12th-N-Oertha-art - 7/7/00
Oertha 12th Night Feast, Jan 2000. Doing a feast at an event site without a Kitchen by Mistress Cedrin Etainnighean, OL.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2000 22:32:21 -0900
From: Kerri Canepa <kerric at pobox.alaska.net>
Subject: SC - 12th Night postmortem - part the first
Well, it's over and I'm still standing. Just barely, mind you.
The short report is this; the food was a hit but the event needed more direction
in the form of a schtickmeister.
The more elaborate report; we ended up with 19 dishes served (20 were made but
one of them got lost in the shuffle) in three courses with hypocras, wafers,
quince jellies, and candied lemon peels to close. Here follows the menu:
12th Night Feast
Egurdouce of Fish
Pies of Paris
A Disshe of Skirrets
Fish fresh boiled
Wardonys in Syrup
Winter Squash Tart
Pork roast with 3 sauces (2 actually since one was ditched because of time
A Disshe of Rape (this wasn't served because it got lost)
A Disshe of Beterotes
Candied lemon peel
Here's my comments which might seem a bit out of context if you weren't there.
Even though I knew I was getting us into a big pile of potential problems, we
held the feast at a site with no kitchen. This was due, in part, to the
difficulty in finding a site on the weekend we wanted and this site was
available and reasonably priced. Not having a kitchen on site can be both a
blessing and a curse. A blessing in that all cooking will be done on your own
equipment, in your home where you know what to expect. A curse in that you have
to cook off site, transport it, and figure out a way to keep it warm or cool.
However, this site had a second floor loft area which made a terrific food set
up area. There were plenty of tables available plus 3 electrical outlets and a
couple of large garbage cans. Also windows on two sides and open on one side
overlooking the lower area. We brought in a whole slew of heating equipment,
some borrowed, some rented, to the tune of 3 crockpots, an electric frying pan,
an electric roaster, a chafing tray which held 3 8 qt trays, one 8 qt chafing
pan, 1 small chafing dish, a warming tray, and a Coleman two burner stove.
Needless to say, we didn't have a problem with cold food. All food was made off
site although wafers were made using a hand held pizzelle maker over the Coleman
stove which came out rather well.
I have to say that if money is not an object (and in this case, it really
wasn't, more on that later), checking into what facilities and equipment can be
available to you through rental companies is something to look into. The barony
we live in owns a gazillion matching plates of two sizes, plus a mess of coffee
cups and saucers and miscellanious bits and pieces. We ended up buying a bunch
of bowls since there weren't any, but we rented forks and spoons. We also rented
the 8 qt chafing dish and the large chafing tray, a large insulated food
transport box, and 2 standing brass colored candelabras which held 7 candles
each. And we used everything we rented. It beat the heck out of trying to buy
those things and then trying to figure out where to keep them.
The original idea was to have a staging area, a dresser, at the bottom of the
stairs to the loft. There was a table set up in a convenient place which didn't
effect movement back and forth but we discovered it was right under a very
breezy vent which could not be closed. So we brought all food directly from the
loft to the diners. Without overhead lights, the stairs were a bit of a
challenge, but after one server announced that it was seven stairs to the
landing, then ten stairs to the bottom, everyone got into the swing of it. We
also had 4 teenage young ladies who served with more enthusiasm than I've had in
many a year; I don't think the stairs where much of a problem for them at all.
The food, overall, was well received. Since I wasn't able to spend time keeping
an eye on the diners, my husband reported that most of what food came back, was
after the first course. He also said that foods with a high "goo" factor were
the ones he saw the most of. We did serve perre which is a green pea mush and
couple of other mushy things but for the most part, the diners ate most of it.
The servers, on the other hand, tried everything and then asked for more. The
word "awesome" was used more than once. They were the ones who took home the
extra tarts, fish, and chicken lombard (actually, there were 3 packs of 4
chicken lombards; I kept one, our senior ranking server, a knight, Viscount kind
of guy, got one, and the premere pair o' cooks, Bjarni and Annora, got a pack).
A worthwhile note: The reconstruction of armored turnips that we did (using
Gruyere cheese and a powder douce recipe we now can't find anywhere) was a hit.
In fact, many people had no idea that they were eating turnips at all. Ha HA!
The secret, peel, cut up and cook the turnips for about ten minutes in boiling
water, then throw out the water. Turnips lose a lot of their bitterness that
As to the money is no object thing I mentioned earlier, that's not technically
true. However, after some discussion between myself and my apprentice Claire, we
decided that we'd provide the feast at no cost and just ask for a site fee.
Especially since 12th Night is the weekend before Winter Coronet, traditionally
a rather expensive event, and we were pretty sure nobody could afford two spendy
events in a row. This also gave us a lot of leeway as to what we were willing to
Note to self: Fish may have been inexpensive to medieval people, but it isn't in
these parts these days. We easily spent the most money on fish over any other
item or ingredient. However, the diners (and especially the servers) enjoyed the
three different fish dishes that were offered. Of the three, Egurdouce of Fish
was the most popular (fried fish with a fruit sauce), followed by the Sauce Vert
we prepared for Fish Fresh Boiled. In the future, I'd buy less in amounts but
still keep fish on the menu.
Except for the first course coming out, there wasn't a lot of time between
courses. We were on a limited time schedule; we had rented the site from 11:30 a
to 6:30 p so we had to keep things moving. I'm happy to report that while it
took us longer to set up than I'd wanted (no real surprise) we were out of there
with the place spotless a little before 6:30p. A big round of thank yous to all
the folks that helped clean up, took home extra food, or acted as sherpas. What
Cedrin Etainnighean, OL