Broccoli-fst-art - 3/24/05
Feast Report for The Feast of St. Dorinda of the Broccoli. Put on by Edouard Halidai (Doc) and the Barony of Flaming Gryphon on January 8, 2005.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 19:45:02 -0500
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Feast Report The Feast of St. Dorinda of the
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
I just have to share this feast report from last weekend.
It's Doc's latest feast.
I calculated that 75 people at $5 per person ended up with
35 pounds of pork,
40 pounds of chicken
25 pounds of venison
plus the various vegies, cheeses, etc.
I thought that it reads and sounds like an old fashioned Middle Kingdom
feast from twenty five years ago.
Picture of the entremet is at
menu etc at
Johnnae llyn Lewis
Feast Report - Flaming Gryphon Baronial Twelfth Night
January 8, 2005
Hoo boy! Where to begin?
I had been given an estimate of 80 to 100 people at $5 per person, and
a proposed theme of "The Feast of St. Dorinda of the Broccoli". The
good people of Havenholde then said, "We trust you. Do whatever you
want." Silly people! The final head count was around 75.
The first idea was the centerpieces. I suggested to my able assistant
(Eoin Drake) to spray-paint broccoli gold, put it on a spike/nail like
a candle, and garnish it with something cheap and christmassy from a
post-holiday sale. He came through on this with spectacular results -
they really looked cool.
The second thought was that I'd save some money by baking the bread for
the feast. This worked out well enough (baking ahead of time and
freezing) except that I ran short of freezer space (just picked up half
a cow a couple of weeks before which took up almost all of the big
freezer). I might start baking now for the next event, whenever it may
There were a couple of minor mishaps in the kitchen that had an effect
on what was served, but on the whole it all worked out well
enough. I had one full-time assistant in the kitchen (Eoin), another
for much of the day (my mistress, Nonna), and a few people stopped in
to help chop from time to time. Eoin and Nonna worked their butts off
and I'm much indebted to them both.
On the table to start was bread, strawberry preserves, brie, and
boursin. I also donated some rose petal jelly for the head table. I'd
only planned on the brie but lucked into a sale on the boursin - Jungle
Jim's had bought too much and it had reached its sale date, so 12
little wheels of boursin cost me $5. Woohoo! There *is* some benefit
to shopping at the last minute. ;-)
The first course consisted of Cormary (roast pork w/wine sauce), Cole
Flowers (cauliflower and broccoli with butter, currants, and a dash of
vinegar), and vermicelli (with butter, saffron, and parmesan). This
all went pretty much as planned. I used 35 pounds of pork, 8 heads of
cauliflower, 8 heads of broccoli, and 10 pounds of vermicelli.
It was just as we were plating the first course that we discovered that
what we thought was a refrigerator was actually a *very* efficient
freezer ("What do you mean the fridge is at -4 degrees?!?"). The apple
juice (along with some of the other foods) had frozen, and a glass
bottle of grape juice exploded. This kind of threw things into a
The second course was chicken, cold sage sauce, and honeyed carrots.
The only real trick with this course is that the sauce is not cooked
and is served at room temperature. This means that in order to keep it
safe it really needs to be made at the last minute. Not difficult, but
it's stressful to be grinding, mixing, and seasoning just before it
goes out. 40 pounds of chicken, 6 bunches of parsley, 10 bags of
The Entrement - Le Chou Eclatant - was a large paper mache cabbage made
by my very talented lady wife. The mechanism that worked so well in
testing (a balloon inside a 4" diameter tube, with a balloon pump)
failed on the first go round, so I had the crew carry it back into the
kitchen, reset the silly thing, and we brought it out again. I was
told that the failure and repetition actually made it all somewhat
funnier. The second time it worked - sort of. Instead of shooting out
broccoli pieces in a 4 foot radius, one lone floret popped out, which I
then presented to St. Dorinda.
The third course was venison (with wine sauce) and frumenty.
Unfortunately between the freezer thing and the preparation of a
recalcitrant cabbage, the frumenty was neglected at a crucial moment
and took on an unpleasant smoky aspect (read: burned). Rather than
scramble and set other things behind, I chose to scrap it (I figured no
one would really mind that much - a starch filler at the end of a
meat-heavy feast). Here I used 25 pounds of venison.
The dessert course was two kinds of candied nuts, pottage of rice, and
"dragues vertes" (a.k.a. candied broccoli). The nuts were done before
lunchtime and were perfect. I didn't have the chance to make the
sauteed almond garnish I would have liked for the pottage (but it's
good without), and the candied broccoli idea was scrapped at the same
time the frumenty charred (since I figured [and hoped] that no one
would eat candied broccoli, I thought it wasn't too much of a loss).
Lessons Learned (in no particular order):
1. Bottles are fantastic for serving beverages. They don't take up
much space on the table, they look period, and they're actually cheaper
than decent pitchers ($10 for a case of 12). Just be sure to buy twice
as many as you think you'll need so they can be refilled more easily.
2. Have a designated person to handle beverages - mixing, refilling,
etc... - and have them do *nothing* else during feast.
3. Have sufficient kitchen crew lined up ahead of time, and work out a
division of labor ahead of time. I only realized just how many more
people I could have used after the fact.
4. A supportive spouse is of incalculable value (my lady took our 5
year old to the hospital mid feast so he could have his chin stitched
5. Have a designated person in charge of the feast hall - to count
tables and wrangle servers. They can also help to plate the food, but
shouldn't do much else.
6. Take time to get familiar with the kitchen equipment - so you don't
confuse a freezer for a fridge.
7. Bring lots of towels and dishrags (I meant to this time, but
8. Schedule things out (e.g. cooking times and oven space) ahead of
time. This is something I'm getting a *lot* better at, but still need
to work on.
9. Division of labor is a really good thing. Don't try to do
I'm sure there's more, but I'm still not fully recovered yet.
Many thanks to those who helped: Eoin Drake, Mistress Nonna, the other
Ian (who can crawl with amazing speed), Elspeth, Theo, and several
others who helped chop veggies, mix beverages, serve, and wash up (I'm
very very sorry that I don't remember all the names, but you know who
Edouard Halidai (Daniel Myers)
Pasciunt, mugiunt, confidiunt.
From: Daniel Myers <edouard at medievalcookery.com>
http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/cormarye.html">Cormarye (marinated, roast pork)
http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/diuers.html">A Dysshe of Cole Flowers
Chicken w/ http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/sage.html">Sage Sauce
Honey Glazed Root Vegetables
http://www.medievalcookery.com/images/chou.jpg">Chou clatant (exploding cabbage)
http://www.medievalcookery.com/recipes/ryspot.html">Potage of Rys
Non-alcoholic wine (a.k.a grape juice)