Feast gear: beyond the thriftstore wooden plate

by Senhora Rafaella d’Allemtejo, GdS, JdL

Acorn War AS XXXVII (Aug. 2002)


Class description: Come have an informal chat and look at pictures of dishes and utensils from many cultures that can move you beyond that old wooden plate you picked up in A.S. dirt (or maybe just last month) at your local thriftstore. We'll look at shopping for modern equivalents that won't break the bank and decorating tips to make your setting at upcoming feasts the envy of all around you. (2pm, 1hr)

Sorry, but I cannot publish online the pictures that go with this discussion.
Check your local library for books on medieval ceramics, glass, food culture, archeology, and manuscript illuminations to see pictures of period feastgear.
Then you can go shopping for modern equivalents.
Good cheap glassware is available through Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Kmart, and other home furnishings stores. --RdA

Finding the right Feast gear very much ties into persona research. Are you: Noble? Rich? Middleclass? Poor? What materials were used in your geographic area? What items were imported from abroad? What’s the story behind the items in your feast gear? Were they: presents, hand-me-downs, inheritances, saved-for-special-purchases? Are you at home, visiting friends, on pilgrimage, on campaign?


Materials:         The major materials to consider are:

Wood, Ceramic/Pottery, Glass, Metal (gold, silver, pewter), Leather, Horn and Bone.


Designs:           Heraldry!

Biblical/epic tale themes.

Basic designs: geometric, animal, flora.

No such thing as a “matching” set of dishes. Patterns were close but not exact. Handmade!


Decorating:      Start with Cheapie stoneware or glass: cheap white stoneware dish set at Walgreens, 50c to $1 each piece.

                        Use Pebeo Porcelaine or Liquitex Glossies “fire in your oven” decorating paints (on glass or ceramic). Available at Michaels, ArtMedia, and Aaron Bros., etc. Acrylic paints can be used on non-food portions of wood (depending on the finish).

Use your badge/sigil to mark the bottoms of dishes so they find their way home after group cleaning.



Minimum SCA feast gear commitment:


Spoon (metal or wood or horn)


Cup/mug, wood or ceramic (for hot or cold drinks)

Bowl/Plate combination dish, wood

Carrying mechanism (cloth sack or basket)


Other items to include in your feast gear basket:


Garbage bags

Resealable baggies/containers for leftovers

Can opener


Long-barreled lighter


Hand sanitizer

Small battery flashlight





The Compleat Medievalist feast gear collection:


Spoon (soup spoon shape)


Fork (if persona appropriate)

Metal goblet for cold drinks

Ceramic mug/goblet for hot drinks

Glass goblet for alcoholic drinks

Cup/bowl dish for desserts

Bowl for soups/pottages

Wooden plate for outdoor events

Ceramic or Glass plate for indoor events

Orts (waste) bowl


Spices in divers containers

Aquamanile (hand washing container), bowl for catching    water, drying towel

Candles & enclosed flame candleholders

Cloth napkins


Feast basket for indoor events

Feast basket for outdoor events



























Don’t forget artisans (both local and faraway [Internet]) who make these items. Most would love to do custom designs tailored to your persona. Barter and trade are wonderful ways to acquire feast gear.