i'm way 
off about this, since i'll at least try almost anything edible. 
Because the Queen's Head of Court is allergic to dairy, i'll be 
offering the period yogurt sauce on the side, and i'll have to figure 
out some other kind of dairy-free sauce - i suppose i could try soy 
yogurt, if she's not allergic to soy.

>I know you are a long term cook and a lot of this sounds like pandering
>to a newbie. But we all sometimes get lost in making a really groovy
>meal and forgetting that not everyone wants something new and exotic.

Westerners are pretty good about trying new foods, for the most part. 
But i assume some of the other guests will be from other Kingdoms. 
That's why i picked these dishes... they seem pretty tame and not far 
off from modern dishes, to me, at least. Of course, i welcome other 

>Check the Crown's likes, dislikes and adventurous natures.

That is excellent advice, of course. I already had such a discussion 
at Their coronation, and i also asked about allergies.

>Feed test
>batches to normal folk to make sure it appeals to the common palate.

I'm not sure i know any normal folk :-)

>When attending a big fancy feast a diner can expect new stuff, but
>after spending all day fighting, in endless meetings, walking all over
>Pennsic and having to do all the stuff a Crown needs to do, the last
>thing they want is to be given some awesome new dish that is totally
>period but tastes weird when all he really wants is a slice of pizza.

Defintely good advice.

>I think the recipes sound groovy, but be sure to remember your audience.

I'm trying, i'm trying...

>>...what else is good to roast on a spit? (not pork, of course)
>Lamb is always good. And don't worry about doing a whole animal.
>Boneless legs are the way to go. You can even find some already
>in a netting and perfect for the spit.

Ah! Thanks! That helps.

>Also, you won't be spending all day attending to it.

Ugh! I'm hoping not to do something like that. Just half a day...

>Poultry, sausages (either whole ropes wrapped around the spit or
>individual links tied on with twine), thick roasts, steaks and chops
>can be either skewered or tied onto the spits.

Hmmm, sausages, now that's manly food...

>>I'm steering away from lentils, much as i love them,
>>since they can sit a bit heavy in a hot humid summer.
>I would disagree with this for two reasons. I love a cool lentil
>salad with vinegar or lemon juice and oil, crisp veggies, and
>fresh herbs.

Yeah, i like cold lentil salads, and if the lentils are soaked over 
night, they cook quite quickly. I may just change my mind :-) Cold 
cooked lentils with cumin, dried coriander, cinnamon, caramelized 
onions, and salt-preserved lemon... that sounds good...

>Also, there is no guarantee that it will be hot. I've been rather
>chilly at Pennsic as well as broiled.

Darn, i was looking forward to a chance to get warm...

>Well, I don't know about sangak, but one of the things I'm planning
>on showing at my outdoor cookery class is how to make griddle breads
>over the fire.

Well, then, i better get to your class BEFORE the dinner :-)

Sangak is yeasted and tender, but pretty flat, made with part 
white-part whole wheat flour, and traditionally cooked on *pebbles* 
(i don't know how old the tradition it) so it has an interesting 
texture on the bottom.

>>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 think that would be really nice if you could manage the transport.

I'm imagining several flavors packed into a separate box with dry ice...

>The other thing you might do would be to make some syrups and
>pour them over shaved ice. Yes, that was a common dish for the
>very wealthy even in Roman times.

Some wealthy Persians, at least, had a form of "swamp cooler" 
air-conditioning: one room in the house - sort of the living room - 
had hollow walls. In the summer the walls were packed with ice. Then 
a slave manipulated a canvas "sail", basically a giant fan, on a 
rope, swinging it back and forth to cool the room.

And for Royalty, ice is always a possibility... I have several 
home-made syrups (lemon, pomegranate)... i just don't have an 
ice-shaver. I'll have to see if i can find a hand-crank one.

>>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
>The local town is decent sized and there is a very good supermarket
>not far from Pennsic. I think you can find most things (other than the
>favas) there.

(SNIP more of Gunthar's good advice)

And thanks for the cooking on wood/coals info - very helpful.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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