Period precooking for camping events

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:

·         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

Hot items:

Cold items:

Dry items:

·         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)

·         coffee/tea

·         applesauce

Don’t forget cooking utensils, dish soap & sponge, dish towel, and potholders!