by Senhora Rafaella d’Allemtejo, GdS, JdL
Acorn War AS XXXVII (Aug. 2002)
Class description: Informal chat on how to eat more medievally at events. With a little forethought, it's not as hard as it may seem. Let's share tips & tricks on encampment cooking and meal planning for camping events. (11am, 1hr)
Why don’t we cook more historically for events?; “barriers” to historical event/tourney cooking:
Seems like too much trouble; don’t know enough about historical food; food safety; transportation; time & preparation at event; cleanup & trash.
Consider your Cooking Setup Authenticity Level (continuum):
No cooking setup (cold camp) ------ Modern cooking setup (gas stove) ----- Authentic cooking setup (open flame)
Consider your Recipe Authenticity Comfort Level (continuum):
No period dishes (modern food only) ---- Blend of dishes (modern/perioid/authentic) ----- Authentic recipes only
Tips and ideas to get from Modern to Authentic:
· Read. You can’t know how to cook authentically without some basic research. Start with Mistress Jaelle of Armida’s annotated medieval cooking bibliography: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/articles/food_bibliography.html.
· Avoid New World foods: no potatoes, tomatoes, or corn. Some New World foods are late period but the goal is to try and reset your brain to an earlier time period. What are the options without these modern staples?
· No forks! While there were forks in some areas & time periods, explore how preparation and eating change when you only have a steak knife and a soup spoon as your table utensils.
· Plan menus and precook. Save prep hassle at the event site by reheating or eating precooked food cold.
· Test recipes at home. If it isn’t edible at your kitchen table, why would you want it at an event?
· Prep the items, if not the whole dish. Examples: cube meat, slice cheese, mince onions, etc.
· Simplify items, but increase flavor. Spices! Try period spice blends -- they take up a small space and increase flavor greatly. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Use meat or veggie stock or almond milk instead of water in pasta and rice dishes.
· Try a different flavor cheese or a different shape pasta to make things interesting. My fave tourney cheese is smoked gouda.
· Introduce new foods with familiar goodies; this helps overcome the “ick” factor with sensitive or non-adventurous family/household members.
How to eat medievally using a large ice chest, a Dutch oven, a medium saucepan, and a 2 burner propane/white gas camp stove (for the average AnTirian 2.5 day event):
Friday dinner/Saturday dinner: Hot items: soup, stew over sops, pasta, grilled meats. Friday = soup = easy
Saturday lunch/Sunday lunch: Cold items: shepherd’s lunch (bread, meat, cheese, fruit, vegg); salad
Saturday breakfast: Coffee/Tea, Payn perdue (french toast), eggs, bacon, breakfast tart
· boil-in-bag items (scrambled eggs, stews, soups, etc.)
· stone soup (prep soup base but add fresh veggies, prepped meat, and spices on site)
· hot glop over sop (stew over toast instead of potatoes or rice)
· drink concentrates (sekanjabin, lemon, other)
· olive oil instead of butter
· salad (carry dressing separately)
· pre-slice items: cheese, lunch meats; grated cheese
· precooked pies/tarts: egg with spinach, onion, or cheese variants
· pickled things: eggs, onions, pickles, olives
· pasta, bread, cookies, crackers
· dried fruit and nuts
· instant oatmeal, granola bars
· spices: salt, pepper, powder douce, powder forte, etc.
· canned/box stock (veggie, chicken, beef)
Don’t forget cooking utensils, dish soap & sponge, dish towel, and potholders!