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Sumits-Wn-Inv-art - 2/7/01


This is a series of messages about the feast at an SCA event known as The Feast of St. Ambrose, also known as Eleventh Night or Summits Winter Investiture. It was held on December 11th, AS XXXIV/ 1999 CE.


NOTE: See also the files: kitchen-clean-msg, headcooks-msg, Fst-Menus-art, fst-disasters-msg, feast-serving-msg, cooks-clothng-msg, p-menus-msg.





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



This is a series of messages about the feast at an SCA event known as

The Feast of St. Ambrose, also known as Eleventh Night or Summits Winter Investiture. It was held on December 11th, AS XXXIV/ 1999 CE.


The exact site was Oakland Elementary School, Oakland, Oregon.


The hosting group was the Shire of Briaroak (Douglas County, OR) for the

Principality of the Summits (Southern Oregon).


The headcook was Seumas dubh as a Ghlinne Easgaiche.



Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 02:31:10 -0800

From: "James F. Johnson" <seumas at mind.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Feast Stories from 11th Night Investiture (LONG)


Okay, the _kitchen_ side of the story...:)




On table:







First course:

        Onions soups with toasted sops

        Brie tarts (actually, deep 9" pies)


Second course:

        Goat roasted with garlic, rosemary, apples

        barley frumenty



Third course:

        Chicken on sops with spice wine sauce (Head table got a whole chicken)

        Armoured turnips

        Salat (greenleaf, spinach, parsley, mint, dill, chives, sage, oil,



Fourth course:


        Rice pudding


Laura really liked the bread, which was Four Grain Peasant Sourdough in

round loaves and Rustic Sourdough in batards from Village Baker here in

town. She said they looked right. And at 1.89 - 1.39 per 1.2 lb loaf, I

was happy with the price, too.


Brie tarts were well recieved, but I thought some were a little runny.

I'll probably increase the amount of brie next time, and pair them with

a dish that uses only egg whites, so I can use only the yolks for the



I was surprised how well the onion soup went over. Personally, I add

rosemary, garlic and pepper to my own, but this was just onions, almond

milk, and white wine/water. I did add a little tarragon, because it

seemed to fit and sweeten the onions. I might cut the onions smaller

next time.


We were concerned with the potential gameiness of Donovan, the rather

big goat, so he was soaked in salt water the day before, and packed in

apples when we roasted him. Actually, he was wrapped in foil with the

intent to keep him from drying out, and to keep the apples close to the

meat. If we had a real spit, I might consider rotissiering another goat

or kid some time. I heard no complaints on how he tasted. He was in nine

chunks o' goat and we served one joint to the HT, and cut off meat from

the others to make ten platters of meat and frumenty. I wasn't sure we

would, but in hindsight, we would have had the time to carve all the

meat off and evenly portion it. As it was, some went out on the bone

still. We could've used the skill of someone used to carving entire

animals. The sauce was yummy, nice and garlicky and peppery. Seemed to

get too thick as the day went on and I should probably have thinned it

before it was served.


Not wanting to occupy the stove top to cook the frumently in a pot, I

resorted to the commercial practice of baking it in a hotel pan. I

simmered the stock on the stove, then poured it over the barley in two

2" pans, covered in foil and baked in a 425 oven, occasionaly removing

to stir. Same oven was being used to bake some extra goat pieces. When

it came out, it was perfect, but it sat in the steam table too long, or

it was set too high.


I used dry lasagne pasta for the losyns, for convenience sake.

Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and it was all put still hot

from the water into a large bowl in the walk-in, where it slowly kept

cooking into a large lump. We soaked it in water and salvaged most of

the larger strips. We layered them into two hotel pans with cheese and

didn't cut them into shape until we served them. I didn't see any come



The chicken was all thigh fillets, sprinkled with pepper and salt before

baking. Placed each on a white bread toast slice and topped with the

spiced wine sauce. The sauce 'felt' too thin to me. I might try cooking

it down more, or adding something to thicken next time. The high table

got a whole chicken, just for the carving effect, and the server placed

the meat on a slice of toast and sauced them at the table. The thigh

meat was cheap, boned, and nicely portioned. For a small group, say 20

or less, I might use a chicken or capon, but for this 80 sized group, it

seemed to work well, aside from trying to get all the thighs unfrozen.


The turnips came out like thin turnip lasagne, and we were cutting them

into small platter sized hunks to send out. I want to try dredging them

in a finely grated hard cheese some time.


Salat was simple and I got a few compliments on it, like what was the

yummy dressing (olive oil, pepper, red wine vinegar, salt....) and

people were getting full by this time.


Gingerbread needed more breadcrumbs and came out like marzipan. Nicely

spicy, though.


The rice pudding I got the proportion of milk and rice off. It never did

absorb all the liquid I added, and I had about a third of a gallon left

to add. It cooked long enough to start to caramelize the sugars in it,

to a nice beige colour. And it was served warm, as it never had time to

cool before it was time to serve.


I love the kitchen. There was the standard serving counter separating

the kitchen proper from the serving line. It made for great storage

space during the day for serving dishes, and allowed us to stage every

course in one spot, saving the prep tables in the kitchen for dishing up

the food. The steam tables at one end (we didn't use the other end) were

good for holding the soup and sauces hot and nearby. Three stainless

prep tables, a cutting table, three convection ovens with four shelves

each, a warming oven (a pair of steam ovens, 30ga steam kettle, and 2ga

steam kettle that were off-line.....), holding cabinets, two sizes of

Hobart mixers, a triple sink in the back with a sprayer for prep washing

or pot washing. There was a sheltered entry way to the back door that

was big enough for two Coleman stoves side by side with plenty of extra

room. Walk in cooler with racks for large baking sheets.


I think the item of most advantage was my quite non-period meat

thermometer. Aside from making sure meat was fully cooked, it let me

cook the meat to that point, and not over cook it. I was concerned with

drying out the lean meat of the goat by overcooking it, and I really

didn't time the chicken meat, but cooked it to temp, then stopped.


It was a slight challenge to cook at a remote site rather than one

nearby, and all by crew were from a branch three hours away from me. I

premade the sauces and the soup, bought my bread, and used dried lasagne

pasta for the losyns, and frozen pie shells (found a good price) to ease

the needed work done before or at the site. Most of the prep work was

cleaning and chopping veggies, then assembling the dishes.


I'd love to try it again, for a smaller group. My shire is now gearing

up for a feast in April....I was actually thinking about that days

before this feast. When does the panic and burn-out set in?





Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 17:54:48 -0800

From: "James F. Johnson" <seumas at mind.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Feast Stories from 11th Night Investiture (LONG)


Christi Rigby wrote:

> That sounds wonderful.  Can I get your sources and recipes for the following

> dishes?


> Brie tarts (actually, deep 9" pies)

> losyns

> And Chicken on sops with spice wine sauce


> Murkial


The source was Pleyn Delit. I returned the book to it's owner, and

thought I had made copies, but I can't find them now. Maybe she can, as

I know she's reading this. :) I've got the increased portions version we

actually cooked, but that was intended for around 80 people or so.



Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 18:14:46 -0800

From: "James F. Johnson" <seumas at mind.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Feast Stories from 11th Night Investiture (LONG)


Bonne of Traquair wrote:

> Not having your recipe in front of me I'm not sure of this suggestion.


The recipe indicated setting cut up chicken on toasted bread and pouring

the sauce over it. The sauce is predominately red wine, sugar, currants,

spices, and butter. Essentially, warm Ypocras with currants and butter.

There was no notes about saturating the bread with sauce, and given the

proportions I made, there seemed too little sauce for that. I actually

made extra sauce and would have run out about halfway through. But I

like the idea....:)


BTW, all the recipes came from Pleyn Delit, with moderate tinkering from



The brie tarts were made into deep 9" pies instead. I also increased the

proportion of brie to eggs, as I found a really good price on brie and I

was influenced by Cariadoc's Miscellany (Tart de Bry from Forme of Cury)

with it's higher proportion of brie to egg.


I baked the onions for the onion soup, then sliced them. I also added

tarragon to the soup because I came to mind when I was tasting it.


The goat didn't come from Pleyn Delit, but from a little list discussion

and ideas form the Florilegium. The use of apples was a suggestion by

way of 'Lainie to combat any gaminess Donovan might have had. The garlic

pepper sauce I chose from Pleyn Delit as a good match to the garlic and

rosemary rub I was using on Donovan, and in general, I was leaning

toward pungent spices as another defence to gaminess. He also soaked in

salt water for the day before. Donovan was a big goat, about a year and

eight months, not a wether (gonads intact), and dressed out around 60lbs

on the bone. There was debate/opinion made in both directions whether

his size/age/hormones would make him gamy or not. Apparently not, of if

he was, the salt soak, apples, and pungent spices countered it.


The frumenty was pretty much unchanged, except I cooked it in the hotel

pans in the oven.


For the losyns, I opted for commercial dried lasagna noodles and had

planned on cutting them into the appropriate shape after cooking. As it

turned out, we just layered the long strips into a 2" hotel pan (some

strips were broken), pre-cut the shape, baked, and recut them as we

served them. I'm really looking forward to making fresh pasta the next

time I do this, but for a smaller group.


I really had no recipe for the chicken meat itself, just sprinkled with

salt and pepper and then baked until done. Then served on toast "sops"

with the sauce poured over. While this was a recipe supposedly to use

left over scraps of chicken, I cooked a whole fryer for the high table,

to have a carvable piece of meat.


The turnips we sliced, then baked until nearly done, topped with cheese,

and finished cooking just before serving. We used Swiss cheese, and they

tended to cook all together, into 'turnip lasagne". We had layered them

in two layers to conserve pans and space. I'm rather curious how they

would turn out dredged in a grated hard cheese like Romano or Parmesan.


The salat had some variation, mostly adapted to the readily available

greenleaf and spinach greens, and what fresh herbs were available. One

lady actually took some home as left overs...:)


I don't think I tinkered with the rys or gingerbrede beyond improvising

in the cooking methods, and running out of breadcrumbs for the

gingerbread, making it more like honey marzipan (or is it supposed to be

soft and maleable?). I have a whole large sheet left that I plan on

warming back up and adding more crumbs, to see if I can make it



One thing that really worked well for me was the notebook. A half inch

three ring binder, originally part of my normal research notebook I

carry everywhere, but it got it's own binder about three weeks before

the feast. In it were all my increase calculations, a list of

ingredients with totals for the combined recipes, hand written versions

of the recipes for the larger portions, all written on ordinary notebook

paper. After I made the master shopping list, I made a spreadsheet in

Excel, with a column for the ingredients (including alternate

ingredients, like different kinds of cheese), a column for the amount I

needed, a blank column for later extending the total cost, then three

pairs of columns each topped  with a store name (two spaces per

ingredient for different brands, amounts, etc). This made for a page and

a third, with the remaining two thirds all with blank spaces for things

I forgot, or interesting things I hadn't considered. I had two sets of

these, for six stores (Two major retail, two discount stores, Costco,

and the wholesale outlet from United Grocers.) I recorded the price for

each store for each ingredient, and even when I was actually shopping, I

would refer to the chart to double check who had the best by _for the

amount I needed_. I broke the master list down into separate store

lists, the one I actually shopped from. I also printed up copies of the

recipes in feast proportions for the kitchen and my notebook. About four

copies so they could be shared. All went in the book.


I also calculated my ingredients about three times. The last time, just

before I started buying, I discovered I had grossly overcalculated how

much brie I needed for the recipe, about three to four times too much.

That, and finding a great price (US$7.99/kg) on brie allowed me to

increase the proportion of brie while cutting the cost from US$96 to





<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