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AS-food-msg - 2/6/08


Useful ideas and comments on displaying food items at Arts and Sciences displays and competitions.


NOTE: See also the files: AS-compet-msg, AS-cont-docu-msg, AS-ideas-msg, AS-classes-msg, AS-classes-lst.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                 AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 23:38:57 -0500

From: maddie teller-kook <meadhbh at io.com>

To: sca-cooks at eden.com

Subject: Re: sca-cooks Intro


> One of my great interests would be in presenting meals for A&S

> displays. What kinds of documentation work well for ya'll? What about

> presentation? (Any nice ways to hide an ever so mundane chafing dish?)

> Which recipes work well for sitting out in moderate heat for half of a

> day, especially considering that they would probably have been cooked

> a day or two earlier and are being reheated? How about Cold foods?

> What types of food should be avoided?


> Lionardo Acquistapace, Barony of Bjornsborg, Ansteorra

> (mka Lenny Zimmermann, San Antonio, TX)

> zarlor at acm.org


I can give you some insight on how  I set up my displays.  It was

tricky.  (I too live in Ansteorra...Bryn Gwlad now but Stargate in the

past).  Doing food is a nightmare.  First, I tried to pick a meal or

collection of dishes that would be educational on the food as well as

the customs surrounding how it was eaten.  I usually had my

documentation in a binder.....a 1 page discussion of what I did with the

recipes (original and redacted...whether I did the redaction or not).  I

would try and display the dishes in the manner they might have been set

on the table.  As for the types of food...that depended on the time of

year.  I would do middle eastern and roman during hotter months and then

do european dishes during the winter. I did NOT set up food at an

outdoor event in the summer without having a way to keep it cold or hot.

Try placing ice in a bowl and then placing the dish with the food on

top.  You can hide the ice a variety of ways. I'd use kale(decorative

green) or a cloth.  I also used candle warmers to keep hot food warm.

And then I rarely left my display....constantly heating up food for

people to taste.  I never wanted them to eat the food at the wrong






Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 16:50:48 GMT

From: zarlor at acm.org (Lenny Zimmermann)

Subject: SC - Re: A&S Displays for food


On Wed, 16 Jul 1997 09:42:56 -0500, Clare St. John wrote:


>On a different question....Has anyone ever entered food as part of an arts

>display or competition. How do you display it?  What types of things do

>you show.  We've had several entries lately in various competitions and it

>might be of interest to some of the newer cooks.


I recently entered a small repast in competition against 7 or 8 other

pieces and won Laurel's Choice (there were also prizes for Populous

Choice and Nobles Choice, both won by a wonderful man's shirt &

doublet outfit done in a Tudor style). For presentation I laid out a

white tablecloth and placed red grapes spread out on it, a type of

table decoration done at least in the Italian Late High Renaissance. I

then had a modern two-pan chafing dish with one side with Almond

Fracatellae and Rice Fricatellae on the other side. I also had a very

nice looking chafing dish with Fried Broad Beans. In front of the

Almond Fricatellae I had a Garlic sauce (all of the above from

Platina) and a Cameline sauce from some other source I can't remember

off of the top of my head. I also had a small bowl with Fennel Seed to

sweeten the breath should anyone wish to partake.


Each of the dishes had a small label in an easily readable

calligraphic script (from off of my computer, my handwriting is

atrocious). I also had a stack of the recipes and my redactions

available with a little note encouraging people to feel free to take

the recipes to their own cooks, should they enjoy them. Despite rave

reviews, nobody took the recipes.


My documentation consisted of those same recipes and my redactions and

a page of "Notes" where I mention what techniques I used that were not

strictly period, but why I felt my technique was valid or required. I

also noted how, if my technique was a good bit different, I made an

attempt at achieving a similar result.


I also placed prominently a calligraphied letter on the table

proclaiming that this was a small Italian repast that my cook, Agnolo,

had prepared for me for lunch, but that I had more than I could eat

and wanted to share part of the meal with those who would wish to

partake. It worked out fairly well, I thought.


I would now do some things differently. I would make an attempt in the

letter to ask for feedback to "assist my cook in performing better",

just to try and get a bit more feedback from the judges. I would also

provide a feather-pen and paper for the judges and others to comment

with. I want to try and find more of the nice looking chafing dishes,

so I don't have to use the ever-so-sterile-looking, modern, square,

aluminum ones I used last time. I would also make sure to note the

order the dishes should be eaten in and what "humor" types should

avoid which dishes. (If you lean towards suffering from bile, you

should avoid this dish, but this other one will do wonders for you!)


I do like attempting to present things "in persona", though, as if my

cook made this, and not myself. Anyone have any good ideas on other

ways to present these things from a persona perspective?


Honos Servio,

Lionardo Acquistapace, Barony of Bjornsborg, Ansteorra

(mka Lenny Zimmermann, San Antonio, TX)

zarlor at acm.org



Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 17:23:16 -0500

From: maddie teller-kook <meadhbh at io.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Culinary A&S Entries


I know when I have done Culinary A&S entries I have always picked a

theme.  For example, I did an entry based on a Roman dinner, I explained

the dishes (which I had examples of), the customs, and set up my display

in a manner fitting a Roman dinner.  I always wanted the people looking

at my display to experience more than just the food.  My documentation

would always include the recipes and sources I used to research my






Date: Thu, 17 Jul 97 11:55:25 CST

From: "Melissa Martines" <melissa.martines at mail.corpfamily.com>

Subject: SC - A&S Disolay


     I have been reading all the posts about how you displayed/entered

     culinary categories for A&S with interest.


     In Meridies, having both entered and judged cooking for Kingdom A&S,

     the full meal spread many of you have described is strongly



     I wonder of this is just a regional thing?  I know in Meridies Cooking

     is one of the biggest categories at A&S, and one reason they strongly

     discourage bringing an entire meal is due to space considerations.


     The Laurels DO encourage people to present whatever ONE dish they are

     entering in as period a fashion as possible, but the lavish spread

     actually irritates several of the Laurels I know who judge cooking on

     a regular basis.


     What are the norms in some of the other kingdoms?  Is Meridies the

     only one that discourages the meal entry?


     lady Morgan MacBride



Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 00:58:38 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Sharon L. Harrett" <afn24101 at afn.org>

Subject: Re: SC - A&S Disolay


On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Melissa Martines wrote:      

>      The Laurels DO encourage people to present whatever ONE dish they are

>      entering in as period a fashion as possible, but the lavish spread

>      actually irritates several of the Laurels I know who judge cooking on

>      a regular basis.


>      What are the norms in some of the other kingdoms?  Is Meridies the

>      only one that discourages the meal entry?


>      lady Morgan MacBride


Lady Morgan,


      No, Meridies isn't the only one. Here in Trimaris, the entry rules

specify one dish only. Our A&S competitions have been shrinking due mostly

to misconceptions and officer changes, and the Food Preparation Category is

usually lightly entered (this past one we had three entries)


      I entered this past with a dish of Roasted Quail (2nd generation,

home grown, home butchered) rosted in the oven(no spit available and it

rained, so...) prepared from a redaction of my own from a combination of

period sources. The Quail were wrapped in bacon, roasted, and served with a

sauce on the side. The plate was garnished with parsley, marigold flowers

(the old kind) and pickled pears. It was nominated for non-lariel, but was

not successful. I did get a perfect score, and the "Laurels' Acclaim" scroll.





Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 13:56:12 -0500 (CDT)

From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu (ND Wederstrandt)

Subject: RE: SC - A&S Display


        One of my pet peeves in judging food entries is the artist often

doesn't police his/her entry and straighten up after the conquering hordes

have browsed, so the entry is littered with crumbs, little dirty cups or an

empty bowl... (pretty hard to judge).  It doesn't happen a lot but if you

are entering food items, it's a good tip.


Clare St. John



Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 23:30:44 -0600

From: Maddie Teller-Kook <meadhbh at io.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A & S Competitions


> I am entering items in A&S and yes, my items are cooked.  How do you all present your entries and documentation on items that are cooked?  I have never entered an A&S before and am getting nervous about it.  Believe it or not I am far more nervous about the competition than the feast I am doing for the event itself.


> Murkial


Good luck!  Now I will tell you how I did my documentation.  I would

usually pick some sort of topic.  One example:  The Roman Dinner. I

would briefly discuss the customs and history involved with the dinner,

mention how dinner was served, what foods were served and then picked

the dishes I would present as representative dishes from that time

period that may have been served at that meal.  I would discuss what was

done in period (if any specific techniques, etc.) and what I may have

done different and why.  I then list the recipes in the back: original,

translation and redaction (either my own or the one from the cookbook).

Also, try and use at least 3 sources.  Even if you are using an

excellent source, its always good to corroborate the information.





Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 16:48:01 -0600 (CST)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Subject: SC - Re: A&S Competitions


Greetings!  People mentioned documentation for cookery but I didn't see

any mention of _presentation_. How your dish is presented has an

impact on the judges.  Putting the food into a (reasonably)

period-looking dish is better than putting it into, for example, a

metal or plastic pie tin. Setting the dish on a white napkin or on a

period-style fabric; placing candles or other items with it; garnishing

the dish appropriately.  And, let us not forget... Provide the judges

with something to eat the food with (spoon, fork, knife for cutting,

plate to put the food on, etc.).  No one told me that the first time I

entered and I was "downgraded" because of it.  A few years later, I (as

judge) was faced with a liquidy cherry pudding.  No plate.  No spoon.  

No nothing.  And it was in a high school classroom about 1/4 mile from

the home economics rooms where everyone else was!  I finally scooped

some of the glop up with my fingers... and had no place to wipe them,

of course!  The "pudding" was in a large plastic bowl with no

decoration or garnish.


Moral:  Make sure the judges have something to eat your food with, that

you have set it out attractively, and even put some "additional

touches" with it.


Alys Katharine



Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 16:56:44 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A & S Competitions


Christi Redeker wrote:

> I am entering items in A&S and yes, my items are cooked.  How do you all

>present your entries and documentation on items that are cooked?  I have never

>entered an A&S before and am getting nervous about it.  Believe it or not I am

>far more nervous about the competition than the feast I am doing for the event



1. Title


2. Original recipe


3. Source (title, author, date, publisher, etc.)


4. Translated recipe


5. Redacted recipe


6. Notes and comments


If the source is already in recognizably modern English, like Dawson or

Markham, then you can eliminate the translation, and you may be able to

abbreviate the redacted recipe by simply including your ingredient

quantities and cooking times, temperatures, etc., in with your notes.

That's more or less the method used by Hillary Spurling for her edition

of Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book.


Let's just say that those are the questions I'd be asking, if I were

judging. How they get answered is open to interpretation...





Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 18:04:38 -0600

From: Debra Hense <debh at microware.com>

Subject: SC - A&S competitions - long response




I enter a single competition every other year or so, and usually do very well.  So, here are my suggestions:


If your items should be served hot for best flavor, aroma, whatall,  use seal-a-meal, or crockpots or hotplates, or microwaves.  You can get high scores serving it cold, but its easier serving hot things hot, or at least lukewarm.


For documentation,  I try to place my entry (I usually do a whole course), in a country and time period.  I explain why these items would be found together in a course (using actual menus from that time and place as examples).   I also try to explain who would have eaten this food and on what occasion.  For example: wealthy middle-class merchant upon the wedding of his son or daughter.


Then for each individual dish, I include the original recipe I worked from, and english translation (if original is in another language - a translation from one or more authors - as in Le Menagier, Goodman of Paris, Le Tavaillent, all three are from the time period and are probably the same manuscript, just different translations). Then I discuss the different translations, noting where all agree, and where they seem to disagree.  Then I give my redaction, noting where I followed one translation over another.  I also describe in my ingredient/measurement list, where I substituted an ingredient and why I used the substitute I did. For example, I substituted raw sugar where the recipe called for sugar, because I felt that it was much more approximate to the rendering of sugar cane during period, (all the molasses was not cooked out, the sugar was not bleached) and because it gives me a better texture, flavor combination with the other ingredients than white sugar or even unbleached sugar does.


Then I detail the process.  If I use a modern stove, I tell them so. they cannot deduct points for using a stove because few of us, if any, have stone hearth and stone ovens. But, if I made a special effort to cook the item in the coals of a campfire, I do tell them that, because it adds to the complexity factor, and attempt to be completely period.


And, I attempt to make sure the place setting is as period as possible, spoons, forks and knives are included for each of the judges, as well as five copies of the documentation.  Three for the judges (there are usually three and its a lot easier if each has their own copy), and two just to give out to people who wander by and are interested.


Sometimes, if I have time, I do go into the properties of some of the herbs and spices and why and where they are used in the meal. Like the red spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and ginger are used earlier the first courses of the meal to pique or stimulate the appetite.  And why mint was often included in the last course to sooth a stomach that has perhaps eaten too much, and to relieve the gas.  I also sometimes talk about the sauces, and whether they heat up a cold item, or cool a hot item.  This is all gone   into in great detail at the back of Le Menegier in the Cariodoc collection of Medieval Cookbooks where they talk about boiling is better for certain meats because of their humors, and how certain herbs are better for counterbalancing those humors.


But, thats what I do.  And if it just a single dish, doing all of the above can only help.  It help you develop better research skills and develops your own knowledge of Medieval foods and recipes.


I have learned a lot about cooking from studying the Medieval recipes and cookbooks and treatises. And that knowledge is something I can apply to my modern day cooking also.  Never having obtained a sense of how things work together in terms of cooking, and what would taste good or compliment what until I started teaching myself about medieval cooking, I can honestly say, I have learned so much.  Just adding cinnamon to a dish will give it a sweeter taste, because our palates are so trained to cinnamon being served with sugar.  Using margarine doesn't give one the same texture or flavor as butter does.  Butter flavored crisco isn't. Cinnamon added to meat adds a new dimension to roasts, casseroles, pies and stews. I can serve Ember pie to my family and have them love it, if I line the pastry crust with pepperoni slices before adding the filling and baking it.


Oh, well, gone on long enough.


Kateryn de Develyndebh at microware.com


Two of my feasts/meals are located at:    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/4756/index.html


I will be adding the English one before Christmas.  I am almost done adding/converting to html.



Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 16:22:09 -0500

From: LYN M PARKINSON <allilyn at juno.com>

Subject: Re: SC -German translations






Seems that more interest is growing in German cookery.  Yeaaaa!


BTW, meant to e-mail you but forgot--the winning cookery entry in the Ice

Dragon Pentathalon was a sausage recipe from your cook-book.  The Lady's

name was Katya mumble mumble. She served the sausages cold, coiled in a

spiral on a bed of chopped lettuce on a pretty plate.  Nice presentation.



allilyn at juno.com, Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Pittsburgh, PA

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 12:40:42 -0500

From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Cooking by "hand"


> Years later, trying to train dishwashers and busboys to be prep cooks,

> it occured to me to advise them that one cooks _food,_ not the recipe.

> They would get fixated on following the recipe to the letter, even if

> the food was too wet, or dry, or not emulsifying, or too much or little

> seasoned.


> Seumas


Funny you should mention this. We had our Barony of the Steppes

Artisan competition last weekend and several entrants asked me

to check out their food displays. I realized after a while that the

food on the table was the last thing I looked at. First thing I would

do is examine their documentation. I would look to see if they had

a period recipe recorded, then their translation of the recipe and

then the modern redaction. I would check to see if the redaction

included all of the steps and ingredients listed in the original and

in places where they didn't follow the original if they listed why.

I would critique the documentation and explain why the original

did some steps and not others or recommend modern substitutes

for period ingredients. Only after discussing the documentation

would I finally look at and taste the food on display. What I really

judge is if the entrant understands the food because just about

anybody can follow a recipe from a book.


It was afterwards that I realized I was using similar criteria as

a wine judge uses in some ways. Basically I would check the

color, the legs, swirl for dregs, smell and only after all of the

other examinations would I actually taste. The food itself seemed

secondary to the sholoarship involved. Does this mean I'm

becoming an authenticity snob? If it does then I'm happy to be



The good thing is that all of the people I talked about this with

seemed happy for the information I could share.





Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 11:50:04 -0600

From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>

Subject: SC - Gulf War A&S entry


> OK, I'm beginning to be just a little concerned about this discussion.  Is

> this going to effect the judging of my stew in the Gulf War Contest?  It's

> VERY period but also VERY good.


A couple of issues to discuss about this. One is something I hope I taught

you a while ago. For a cooking based entry TASTING is one of the last

things I do. I check the documentation, how well does your interpetation

of the recipe match the original. Do you have the original posted? Do

you have a translation of the original? Did you translate the original



If you have done things other than what was specified in the original why did

you make that change? Did you attempt to cook the dish in the specified

manner? How close were the tools you used to complete the dish to what

would actually be used?


Then I'll check the display. Is the dish presented well? On a nice cloth and

in appropriate dishes? Perhaps some other things placed around it to

add to the ambiance (a wine bottle, period dining set, candles, salt cellar, etc). Do you have appropriate tasting gear set out? Did you provide a place to

dispose of the tasting gear?


Now I'll actually look at the dish and taste it. Does it taste good? Is it

overspiced? Remember that period recipes rarely gave quantities so it is a challenge to the cook to prepare the dish so it tastes good. You don't have the excuse of following the recipe if it is over or underspiced. If you are serving a meal do you have a good balance of savory/sweet/soft/crunchy etc... How about color? Is the meal all brown goo? If you are basing the meal on humours did you explain them in the documentation? If the meal is to be eaten in a specific order, do you have instructions on the proper way it is to be served?


These are the things that seperate an A&S presentation from someone following

a recipe. If I were to sample a dish prepared by someone and the only

documentation they had was a redacted recipe from a cookbook, even if it was wonderful, I would give low scores because nothing reflects how well the presenter understands the food.


This is why you shouldn't worry about Her Highness Trimaris depthcharging your



The other thing is that Her opinion won't hold much against the Laurels who

will be the actual judges. You may not get the "Princess' Choice award" but if you follow these steps you will impress the Laurels that matter. Even if they don't like period food either.


> Anyone care to comment and make me feel better?


You cooked a stew. Had the proper documentation. Impressed the judges and

the Crown with your work. Enough so that you will be as valuable to the

Ansteorran war effort as the most powerful Duke.


Feel better?


> gwyneth





Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 10:13:35 -0400

From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler at chesapeake.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Competition entries


Serian wrote:

> When you enter culinary competitions, how do you present

> your foods?  The first and only time so far i've entered, I

> set out a table cloth and candles (unlit).


That sounds lovely.  My problem was how to let people actually taste what I had

prepared...that and the fact that I had to serve whatever I fixed

cold...dictated the inclusion of the chicken and cherry pie shared earlier,

along with several different kinds of "cookies".  The cookies were no problem,

but it was a real challenge to figure out how to let people "taste" the pie

without eating whole slices...and without supplying plates and cutlery.  I had

some very small plastic cups (about the right size for butter or catsup in a

restaurant).  I put a bite or two of the pie in these for convenience's sake.

People at the festival thought it was a great idea...calling them "pie



The ambience conveyed by your presentation, however, sounds lovely...wish I had

thought of it! I did use period-type dishes and a table cloth, but forgot about

the candles!





Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 08:40:18 -0600

From: Serian <serian at uswest.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Competition entries


To keep hot things hot I have an 18 quart roaster oven that

works well as a portable oven. it is by Nesco and has many

temp settings up to 425 I think.  I warmed my hot dishes in






Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 19:10:46 -0600

From: Sue Clemenger <mooncat at n-tch.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A mustard question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I am planning on doing mustards for a showcase at our Warriors and

> Warlords event in July, but I haven't a clue what one would offer to

> sample the mustard with.


I've done mustards for demos and such for years,and usually use "stick"

pretzels for people to taste the mustards.  Works well, doesn't

encourage them to "have lunch" with the display like meats might, and

pretzels kinda last, despite lack of refrigeration....





Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 23:22:46 -0400

From: Barbara Benson <voxeight at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A mustard question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.og>


I just presented a goodly sized display of mustards at an A&S

competition and chose to go with unsalted pretzels for tasting



I also provided baby carrots for palate cleansing. While I was

inflicting my recipe development upon my husband we discovered that

carrots help clear the palate between mustards better than most

anything else. And I made it so I did not have to worry about having

water and enough glasses and keeping the water filled ......


Another mustard entry at this same event presented the mustard to be

tasted on smoked trout that was placed with the display - very

appropriate since the mustard was the one from the Welsrin text to go

with cod.


Glad Tidings,

Serena da Riva



Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:22:11 -0500

From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse at one.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] A&S Idea

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


There's a new book out by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio called Hungry

Planet: What the World Eats




It has beautiful photos of a family and all the food they eat in a week.

There's also a grocery list and garden list with subtotals for each type of

food, and information about the family's life.


I thought it might be fun to do a medieval version of the same.  Choose a

culture, time period, and month.  Write a short family persona story.

Assemble a real or faux family in appropriate garb and a week's worth of

ingredients.  Take a portrait-still-life photo like those in the example.

Then spend time during the week cooking the ingredients and photographing

the results and perhaps a meal's worth of ingredients here and there to add

to the effect.  Have pictures of at least one meal of the real/faux family

in garb dining on the results. Eat the other dishes as convenient and in

garb or not.  Or cook all dishes in one day, eat some for dinner, and

freeze some for later, etc.  If some meals are repeated, they need only be

photographed once.  Also have photo of real cooks in garb.


The real cook(s) may or may not be some of the real/faux family  

members as desired.


For A&S display, provide so everyone can see

1) photo board (or powerpoint) of pictures

2) persona family story

3) culture, time, month

4) list of weeks food and amounts.  No need to try and develop a

historically correct price list.  But do note which ingredients were  

grown by cooks or real/faux family.

5) Menus for each day

6) In book or notebook discuss in a page or two what it was like to work

with this set of seasonal ingredients, and what it was like to eat the

combination of dishes.

7) In book or notebook, provide recipes and redactions.  May also create

recipes that would have been plausible to utilize some of the food.  For

time periods without recipes, create plausible recipes based on

archeological evidence and provide references to the evidence.


And in general have a week's worth of seasonal food fun.





Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 09:35:30 -0800

From: "Nick Sasso" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] TI Article

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Ooh, helpful hints, Please?


>> -----Original Message-----

>> Necessity drives... at an A/S one cannot bring the item and the judge

>> reliably together on a time table i.e. to cook a hot dish and have it served

>> properly... ditto for several.  Cold dishes can sit a bit longer some sauces

>> can be kept warm for longish periods without hazard to them.


>> Daniel


I have used heated fireplace (solid) brick wrapped in plain paper or a towel

or foil.  Place in heated oven at 350F for 30 minutes to an hour.  Keep in

insulated container with food . . . place under food plate to keep warm for

a while, though not indefinite. Great for using in a 'cooler' for transport

as well.


At locations affording electrical power, I have used a concealed warming

tray.  These were popular in the 70's and early 80's, and I buy them at yard

sales and junk stores for $2 to $5 US.  ]They're] spectacular for buffet lines and keeping things warm for judges.



(neither carries a stamp of historical authenticity, but will work for the

artificial situation of waiting for a judge to come to your prepared  




Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 22:22:45 -0500

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] TI Article

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


David Friedman wrote:

> That little metal pot on a stand with a candle in it that you got as a

> wedding present and never had any use for can be used to keep a stew

> like thing warm.


Also known as a chafing dish (from the Old French "chaufer", to warm).

Those who did not receive one as a wedding present (I didn't) might look

in their local thrift shop.


Brighid ni Chiarain

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom



Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 19:43:17 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] TI Article

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Also known as a chafing dish (from the Old French "chaufer", to warm).

> Those who did not receive one as a wedding present (I didn't) might  

> look in their local thrift shop.


There's also fondue pots, if the dish is something small. I think I used

mine twice, and it's been packed away ever since. I _might_ have given it

to Goodwill, but I can't remember. Held maybe a quart in the pot, and the

candle that came with it couldn't warm a teaspoon.





Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 21:23:11 -0700

From: "Sue Clemenger" <mooncat at in-tch.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] TI Article

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Some larger-sized crockpots also come with a companion, small-sized pot,

gratis.  Mine did.  In fact, it outlasted its big brother.  It only hold a

couple of cups (maybe up to a quart, tops), and was probably designed for

use for fondue cheese or something.  I think it'd be perfect for either

anything that came with a little sauce or broth already (to keep the food

from drying out), or a sauce-type thing (like, say, Digby's Cheese Goo,

which is what I'm thinking I'm going to break fast with, on Easter  

day! ;o)





Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 16:18:06 -0500

From: "King's Taste Productions" <kingstaste at comcast.net>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] TI Article

To: <grizly at mindspring.com>, "'Cooks within the SCA'"<sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>



I have used heated fireplace (solid) brick wrapped in plain paper or a towel

or foil.  Place in heated oven at 350F for 30 minutes to an hour.  Keep in

insulated container with food . . . place under food plate to keep warm for

a while, though not indefinite. Great for using in a 'cooler' for transport

as well.



(neither carries a stamp of historical authenticity, but will work for

the artificial situation of waiting for a judge to come to your prepared




I use the brick-wrapped-in-foil method as well, and have gotten very

good results (temps inside a cooler staying above 140 degrees for over 2



I can't believe this isn't a period technique, using heated stones to

keep food warm on?  Surely there must be some evidence of that?





Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 14:40:59 -0600

From: "Michael Gunter" <countgunthar at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] warming dishes for competition

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


> Any ideas on ways to re-heat, and maintain heat under a dish on-site  

> for an A&S competition?


> -Ardenia


Although it is mundane as all get-out, I recommend a crock pot. It provides

even heating and doesn't scald the bottom of your dish. If you want to

try something a bit more peri-oid, you might get a wide dish, add hot

water and then put another dish with the food in the middle of that. Put

it all over a chafing candle. Maybe on a tripod or some such.  Basically

you will want to provide a gentle all around heat to the dish instead of

just directly under it as a chafing dish would provide.





Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 16:33:43 -0500

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] warming dishes for competition

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Any ideas on ways to re-heat,and maintain heat under a dish on-site  

> for an A&S competition?


> -Ardenia


I've used electric warming trays covered by towels to good effect.  I'm not

enthralled with it, though. Next time I would consider doing something with

coals under a ceramic platter. No open flames, but still good, durable

heat.  Maybe the coals go in a cast iron vessel like a small 'cauldron' or

potje or some such?


niccolo difrancesco



Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 18:52:36 -0800

From: "Wanda Pease" <wandap at hevanet.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] warming dishes for competition

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


How about using the actual medieval way of keeping dishes warm?  A  chaffing

dish.  The ones I had copied from a nice whole piece at Glastonbury looks

something like a big goblet with three "tines" standing up from the lip.

The goblet holds a bit of charcoal, and there are air slots for letting in

enough air for combustion to keep things warm (might even been able to cook

things like a custard or some such


http://www.historicenterprises.com/cart.php?m=product_list&;c=78  I'm not a

customer, but the chaffing dish is exactly what I saw in several places

besides Glastonbury.  Wouldn't you earn extra points for keeping it warm in

a medieval way?


I got copies from both

pottery at moscow.com

from Morgaina atte Wodelonde, OL, OP

College of Lyonsmarche


and Casey Tompkins [caseyt at happyrhino.com]  Their cost seems to be more in

the mailing than in the making. We were intending to utilize them at

thanksgiving, but the piece of asbestos that we had selected to be our hot

pad disappeared from the dump at just the wrong time.  (solid Asbestos does

you no harm.  It's only when airborne fibers get around that things can start



Regina Romsey who has lots of pictures, but can't post them



Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 11:30:11 -0500

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] warming dishes for competition

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Any ideas on ways to re-heat,and maintain heat under a dish on-site  

> for an A&S competition?


> -Ardenia


Depends on the site rules- there are electric heaters available, as

well as disposable steam trays- check out WalMart, BJs, or similar

places. OTOH, if you want (and can use) a period solution, Master Hroar

makes a very nice pottery chafing dish/chimney sort of affair that

could be initially fueled with charcoal, and quite probably set to

maintain heat with a candle.


Saint Phlip



Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 14:25:07 -0800

From: "Wanda Pease" <wandap at hevanet.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] warming dishes for competition

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


If that's all you can get, and it does the job of re-heating and then

heating the dish then go for it.  I guess I just love my new medieval

chaffing dish toys too much. I'd love to see the presentations at a display

as medieval as possible.  That may not be the requirement or wish here.  The

concept is the same.  Dish, rack to hold heat a bit below dish.  You might

want to include a picture of an actual medieval chaffing dish from that site

just to show the judges that you know what you are replacing.


Absolutely no criticism or snarking intended, but from horrible experience,

watch that pot seriously.  It took me months to get the two round burn marks

off the inside of my first try with the Corning Ware and candle trick.

Never had that problem with the medieval ones combined with the medieval

pot.  Someone said that the heat and shape made the stuff circulate better

on it's own. Believe me, they don't quite follow me around with a fire

extinguisher, but I notice there is one quietly dropped near me some  

times :-_




>  Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and input!


> My current plan--- I have a white ceramic Pyrex casserole dish

> that has a metal frame and a warming candle... if I can get use

> of the on-site oven... I can then re-heat it and place it over

> the candle to keep warm


> I'm also working to get a hard schedule of when my dish will be judged


> Comments..Impressions?


> -Ardenia



Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:38:57 -0500

From: "grizly" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Candle Chafers was  burn marks

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Expense and time are real considerations in creating a new idea and solution

for the problem.  The candle under a dish could be a solution that costs

little of either.  Two more thoughts/suggestions:


1) trim the wick of the candle. Long wicks produce inefficient fuel burning

and more smoking, thus more cleanup possibility.


2)  Consider some sort of heat diffuser to eliminate the quarter-sized patch

of burned food that could result from continuous heat and no stirring.  A

disk of meatal or mesh that the dish sits upon over the falme could collect

and diffuse the heat if close enough to the flame (you could even go closer

to the flame with such an item, and reduce the hot spot.  The outer water

pan of traditional chafing dishes fills this role admirably in most cases

making the steam the actual heat transfer vehicle to the food dish.


niccolo difrancesco


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