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siege-cooking-msg - 9/23/10


A type of cooking contest where teams are given minimum ingredients to create a meal. Contest ideas.


NOTE: See also the files: cookg-compet-msg, AS-compet-msg, SC-Outlandish-msg, medvl-cooking-lnks, books-food-msg, p-menus-msg, siege-engines-msg, Medievl-Feasts-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: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 12:20:15 -0700

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Siege Cooking Competition

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Well, this weekend i participated in a Siege Cooking Competition at

the West Kingdom Arts and Sciences Tourney. I also taught a couple

classes and took a number - the manure and urine technology class was

WONDERFUL! I took it right after i taught an introduction to Middle

Eastern food.


Each team was allowed to bring a few items (very few) - one root

vegetable (we brought onions); one above ground vegetable (we brought

carrots); one fresh fruit (we had plums); two herbs (we brought mint

and cilantro, hoping to do Andalusian - but the rye and pork nixed

that). I think every team brought milk.


We really had no idea what we would be given - the description was

rather vague.


No team got the same food items. There were 3 of each thing - the

Fearless Leader had expected far fewer entrants and i suspect he'd

shopped for six teams and ended up with eight, which was why some of

the foods were a bit skimpy - we were supposed to be able to feed 4

diners PLUS the three judges.


Meat: chicken, pork, and beef (we got 3 pork chops). Rye and whole

wheat flour (we got rye). Grain: brown rice, barley, or rolled oats

(we got barley). Three spices (we got powdered ginger, nutmeg, and

cloves). Some kind of fat - olive oil, lard or butter (we got olive

oil). Nuts: pine nuts, almonds, walnuts (we got walnuts). Seeds:

candied anise, caraway, and i'm not sure what else (we got caraway).

Dried Fruit: dates, apricots, apples (we got apricots). One fresh

vegetable (we got mushrooms). Each team got a small bag of coarse

brown sugar crystals.


While our team did not win, we did come in third in a field of eight,

and there were only about 3 points out of 100 total separating the

top three teams.


The winning team was composed entirely of Laurels, most with Laurels

in cooking.


Points were given for using one time and one culture - we used some

German and some French recipes (mostly 15th c.) and introduced

ourselves as the Alsatian Sensations (well, some teams had a name).


I was away teaching a class for about 2/3 of the cooking time :-( but

i brought some cookbooks which saved us when we didn't get chicken or

beef and couldn't do Andalusian.


Many teams brought  unhomogenized milk and made butter and fresh

cheese. Since the team member who bought our food had been making a

lot of fresh cheese lately, she didn't want to (i think we would have

scored higher if we had - i think there were more points for more



We made broth from the pork bones and scraps and used it and milk to

cook the barley - the mushrooms were added to this frumenty. - if i'd

been there i would have suggested cooking the mushrooms separately

for more points. We made "A Clever Dish of Fruit" by cooking the

plums and apricots and pureeing them - then they were spiced, and

sweetened, and walnuts were stirred in. We cooked the carrots in

olive oil with mint and caraway seeds. We pan fried the pork, cut in

cubes, with salt and pepper, then used the drippings cooked with

vinegar and ginger for a sauce. We made pancakes with the rye flour

and made a sweet sauce with cooked plum juice. And we made rather

weak sekanjabin and clarea d'agua - weak because we were given so

little sugar. And we made hand washing water with the mint.


I went around and sampled food from every one of the other seven

teams and even spent some time travelling around with cooks from two

others. There were many delicious dishes and some less successful.

But every team seemed happy with their effort. And I had a great time

chatting with all the teams.





Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 11:00:42 -0700

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Siege Cooking Competition

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


From: kattratt <kattratt at charter.net>

>  Ok now I know I have been on this list to long.... I am getting picky...

>  Isn't a carrot a root vegetable?


DOh! Yeah, carrots were our root vegetable. Our above the ground

thingy was fresh plums.


And i didn't get the "rules" exactly right. Here's a link to the

rules of the recent siege cooking game:






Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 13:22:53 -0400

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Siege Cooking Competition: Carrots and


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


Stefan asked:

> So, is better for each team to be given the same ingredients? Or

> different things?


***For a straight competition, to me it's easier to compare the results if

people have mostly the same things to work with.  If the object is to turn

the food into a four course meal for 100+ people such as is being done for

the Dec 2004 Cook's symposium, I think having each course have independent

ingredients is good.


> I've seen some reviews which had a lot more selection of materials than

> others. Do those who have participated in these prefer to have a wide

> variety of ingredients or have them rather restricted?


***I like both.  The important thing to me is that some of the ingredents be

very versatile.  For instance most people could do a variety of interesting things with:

Chicken, whole

Milk, whole unpasturized, 1 gallon

Eggs, 6

Wheat berries, 5 pounds

Apples, 5 pounds

Carrots, 3 pounds

Turnips with tops, 5 pounds

Vinegar, 1 pint

Lard, 1 pound

Assorted herbs, spices, salt, yeast, drinkable water


compared to

Chicken livers, 3 pounds

Romano cheese, 1 pound

Peas, dry 2 pounds

Rye flour, 5 pounds

Plums, 5 pounds

Beets with tops, 3 pounds

Sauerkraut, 3 pounds

Mixed greens, 5 pounds

Sesame oil, 1 quart

Assorted herbs, spices, salt, yeast, drinkable water


> What are folks opinions on being able to bring selected ingredients

> from home?


***That can be helpful as it makes it possible for the team to personalize

their results


>  Do you want to know the ingredients you will be given ahead

> of time or not?


***People seem to like both ways a lot.  Personally, I like the ahead way as

it makes it possible for the team to make maximum use of their creativity

through thinking and planning.  If people are permitted to bring some things

with them, it helps to know what will be provided, so they don't have to

bring to camp for example 3 pounds of every root vegetable possible, not

knowing what root vegetable they will be given, and so not knowing what

would be a good addition to it.  In this case knowing helps save lots of



***On the other hand some people like the adrenaline rush of the surprise

followed by the controlled panic to plan a menu, and the intense work to

organize, create, and cook a good menu in an impossibly short amount of

time.  This same sort of variety exists in other professions.  We have the

long term programmer and the help desk trouble shooter: the detective and the

street cop, and the dermatologist and the ER doctor.


> If yes, do you wish to have one or more unknown until

> the contest, ingredients?


***Here, I think it's helpful for the mystery ingredient to have a category

so that people can focus their planning.  Examples:

3-5 pounds of meat/bones

3 pounds of grain

1 bunch of green herb

a leavening agent

5 pounds of a root vegetable

1 pound of dried fruit

2 cups of condiment

3 pounds of fresh fruit

3 pounds of a dairy product

1 pound or quart of fat/oil


***Here's are some posts from another list involving a similar



Some things which I think would help cooking contestants be able to produce

more the sort of dishes and feasts they would like to are:


1) List of the foods and amounts that will be available.  This allows people

to really think about what dishes they would like to make.  And also, it's

more realistic, even for siege conditions where the castle is still intact

that the cook(s) would have a very good idea of what is left to work



2) Unlimited use of drinkable water.


3) The use of cooking equipment they are familiar with.  (And a chance to

acquire or learn new equipment well in advance in the case of a site which

doesn't or may not if fire conditions are dangerous allow ground fires or

certain types of cooking equipment.)


4) In a competition where there is a surprise ingredient and the contestants

provide all the rest of the ingredients, some clue as to what the ingredient

will be or a list of 5 items from which it will be chosen.  Examples:

a) 4 pounds of meat

b) 3 pounds of fruit

c) 5 pounds of  an unground grain

d) one of the following--a quart of basalmic vinegar, a standard bottle of

red wine, half gallon of sweet apple cider, a quart of dark beer, a quart of


e) 3 pounds each of two different root vegetables


This way it minimizes the expense of what needs to be brought and allows

people to do quite a bit of planning.


5) A place as close as possible for hand, food washing and cookware washing

to reduce time lost to that and risks to food safety.


6) Three to 4 hours to cook.  This allows enough time to make yeast breads,

reasonably good broths, ferment things a bit, and chill things that are

better chilled.


7) Access to plenty of ice or chilling/freezing space.



One thing that I'd very much like to see is for each team to have one or

more scribe-historian(s).  This would be a non cooking member whose job

would be to:

1) Document the planning and the thinking that went into the planning of the

proposed recipes.

2) Collect recipes used(original, translation, redactions), or write down

recipes created on the fly and what recipe it's similar to.

3) Document the process used during the cooking contest--what order were

things done in and why.  What things were changed along the way from the

plans due to unexpected situations?

4) Take pictures or video of ingredients, teams, process, finished dishes.

5) Provide a copy of this to sponsor who will then post it to main and

regional cooks lists.  This would not be judged, but would be for other SCA

cooks to learn from.


I'd hope to see things like:

1) When we found out we had a whole chicken, we decided that since we only

had 2.5 hours, we'd cut it up and cook it fast with the idea that we could

impress with more dishes rather than one center piece roasted chicken. We

decided to cook it_______ and then cook the skin and bones for broth to use

in ______, _____, and ____.

2) We decided to use our dozen oranges four different ways:

juice in ________ dish


candied orange peel

serving containers for the dessert course

3) We had planned to make yeast bread, and instead of it being 90 degrees

like the weather men had predicted the week before, it was only 40 degrees,

so the way we got the bread to rise without accidentally cooking it was


4) Although these 6 ingredients would have been perfect to make _______ we

decided to make ____ and ______ to keep them all coming from the same German

cookbook so we'd get more points for keeping the meal in the same country

and time period.




Some themes of contests I think would be fun:


1) All dishes to come from or be plausibly inspired by a particular


or manuscript.  This might be especially good for a book that has become

available in the last 1-2 years to encourage people to work from it.


2) Frugal siege contest.  You have $X, your herbs/spices/salt/yeast, and

unlimited water.  Search out the most frugal food and cook the biggest


you can with what you find.  Bring receipts for food.


3) Same as #2 with a time/place theme.  May want to provide list of

appropriate foods(and allowable substitutes if any such as blueberries for

bilberries) or have teams provide documentation  for foods they are using.

Schedule theme so that foods of that area are in season to reduce costs.

For instance you might do Viking in June when cabbage, onions, radishes,

carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, strawberries, and cherries are in season,

or in October when all those things are back in season except swap dried

plums, rose hips, and apples for cherries and strawberries.  And if

something like this was posted well in advance, teams could get nuts in the

fall when they were in season, and dry other foods at their most frugal

point to use along with the seasonal foods.


4) Pound Stone Soup

4-5 teams (of 10 people maximum)

3-5 judges

40 feaster, ingredient bringers (with own feast gear)

Cook teams have own spices/herbs/salt, yeast, drinking water, cooking

gear, and fire/stove/oven source.

By 7 pm night before, 40 feasters bring 4-5 pounds of ingredient to central

location.  Each team gets a pound.  Feasters are assigned to bring a

category of food, but no one knows exactly what until 6-7 pm. Feasters

must bring freshly bought, safely kept chilled or home grown fresh foods.  

At 7 pm teams get their food and an extra $10 to buy whatever they want to

add to what they got.

Suggested division of foods:

Grain unground 3 feasters

Grain ground 2 feasters

Meat 5 feasters

Dairy(non cheese) 3 feasters

Cheese 2 feasters

Eggs 1 feaster (dozen per team)

Beans 1 feaster

Fruits, fresh 3 feasters

Fruits, dried, 1 feaster

Root vegetables 4 feasters

Nonroot vegetables 3 feasters

Mushrooms 1 feaster

Condiments ( vinegar, mustard, etc) 3 feasters

Sweetner (sugar, honey) 2 feasters

Fermented beverages 2 feasters

Unfermented beverages 1 feaster

Prepared food (such as olives) 1 feaster

Oil/fat 2 feasters


To deal with the feaster or two who doesn't arrive by 7 pm with their


a) Have a waiting list line where feaster pays $15.

b) Shopper is standing by at grocery store with cell phone.

c) Organizer tells shopper what is missing such as 1 root vegetable and

1 grain, ground.  Then shopper can pick up those two and have them to

teams by 8 pm.  And this is a chance to balance out what may be missing.  For

example if root vegetable feasters have brought turnips, carrots, and radishes,

shopper might get onions.


Cooks team then needs to have food ready for judging by 11 am next day in

central cooking/eating area.


After judging, around 12-12:15 pm, and then 40 feasters can eat for 1 to 1.5

hours.  Any remaining food can be divided between teams, swapping as they



5) Pound Stone Soup as in #4 with theme as in #3.


6) A 3-4 course 12 dish feast where teams make dishes from 1 place and era

with each dish having a food/herb that grows wild in north west

Pennsylvania. (Foods not to be picked at Pennsic/event), but brought from



7) A meal where one ingredient is used in every dish in a variety of ways.

Limit to 10-12 dishes.


8) As in #2 but just a meal for the judges in Chef on a Shoestring style

with $30 for ingredients. Besides the usual judging criteria, points for

using one food in multiple ways, and points for using all edible parts in

some way.  Points for choosing a theme and having a meal that all matches

the theme.


9) A year long garden-cook challenge.  Participants are allotted X amount to

buy seeds, and Y amount to buy things they can't or don't want to grow.  I

would suggest $15/$20 for X/Y.  They then prepare a feast for 3 judges and

17 feasters.  If there are multiple teams, each team could have 17 different

feasters. All food must be grown or bought within the $ limits including the

herbs and the spices.  Unlimited use of water.



gordonse at one.net



Exactly. Which has me thinking.... what if we were to have a pseudo

class type thingy without the cooking that did exactly this? What if we were

to get a bunch of us cooks together, pull random items out of a hat and then

gather teams of cooks together for a sort of brainstorm session. Would

people be interested in this kind of class? No cooking involved, just idea

generation to get you in the thinking mode that would be required for this.


I think it would be helpful to have a class with a faux siege event where

you give a siege scenario and then have one or more presenters tell how they

would have done the feast, how they would have thought about their

ingredients, and why they would have chosen what they did (have info and

solution prepared ahead of time.).  Then for the second hour, divide the

group into 3-4 groups, give them a second siege scenario and ingredient list

with amounts.  Let each group spend 20 or so minutes coming up with a menu,

perhaps with the all them using copies of the same good historic recipe book

for a focus.  Then let each group spend 2-3 minutes presenting their menu

and how they would use their ingredients.  Then ask some experienced feast

cooks or siege cooks go over the menus and talk about pluses and minuses of

each solution.  Class participants might also be provided with 3-4 solutions

that have been worked out ahead of time with written commentary for the same

siege scenario and ingredients.


I think it would also be helpful about every 4-6 weeks to have a virtual

siege feast challenge like this on the SCA-Cooks list with copies to feast

list, kingdom cooks' lists and local lists.  Let people work on the

challenge for a week or so, post their menus and then a rotating set of

experienced cooks/judges/teachers could provide commentary on what people

came up with for menus as well as what they might do themselves.  I think

it's helpful if the commentators rotate, not only for different perspectives

but also so the most knowlegeable people can participate as well.


Another thing that I find helpful is to give people a list of 5 main

ingredients and tell them to assume that they have yeast, herbs, spices,

salt, and water.  Then ask small groups to brain storm everything (or

everything within a certain frame work of place and century if they are

doing this over time and have more time to look things up) they can think of

to make from the food.  In this case, it's not like siege cookery in that a

particular ingredient gets used up, but they can use the ingredients many

times in different ways.  This really gets the creativity going, and the

groups learn a lot from thinking about the foods in all sorts of ways, and

from seeing how the groups overlap or don't in their dishes.  With a

versatile set of ingredients, it's quite possible to come up with 100-200

different dishes from 5 ingredients.  It is important to keep the group

focused on the 5 ingredients though and not creating 40 kinds of bread, each

using one of the spices, for instance.

Some easy sets of brainstorming ingredients are:

1) Whole chicken with all of its edible organs, 5 pounds of flour, 5 pounds

of onions, 2 pounds carrots, large green cabbage.

2) 3 pounds ham, 2 pounds lentils, 3 pounds rice, 5 pounds apples, 5

pounds mixed salad greens.

3) 2 pounds sausage, 3 pounds fresh cherries, 5 pounds wheat berries, 2

pounds of leeks, 5 pounds fresh peas in the shell.

4) 5 gallons of milk fresh from the cow, 2 pounds dried figs, 1 gallon apple

cider, 5 pounds flour, 5 pounds spinach.

5) One dozen eggs, 5 pounds flour, 10 pounds grapes,


Some more challenging sets of 5 ingredents are:

1) 3 pounds of a tough cut of beef, 5 pounds of turnips with greens

attached, 3 pounds of beets, 3 pounds of onions, 3 pounds of fresh plums.

2) 3 pounds portobello mushrooms, 3 pounds rice, 2 pounds hard italian

cheese(romano), 3 pounds oranges, 1 pound grape leaves in vinegar.

3) 2 pounds brie, 3 pounds blueberries, 5 pounds artichokes, 2 pounds cured

olives, 2 large loaves honey wheat bread

4) 3 pounds shelled almonds, 2 quarts honey,  5 pounds oats, 5 pounds

grapes, 3 pounds strawberries




> I like the concept of virtual siege cookery. It would make a lively exercise

> at any event or group meeting because you wouldn't have the equipment

> constraints, just the books, pen, and paper.


***And you could practice and learn the thinking and planning part of it

with less expense as well.


> Though, doing a virtual siege online might be fun, too. But the time

> constraints are different, ie. less "thinking on your feet" and more

> book and collaboration time.


***I see this as learning like you might learn how to be an EMT or a doctor

in the ER--learning from books and good teachers, then virtual patients,

then faux patients, then patients under non crisis conditions, then patients

in crisis conditions.  And at each step, you develop more and different sets

of skills.  In most things I think the best outcomes are often from people

with a great depth and breadth of knowlege, experience, and skill who can

then add that speedy thinking on their feet when needed in crisis






Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:19:38 -0800

From: Dragon <dragon at crimson-dragon.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Everything old is new again

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


Robert Evans wrote:

> is that like an A&S thing.

>   not trying to be smart, just wanta know were i could get some of

> that siege action.

>   Kluas

---------------- End original message. ---------------------


It's a competition at May Potrero War in the Barony of Calafia. I do

not know if anyone else does it but if they don't, they should.

http://www.potrerowar.org/ for more info.


The competition is structured thusly:


* Up to five teams compete, each team must have at least three people

but there is no upper limit in the rules (though there is a practical  



* At the appointed time on Friday evening, the teams are called

together to receive a box of groceries and be told the scenario for  

the event.


* The teams then have 24 hours to transform their box of goods into

an appetizing feast that fits the given scenario. After the 24 hours

are elapsed, the judging begins.


* One of the tasks is to identify all of the items in the box. Some

things are easy, others are much more difficult.


* Then there is cooking, lots of cooking. The only things that can be

added to what is in the box are water and heat. No electric

appliances are allowed though propane stoves can be used.


* And then there is documentation. If you can cite a real recipe from

period sources or use one as inspiration, so much the better.


* And when all the cooking be done, it is time to present to the

judges. Presentation in an attractive and fitting manner also counts

towards the determination of the winning team.


* The judges then get more than their fill of all of the items and

make their choices for best team, best dish and best overall use of



Eventually winners are announced and a good time was had by all.


Last year was the first time I had ever entered this competition, I

collected a few people whom I knew I could work with who also had

great culinary minds and we set out to see what we could do. Maggie

MacDonald (who also is on this list) was one of them. The other two

are not to my knowledge members of this forum. We were the smallest

team and one of two rookie teams. When all was said and done, we had

taken both best team and best dish.


We made fresh goat cheese, a braised lamb shank with dried fruit and

hazlenuts, a pottage of lentils and pot herbs, wheat flat bread,

pickled figs, three kinds of sausage, pork with mushrooms, grilled

chicken with pomegranate sauce, blancmange, a sweet date and nut

bread and a few other times. We won our best dish title with a flan

that we had steamed and topped with quince paste.


I have since gotten "the band" back together and invited Selene and

my young protege Kathleen de Galloway (12 years old and smart as a

whip) to compete again this coming May.


It's going to be fun and we shall make a full report upon the

completion of the event.





Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:28:10 -0800

From: Dragon <dragon at crimson-dragon.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Everything old is new again

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


Susan Fox wrote:

> Kathleen A Roberts wrote:

>>   Susan Fox <selene at earthlink.net> wrote:

>>>    I don't expect that

>>> Takoyaki will be on the menu unless for some reason,

>>> Octopus is in the food box, which I really don't expect.


>> now that's a visual that's gonna stick.


>> cailte

> C'mon, this is not IRON CHEF [Japanese Version], all the  

> ingredients so far have not needed killing.

> Yet.

> Uh Oh.

> Selene, sharpening my knives...

---------------- End original message. ---------------------


That would sure mess with some of the teams.


At least then I would remember to clean the fish...


Selene will never let me live this down so I might as well come clean  

on it.


OK, I must confess, we had one major faux pas in last year's

competition, but it was not enough to kill us outright as everything

else we did was pretty much spot on. We had been given a frozen fish

in our box. It was the last thing we were to cook and we were running

out of time. So I made this wonderful bed of spinach, then poached

the fish in wine with saffron and leeks and onion and then garnished

it with almonds. It was beautiful. But it was a WHOLE fish. As in, it

needed gutting. I was in such a hurry, I forgot to do it.


Now in my defense, I will say that it is extremely unusual for a

packaged frozen fish to arrive in an uncleaned state in this day and

age in the United States. So accustomed to the usual state of such

things, it didn't even occur to me that it hadn't been cleaned. Thus,

I have recruited Selene to be my fish inspector.





Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 10:28:34 -0400

From: "Gaylin Walli" <gaylinwalli at gmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] September 2008 MK Cook's Challenge

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


With the exception of August (because of Pennsic), the Middle Kingdom Cooks

list has been regularly having "challenges" among its members. These may

include things like virtual siege challenges, disaster recovery challenges

(e.g.,, the kitchen burned down the night before the event, what do you

do?), or thought provokers intended to spur discussions (e.g., other than

your chef's knife, what single tool is essential to your recreation?).

Challenges are issued (by me, based on private requests and my little ol'

evil imagination), the first of every month or the closest day thereto if

that day falls on a weekend or a holiday. I issued September's Challenge

this morning and thought that, now that I've resubscribed to SCA Cooks,

perhaps people here might be interested in seeing the challenges as well.








In honor of being back from Pennsic (and at the request of a few members),

this month's Cook's Challenge is a good, old fashioned, (virtual) siege

challenge, taken from Iasmin's Disaster Deck (minus the disaster).


The Challenge:


You are the besieged in a fortified location. Your food stores are running

low and you must figure out a way to end the siege to avoid the possibility

of starvation. Your enemy has agreed to parlay at your location and you must

appear to be able to hold out for many more months should negotiations go

poorly. Your goals are to create the greatest number of *tasty* and viable

dishes with only the ingredients listed below.


The Rules:


-- You have unlimited supplies of fat and water.

-- You must use recipes that would have been used in period and you must

list the title and general description of the recipe.

-- You must list roughly the amount of the ingredients you're using in the

recipe (and obviously your total amounts must equal those listed below).

-- You can split the amount of an ingredient as much as you need to between

recipes in order to make the dishes you need to.

-- You can assume you have a a fully functional medieval or renaissance

kitchen, not just a fire pit.

-- Your time is not limited for preparation, but you probably don't have

more than two days before the negotiations must take place.


The Ingredients:


You have exactly these ingredients to spare for you dinner and no more (with

the exception of the fat and water)....


-- one 3 lb whole roasting chicken, all parts attached (except the feathers)

-- 3 chicken eggs

-- 1 lbs of brown rice

-- 2 cups whole wheat flour

-- 5 spring onions (green onions with the stalks attached)

-- 1/2 cup dried prunes

-- 2 rather runty apples

-- 1/2 cup dried currants

-- a whole lemon, rather wrinkled

-- 1/2 lb white, hard cheese, unknown type

-- 1/2 cup olive oil

-- 1/2 cup honey

-- 1 cup goat's milk

-- 1/2 lbs fresh spinach

-- 3 large, red carrots, tops attached (in miraculously good condition)

-- 1 small bunch of thyme

-- 2 sticks of cinnamon

-- 1/4 cup whole, raw almonds


What do you cook?



Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 10:51:43 -0400

From: "Gaylin Walli" <gaylinwalli at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] September 2008 MK Cook's Challenge

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


On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 10:43 AM, S CLEMENGER <sclemenger at msn.com> wrote:

<<< Question: How many people is each dish supposed to feed?

--Maire >>>


I've intentionally left this vague. As I described on the MK Cooks list, the

goals are to create as many dishes as possible, but it assumes that you

won't be serving a dish that looks skimpy. What is your judgement on skimpy?

What looks like an acceptable amount and why? Think about these things as

you're figuring out your dishes and feel free to discuss the implications of

your choices when you send your list.


As a way of further explanation, sometimes we leave these things out to spur

conversation on the list. It allows for more discussion. :)





Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 11:13:36 -0700

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] September 2008 MK Cook's Challenge

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


<<< The Challenge:


You are the besieged in a fortified location. Your food stores are running

low and you must figure out a way to end the siege to avoid the possibility

of starvation. Your enemy has agreed to parlay at your location and you must

appear to be able to hold out for many more months should negotiations go

poorly. >>>


There is a period solution to this problem--a Russian story--although

I don't think you could manage it with your ingredients.


Dig two pits. Fill one with beer, the other with porridge. When the

envoy from the besiegers comes, mention that you have no problem with

food and drink, since you have a porridge well and a beer well. When

he expresses curiosity, show them to him, give him a taste from each.


Might have been kvass, rather than beer--a while since I read the story.






Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 16:14:12 -0700

From: Deborah Hammons <mistressaldyth at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] back from war - siege cooking

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


My way more than 2 cents:

I have been fortunate to be the Outlands judge for all 4 years.  Each year

has been a learning experience for the cooking teams, the judges, and the

period encampment.  I still cringe at the title of Siege cooking, rather

than Combat cooking for the Estrella competition.  I feel strongly in a

siege situation you are intimately familiar with your larder and should not

have to identify the ingredients you are given.  In a combat cooking

situation (Iron Chef) it is more important to do the identifying.


The judging forms have changed every year.  This year they used the one from

the Southern Crusades.


The obstacles:


Documentation is not required, but the teams are graded lower if it is not



Heavy consideration is given to presentation, ambiance, and sanitation.

Hand washing even if it was not demonstrated to be a practice in the time

and place.  Forks or no forks.


I am going to try and send a better judging form for them to use next year.

I think the teams would benefit from seeing those forms before the

competition so they know just what they need to accomplish in each area.  It

has to be better than going from Wow to Edible.  And they really do need to

decide if they want a documentable re creation of food, or seat of the pants





And Cailte, if you have that bread recipe with the buckwheat groats in it.

Pretty Please?


On Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 3:24 PM, Susan Fox <selene at earthlink.net> wrote:

<<< Following more than one thread here.  Congratulations to the victors of

Siege Cookery!  I have judged it before and hoo doggies, that is a LOT of

work and discussion to decide amongst even two complete presentations.

Three were nearly impossible, and I had to say I was relived that no other

kingdoms entered.  [We did come up with an Inter-Kingdom Stupid Peer

Trick... but that's another story.] >>>



Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2010 11:06:04 -0600

From: "Kathleen A Roberts" <karobert at unm.edu>

To: SCA-Cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Food type results from Grand Outlandish


This past weekend went pretty well for food type things at

Grand Outlandlish.  The weather was pretty agreeable, and

although the traditional dusty, it was a nice event.  Here

is what I participated in this weekend.







That was the name of our team... the Freakin'

Wheatberries... from an ingredient none of us had ever

used, eaten or even seen before.  Whenever we would go

over what we had done and needed to do, the wheatberries

very quickly became the F)*&#$ wheatberries.  We cleaned

it up for the competition. ;)


It was a very odd mix of foods and style, but was fun and

challenging.  We got a box of "staples" and got to go to

the "market" for five other items, none of them replicated

at the market or in the box.  You could use one item from

your camp.  The theme for Outlandish was the Portugese in

Japan, so we had cross cultural ingredients.  Fortunately,

items were labeled in the box and market.


In the box:  flour, salt, pepper, eggs, brown rice,

wheatberries, fresh herbs (chives, oregano, marjoram,

rosemary and sage), cane vinegar, rice vinegar, olive oil,

butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, chicken (cut up already),

salt pork, potatoes, onions, apples, cone sugar, rice

noodles, won ton wrappers, garlic and a bit of feta



From the market I got:  cubed lamb, eggplant and string

beans (didn't know the beans were in there til I opened

the bag all the way), cinnamon, cherries and leeks.


From camp:  whiskey (my team was daytripping, and connor

and i were eating sammies and out of cans, so not much to

work with there).


Later that day:  bok choy (one team did not show, so the

folks presenting the competition came around (about two

hours before judging) and we had to take one thing from

the box, either replicating what you had or something



Schitzophrenic, no?


My team (Lord Rosario, Lord Tehran and myself) made a

little taste of East Meets West.  We made:  Sliced Teryaki

Chicken Breast over Won Ton Noodles dressed with rice

vinegar, soy and chive flowers --- Stir fried Chicken w/

string beans and bok choy over Fried Rice --- Stir Fried

Eggplant with Cubed Salt Pork over Rice Noodles --- Lamb

and Leek Stew with Potatoes and Herbs (all the herbs) ---

Flat Bread --- Carmelized Onions and Apples --- Apples and

Cherries w/ Whiskey Butter Sauce and (%*&#%^ at )

Wheatberries --- Sweet Pan-Fried Pastry with Feta Cinnamon



Yes, Feta and Cinnamon Spread.  We had no idea what to do

with feta (less than 1/4 cup) and flashing on an old

"Chopped" episode where someone mixed goat cheese and a

sweetener, I decided to mix the feta, cone sugar and

cinnamon for a dessert spread.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  A

little savory, a little sweet, savory, sweet... really



I had lamb and eggplant, and the first thing I did was

seperate them, as I thought the Greek way too obvious.

And I always loved the Sechzuan eggplant/minced pork dish

in one of my cookbooks.  People who hate eggplant liked



We only had two burners, and we still finished a half hour



All in all, lots of fun.  Only three points seperated

first and second place, and three points second from

third.  It was the first experience for the number two



Now on to siege cooking at Battlemoor during July 4

weekend.  I am hosting this time, assisted by fellow

wheatberry Lord Tehran.





Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2010 10:02:38 -0600

From: "Kathleen A Roberts" <karobert at unm.edu>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Siege Cooking at Battlemoor


On Fri, 4 Jun 2010 02:36:49 -0500

Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> wrote:

<<< Hasn't the emphasis for all these siege cooking contests

always been on fun and food? How is having an emphasis on

fun and food this year any different from in the past? >>>


well, some of the competitions i have been involved with

were heavy on the ambiance in your camp for the judges,

and very secretive of ingredients and theme.  this is

fine, but sometimes hauling all your cookbooks, pots and

pans, candlesticks, rugs, pillows, good feast gear was

frustrating.  i don't know about you guys, but i am seeing

fewer locals taking trailers to war, and packing as good

as they can in the old pickup.  excess load = excess fuel.

so, the idea is that you have some idea what you are

getting into, and can pack accordingly.  the central

judging area allows audience participation AND the teams

don't have to set up an eating area in their camp.


<<< Have all the teams generally been able to work past

'surprise' ingredients into their presentations? Is it a

requirement that they do so? or does it just gain you

additional points? >>>


it was all a surprise in my experience.  theme and

ingredients.  you always need to use everything given you,

no matter how little, to get full points for use of

ingredients.  but if you know ahead of time the basket

will contain ... oh, let's say... poulty, meat with bone,

root veggies, dried fruit, lentils, sweet spices, dried

herbs, berries...  then you can start thinking of recipes

and methods of cooking, and leave more of the day for the

actual prepping and cooking.  HOWEVER, that doesn't mean

you won't get some salt pork, walnuts and cone sugar that

morning along with what you already know.  those will need

to be incorporated as well.


the coordinators of battlemoor wanted to focus on

hospitality and fun.  therefore, i thought it might be

interesting to see how a siege cooking contest would work

if everything wasn't such a huge secret and some of the

hassle was gone.


BTW... i only have one spot available.  i got three hits

yesterday alone.





Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2010 10:30:48 -0600

From: "Kathleen A Roberts" <karobert at unm.edu>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Siege Cooking at Battlemoor


Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com> wrote:

<<< Actually on Iron Chef, the cooks have long been given a

list of possible ingredients. It's not a total surprise. >>>


true.  and part of the idea came from Mistress Aldyth,

defining "combat cooking" when you don't know what you

have, and "siege cooking" where you know just what you

have in your pantry since the siege began.





Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 10:05:52 -0700 (PDT)

From: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] siege cooking ingredient ideas sought


The format that I've seen Fiamma using lately and I've enjoyed the most out of all my years of playing with siege cooking is giving them a specific historical recipe, and letting them pick the ingredients needed (which you would have brought) and give them a couple of hours to cook it and bring it back. You can have two levels of difficulty, e.g. a more complex main dish and a sauce, and have the advanced entrants cook either the more complex, or both. I've also enjoyed that all the entrants come back with their entries and entry forms to be judged all together so they all get a chance to see & taste how others interpreted the same recipe, and get one vote for each category.


I think this helps teach them more about historical cooking, demistifies the redaction process and makes it much easier from a judging standpoint.  


So the long answer to a short question is that I love picking a recipe and letting that determine the needed ingredients. :)




--- On Fri, 6/25/10, Honour Horne-Jaruk <jarukcomp at yahoo.com> wrote:

<<< Once again, I prepare for Maison

Rive's annual Pennsic siege cooking contest. This year, in

addition to the usual request for judges and participants,

I've finally realized I need to pick your collective brains...


Where-and when-ever your

persona/specialty/cookbook collection is from, what would

you give out for the ten items provided in a siege cooking

ingredient bag? (The contestants provide salt and herbs/spices.)

I've always included a protein, a fat, a starch, a sweet, a

sour, a vegetable and a fruit. The rest can get pretty whimsical.


Another version: the available

foods would be quite different for a battlefield meal, since

the scouts can buy (or steal) fresh items. What would you

include in that bag?


(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.

Alizaundre de Brebeuf, C.O.L. S.C.A.- AKA Una the

wisewoman, or That Pict >>>



From: Tapp <donyllc at STJOELIVE.COM>

Date: August 15, 2010 8:25:38 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: [CALONTIR] answer to siege cooking questions


<<< Would any one knowledgable with this competition be able to enlighten me? What are the rules? Food-is it given or just a list any you must provide? Cost, who bears that? Was it divisioned by Kingdom to produce the champions and then head to head competition from there? Does it resemble the "Choppered" series on food.network? Because you have 24 hours to figure things out, is it be from a cook book or is it from your best memory recipe?


Severin >>>


I think I can answer all of those questions:

The Siege Cooking Competition was sponsored by a Cooking Laurel from the East and she and a few of her friends acted as judges.

She provided the ingredients which we picked up each evening at 5:00 p.m. and then had 24 hours to prepare a meal based on the ingredients provided.  We could only add to the ingredients water, a period herb or spice, nothing else.  Any unused portions of the ingredients were to be returned.

The judging was based on the following criteria:

1.     Historical Accuracy

2.     Were the dishes from the correct Country of Origin based on ingredients provided

3.     Complexity of Dishes presented

4.     How well did you use the ingredients given and how much waste did you have

5.     Appearance

6.     Taste

7.     Overall Presentation

I hadn't planned to do this and entered the competition on a whim (so glad I brought a small stove and that there was a general store on sight where I could purchase some pans) There were 6 participants in total and we were broken up into two groups.  The winners of each group then went head to head in a Champion Siege Battle.  I was the winner for the second group and then also won the champion battle.

I can tell you that the judges were hard and they dissected each element.  The ingredients for the second siege I had Chicken, Pork Tenderloin, 1 small box grapes, 2 packages of peas,1 stick butter, Manchego Cheese, Scallions, 1 small box Strawberries, a single plantain, and Broccoli Rob.

I presented:  A beverage made from reducing the grapes, adding mint, water and sugar served over ice, Pea soup which I made by making a chicken stock from the fat of the chicken and adding herbs and some rendered fat from the pork tenderloin, a strawberry and mint compote, served with fresh grapes, whole strawberries and a few slices of the Manchego Cheese, the Pork Tenderloin I stuffed with herbs and the Manchego cheese and scallions then pan-fried, the chicken was also fried and then served with a sauce made from a grape reduction, the broccoli rob was parboiled and then fried with butter and herbs, the plantain was sliced and fried in butter with spices.  My waste was little and I returned to her: 1 bag of peas, 1/4 stick of butter, several strawberries, 1 bunch of grapes, 1/2 of the scallions she gave me.  

Country was Spain.


<the end>

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