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cookg-classes-msg - 9/28/09


Ideas on teaching and running classes on cooking.


NOTE: See also the files: AS-classes-msg, AS-food-msg, teaching-msg, AS-classes-lst, AS-ideas-msg, chd-ck-clsses-msg, p-cook-child-art.





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: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 02:11:31 -0800

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC -  Long...How to run a cooking symposium An Tir style


Hi all from Anne-Marie

kat asks about running a cooking symposium.

I have taught cooking classes, and organized symposiums, collegiums and

Ithra sessions of all sizes and flavors (including the classes at 3YC). How

we do it here in An Tir may not be how you do it wherever you are, but

maybe you can glean some helpful info from this. Also, please realize that

I tend to plan things within an inch of their lives. i don't like suprises,

and am happiest when I know what's going on.


1. As an instructor I am happiest if I know exactly how many I need to plan

for. This tells me how many handouts I need to have, how many recipes to

have ready and how much food to buy. It also allows me to have a budget and

not take it in the shorts when only three people show up for the class.


2. Sometimes a session is run so that there is no pre-registration, so you

have no idea how many students will be in the class, paying the fees. As

the autocrate/organizer/Chancellor, can you cover an difference between

reciepts and clas income? ie, "OK, get supplies for 10 students. If you get

les than that, the event can eat the difference". That way the poor

isntructor won't get stuck with a bunch of costs.


3. Carefully schedule the kitchen and make sure the instructors know what

time is theirs. I've taught classes where I thought I had an oven, but it

turns out the roast fromthe last class was in there, so I had no oven after

all. Make sure the instructors know that their class slot includes clean up

time, and that the kitchen is to be left ready for the next instructor.

Ditto with the equipment/pots/pans/etc.


4. Strongly encourage instructors to provide a handout. If nothing else,

with a bibliography. Ideally, a set of the recipes to be used in class.


5. Ideally, instructors should be responsible for providing all their own

materials, including grocieries. You'll have enough to do. In one case, I

flew in from Seattle to teach at a Western Collegium, and so one of the

event staff (bless her heart and soul!) did my grocery shopping for me from

a very detailed list (I gave brand names when I could, and if it was wierd

stuff, i just stuffed it into my luggage).


6. I find that cooking classes work best if you have four hours. This is

time for a short lecture on history, sources, etc, time for reading through

the recipes together and answering questions, plenty of time for cooking

and plenty of time for eating and clean up. I've done them in two hours,

but that's with already reconstructed recipes and me riding shotgun on them

the whole time to keep on track, quick playing with the marzipan and then

eating on their own lunch hour. Lecture classes can be done in any length

of time. I've delivered lectures from 15 minutes to four hours long (ugh).


7. I highly recommend publishing info on the classes in your newletter, in

a catelog, or something so folks can see what great classes you're offering

and hopefully come. You'll want to include the time, who the instructor is

and a fascinating blurb about the class explaining why you just don't want

to miss this. Oh, and the class fees, if any, and what the student will get

for that money.


I'm sure there's lots more I can say about this...just ask. Oh, and don't

forget to have fun! :)

- --Anne-Marie



Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:49:09 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - help! - How to run a cooking symposium?


Kat asked about cooking workshops/symposia.


1. Our typical cooking workshop is: we find out how many people are coming,

select recipes, do shopping.  People arrive, we hand them a stack of

printouts saying, "Here are the recipes, pick one."  People cook recipes,

being reminded frequently to measure everything, time everything, and write

everything down.  When something is finished, everyone tastes and comments.

(Cariadoc: "too little pepper, too much saffron!" Elizabeth: "too much

pepper, too little saffron!") What was done plus comments get recorded on

our master; copes are made for anyone who wants one to take home and play

with some more.


2. We once did a cooking symposium as an official event. We had, as I

remember, some hands-on classes (Alys Katherine did one on sugar plate) as

well as lecture classes and discussions (how to grow period fruits and

vegetables; period Islamic cooking; how to do period food at Pennsic: three

different points of view).  Classes were out of persona/mundane clothes;

evening was in persona/in garb. We finished off with a feast by Madeleine

des Mille Roses that was a masterpiece (I use the word literally)--very

well researched, menu as well as dishes, and excellent food.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 17:03:48 -0500

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Cooking Classes


Roibeard wrote:

>I've seen several references on the list about cooking classes and was

>wondering what you are teaching.   I want to teach a few classes on medieval

>classes but don't know where to start (i.e. period foods, spices, methods of

>cooking, etc.)


Here is our basic outline for a class on cooking from period sources:


I. The Problem:  Primary Sources--finding, reading, redacting


in which we explain why we think it is better to use primary sources, how

you go about finding them, why you have to be careful about translations,

and how you go about making sense of 14th or 15th century English.


II. Redacting


in which we explain how you go about working out recipes, with examples

from our experience (especially the mistakes) and some free samples of what

got worked out to our satisfaction, and we explain how our cooking

workshops work.


III. What is out there and where


in which we discuss what sources are available: English/French 13th-15th

c., Italian, German, eastern Europe, Islamic, etc., and also what we

haven't found.


IV. Ingredients and sources : spices, gourd, murri, verjuice, sourdough


V. Discussion and questions


The handout is the source list from the beginning of the Miscellany and a

page of examples of 14th and 15th century English recipes for people to try

to read.


We also teach a class on period Islamic cooking; there, we describe the

sources first and then go through a whole lot of recipes fast, pointing out

what is characteristic in spicing, procedures, and so on. The handout for

that is simply lots of period Islamic recipes with our worked-out versions,

taken from the Miscellany.


Each class takes about an hour talking fast.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 22:49:54 -0500

From: "Sharon R. Saroff" <sindara at pobox.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Kindergarden through 3rd


>I am currently trying to help a local school teacher organize some activities

>for her TMR class (Trainably Mentally Retarded) and have been asked to

>provide some recipes that the home ec teacher could use to make some period

>snacks appropriate for people with the mental capacity of Kindergarten

>through third grade.


>I am at a loss as to what to suggest.




I taught a class like this a few years ago.  I remember doing lots of

recipes that were quite normal for anyone learning to cook.  The one they

seemed to get the most out of was when I did a unit on different ways to

make things rise.  I did a biscuit recipe using baking powder, a recipe

that used baking soda, a scottish fruit bread that used 5 eggs to make it

rise and a raisin bread recipe that used yeast.


I also found that my students worked well as a team and taking turns.  One

mixed, one measured the dry inqredients, one measured wet, one washed the

dishes, one dried them, etc.  There are a lot of cookbooks on the market

that are specifically designed for young children.  I would suggest trying

to match similar period recipes to ones in those books.





Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 09:29:16 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Foods for Begining SCA Cooks

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


SilverR0se at aol.com wrote:

> This coming April I will be teaching a class in Caid's Collegium  

> called "Getting Started in Historical Cooking."


> Renata


You could take the approach where you start

with a literary reference to a dish. Or something

'food in art' with an artwork that depicts people

eating or preparing dishes or foods. Then provide a series

of recipes that use the ingredient or show the dish.

Go from early to later or use recipes from various countries.

Throw in some dietary advice courtesy of those texts.

Then show and serve the dish.


That gives the audience the opportunity to see and gain some

idea about what it is that SCA cookery and foods are all about.


Just a suggestion,





Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 10:44:42 -0500

From: Michael Gunter <countgunthar at hotmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Period non-alcoholic drinks class

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


I did my second period non-alcoholic drinks class at our

King's College this weekend and it was a definate success.

It was also a much better idea to do this class in the outdoor

June King's College than the last one I taught, "Open Fire

Cookery".  Standing all day around a couple of fires

in June in Houston, TX was not my brightest of ideas.


But having a class in cool drinks during the hot Texas summer

is much better. There were around 15 people attending the

class and I brought 2 mason jars of tamarind syrup, 1 jar of

lemon syrup, 4 litres of small mead and 4 litres of lemon

barley water. I also had a large cooler of ice water to mix

the syrups with.


I provided both small tasting dixie cups as well as larger

cups so that attendees could take away a larger drink of

their choice after the class.


In addition to the lecture on how to make the drinks and others

that were in the class notes we discussed period sugar production,

verjuis, water sources, sekujaban, ciders and how to make

variations on the themes of the recipes given.


Tastes were offered of the syrups alone and then mixed with

water. I am rather shocked that some folk enjoyed the syrups

by themselves. My biggest surprise was the tamarind drink.

I've never been much of a fan of tamarind before but the

act of steeping tamarind pulp and then making a syrup

of the water creates a wonderfully refreshing drink.


After the class I took the remaining drinks and syrups to the

water pavilion for general distribution and by the end of the

event, all that was left was a half bottle of the small mead.


I'm hoping that more folk see how easy it is to make a period

drink for events and start getting away from sodas, tea,

gatorade and powdered lemonade.


I've sent Stefan a copy of my class notes so they should be up

in the flori-thingy soon.

[Now in the Florilegium BEVERAGES section as: Non-Alco-Drks-art -Stefan]





Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 12:59:33 EST

From: Bronwynmgn at aol.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Topics for Classes for Scholas

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


In a message dated 1/18/2009 9:31:29 AM Eastern Standard Time, euriol at ptd.net


<<My question is then, what type of classes regarding cooking would you like to

see taught?>>


What level students are you considering?


If it's a newcomer's academy, then a basic class on available foodstuffs and

some non-threatening things to taste would be great.  Or, I have a class that

looks at commercially available cookbooks that might have period recipes in

them, how to decide how trustworthy they are, and how to decide which one suits

your needs, which usually goes over pretty well.


At the Known World Cooks and Bards Schola, there was a more advanced class

that looked at available AngloSaxon foodstuffs and some conjectual recipes.  The

teacher had some ingredients available and there as a small kitchen, so we

kind of got on a Anglo-Saxon cooking brain and tried to come up with plausible

stuff.  We made griddle cakes with honey, butter and flour and baked them on a

tray on top of the woodstove, made some poached pears, and two of us made

(very different) pork pasties.  It was a tremendous amount of fun, but you really needed to have a good background in historical cookery for it to work.


Brangwayna Morgan

Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom

Lancaster, PA



Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 13:23:09 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Topics for Classes for Scholas

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


On Jan 18, 2009, at 9:30 AM, Euriol of Lothian wrote:


My kingdom (and of course there is always Pennsic) has several events

through the  year where classes are taught. I would like to put  

together a

couple of new classes, and find myself stumbling for specific  

topics. My

question is then, what type of classes regarding cooking would you  

like to

see taught?


I don't know if this helps you (being more workshop-oriented), but a  

project I've been interested in is more in the nature of semi-

intensive, immersion tracks in various subjects, such as pasta work,  

pastry work, sugar work, sausage making, etc.


These are all subjects that I keep hearing people don't do, but have  

either never tried anything like it, or tried one thing which failed  

for some reason, and now the entire category is a closed-door-subject  

to them: I can't do that, I just don't seem to have the knack for  

that, etc.


For me, the important question is finding something that the class can  

prepare in bulk and then use in six or seven (or more, or fewer)  

different ways:


*What can we do with this unleavened wheat-flour pasta dough?

        -- We can take some and make loseyns, some for macrows, some for  

hares in papdele, some for rauioles, some for kuskynoles, some for  

tartlettes, etc.


*What can we do with all this boiled sugar syrup?

        -- We can take some and make Manus Christi, some to make payn ragoun,  

some for penydes, we can cast some in pretty shapes in molds, etc.


I think spending a day in this way gives the student (assuming all is  

successful, no explosions, no fistfights, etc.) a sense of  

accomplishment because they made a bunch of stuff, but also a chance  

to see slightly different behaviors from the same materials, in order  

to get a better sense of how to control effects, deal with problems,  

etc. And at the end of the day, fewer people saying they don't make  






Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 12:49:44 -0800 (PST)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Topics for Classes for Scholas

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


Something I have been thinking about, but haven't been able to do, is do a two part class on redacting period recipes. This probably would be a better class for Pennsic or some other war.  The first part is a lecture class giving the theories and your practical experience in redaction.  The second part is dividing the class into groups, giving each group the same recipe, the same ingredients and access to a campfire, a propane stove, and cooking utensils, etc.  At the end of the class, everyone presents their redaction and everyone gets to taste what was made.  It could be a kind of expensive class, but you should divide the food expenses between all of the students.  You can also scrounge equipment, stoves etc., from friends and groups or ask that the students bring what they can.  This would give your students good, practical experience in redaction.  You should be on hand to advise each group if they get stuck or have questions.





Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 15:20:52 -0800

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Topics for Classes for Scholas

To: ahrenshav at yahoo.com, Cooks within the SCA

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


What we have done, many times, is a cooking workshop, usually in our

home. People arrive, usually Saturday at one or so. When you arrive

we hand you a stack of period recipes, unredacted, and you pick one.

During the afternoon each participant makes his recipe, with advice

from us as needed, recording in detail everything he does. When

something is done, everyone tries it and makes comments.


The idea is, first, to convince people that they really can start

with a period recipe and end up with something consistent with that

recipe that is good to eat, and second to provide a start at working

out a bunch of recipes. Participants can, of course, take home a copy

of their recipe for further trial and error development.


There's no reason it couldn't be done at a schola, provided you were

willing to spend the three hours+ it would probably take.






Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 20:06:34 -0500

From: "Euriol of Lothian" <euriol at ptd.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Topics for Classes for Scholas

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


As I see it, the issue is more with the logistics of facilities and/or

equipment as opposed to time. If the site's kitchen is being used for

"lunch" and/or "feast" as is common at AEthelmearc's event, then trying to

make a class of it can be difficult. Also, depending on the time of year,

the weather can make it prohibitive to do it outdoors. The temperatures were

in the negatives yesterday when I was attending a nearby schola.


I do recall being able to attend your cooking workshops which I very much

enjoyed and the people in my barony are interested in such a workshop here.




-----Original Message-----

There's no reason it couldn't be done at a schola, provided you were

willing to spend the three hours+ it would probably take.





Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 16:01:36 -0500

From: Michael Gunter <countgunthar at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Idea for an A&S Entry

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


<<< I am pondering the viability of doing a cooking demonstration as an A&S entry into the Cooking area (static, not performance)


Should I plan this out further or just do the recipe at home and dish it out, with documentation, at the Faire?


Helen >>>


Instead of just cooking a dish, it would probably be part of either

performance or supported documentation, maybe you could do

a demonstration of one of the recipes that can be accurately

redacted to have two totally different results. Cook them together

while following the instructions to the letter but using different



That could be fun and an eye-opener to the nuances of period cooking.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org