Good-Fd-Feast-art - 3/30/98
Description of the Good Food Feast given in the Barony of Politarchoplis in the Principality of Lochac, October 26, 1997. This was an "above the salt" event with a high ratio of servers to guests.
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
seperate 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
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 orignator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris at motorola.com stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 01:48:57 +1100
From: charles at macquarie.matra.com.au
Subject: SC - Good Food Feast or doing an over the top feast at $50 per head.
As previously mentioned and requested, below is the menu and introductory for the Good Food Feast. I have added a bunch of comments immediately after to try and set the scene. Spelling mistakes within this document are just there to test your powers of observation (this mailer has no spell checker).
The feast was run in the Barony of Politarchoplis on the 25 of October and was served to 50 guests by 20 servers and 9 kitchen staff. The event was created by the Politarchopolis Assault Catering Corps. Politarchoplis's motto is "Eat, eat you're all too thin". The Politarchopolis Assault Catering Corps is a slightly varying group, who creat events to show the motto is appropiate. People eating lunch before a PACC "light supper" have required medical treatment.
We have been discussing this feast for about 3 years. The idea was part of a household discussion on what we could you provide as a feast if there were no or few financial restrictions.
We decided to provide a fully catered (drinks included) feast that was a replica of an (wealthy) italian nobleman's dinner C 1440 to 1500. We wanted the food to be the best ever offered to a feast in Lochac with a suitable atmosphere to match. We also wanted to push back the boundries of what was concidered possible to provide in a feast. The feedback we have received suggests that we can be proud of our efforts.
Guests paid $50AUD per head, Servers paid $8. Kitchen staff paid $0.
The Kitchen staff started at 9am, the servers at 3:30pm for "rehearsals" and their dinner and the guests arrived at 6pm for a 6:30 start. We started at 6:45pm and finished on sheduled time. the last people left the site at 3am.
The servers had all agreed to just be "servers" for the night. There would be no familarity with the guests. One of their main functions was to make the guests feel like they were an invited noble guest. They were great! There was some very interesting discussion on the Lochac list about how uncomfortable one guest was, being served by people he knew and not being able to help. After being assured that the servers were having fun too, he felt better. The formality and structure of the event was quite different to previous feasts. I hadn't thought what an impression finding out that someone was going to wash your dishes, not once but three times, over the evening while the guest relaxed and was entertained, could make on our guests. It was especially strong on the guests who were the "I need to help" types! As is the above mentioned guest. However most of the guests said that they could get used to blinking and finding a server was beside them offering drinks, food, drinks, help, drinks, food, or more food.
Not mentioned below in the menu, is that we also provided with the food, red and white wines, ales and cordials (cordials are sweet non-alcoholic concentrates in Australia). The wines were from 2 of the better wineries in Australia and the beer was "Irish Red", a light flavoured dark beer, brewed in a local boutique brewery. The cordials were made by a local Politarchoplian, served were lemon, raspberry and rose.
The hall we used can easily seat 200 with some room left for dancing. We split the hall in two, the front half was used as the feasting area and the back portion was the relaxing, entertainmant and dancing area.
The feasting area was laid out in 4 corners of a square with gaps between each corner. Think of a square and rub out the middle of each side. The guests were seated on the outside of the corners (only on one side of the tables) so thay were all looking into the centre. The tables were laid with white cotton cloths with a red damask table runner down the middle. Candles were provided using 2" diameter short candles on black metal 6"tall holders placed along the inside edge of the table. Water was available on the tables in white jugs with a red griffin on the side. The centre area was used as a display position for subtlies.
The hall divider was 10' high and 50' wide, draped vertically in alternate red and white lengths of material with a banner of the opposite color placed over the top to provide a further contrast. The centre of the divider was pulled back on each side like a tied back curtain to provide a door to the entertainment area.
Behind the divider were the drinks servery and the musicians (Politarchoplian musicians guild) who played background music all night. A second consort (Concordia Mirabilis) played entertainment pieces and the dance music between courses.
Between each course the guest were invited to watch and participate in entertainments in the back area. While they were absent the tables were cleaned and all of the guests dishes were washed, dried and their places relaid ready for the next course.
The feast started with each guest being met at the entrance to the building by the servers dressed in red and white tabards who took their feasting baskets and guided them to their place as the guest was announced by name to the hall. The servers laid the guests place and offered them a drink. The feast had begun.
All food was presented by a procession of servers who then split off to serve their appointed tables. Each table (a corner, seating 13 guests) had four servers, a drinks butler, two food servers and a supervisor. All food was served on matching bowls and platters.
Some other items not mentioned in the menu were, the serving of a Bayler, (sp?) a large sea snail which many guests tried to our collective surprise (the taste was very much like abalone), the displaying of an intricate colored toffee and sweet pastry stained glass window of a knight in armor which was immediately smashed and served to the guests, the blind soothsayer who came and read the entrails of the sucking pig before carving and many other little extras to keep the guests constantly amused and hopefully amazed.
We were very happy with the result of our labours but the feast was more difficult and more work to run than feeding 250 as a principality event. Oh yes, we also ran on time :)
Charles (of the Park) not the other (original) Charles on the list.
The Good Food Feast
A feast of three courses with divers dishes
Course the First
A platter of sausages forcemeats and meat puddings
Cuttlefish croquettes Isica De Lolligine
Crabmeat Croquettes Isicia de Scillis De Cammaris Amplis
to accompany above - Mayonaise with mild herbs?
White Sausage Isicia De Cerebellis
to accompany the above a Green Sauce
Dumpling of Pheasant Isica Plena
Chicken Forcemeat Isicia De Pullo
Braised beef ribs
Ember day tarts
Pears poached in wine with custard
A dance display by Master Delbert
Dancing for all, led by Master Delbert
Refresher - flavoured ice
Course the Second
Whole baked stuffed fish (We served a 10lb whole fresh snapper)
Smoked trout and salmon (whole smoked fish were served to each table)
with the above a green sauce
Stuffed trout in pastry
with the above Sorrel and bitter orange sauce
Seasoned stuffed roasted boned quail
the above joined with strawberry sauce
Sweet spinach tart
Music by Concordia Mirabilis.
Nicodemus - A reading of poetry.
Dance display by Master Delbert
Course the Third
Whole Roast Suckling Pig stuffed with fruits and nuts
sauces to accompy the pig will include; boartail
gravy, camaline, gallintine, yellow pepper, boiled garlic
and sauce Robare. (Served after a soothsayer read the entrails. and
Sir Hugh the Little carved.)
Rissoles closed and fried
Rosemary trees with snow, surrounded with comfits and sweetmeats.
Biscuits and good sweet strong wine
The Servers menu consisted of:
Pea and ham soup
Rissoles closed and fried
and the pickings from the guests tables
Introduction given to the guests:
The Good Food Feast
A Politarchopolis Assault Catering Corps production.
Welcome to the Good Food Feast. We hope you will be delighted
by small efforts to produce a feast to remember. The feast is
served in three courses of five to nine dishes. There will be
breaks between each course for dancing and entertainments .
The feast will start at 6:30pm and finish by 11:30pm. A word
of advice, we highly advise that you eat lightly through the
dishes as we have saved some of the best for last.
The hall is divided into half. The rear half is where you will
eat and the stage portion is where the dancing and
entertainment displays will occur. During the breaks between
courses we would ask all to move to the entertainment section.
This will give us the opportunity to tidy the feasting section
and to wash your dishes ready for the next course.
The damask napkin laid at your place is yours to take home as
a keepsake of the feast.
Thanks due and gratefully given to:
All the servers who volunteered to take a lesser place to
make this night special for the guests.
The musicians for their sweet sounds.
Master Delbert for the dancing displays.
Meloria de Curci and Drake Morgan for cordials, beer and ingredients
William for letting us take his parents.
John Dai and Adam the Renegade for sharing their bathtub with a pig
Julianna Richelot for sewing and cooking.
Baroness Politarchopolis for sewing.
Filippa Ginevra Francesca di Lucignano for cooking above and beyond the
call of duty, and
Baron and Baroness Politarchopolis for letting us do this feast.
An eternal debt of gratitude to the Corps who do the work to make my silly daydreams become reality, especially to Aelfthrythe who created most of the food you eat tonight.
The Politarchopolis Assault Catering Corps (this time) consists of:
Charles of the Park
Aelfthrythe of Saxony
Adelin of the Welsh
Dickon Shorth and
Francois Henri Guyon
Adam the Renegade
Eat, eat, you're all too thin.
Charles Dean charles at macquarie.matra.com.au
Matra Internetworks - Internet service providers.
Ph (06) 251 6730 Fax (06) 253 4840
PO BOX 714, Jamison Centre, ACT 2614 AUSTRALIA
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 19:05:32 +1100
To: "Mark Harris" <mark_harris at risc.sps.mot.com>
From: Meliora & Drake <meliora at macquarie.matra.com.au>
Subject: Re: SC - Good Food Feast or
The Good Food Feast was held on 25 October 1997. As it was also the day
before my (and my husband's) 1st wedding anniversary (we had an SCA wedding)
so it was a pretty special event for me personally, and unfortunately I
can't remember all of the details.
At the beginning, myself, Drake (my husband) and my mother were the first
"guests" to arrive. We had arranged for ourselves and our wedding party to
be on the same table. I felt rather conspicuous as all of these servers
(who are normally my equals) lined up and formed an honor guard as we
entered the hall. Our names were announced to hall, we were led to our
places and our feasting basket taken from us and our places et for us, we
were then offered drinks. Drake (my husband) was helping organize the beer
so he was absent, Mum and I talked in whispers and were really embarrassed
for a while simply cause I wasn't sure how to act. A few more early
attendees showed up and were escorted to tier places at the other tables. we
looked at each other but it was at least five minutes before any of us got
up to go and talk to people on the other tables because we weren't sure
whether we should or not. As the hall filled the embarrassed feeling lessened .
On each table were matching waterjugs and candlesticks which PACC then
donated to the Baronial Chandlery/Hospitlery/Gold Key.
The head waiter came to entrance of the hall and announced first course (not
the R word) was to be served. He then announced each dish in turn. The
servers marched into the center of the room and then peeled off towards the
tables. There were four sets of tables (as Charles has already described)
and each table was served at the same time as the others. There were no
royalty and no high table.
The end of the first course was announced. We were shepherded into the
other section of the hall where we watched a dance demo by a Dance Master
and his apprentice. As it was a rather long dance I wandered to the "wrong"
side of the curtain and saw the washing up crews. It was absolutely
incredible that someone else was doing our washing up. They washed up after
each course AND once more before we went home.
This concept was repeated for the next two courses. It was very regimental
with everything being announced, but it made sure that everything happened
on time. Some of the other between-course entertainment included some
all-in dancing, a poetry reading and performance by our musicians, The
poetry reading was particularly memorable, because of the delivery. He
spoke the words of a couple of famous sonnets (can't remember the names of
the sonnets unfortunately) and he walked up to a different woman for each
couplet and look deep into her eyes as he spoke them. A masterful performance.
I know I have not described the food, but I am trying to give you the
ambiance of the event. It was a mixture of embarrassment (how am I supposed
to act) flattery (wow, they do this for us) coddled (didn't have to lift a
finger, was told exactly what was going on and where I was supposed to
be) and great food.
My mother has Coeliac's disease and so had a number of dietary requirements.
I spoke to the PACC months before the event and they took this into account
and where feasible, *slightly* changed the food so she could eat it. None
of the recipes were substantially changed and their were still a few she
could not eat. But this was the same for ALL people there with eating
disorders. I am grateful that PACC made the changes they made.
Note: Coeliac's cannot ingest gluten. That means no wheat flour, oats, rye,
barley etc. I was informed that some of the dishes would be thickened with
cornflour or arrowroot instead of wheatflour so that Mum could eat them.
I think that what I enjoyed most about this event was the relaxed
atmosphere. It sounds strange but as there were no courts and everything was
planned, there were no last minute surprises or food being held up due to
other things happening.
I was informed later that the kitchen was NOT a well of serenity, but this
was certainly kept from the paying guests.
Foodwise, paying guest was the best place possible. We got the best food.
I heard that the servers got the have any leftovers, but for many of the
dishes there WERE no leftovers. We REALLY pigged-out.
I think learning-wise, being on the autocratting team would have been best
as I could have learnt so much, and I have been informed that PACC members
did have a ball creating the event.
Next time I would still be a guest (can't pass up on that food) or possibly
try to grovel my way into helping the kitchen staff. I would also be less
embarrassed and possibly play-up the "I am a noble, you are my server" snob
that some people did. From what I witnessed all of this was done in good
fun and jest and no-one took offense (at least not in what I witnessed).
My favorite dish has to be the quail. Partnering it with the strewberry
sauce was inspired !!! The spinach tarts were also especially memorable.
They were sweet and people who would never eat spinach were seen devouring them.
All in all a memorable event that I would happily dish out $50 Australian,
to attend again.
Date: 3 FEB 98 14:48:15 AES
From: RMcGrath at dca.gov.au
Subject: Re: SC - Fw: [Mid] Feasts: Serving and Carving
Yes, I know I'm late in replying, but not only do I have much paper on my
desk, I also have *piles* of virtual paper too!
The Good Food Feast which was held in Politarchopolis, Lochac, in October
last year, was a wonderful example of how pomp and ceremony can add to the
atmosphere of a feast. In this case, there were only 50 honoured guests,
who sat at four tables, and each table was attended by at least 3 servers.
There was also a butler and assistants to serve drinks. A truly incredible
team in the kitchen provided the gentles with magnificent dishes, each of
which was announced before being brought before the feasters by *trained*
Yes, I was a server, and yes, we were told *exactly* what to do, where to
place items, how to serve, etc. before the honoured guests arrived. And it
added greatly to the atmosphere.
The Politarchopolis Assault Catering Corps outdid themselves in providing
not only fantastic period fare (and they could show the recipes :-), but
also provided subtleties, and, the piece de resistance, a suckling pig
which was carved in front of the guests.
The subtleties included a ginger bread stained glass window, and individual
pinetrees (OK, they were approx. 30 cm high) complete with snow (uncooked