Tavern-Feast-art - 1/13/99
Feast report from the first Meridian Performing Arts Symposium held November 19, 20 and 21, 1998 by the Barony of South Downs. This feast was done in a tavern style with food available throughout the day. The food and atmosphere was less formal and concentrated on grilled and roasted meats and vegetables.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
The Barony of the South Downs (Atlanta, Georgia), in conjunction with the
Meridian Minstrels' Guild, presented the first annual (hopefully)
Performing Arts Symposium. Held November 19, 20, 21, 1998, at Indian
Springs State Park, 45 minutes south of Atlanta.
The class list, menu, and other details can be found on the web site:
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:28:18 -0500
From: mermayde at juno.com (Christine A Seelye-King)
Subject: SC - Tavern Style Kitchen
Well, it isn't funny, but here it is. I would add to it by saying we had
a Performing Artists Symposium going all day, and hall was set up with a
stage in the center, tables with tablecloths, 2 dart boards, lots of
board games, and a ladie's solar. A dessert bar was donated by a local
household, and that ran from about 8:00pm on. The evening was totally
performances (dance, vocal, choral, bardic, commedia, instrumental,
gosling, etc.) and the food was still available throughout the evening.
I think he did pretty well for his first time out!
- --------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: Dallas Fox <deadtongue at yahoo.com>
To: mermayde at juno.com
This is my report on how the Tavern went.
For my first feastcratting adventure, I decided to do the feast
at the Performing Artists Symposium, as it seemed that it would be a
lower stress environment than a typical feast. This is because rather
than a formal, sit-down feast, we ran a Tavern all day, and had food
available from 11:30 AM to 8 PM, when a dessert bar took over.
The initial feast budget was $10 per person, a gracious amount,
which didn't make it to the final cut. After talking with the Autocrat,
a unilateral decision was made to cut it to $8.00 each, still a goodly
amount. I was able to get some really good buys, as it was just
before Thanksgiving, and lots of things were on sale.
Much discussion went into the feast items. As it was a tavern
atmosphere, we went heavy on the meats, cooking Chicken and Pork Loin on
a large grill at the site, along with 3 turkeys and sausage. We
also had Roman Roast, cooked in ovens, and vegetables in various
forms. A potato bar was suggested, but as it is strictly new-world,
we had the idea of a Yam bar, and with the help of a knight who is
totally infatuated with Yams, got several recipies for toppings from
several countries. It was very popular, we got rid of 40 lbs of yams
in one day. The rest of the yams, which were already baked, got fried
for Sunday breakfast. We had grilled veggies, including Zuchinni,
which caused some consternation among seasoned feastcrats, but we
needed something to fill out the bill of fare from a vegetable
standpoint. Our main veggie was Onions, and we used a 50 Lb. bag in
the weekend, in a variety of places. We also grilled several fennel
heads, eggplant slices, and grilled mushrooms, which were very popular,
as were the grilled carrots and parsnips.
For Friday night, we made a 10 gallon pot of chicken and
dumplings, and it was gone in record time. We used a 10 Lb bag of leg
quarters and bisquick with butter and an egg added. We couldn't serve it
fast enough, and the whole thing cost $7.00.
On Friday night, I had helpers wash and slice 15 lbs each of
mushrooms and onions, and made a big pot of Oxtail and Ale soup, and a
big pot of a vegetarian bean soup. My Saturday breakfast crat had a
large supply of Bisquick, and wanted to make scones. I didn't tell her
not to use all three boxes, and when I got to the kitchen, she had made
18 Lbs of bisquick and some oatmeal into a BUNCH of scones, ready to
bake. She managed to get rid of a few of them, but left me with 5 large
baking trays covered in ready to bake scones. We had hot bread out all
On Saturday, I had a staff for the kitchen and a staff for the
grill. I got the fire started on the grill, and the first pass of chicken
and pork were done, along with a bit of sausage. We also did the first
pass on the grilled veggies. We found a large supply of rice in the
baronial stores, so we made a really big pan of it in the oven, and
made up 1 gallon of brown gravy. For no money out of my budget, I had a
large source of starch, and it was well received.
At noon, we had our first big rush (This was between classes).
Although we were behind, everyone had enough to eat. The soups were
very popular, and we served lots of it along with hot scones. The
expected rush at 2:30 never materialized, so we were quite ready
when it got to be 5:00 and the big dinner surge started. I can't call
it a rush, it was an extended period of serving food, from 5 until 7,
with no big sags. I had the last of the food off of the grill staying
warm, the Roman roast was out of the oven and shredded, and the
roasted apple slices were on the line. Other vegetables on the line
included creamed onions, sweet and sour brussell sprouts, and a green
The tavern format was very popular with the populace. We had
lots of comments like, "This eating all day thing is GREAT!" The fact
that no one dish had to be done at any specific time was very easy on a
new feastcrat, as I could tell someone to come back in 15 minutes and we
would have some of it. One major side effect of the Tavern format is a
very low waste factor. When you send out a tray of food at a feast, it
may come back untouched, and gets thrown away. With the ask'em what they
want method, very little prepared food made it to the garbage.
I was told by several people to expect 125 folks for the event,
but I thought it would be more like 150 to 175. I purchased accordingly:
I got 43 Lbs of Sirloin tip for roman roast, 65 Lbs of Pork loin cut
into chops, 50 lbs of chicken leg quarters, 40 lbs of turkey (3
birds), and 30 Lbs of sausage. I got 50 Lbs of onions, 50 lbs of
yams, and about 25 lbs of other veggies for grilling. I had 25 Lbs of
mushrooms, 15 lbs of small boiling onions, 15 lbs of brussel sprouts,
a full case of apples, and assorted fruit for Sunday Breakfast. The
amount that I bought was fortuitious. From all of this, I had 8 Lbs
of meat left over, and the only things I had lots of left were foods
which weren't out early enough, like the creamed onions and brussel
sprouts. I had 5 gallons of soup left over, and I am still enjoying
the oxtail and ale soup.
In the final tally, I fed 163 registered guests for $940, a total
of $5.76 per person, including 2 breakfasts, lunch, Friday night dinner,
and mulled cider all day. As my budget wound up with $1300 in it, I was
able to add over $300 profit to the event, a happy circumstance.
The things I learned were many. The foremost thing I learned is
that you can't teach someone how to grill properly in 20 minutes. ( I
have the only AOA in Meridies for Barbecuing.) I can cook on a grill in
almost total darkness and tell when the meat is done and still juicy.
The folks working for me on the grill were cautious and made sure
everything was really done. It was also cooked pretty dry by the time
it made it to the kitchen. Closer supervision is needed, and I just
didn't have the time with all my other duties. If I had it to do over
again, I would have done an aprenticeship for grilling, and had them
work with me prior to the event for several hours, learning how to
tell when it is done, but not overdone.
The kitchen staff I had was wonderful, and several out of the
blue volunteers made it much easier on me. The one place I didn't do
enough was in organizing cleanup staff, but the wonderful members of
our barony were right there and made it happen just fine.
I will feastcrat again, and I may even try a regular feast next
time, but the Tavern format worked well, and resulted in a low cost per
person, and very little waste. I think it will be a popular thing.
Ld. Damon Fox, called Deadtongue.