SC-Outlandish-msg - 8/24/08
Review of a pirate themed Siege Cooking competition at the 2008 Outlandish event.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Sun, 25 May 2008 19:03:25 -0600
From: "Kathleen A Roberts" <karobert at unm.edu>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] siege cooking at outlandish - update
To: SCA-Cooks at ansteorra.org
well, the rainy and windy weather (hail last Thursday
night, but it did keep the dust down) made connor and i
decide to daytrip for the siege cooking on Saturday for
me, and general schmoozing for him. he had the better
time. it was 36 degrees at 8 a.m., warm and sunny all day.
extreme fire conditions, so nada but propane. the
scenario: with a seafaring/pirate theme, the team (3 cooks
and 1 scullery) had to prepare two meals, one for the crew
at 3:45 (in town hall) and one for the captain and guests
at 4:30 at the team's campsite). staggered times for four
teams. we began first, at 8:30.
all four teams met at town square at 8 a.m. the
coordinator was late. we then learned that each team of
cooks had to basically go through a guided scavenger hunt
to get the food. we were given a few basics in a bucket,
but otherwise it was long distance hiking shopping. (note:
if you were disabled or rickety in some way, you could
have a designated walker assigned.
all directions and rules were given to the teams at that
time. i had emailed the coordinator to ask (if
permissible) how many judges, so the team could have
enough plateage. she emailed me EIGHT! i forwarded it to
the team - we almost quit then.
despite slightly bad knees, i didn't think i needed the
designated walker, and forged on with my captain, one-eye
emma and fellow cook, zee spenyerd (OLE!) ). we didn't
have a chance to look into our bucket to see what we had,
being the first boat out, but it looked pretty usual...
oats, flour, honey.
oh, yes... and we had to do it all traveling in a BOAT of
pvc pipe in an elongated pentagon shape, that we had to
hold up with our hands. all travel required all three
persons be in the 'boat', holding it up. during your
voyage from place to place you could be raided by the
pyrates, and they could take your provisions if you did
not have sufficient bribes. the other boats could raid you
if you passed. you had to ask permission to dock at ports,
but had to stay at respectable distance if another ship
was already there.
but wait, there's more.....
so our team sets sail for the pyrate camp first, thinking
it furthest from our camp, that we would go there and
double back to the ports on the way to camp. we got to the
pyrate camp, and only three people were awake, and had no
idea what was going on. we were advised to come back when
everyone was awake.
so.... we hit the other ports of call where we got our
provisions. my bribes of song and/or homemade
oatmeal/almond,raisin/cranberry cookies got us some other
goods, as did emma's glass beads, but not especially
useful in the end.
but, hold the phone... we go back to the pyrate camp (the
farthest port from our camp) about an hour later to be
told that the captain had given all of the provisions to
the first boat there, early bird, worms and all that. we
informed him WE were first there and no one knew what was
going on. he said, well i wasn't awake yet.
grrrrrrrrrr...... fortunately, a friendly pyrate, and
great inventor, gave us a bottle of dead man's ale
(complete with little plastic skeleton in the bottle).
extremely miffed, we sailed away to camp, needless to say,
bitching all the way.
and then.... we complained to the siege cooking
coordinator who had no idea what was going on. we later
found out other teams had been dismissed by the pyrates
soldiering on... we checked our provisions. we had packets
of seeds in them. (insert scooby doo bewilderment noise
here). we were supposed to barter at a certain port of
call for extra veggies. BUT - no one told anyone that. we
found that out later. off in the boat again....
now mind you... the scenario called for two meals in 8
hours, or rather 6 hours (cuz it took us two hours to make
the rounds to get the provisions) for an unknown number of
crew at town hall (oh, just put down whatever dishes you
want, or as a buffet) and 45 minutes later dinner for 8 in
we had... about a cup of flour 4 cups of oatmeal
2 cups barley (not prepped or hulled or anything)
three leeks (one of them bribed)
a quarter cup of coffee beans (bribed)
1 pineapple (!)
1 round watermelon
a 3 inch round of goat cheese with cracked pepper
a 2 inch block of gruyere
1 and a half cups of diced figs (coated with
unidentifiable powdery spice stuff - at first we wondered
why we had been given purina dog chow, cuz that was what it
looked like in the baggie)
a cup of milk
one pound of carrots
three hardtack biscuits
one half cup of spiced rum (bribed)
1 bottle of ale (bribed)
1 cup of milk
handful of salt
handful of black peppercorns (thank god for the crab
two apples (gotten by my charm and guile)
a vanilla bean
a quarter cup of olive oil
a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar
a generous quarter cup of honey
a generous half cup of raw sugar
a piece of beef round, about the size of two ladies fists
a sandwich sized zip lock bag of beef jerky
two HUGE turnips
two tablespoons of dill seed (!)
a bottle of mead
no citrus, no salt pork, no wine/brandy, no rum... (i
strongly suspect there were salad greens somewhere as we
later found a bag of mesclun seeds in the bottom of the
and an hour later, to make up for the confusion at the
pyrate camp.... a piece of smoked venison the size of my
hand and less than an inch thick
then someone said they were coming to take some of our
meat because of a mix-up. fortunately, no one was chopping
at the time, but we convinced them we weren't the people
who were supposed to be giving up meat.
and one hour later, ditto above four pork spare ribs
i think that was it. its a bit of a blur now. i know this
is supposed to get your creativity going, but... one eyed
emma set to making a beef stew for the captain's table.
zee spenyerd (OLE !) used his blade skills to full
advantage, chopping and slicing. bones the teenage
scullery lad kept the pots and pans coming.
i was hoping for jerky cuz i had a good recipe for
breaking it down into a neat gravy to put over just about
anything (chuckwagon cookbook). unfortunately, it was not
the dry, preserved jerky you find in some good jerky
shops, but the sticky, almost teriaki sweet jerky you get
in bags at the truckstops, both thin and gobbet sized.
let me say, that emma and i were exhausted by the time we
started, with all the hiking. all of us worked away as
best we could, and two hours before the time to feed the
crew, we were staring at each other with glazed over eyes.
this being rosalio's (zee spenyard (OLE !) ) first siege
cooking experience, he was pretty much game for anything.
we had our notebook, we had ideas, but there just wasn't
enough of anything to do as much as we needed to do, even
with little tastes.
the jerky wouldn't reconstitute. the rum was spiced
(ICK!). what do you do with 4 spareribs 3 hours into the
competition, and a pineapple, fer gawd's sake?
sadly, and after much discussion, we decided that we did
not have the energy for the task at hand, and threw in our
pirate bandanas. neither emmaline or i give up easily, and
it was a hard thing to do, but it was beyond us.
as we were getting ready to go to the coordinators camp, a
fellow team captain came to our camp to see if we had
stolen her flag and provisions. (all teams had a flag to
show judges where they were.) apparently some one had
taken the raiding theme too far, and well into the
competition time, as she was about to make a dish,
discovered her eggs and milk were missing. (we gave her
what was left of ours.)
after four hours of hard work, we had a passable beef
stew, a pork/leek/apple dish that would not have served
six a tablespoon let alone 8, an authentic dish of
hardtack broken up and stewed with rum and sugar (that had
the figs added to kill the weird spiced rum taste) and a
nice little wrap of apple slice spread with goat cheese
and wrapped with finely sliced smoked venison, and the
rest of the flotsam and jetsam mocking us on the table.
oh, and a 'personal' judge came by every two hours to see
how we were doing, check on our teamwork and test us on
our pyrate trivia. extra points for documentation or real
pyrate recipes. he was a sweetie, and thought some of the
rules were crazy too, and actually gave us some 'sympathy'
chocolate for our experience with the pyrates/protein.
it was sad. the coordinator was shocked we surrendered our
flag. it was supposed to be fun, and she was sorry we were
not having fun with it.
if we hadn't had to lug those boats around every time we
went somewhere, if there weren't so many mouths to feed,
such disjointed provisions (i am used to odd, but this was
WIERD), if there weren't confusion about what and who
could be "messed with", then fine. but it wasn't worth it.
at noon, my husband stopped by and told both of us we
already looked exhausted and maybe this wasn't worth it.
being stubborn, we insisted it wasn't that bad. it got old
i am not a quitter but in retrospect i really think it was
the best thing. we left early, i don't even know now how
many teams finished or who won with what. i really didn't
the team was great all around, and bones was blessing for
toting within the camp, and zee spenyerd's (OLE !) knife
skills are incredible. our personal judge told us that
with some of the things he was hearing from us, including
the pyrating of eggs and milk, he was going off to have a
talk with the coordinators. he visited us after we
surrendered, and was rather sympathetic. nice young viking
we had fun with each other -- we would shout OLE! every
time one of us said "zee spenyerd" and were going to put
the skeleton in the crew's mess -- but the competition was
future siege cooking coordinators, learn from this. it's
about cooking, not about cool, complicated and confusing
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 06:49:27 -0400
From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] siege cooking at outlandish - update
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Thanks for the lengthy detailed report.
It sounds rather confused at best.
I wonder if the coordinators have been watching too much reality tv.
I can't imagine spending most of the cooking time having to scavenge
for ingredients before you cook. Maybe you should have hired a crew
to just raid a camp or two for what they had available and cooked that.
Pyrates and all.
I do hope that you took the rest of the weekend off.
Kathleen A Roberts wrote:
<<< future siege cooking coordinators, learn from this. it's about
cooking, not about cool, complicated and confusing themes. KISS!