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feast-serving-msg – 3/31/13


Ideas for serving feasts. Suggestions on how to organize for feast serving.


NOTE: See also the files: feasts-msg, feast-decor-msg, feast-ideas-msg, feast-menus-msg, fst-disasters-msg, p-menus-msg, pot-luck-fsts-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



From: allilyn at juno.com (LYN M PARKINSON)

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 20:32:37 EDT

Subject: SC - Re: Feast Logistics


Sir Gunthar writes:


>> Before I really blew up, another member of our party took care of the

matter by talking with the head server.  The reason for this story is

that IMHO a Head Cook's main duty lies in the enjoyment of the feasters.

I truly  understand the stresses involved in cooking a feast but there

should always be someone to take care of the little disasters that always

happen during feasts.<<


One of the 'easiest' feasts I ever served was due to Lady Catriona of

Silver Rylle, EK, who took it upon herself to 'train' the servers.  Not

all were from our shire.  She got from me the specifics of exactly which

serving platters and bowls and serving utensils needed to be gotten back

to the kitchen quickly in order to be washed and ready for the next

course, just how many slices/ladles/et al were available for each diner,

which foods might have extras for refills--in short, everything a server

might need to know.  She had a list of the people for whom there were

special preparations--no mushrooms, or no whatever-allergies--and she did

all the talking to the servers and supervised.  


At the last minute, the Feast Master is at the busiest, checking

everything and co-ordinating everything in the kitchen.  Having someone

like Cat take over is truly a blessing.  The problem lies in the fact

that most people don't want to be away from their friends during feast,

or let their own food get cold while they work.  Finding such a person to

do that job is not easy.  Some shires in the East give 1/2 price or even

free feasts to servers in order to get servers.  They show up just before

feast and there is not enough time to 'work with' them.  The last feast I

did, I told the soup servers that was all the soup.  They were back in a

few minutes, having served 1/3 the tables with large amounts, and they

wanted more.  That gives the Feast Master a bad rep, and isn't fair.  If

you can develop a good corps of servers, do so for your own peace of mind

and that of your diners.





Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 13:40:26 -0500

From: mfgunter at tddeng00.fnts.com (Michael F. Gunter)

Subject: Re: SC - feasts in each Kingdom


Also, on the interkingdom feast anthropology.  Another thing which is beginning

to catch on is what I did for Coronation. Servers paid half price for feast and

I served them the complete meal before the feast began.  The servers were then

assigned tables and told to make them happy.  The benefits to this were varied,

the servers were fed so could concentrate on their wards, they knew what each

course was and so could answer questions, (hopefully) they knew they were

appreciated by both the Cooks and their tables, and also there was very little

confusion about what and who went where.





Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 10:34:17 -0500

From: Debra Hense <debh at microware.com>

Subject: SC - RE: allergies - long-winded response




By the way, for servers, I always make an extra table serving or two

of everything for the servers specifically.  And they have a special area

set aside in the kitchen, or to the back of the serving hall, where they

can sit and enjoy the exact same food as the feast goers. Or, they are

allowed to sit one at each table where they are serving and so may eat

with the feasters. They are never allowed to make do with what comes

back or what is left over. They are doing me a tremendous favor for no

pay, the least I can do is make sure they get to eat well.


Kateryn de Develyn

debh at microware.com



From: dvick at crl.COM (Donald E. Vick)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: how to present boar's head dinner?

Date: 22 Jul 1997 23:47:52 -0400


In article <Pine.A41.3.95b.970722160746.82710B-100000 at homer08.u.washington.edu> you write:

>Hello: I just stumbled across this newsgroup and was wondering if anyone

>knew of a resource (or actually knows the answer) that tells how a boar's

>head dinner would be prepared and presented.  I have found medieval

>cookbooks with recipes but no books on the art or presentation.....what a

>set table would be like, which accompaniments, you know, the works.  If

>anyone can point me in the right direction that would be great.  Thanks!


   Believe it or not, there is a very detailed description of how to

serve a boar's head in a modern cookbook - "The Joy of Cooking".  It's

in the chapter on game and you should be able to find the book in any

library or bookstore.


Hugh the Barefoot

Barony of the South Downs, Meridies


| Thaddaeus Vick, Linguist to the Masses |       dvick at crl.com       |

|                                        |                           |

| I could be wrong.  After all, there's  |                           |

|      a first time for everything.      | http://www.crl.com/~dvick |




From: Gretchen M Beck <grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: how to present boar's head dinner?

Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 13:35:04 -0400

Organization: Computer Operations, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA


Excerpts from netnews.rec.org.sca: 22-Jul-97 Re: how to present boar's

h.. by Donald E. Vick at crl.COM

>      Believe it or not, there is a very detailed description of how to

> serve a boar's head in a modern cookbook - "The Joy of Cooking". It's

> in the chapter on game and you should be able to find the book in any

> library or bookstore.


Speaking of cookbooks, Terence Scully's translation of Chiquarts "On

Cookery" (a 15th C French cookbook) has a few pages on presenting a

boar's head.  Describes how to cook it, how to endore (is that the

word?) it, about putting the banner of the lord you are serving it in

front of on the head, and about how to make it breath fire.  One of

these days when I get really ambitious, I'm going to try it.


toodles, margaret



Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 10:40:01 -0400 (EDT)

From: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy at abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Subject: Re: SC - Hand washing ritual at feasts


Meriel of the Marsh asked about hand washing.

We would love to know just how this is done. Should the servers go

around to each seated person with pitchers of scented water and a

towel of sorts, with a helper to catch it in a suitable container; do just the

fingers get washed ritually or is it both hands properly; and when does

one time it for, so that the food doesn't cold in the process and there's an

awful hiatus?! Or what and how, please?


Ah, laving.   If I recall correctly John Russell's Book of Nurture (primary

source) and Henisch's book Fast and Feast (secondary source) all discuss

laving ceremonies.  Gervase Markham (I think) has a recipe for scented water

for laving, which I have been meaning to make for quite some time now.


Generally around here, we reserve it for high table, and individual tables

may do so as they wish.  A pitcher with laving water, and a catch bowl are

carried by a servitor, who also has a towel over one arm.  Hands are held

over the bowl, and water is trickled over them from the pitcher, and the

guest dries their own hands on the towel.


I am right handed: so the towel goes over the left arm, and the bowl in the

left hand.


We do this about 5 minutes before the meal begins.


Trivia on serving.  Didja know that proper table service in a restaurant is

to serve food over the left shoulder, and to take away empty plates from the

diners right side?  This comes from period.  The proper way to sit at table

is to take a long napkin, and drape it over the left shoulder and across the

lap, and to pull the long tablecloth up, and over the lap as well.  Full

bowls can be served over the left shoulder, and if they spill, they hit the



Last year, at the Pennsic Royalty Dinner, the East gave out commemorative

napkins. Princess Elspeth and Baron Steffan (of the East) were the only

people at the table to properly lay them over their left shoulders.  I had

to thank them for making my day.  And when I did, I noticed that they also

had the nappery drawn over their laps.  I told their server to please serve

them over the left, and take away from the right.





Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 14:05:32 -0400 (EDT)

From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch at adl15.adelphi.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Hand washing ritual at feasts


Meriel of the Marsh writes:

> ... I haven't managed to find

> anything on washing hands at feasts.

> We would love to know just how this is done. Should the servers go

> around to each seated person with pitchers of scented water and a

> towel of sorts, with a helper to catch it in a suitable container; do just the

> fingers get washed ritually or is it both hands properly; and when does

> one time it for, so that the food doesn't cold in the process and there's an

> awful hiatus?! Or what and how, please?


I've only been to two or three feasts where this was done.  One was the

Midrealm Cooks' Collegium in 1992 or 1993.  Only a few dozen people

were there, so it didn't delay things terribly.  I think we had two

servers go around with ewer, basin, and towel.  The second was a dinner

for twenty or so in Enchanted Ground at Pennsic, 1995, with (by strange

coincedence) largely the same collection of people.  It can work, if

you have a high enough ratio of servers to diners.  A compromise, for

when you have few servers or lots of diners, is to put finger-bowls of

scented water on all the tables in advance.


In re the food getting cold: my understanding is that most medieval

cooking was done a significant distance away from the feast hall, often

in a separate building, and that most of it was close to room

temperature by the time it was served.


                              mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

                                                Stephen Bloch

                                          sbloch at panther.adelphi.edu



Date: Sun, 07 Sep 1997 14:41:16 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Serving at a Feast


Bonnie L. Clapshaw wrote:

> I am looking for advise or suggestions regarding feast servers.


> I am in charge of the servers during the feast at AnTir's Fall Crown

> Council this November.  I would like to have the Head Table served as

> period as possible.  My understanding (to date) is that only those of

> high enough rank served the King and Queen when they dined and that

> some jobs had a specific title and person such as a Carver.


> Is this true? Where would be a good place to start researching?


Check Bridget Anne Henisch's "Fast and Feast", Terence Scully's "The Art

of Cookery in the Middle Ages", and last, but (surprisingly enough) not

least, the Larousse Gastronomique entry entitled "Ecuyer Tranchant".

This last is an office that reached its height of complex responsibility

(and commensurate perks) in France immediately prior to the revolution,

but it had its origins in the fact that it was considered a bad idea, in

period, for the King to allow anyone but a trusted retainer (generally a

knight) near him with a sharp knife.


One of my great pet peeves over fourteen years in the SCA is the

frequency with which various peer-types leap at the chance to do this

job at high tables, only to botch it severely, resulting in an

unappetizing presentation and much food waste, which is essentially an

insult, however unintentional, to both the cooks and the other diners,

who might otherwise have seen their money spent more wisely.


So, my inclination is to see to it that someone who knows how to carve

and serve is the one to do it, and if you want them to be high-ranking,

you can either discreetly inquire about those people's actual skill

levels and experience, or you can offer to find someone to teach them,

or you can write to your royalty about advancing the rank of those who

carve and serve well ;  )  .


I hope I'm not foaming at the mouth excessively on this topic; it's just

one of my buttons...please disregard those portions of this response

which come under the heading of mad ranting...





Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 22:13:27 -0700 (PDT)

From: rousseau at scn.org (Anne-Marie Rousseau)

Subject: Re: SC - Serving at a Feast


>Bonnie L. Clapshaw wrote:


>> I am looking for advise or suggestions regarding feast servers.


Adamantius suggests:>

>Check Bridget Anne Henisch's "Fast and Feast", Terence Scully's "The Art

>of Cookery in the Middle Ages", and last, but (surprisingly enough) not

>least, the Larousse Gastronomique entry entitled "Ecuyer Tranchant".


Please, also check out _The Art of Dining_ by Sara Paston-Williams.

Lovely book, pretty pictures and she really gets into describing HOW food

was eaten as well as what, etc. Also, Scully's translation of Chiquarts

work has a neat section in the front where he discusses the titles of the

people on Chiquart (big chef guy for a Savoy duke in 1400's) payroll.


Good for you for doing this extra bit! From our experience, we find that

it adds immeasurably to the overal impact of a meal.


- --Anne-Marie



Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 11:03:38 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Philip's Bad feasts


>> Too many people fail to realize that the organization of the feast hall

>> and the instruction of the servers are integral to making a feast a

>> pleasing experience.

>I was at an event recently where I was at High Table. The service was

>a little off, when they came out they were wonderful but I wound up

>refilling people's drinks and even scraping everybody's dishes so they

>could be used for the next course. This is bad when the people at High

>Table have to do their own service. On the occassions the servers did

>come out they were very courteous and helpful.

>That's why at my last Coronation feast and at 12th Night the servers will

>be assigned tables with the orders "make your table happy".


When I lay out a feast site, I try to arrange the tables so that they

can be reached easily and so the service can flow from the kitchen to

the tables and back to the kitchen along an easy to follow one way path.

I have the entire service overseen by a head server (usually one who

has worked with me before).  The head server does not serve, but handles

problems. One server (assigned)  for each two tables works for me, with

two to four floaters (depending on the size of the feast) handling



The High Table is supposed to have two servers stationed at it, to run

the necessary errands, but the food is often brought by "hats" not

seated there.  Drinks are provided by the floaters.


The worst experience I have had with a feast was the First Calontir

Crown Tourney, where no one in the hosting group understood the dynamics

of a feast and the people by the kitchen ate while the people opposite

the kitchen starved.





Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 21:18:21 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Re: [Mid] Suggestions needed


>:      I have been designated Head Server for our local 12th Night feast, and

>: I would like suggestions on how best to organize and handle my end of

>: things.


First things first, if you are the Head Server, your job is to be sure

everyone is being served, that the service is flowing properly, and that

any problems which appear are handled quickly and quietly.  You should

not be serving.  You should watch and instruct the servers.


If you must speak to the Head Cook through an intermediary, be sure it

is someone who has worked regularly with the cook.  Preferably someone

who can read the cook's mind.  Every layer in a communications chain

introduces approximately a 25% error rate.


How are the dishes going to be served?  One server can handle up to two

tables if everything for a course is going to be delivered to the table

on a single platter or if you are delivering one dish at a time to the

table (a custom I find appalling).  If you are going to serve four or

five individual dishes to the table, one per table should work,

especially if you have them team up and serve everything to a table at

one time.  If you are serving individual plates, you could need 2 or

more servers per table.


Assign a couple people to the head table.  If the Crown is present, see

if any of the Nobility who are not at the Head Table would be willing to

serve. Your people are there to make sure the job gets done.


Set up an area to stage the food before delivery to the table.  Usually

this is manned by kitchen staff, who are preping the dishes, but it may

be up to you to suggest/arrange it.


Use a seperate set of servers to handle drinks.  Usually a single drink

server can handle about 4 tables.


Check the layout of the tables.  You must have enough space for the

servers to reach all the tables.  Try to establish a traffic pattern, so

the servers move in one direction from the staging area to their tables

and return to the staging area by another path.  Leave enough room

between the tables, so hoop skirts don't get in the way of the servers.

Be sure the servers understand the pattern they are to follow.


Are your tables standard size?  If so seat a specific number of people

at each table.  It allows the staging people to evenly distribute food

without knowing the specifics of the table.  I like standard 6' to 8'

folding tables with 8 people to a table.


I often start feasts with bread or finger food on the table.  It keeps

people occupied while I spin up the first course.


What entertainment/court/idiocy will be occurring during the feast?  Is

it continuous or can you stage it to occur while people are eating?  How

will it effect your servers and service?


Be sure the servers know what is expected and what their jobs are going

to be.  Unless you have an experienced crew, getting together to talk

over how you are going to handle things might be a good idea.  Coffee,

tea, and ideas.


About 1 hour before the feast, look in the mirror and say, "It's show

time!" Your crew will have it together or they won't.  If they have it

together, you get to graciously circulate through the crowd and

determine if anyone needs anything.  If they haven't got it together,

you get to run all over creation straightening out the messes.  In

either case, you've done what you could for planning and preparation and

the only thing left is execution (hopefully , not yours :-) ).


Bon Chance




Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 03:40:48 EST

From: CorwynWdwd <CorwynWdwd at aol.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: [Mid] Suggestions needed LONG


M'Lady Heather,


> I had thought of getting one server to cover each table, with me

> : helping out wherever and possibly covering the High Table as well.


As head server it's best you stay on post if Your halls are anything like

ours. If anything goes wrong (which in most cases it dosen't, but little

snags DO occur) you'll be needed to direct the troops.


> : A sign-up sheet has been suggested (I can't believe I missed this idea,

> : but I did!),


Always a good idea, and if it's a new idea where you are, have the "Troll"

point it out while people are regestering. Also a call to remind people about

midday about the sign up sheet sometimes is in order, as we sometimes get

caught up in the hurley-burley of eventing. OR if you want to live on the edge

you can call for a server from each table at the onset, that works quite

well here, and people can spare each other.


If it's a big feast and I have a good stable of servers, I make sure to set

aside food for them, just to make sure they're fed. Some people I've worked

with actually feed the servers beforehand, but that's hard to co-ordanate.

Sometimes their friends fill their plates each course too. That, you'll have

to find out about by experence.


> :and I was also thinking of using something like a cart or a small table to

> : hold each dish as we serve it out. What works for those of you who've done

> :this before?


The cart idea is good if you have them. Especially in the case of big

containers of soup. If you can lay out the hall so as to make them usable that

is. Better get with the Hall Steward or whoever is in charge of table layout

beforehand. With the crowding in some of our halls we often try and ladle

everything we can into serving platters and send the individual table servers

with enough for eight or ten (depending on the layout.


In Southern Atlantia we don't seperate on and offboard often as I've seen them

do in other Kingdoms (the few times I've BEEN out of Kingdom that is). Lately

we've gone to using feast tokens (A pin on ribbon or some shiney dangley

showing who's on and off at a table) because in the rush sometimes people get

confused and don't remember which they are. You might also consider this.





Subject: ANST - Feast Style [was Steppes 12th Night]

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 98 10:23:05 MST

From: John Ruble <jruble at urocor.com>

To: "'ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG'" <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>


> kaitlyn mckenna said:

> Yes, we also have similar problems in Stargate...usually we do buffet.

> At Yule we tried to make the buffet more interesting, less cafeteria

> style.  One Yule we had each table send up one of their own to act as

> their server.  We had large platters for them to bring up for that

> remove of food, and a different person from that table could be "server"

> on the next remove.


I know my lady has groused more than once about cafeteria style buffet

feasts, and I tend to agree with her.  I find the veil of medieval

illusion wearing thin when I have to stand in line for half an hour

while watching the dish I had set my heart (or stomach) on disappear.

And trying hard to think of some polite way to chastise "cutters". And

trying hard to think of something ELSE to say to the person in line in

front of me. And trying very hard not to think of how much my feet hurt.

And trying very, VERY hard not to trip the next poor bastard that walks

by and snatch his plate.


The scenario you described, of having an individual from each table hit

the buffet for the whole table, is one I have crossed vary rarely but

enjoyed. It is hard on the one running the tray back and forth, though.

If the feasters take turns, though, then the impact on their dinner

conversation is lower. The average feast has less than the five hundred

the Steppes managed to feed for 12th Night. Pick a number and divide by

eight per table, and you will see how quickly that feast must run.


Loch Sollier did a feast that was half served, half smorgasbord that

worked very well several years ago.  The main courses were served, but

various sides were placed a tables around the hall.  I grabbed smoked

herring for us all while my friend made sure I was served the lamb &

barley soup.


Still, I like being served feast. It's easier for me to watch the kids,

and I don't have to lose my place in line to go herald, or even worse,

cross an angry picket line of hungry feasters.


Ulf Gunnarsson



Date: Wednesday, January 14, 1998 17:28:19

From: Ellen Murtland

To: Middlebridge

Subject: Re: [Mid] Good Feast!


     We *probably*, maybe, could have combined Hall Steward and Head Server

into one position, but I personally am glad that we didn't.  The Hall

Steward (in this case, Lord Faremanne de Vere) was responsible for

decorating the hall, setting up tables and such, arranging and

announcing the entertainment, and announcing each remove.  He also

announced things on behalf of the other feast staff, like Aminah's

request to inform servers of any food restrictions so we could serve

alternate dishes -- and yes, she and her cooks had such things prepared

ahead of time, as hot and as ready to serve as the main courses.  Like I

said, the whole thing was impressive.  As Head Server, I think I had the

easiest job; all I did was coordinate the servers, and assist in staging

the food right before it was served.  Faremanne and I worked together:

when we were ready to serve, he would announce the course; once he saw

everything laid out, he would give feasters a few minutes to dig in

before starting that course's entertainment; during entertainment, I was

generally (not always) the only server moving around, and we stayed as

quiet as possible so as not to distract from entertainment.


     The idea that worked really well for us, as suggested by a gentle on

the Bridge, was to have more than one server for each table, so that

servers could eat when not working.  We had two per table, (each table,

roughly sixteen people) and servers took turns working removes; that

way, if you'd served First Remove, you got a chance to sit and enjoy the

Second Remove.  There was a little bit of confusion right at the

beginning, because I had servers sit at the tables they worked, and

people had to move their feast gear around.  That should have been

handled better.  At least no one got lost trying to figure out which

table they were supposed to work!


     I remember someone saying that they had a disaster when most of their

servers backed out at the last minute.  About a half hour before feast

began, my signup sheet showed that I had almost all the servers that I

needed, and one announcement brought me the last few to give me the

ideal number.  The day before that event, I had no servers at all

(except for people like Terric, who would only *not* help if they were

dead!) My servers were both kid and adult -- it helped having little

people to fit in our small kitchen and help bring food to the staging

area *smile*, and we had one little guy who was probably six, who wanted

to help so badly that I teamed him with the Head Table servers.  I heard

him talking afterward about why he was wearing that blue tabard, and he

seemed pretty proud of himself. *smile*  And I could have kissed one

lady, who has worked as a waitress before and naturally did an excellent

job. Just knowing that all my servers were competent and eager to help

reassured me immensely.  I swear, I kept *trying* to make them go sit

down and eat, and they'd keep popping up and asking if there was

anything else that needed to be done!


     Heather of Shadowed Stars, who can't wait for her second feast



Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 00:52:34 -0800

From: Bonnie Clapshaw <bonnie at inetarena.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Fw: [Mid] Feasts:  Serving and Carving


> Is there any interest in discussing how to make this part of a feast

> (carving and serving) more “medieval”?


Greetings unto the List,


In regards to trying to make the serving at a feast more "medieval", last Nov. I

volunteered to be in charge of the servers at an AnTirian Crown Council. Here

is what I came up with.


The hall had 20 round tables which seated 8 people lined up on either side of

the hall and 1 long rectangular table used for the High Table which seated 10

people at the head of the hall.  The High Table was on an 18" raised platform

with an large open space in front (for various entertainments) and a round

"Presentation" table to the right.


I had one server per table plus about five "extra" servers who helped out where

it was needed.  The High Table was served by the Baron and Baroness of the area

plus a Carver (a Knight of the area) and a Steward (a Pelican of the area). The

Carver was responsible for the presentation and carving of the meat of each

course. The Steward was responsible for the drinks for the High Table.


The presentation of _each_ course to the High Table was as follows:  Each dish

of the course was carried out by one server with the meat dish last in line.

The servers processed up the middle aisle towards the High Table, they stopped

at the edge of the open space where they reverenced while the dish was announced

to the populace by a Herald.  They then set the dishes on the table except for

the meat dish which was placed on the Presentation table to be carved and served

with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance.


The above presentation was done before the populace was served because each

course was to be approved by the Crowns.  Once approved the King gave leave for

the populace to be served.  Again this was done with all the appropriate pomp

and circumstance.


I believe that the feast and service with well with only a few bottlenecks. I

did not hear any major complaints about the different serving style and I got

some compliments.  It was also very fun to watch a whole roast pig being brought

out presented and carved in front of everyone.


I would also like to say that I could not have done this without the full

support of my Barony.  (Especially since I was 9, yes 9, months pregnant at

the time and I think my whole Barony was baby-sitting me!! : ' ))


Lady Ariadne Melissena

Barony of Three Mountains

An Tir



Subject: Re: ANST - to serve or not to serve...

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 98 16:50:54 MST

From: Dottie Elliott <difirenze at usa.net>

To: <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>


Knowing the horror I will cause (by suggesting an out of kingdom idea), I

will mention how we served feasts in our small shire in the East Kingdom.

We simply had one person from each table come up and get the food for

each course. It was quick, simple and didn't impact anyone greatly. Its

not as nice as having servers but we only had 10 people in the shire and

just couldn't get enough servers.





Subject: Re: ANST - to serve or not to serve...

Date: Wed, 30 Sep 98 06:16:11 MST

From: "Donald Riney" <dariusobells at hotmail.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


>My humble opinion on this is: SERVE!!!!! My reasons are entirely

>personal but here they are. I HATE being part of a buffet line cattle

>shuffle, it's glaringly modern (to me) and typically the people at the

>end of the line starve because eyes at the front of the line are bigger

>than stomachs.

>       I feel that a sit down served feast is much more in keeping with the

>atmosphere we are trying to promote and can be accomplished without

>major difficulty with a little pre-planning and bribery.


>Hasheika Maleah

>Barony of Namron


I most heartily agree, of the feast I have attended those I have most

enjoyed were well co-ordinated with servers. Not only does this provide

a meathode of sending equal food all directions, but it can also enhance

the atmosphere. Though I haven't been back in a while I Still tell all

my friends about Mooneschadowe's feast. Usualy served By lowered Lights,

By gentles wearing shire livery, with formal presentations by the cooks

to the high table. These are not hard to coreograph.


Further I have to say that serving feast is as much fun as being

served. It gives one the chance to work with and get to know friends

both old and new. and Geting to eat for helping is kinda nice to! :-)





Subject: ANST - RE: To serve or not...

Date: Fri, 02 Oct 98 08:19:07 MST

From: David Epps <icc_dce at shsu.edu>

To: "'ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG'" <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>


I, Zorcon of Lizardkeep send Greetings from Ravensfort,


   I have followed with interest the ongoing discussion related to

serving or not serving the feast at an event. I realize that the format of

feast often depends on the type of event you are trying to provide and the

atmosphere you are wishing to encourage.


   A few years back we provided a feast in the buffet style but with a

twist. This was not a high persona event.  First we provided each of our

guests with "money."   Indicators were placed on each bill for a specific

type of food being served and our guest were issued one of each.   Our

guests were able to trade with each other to pick and chose just what they

wanted for the evening meal.  Beef, fowl (each meat vendor had their own

grill at the back of the shop), a vegetable and rice shop, a selection of

fresh fruits, cheeses, fresh bread, salads (If memory serves there was a

choice of standard romaine salad and a dandelion salad for those brave

enough) and drinks.


   Several tents (GP Mediums) boxed in the feasting area.  In each tent

were two or three food "vendors."  The feast area was open for 3 hours to

provide enough time for every one to eat at a leisurely pace. Our guest had

the choice of what order the food was acquired, which line was the

shortest, et. cert.  In some cases one individual would bring several bills

at once to a vendor for say 6 servings of fowl and carry it back to the

table. In the meantime another member of the group would visit the cheese

vendor and so on.


   In short all of the lines were short, the hot food was hot and the

cold food was cold.  Each vendor and their staff were responsible for

cleaning up their respective store front.   Coordination between the

various stores was provided by the Feast-o-crat.  The cleanup crew had only

to deal with the seating area.  All in all IMHO this worked out fine.


     I regards to a more formal affair we provided a served feast at

another event with a distinct middle-eastern flair.

At this event all (4?) GP Medium tents were set end to end, the "high

table" was placed about the middle of the tents on a slightly raised

platform above the rest of the populace.   We placed low tables arranged

along both sides of the combined tents with carpets underneath for the

sitting areas.  All of our guests were encouraged to bring candles.

Platters with the entire feast for four were delivered down the center

isle to each table as quickly as possible ensuring hot was hot and cold was

cold. IMHO this also seemed to work well and the atmosphere was quite

enchanting. The disruptions during the feast and the following court were



   Having served feast on a primitive site numerous times we have to be

creative in how we present and serve a feast for 100+ guests.  When it

fails it fails miserably but when we succeed feasts can be a joy.


   I hope not to offend any one by my fuzzy memory or the rosy glow time

gives certain events.


Zorcon of Lizardkeep.



Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 20:44:17 -0700

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers


Hi from Anne-Marie


we are asked on serving methods.

Here in Madrone we've tried purdy nar everythang.  Everything has its pros

and cons.


1. formal serving, with assigned "servants" who's job it is to wait on you

hand and foot. Pros: most medieval, very flashy, food gets served in the

correct order, kitchen head can tell servers how she wants it done. Cons:

takes a long time. Some people wont get to sit and eat with their friends

cuz theyre serving. Need to actually TRAIN your crew or else it ends up

like the keystone cops.


2. "table servers", where an individal from each table volunteers to come

up and get the food for their table. They then sit and the food is consumed

family style. Pros: less time ahead of time needed, can grab warm bodies on

site, takes less time for people to get the food on their own plates. Cons:

not ver medieval. can be a three ring circus when no one knows who the

table server is, the wrong dishes get grabbed, some get missed, etc. No one

knows what the food is, or how its supposed to served.


3. Buffet style, where food is lined up and folks file past it. Pros: no

organization needed, no time for food to get to plates, once they get to

the food! Everyone gets to eat with their buddies. Cons: Not even CLOSE to

medieval! no portion control, folks have to stand in line until they get to

the food, which might be all gone when Duke Whatsisface takes the entire

ham for himself. This can be avoided by stationing servers with large

ladles behind the food to "aid" in portion control and answer questions and

keep folks from poking the food with their fingers. Also, if you set up two

or three buffet lines, the lines are much shorter and the food gets to the

diners quicker.


we've done pretty much any combination of the three above as well, with

some more successful than others. Fully served with trained servers who

were also frustrated actors was my favorite :).


- --Anne-Marie



Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 06:59:36 EDT

From: WOLFMOMSCA at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers


In a message dated 98-10-19 17:59:33 EDT, Micaylah wrote:

<< Is it normal practice in other kingdoms to have Servers serving your



If not, how do you get around to delivering the food to the tables?


Has anyone tried the "a person sitting at table comes and gets it for the

table" technique?


Any input would be gratefully accepted at this point. >>


I have done feast service in several different ways.  I'll see if I can

enumerate & describe the reactions for you here.


"Family-style" service, being the bringing of big dishes of food to a table &

letting the feasters serve themselves:  Easy enough for the servers to

accomplish, but does not allow for any kind of portion control, so people on

the far end may not get enough or any of that particular dish, if their

table companions heap their plates.


"Smorgasbord-type" buffet service:  Creates a free-for-all at the boards,

takes too much time, and there is no opportunity for portion control at all.

It also looks messy, and feasters get antsy waiting for their table's "turn"

to graze.


"Served-style" buffet service, with each dish being served by a person

standing behind the boards:  This one works okay for small feasts, say 60

feasters or less, and gives the kitchen steward moderate protion control

provided they have adequately informed the servers of what each portion should

be. If it's done course by course, the number of servers needed is small,

everyone gets their portion of the food, and the time it takes is about the

same as it would be for sit-down service.


"Individual-server" type:  This is pretty much the standard service here in

Trimaris. The Kitchen Steward will have, with luck, enough servers to send

out two teams, to work the hall from opposite ends (or sides), adequately

informed as to what each portion should be.  It is the responsibility of the

feasters themselves to pass their plates when the server reaches their table.

This is where things usually go wrong.  It's not the servers' fault, it's the

feasters. I served a feast a few years ago where the feasters griped and

grumbled and shot dirty looks every time the servers showed up at their

tables. They didn't want to pass their plates, they wanted the server to inch

their way between packed tables and plop food onto their plates where they

sat. This is dangerous when a server has a huge flat tray of hot, juicy meat.

Even professional waiters would balk at this prospect, and most feast servers

are not professionals by any stretch of the imagination.  In this case, it

would behoove the Hall Steward to give a little instruction to the feasters as

to what is expected of them to afford the servers the most efficient service



"Table-server" type, where each table sends someone to fetch the food for the

table: This is okay for small feasts, but not particularly ideal.  It is, in

effect, family-style service, and does not allow for portion control.  It also

makes feasters grumble a lot about being on the end of the table and pressed

into service as the fetcher.  There's no way for the Kitchen Steward to know

if every table has been served every dish.  It makes their job a little

tougher than it really has to be.


I think it would be a good thing to prepare feasters for what is expected of

them at feast.  A little direction to the feasters would go a long way to

making the service of the feast more efficient and less stressful, if the

feasters were told what to do.  So many folk just don't know, and this creates

difficulties for everyone involved in getting the food to the tables.  One

nightmarish stint as a server usually "cures" the person of ever doing it

again, and this is one aspect of our recreation that can be dealt with, if

we'll just educate the populace as well as the servers.





Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 08:09:13 -0700

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers


HI all from Anne-Marie

Claricia sez:


The autocrat rather unceremoniously informed

> me that we would not be having servers, just a person from each table

> would truck off to the kitchen.


*sigh*. I guess that's why they call them "autocrates", eh? :) Fear not,

kind lady. We can make this work. We've done several banquets for 150 this

way and it was OK. not as flashy as we would have liked but oh well.


The key is to have a "kitchen steward", ie someone who's job it is to make

sure food is garnished correctly, stage it on a couple of tables and keep

the hordes out of your kitchen and at bay until its ok for them to to take

the dishes. We put a couple banquet tables outside the kitchen door. The

food leaves the kitchen and goes to Team Garnish. After they attck it with

the edible flowers and parsley sprigs, it goes to the staging area. Small

folded index cards, one with a number for each table, mark which dish goes

to which table. If there's no card, it means someone already picked up your

dish. The Kitchen Steward answers questions ("what is THAT????"), makes

sure the sauces go out with the meat, etc. After every course goes out, she

cruises the tables and makes sure that every table has one and only one of

everything. Us stirring about in the back of the hall, putting dishes on

the staging tables is the signal that the next course is coming out. If the

server is annoying, we will bop them with a ladle. :)


The keys to making this method work, we find are the following:

1. One thing per table. Make sure there's eight servings on one plate, and

the Kitchen Steward keeps them from grabbing two sauces, etc. The index

tent cards help here too.

2. Keep them out of the kitchen!!!! This is part of the Stewards job. I

guess our barony is well enough trained...they stay out of the kitchen

pretty much on their own :).

3. The Kitchen Steward is a job that requires nerves of steel, the ability

to think on their feet and impecible tact. Its also a very fun job,

juggling all kinds of diverse tasks so that the kitchen crew can focus on

producing amazing food.

4. Make your table servers meet you for a few minutes before the food

starts coming out so they know the drill. Folks wanna do right, but they

need to know what that is!


So, the family style thang can work, it just takes some planning ahead of

time and a good Steward.


Alternately, if you have yur heart set on fully serving, one can do like we

did for our Elizabethan banquet, where we got our local Drama guild to be

the servers (any opportunity to act). They bought their tickets, and we

just made sure that they had their own table, and that they got food. They

just got to it a bit later. The courses were staggered enough that they had

a bit of time to sit and eat. Our budgets don’t allow us to do ANY comps,

and this worked well for us.


Sounds to me like your autocrate is going through some pretty typical

pre-event "eek! I am not in total control of this one very important

thing!!" jitters (never been there meself, nope nope nope :)). Hang in

there, dont kill her, and all will be well! :) (if you're in the slammer

for manslaughter, who will run the kitchen? )


- --AM



Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 18:31:31 -0500

From: maddie teller-kook <meadhbh at io.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers (ALSO: testing meals)


Margo Hablutzel wrote:


>         Has anyone tried the "a person sitting at table comes and gets it

> for the table" technique?

> I have seen this tried, but you have the problem of how to politely let

> people know that the next course is available, and that the person may or

> may not have any skill in serving.  Some tables will choose a different

> person or pairs of persons per course.  In addition to the oft-mentioned

> traffic jam at the serving area, you can get collisions as people try to get

> up from the tables and come over all at the same time.


I have seen this type of serving work. You need a bit of organization. First,

you place a flag on each table with a number (this does not include the high

table). When a course is about to be served.... you call up one person from

each table (example, Tables 1-5). They must bring their flags with them to

identify their table.  When they get to the window, they tell the kitchen

workers how many servings to put on the tray.When serving a multi-course feast,

you just let everyone know that they need to wait until they are called up

before approaching the kitchen.

Should help solve some of the problem.





Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 07:08:42 EDT

From: WOLFMOMSCA at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers


In a message dated 98-10-20 16:42:29 EDT, Helen wrote:

<< If you have the space, what is wrong with servers bringing the food to

the guests and placeing it on the plates?  I am getting mixed signals

about it being period.  I know that this type service got popular by a

Russian introducing it to "Tend Setters". (in victorian times?)  But

would, a say a Royal Wedding Feast, be served to the guests or home

style platters on the tables? >>


Documentably, from about the mid-14th century on, in England, meals in large

households were served in messes, with a mess being food for four people. The

steward had a book with a list of household officers and the number of messes

they received for each meal.  Each household officer then had a subordinate

mess officer who doled out the food to the individual members of the staff who

were entitled to receive food for that meal.  The steward also had a guest

list, and these individuals were usually served in pairs.


The major difference between the way we need to serve feast, and the way it

was usually done in period, is this:  In period, the cooks made lots of

different dishes, and not everyone was entitled to, nor received, the same

dish. In the CMA, we usually cook the same meal for a set number of persons.

Portion control is essential if the feast is going to be enjoyed by all

feasters. The need for tight portion control is what drives most of us to

insist on servers taking food directly to individual feasters, this need for

portion control is driven by our budgetary constraints.  Therefore, since we

have to live with the budgetary constraints, and we need to use portion

control to do it, we may have to sacrifice a touch of periodicity in order

to stay within our budgets.


As to your second question, about royal weddings and such, I haven't got an

answer for that.  I tend to believe that smaller households would have fewer

servant-types, and the special meals which took place might be served as

homestyle as a regular meal.  But I also tend to conclude that budgetary

restraints happened in the Middle Ages, as they do now (a money economy being

a creature of habit), and it was possible that there were meals portioned out

in individual servings by servers, just as we do it today.  Most historians

tend to agree on the tendency in the Middle Ages for meals to be served for

two, under separate cover, for diners to share.  There's a lot of literature

out there concerning mealtime manners, and this sharing of the platter seems

to be pretty consistent throughtout the corpus.


Like I said before, a lot of the trouble which comes from serving feast in the

CMA comes not from the servers, but from the feasters themselves, who are

often totally ignorant of the way meals were served in the Middle Ages.  And

unfortunately, most of them don't want a history lecture before the meal, they

just want to be fed, so the instructions for feasting are often left off the

list of things to do for the Hall Steward.  We also have to contend with

modern ideas concerning health, and for some, the very thought of sharing a

platter of food with the person sitting next to them is enough to give them

gastritis. ;-)


Anyone got any suggestions about how to educate the populace about feasting

particulars? I've done "feast practices" in the past, but the Society is so

large now, it's often prohibitively expensive for a group to do this.





Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 09:58:46 SAST-2

From: "Ian van Tets" <ivantets at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - serving


Hello the List!


There is a wonderful (Dutch??) picture of a tavern, late period,

where 3 servers are evidently dealing with the entire hall full of

people - 2 servers are carrying what looks like a door, with _all_ the

food for that course on it (ie. one dish of each - presumably a runner

would be sent back for more when something runs out, so it remains

reasonably hot), while the other one apparently takes orders and serves

individually. Anyone tried this?





Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 07:58:42 -0700

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - serving


Hi from Anne-Marie

We are asked:

> There is a wonderful (Dutch??) picture of a tavern, late period,

> where 3 servers are evidently dealing with the entire hall full of

> people - 2 servers are carrying what looks like a door, with _all_ the

> food for that course on it (ie. one dish of each - presumably a runner

> would be sent back for more when something runs out, so it remains

> reasonably hot), while the other one apparently takes orders and serves

> individually.  Anyone tried this?


Our "boon day Meal" a few years back involved burley gentlemen schlepping

the food from the kitchen WAAAAAY up the hill on "doors" (we used banquet

tables with the legs folded up) down to the field where everyone gathered

to eat. Worked great! tho I must admit there was a bit of handwringing on

the part of the tired cooks as the fruits of their labors winded thier way

down the hill...what if they'd dropped it??!!!


FYI, there's pictures by Brugel of the same type thing...bowls being

brought in on long planks.


- --Anne-Marie

Madrone/An TIr




Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 17:26:23 -0400

From: James Gilly / Alasdair mac Iain <alasdair.maciain at snet.net>

Subject: Re: SC - A question on Servers


At 17:57 19-10-98 -0400, Micaylah wrote:

>Is it normal practice in other kingdoms to have Servers serving your feast?

>If not, how do you get around to delivering the food to the tables?

>Has anyone tried the "a person sitting at table comes and gets it for the

>table" technique?


In my experience (mainly in Atlantia), about half of the feasts use

designated servers and half use "someone from each table."  I've acted as a

server both ways.


At 12th Night, 1996, they called for servers from each table - but rather

than just "someone," the call was for specific persons - the one with the

biggest knife at each table, the one with the longest belt, the one with

the largest medallion, &c. 8)


Alasdair mac Iain


Laird Alasdair mac Iain of Elderslie

Dun an Leomhain Bhig

Canton of Dragon's Aerie [southeastern CT]

Barony Beyond the Mountain  [northern & southeastern CT]

East Kingdom



Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 14:10:48 EST

From: CONNECT at aol.com

Subject: SC - A plea for help with presentation


I'm looking for information on feast presentation--specifically how the food

was brought in.


It's very likely that I'll be doing the feast at our Barony's proposed event

in June--the Feast of St. Bacchus. (Yes, we know Bacchus is a Roman god.

It's a joke.)


The books I have are all receipes, with next to nothing about how the feast

was presented. I'm hoping to get help on finding sources for a "floating

feast" or a "moving buffet" arrangement.


What I have in mind is bringing out the food in a sort of parade, stopping at

the tables for people to help themselves, and then the food moves on. Everyone

would be able to help themselves to the food that interests them, and then the

dish moves on down the line.


The servers will be dressed for the occasion--keeping with the festive idea of

the whole day. I also believe this approach will keep leftovers down to a

minimum, as a large platter will serve more than 8-10 people.


Does anyone have information that such was done in period?


Yours very gratefully,

Lady Rosalyn MacGregor, PF

(Pattie Rayl)



Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 11:47:54 -0500

From: Ceridwen <ceridwen at ccgnv.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Bones and shells


> How do you handle crawfish shells and barbeque bones etc. at a feast?

>        Helen


I often have a couple servers who will volunteer to be "beggars", who carry a

large pot between them and go around between the tables audibly "begging" for

"scraps for the kitchen slaves". It is considered a bit of "schtick" and

thoroughly enjoyed.





Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 14:43:26 EST

From: Gerekr at aol.com

Subject: Re:  SC - A question on Servers (ALSO: testing meals)


On 10/20/98 12:23 PM Morgan wrote:

>Buffet is a problem, because lines can get long; things will run out

>... or the early people will snag too much and leave nothing for

>later eaters; and how to handle people who come late and have not gotten

>firsts when some people are coming through for seconds.  ...


sheesh am I behind on this one... but I don't think anyone else has

mentioned the AnTir solution for this one...  Things stay neat and people

don't pig if you do (and announce it so everyone knows) REVERSE

precedence for the line -- if the Queen is going last, believe me, people

behave themselves like grown-ups!  This is an idea our uppers go along

with with no problem, it being a good opportunity to present a good

example of noblesse oblige, 8-).



(who may be operating on antique custom, we haven't been very active

since the advent of our son, but this used to work a treat in Adiantum,

and was pretty widespread thru Kindom Central as I recall)



Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 03:47:21 -0600

From: LYN M PARKINSON <allilyn at juno.com>

Subject: Re: SC - serving hot fritters


Some people definately had their own servers, but there are also banquet

paintings, some can be seen in costume books, where the servers are in

livery. There's an Italian wedding painting in which the tables form a U

shape. The servers offer food to the diners, working on the inside of

the U.  It's quite formal, unlike Brughel's peasants, who take the door

off its hinges to carry around lots of bowls.  There seem to have been

quite a variety of forms.  Authentic customs, other than inferred from

paintings, would be the directions in sources like The Babees' Book,

which I don't have.



allilyn at juno.com, Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Pittsburgh, PA

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 06:59:01 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - serving hot fritters



> Some people definately had their own servers, but there are also banquet

> paintings, some can be seen in costume books, where the servers are in

> livery.  There's an Italian wedding painting in which the tables form a U

> shape.  The servers offer food to the diners, working on the inside of

> the U.


This is probably derived from the Roman concept of the triclinium,

except I assume the diners in the Italian painting are seated in chairs.



Østgardr, East



Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 08:39:32 -0500

From: capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serving Ettiquette


Thorunn asked:

>I am seeking information on the proper etiquette of serving at feast.


Here's a wonderful source.


_Early English Meals and Manners_, ed. Frederick J. Furnivall.  Early

English Text Society, Original Series 32.  London:  Kegan Paul, Trench,

Trubner & Co., 1868.


It contains the following works:  John Russell's Boke of nurture, Wynkyn de

Worde's Boke of keruynge, The boke of curtasye, R. Weste's Booke of

demeanor, Seager's Schoole of vertue, The babees book, Aristole's A B C,

Urbanitatis, Stans puer ad mensam, The lytylle childrenes lytil boke, For to

serve a lord, Old Symon, The birched school-boy, and some other stuff.  


The Boke of Kervynge is especially useful, as it is instructions to a page

on how to serve at table.  There are details about handling table coverings

and napkins, how to carve trenchers, etc., etc.  It also sets up an

elaborate Order of Precedence, from an emperor on down.  I was interested to

see that former Lords Mayor of London had a specific spot.  I wonder what

would happen if we tried to assure former Lords Mayor of Pennsic a spot in

the Order of Precedence? ;>


Carolyn Priest-Dorman              Thora Sharptooth

capriest at  cs. vassar. edu         Frostahlid, Austrrik



Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 9:14:20 -0600

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Serving Ettiquette


<capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)>

>_Early English Meals and Manners_, ed. Frederick J. Furnivall.  Early

>English Text Society, Original Series 32.  London:  Kegan Paul, Trench,

>Trubner & Co., 1868.


An excellent suggestion.  Furnivall is a good example of the sort of "good"

Victorian scholarship you can find:  Compiling together a lot of hard to find

sources, and keeping all the conclusions separate...


As a bit of information, in case it matters to you and these aren't the

periods you are looking for, Furnivall's compilation compiles:

The Babee's Boke is from a abt.1475 Manuscript.

Urbanitis - abt.1460

The lyylle childrenes lytil boke or edyllys be - abt 1480

The young children's book - abt 1500

Stans puer ad mensam - abt 1460

The book of curtesie that is called stans peur ad mensam - abt 1430

The manners to bring one to honour and welfare - n.d.

Take what you find or what you bring - n.d.

The reward of a man who beggars himself - n.d.

How the good wijf taugte her dougtir - abt 1430

How the wise man taugte his son - abt 1430

Recipes - c1480-1500

A diatorie - abt 1430

Dietarium - abt 1460

Recipes - c1430-40

(Hugh Rhodes) The boke of nurture, or schoole of good manners - 1577

(John Russells) The Boke of nurture following Englondis gise - c 1460-70

Wynkyn de Worde's Boke of keruynge - c1513

Book of Demeanor - 1619

Boke of curtasye - c1430-40

Schoole of Vertue - 1557


And a lengthy postscript full of other, not dated, bits.





Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 11:08:05 -0400

From: "Jennifer Conrad" <CONRAD3 at prodigy.net>

Subject: SC - Feeding servers


Just a quick poll here, but when do others feed the servers for their feasts

(before/after) and why?


I feed my servers before the rest of the guests, so that they have an idea

of what they are serving to the guest, just in case anyone would ask them

what something tastes like.


In order to do this, I have the head server gather the other serves in the

feast hall about an hour before feast so that they can eat and help finish

setting the tables for feast.





Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 11:08:11 EDT

From: RoseThstle at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Feeding servers


CONRAD3 at prodigy.net writes:

<< Just a quick poll here, but when do others feed the servers for their

feasts (before/after) and why?


Our Barony has had a tradition of feeding them before hand, mainly so they

won't get tired and hungry while serving others.



Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 13:02:50 -0400

From: "Michelle Groulx" <dy018 at freenet.carleton.ca>

Subject: Re: SC - Feeding servers


From: Jennifer Conrad <CONRAD3 at prodigy.net>

>Just a quick poll here, but when do others feed the servers for their feasts

>(before/after) and why?


I usually feed them before, and not always whats completely on the menu. I

agree, you're right in feeding them before, but this is not always do-able.

Each feast is different. I have also fed them after and even during. I don't

think I'll ever do that again though as I feel they didn't get a fair meal

by eating on the run.





Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 16:45:31 EDT

From: Tollhase1 at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Feeding servers


We feed the server before the rest. That way they are sure to get some.  Are

able to say what something is like.  And also, once feast is done final clean

up can begin.



Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 10:47:44 -0500

From: "Margo Hablutzel" <margolh at nortelnetworks.com>

Subject: SC - Feeding Servers


As a server, I have always hated being fed before feast because (1) it's

usually at 4:30pm or 5:00pm and I'm not yet hungry, (2) I'm usually

finishing up something else, or it's the only time I have to talk with

friends who were busy with other things all day, who usually are not serving

so I won't see them until after supper, if at all (some leave instead of

staying), and (3) servers usually get some simple token meal instead of the

nifty things that come back from the tables, and I'd rather eat what the

sitting people eat than just roast chicken and bread.


As a cook, I hate feeding servers before feast because (1) we're usually

busy with last-minute preparations in the kitchen, (2) they're setting up

the hall (often in conjunction with taking down and evicting merchants) and

bodies are more useful doing something other than sitting on fannies and

stuffing faces, (3) servers are often busy talking with friends who have not

been available all day, or finishing up something, and are not available an

hour or so before service is to start, and (4) there are usually plenty of

leftovers, and they will eat those anyway.


So, the rule I have for servers, with the consent of the head server of

course, is that they show up about fifteen minutes before the hall opens, to

get assigned their jobs and tables and do a quick walk-through of any

necessary spiff stuff that the head server wants to promote.  There is a

table set up as out of the way of traffic as possible where servers can eat,

and we make sure there is either one of anything for that table (for

example, one tray of pre-feast munchies, one tarte, etc.) or that they

understand that things left on serving platters being brought back from the

tables are to come to them, and NOT get tossed in the trash unless they are

really grody.  They do get reminded not to stint on serving the diners in

order to increase their portions <s> as the bring-backs are increased by the

portions left in the cooking vessels, and the extra items made to ensure

that only pretty ones go out.


(What, you don't make an extra tarte for ever six to ensure that the

scorched/cracked ones don't go to diners?)


Morgan Cain * Steppes, Ansteorra



Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 12:37:50 -0400 (EDT)

From: Michael Macchione <Michael.Macchione at widener.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Feeding Servers


On Mon, 19 Apr 1999, Margo Hablutzel wrote:

> As a server, I have always hated being fed before feast because (1) it's

> usually at 4:30pm or 5:00pm and I'm not yet hungry, (2) I'm usually

> finishing up something else, or it's the only time I have to talk with

> friends who were busy with other things all day, who usually are not serving

> so I won't see them until after supper, if at all (some leave instead of

> staying), and (3) servers usually get some simple token meal instead of the

> nifty things that come back from the tables, and I'd rather eat what the

> sitting people eat than just roast chicken and bread.


As a server/cooks helper, my general take on this is that if I pay for the

meal, then I better get exactly what every one else is getting for that

payment. ie. if everyone else gets a chair to sit in, then I had better

get a chair to sit it.


As a feasocrat, the way that I handle this, is to have the table(s)

closest to the kitchen reserved for servers (and the people they wish to

sit with as long as it doesn't get out of hand) assuming that they have

paid for the meal, of course.  The servers bring the food for each

course from the kitchen to the tables (including their own), and then go

sit at their table and eat, until I call them for the next course.

(checking drinks and removing empty trays every so often).


With 20-30 minutes minimum between courses, I've never had servers

complain about not having enough time to eat.


If the servers don't want to pay for the feast, then they can either

bring their own food, or scrounge through the leftovers.


I treat my kitchen helpers the same way, although the die-hard "couldn't

have run the feast without you" types I generally encourage to do the

leftovers, since I wouldn't want them out of the kitchen during crunch

time. :)





Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 09:49:52 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Michael F. Gunter" <michael.gunter at fnc.fujitsu.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Feeding Servers


You post some interesting topics but there are a couple of items I would

like to comment upon.


> As a server, I have always hated being fed before feast because (1) it's

> usually at 4:30pm or 5:00pm and I'm not yet hungry, (2) I'm usually

> finishing up something else, or it's the only time I have to talk with

> friends who were busy with other things all day, who usually are not serving

> so I won't see them until after supper, if at all (some leave instead of

> staying), and (3) servers usually get some simple token meal instead of the

> nifty things that come back from the tables, and I'd rather eat what the

> sitting people eat than just roast chicken and bread.


Points (1) AND (2) I can't help you with. I usually serve the servers, musicians

and everyone who will spend the feast time working a full meal before feast

time. It usually involves all the courses unless there's something that is

impractical at the time. This serves two purposes. Those who are going to be

working during the feast won't feel ripped off (even though we usually charge

servers and such half price) and the other purpose is so the servers will be

able to answer questions of the feasters. If I give the servers some other meal

it will defeat both purposes.


> As a cook, I hate feeding servers before feast because (1) we're usually

> busy with last-minute preparations in the kitchen,


I know I'm busy but I also welcome the break and let the servers and

entertainers know they are appreciated. If things are too hectic I have a

trusted assistant take care of it. Another advantage to serving the servers

the feast is we can show them how we want it served. The quantities and order

or what goes on top of what etc...


(2) they're setting up

> the hall (often in conjunction with taking down and evicting merchants) and

> bodies are more useful doing something other than sitting on fannies and

> stuffing faces,


We usually have a room or a couple of tables that have been set aside for feast

preparation which is also used for the servers.


(3) servers are often busy talking with friends who have not

> been available all day, or finishing up something, and are not available an

> hour or so before service is to start, and (4) there are usually plenty of

> leftovers, and they will eat those anyway.


If this is what the servers wish to do they are more than welcome but it's

nice to know they have a choice.


> So, the rule I have for servers, with the consent of the head server of

> course, is that they show up about fifteen minutes before the hall opens, to

> get assigned their jobs and tables and do a quick walk-through of any

> necessary spiff stuff that the head server wants to promote.


And I've served at feasts that have done the same and usually to good results.

But I've started doing it my way because there have been too many times I've

paid full price for a feast only to wind up working my butt off, not getting

more than a bite to eat and often helping with the cleaning. There was also

something irritating about being callously told "Oh well you can pick off the

plates when they come back."


I do admit that I do enjoy picking off the platters after they come back or

snitching the "undesirable" parts but it's nice to be appreciated as well.


>                                               ---= Morgan





Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 01:29:09 EDT

From: MPengwyn at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - naming tables?


kihe at ticnet.com writes:

<< They name the tables?  Whatever for? >>


Mistress Elaina, while back in Storvik, used a system of tokens for each

table at a huge event. Teach token had a different design on it - owls,

drekkars, etc - and as people signed up on the seating chart, they got the

token corresponding to the table their signed for. It kept us from having the

problem of 9 or more people signed up for a table for 8, and it let us know

exactly where the spaces were for late comers. Each server was assigned to

one or more tables - such as server one taking tankard and owl - and it made

everything run very smoothly.





Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 10:19:33 -0400

From: "THL Caitlin Ruadh" <ruadh at twcny.rr.com>

Subject: RE: SC - Ooops..hello!


> Upon which note; does anyone have general suggestions for serving in

> general, and High Table in particular?  My first attempt at serving, on

> Saturday, was...ahem...eventful, and I'd like to make sure my High Table

> servers don't have any similar problems.


Well, first and foremost, putting up your hair or at least keeping your body

between it and the candles is always a good place to start!  *duck*


(Alethea is a wonderful, lovely lady who lost what I take to have been

several inches of beautiful hair this weekend in a candle incident (up in

flames) while serving high table....)


Seriously though, keeping hair, sleeves, skirts, etc out of the way really

is a good place to start.  If not the candles, it's still pretty

embarrassing to end up with your sleeve in someone's plate, particularly

with sauces involved.  Or to trip on your skirts and spill the food on

someone, which with my luck would inevitably be the highest ranking person

in the most embarrassing place!


And at the very least make sure the servers know what the dishes are - there

is nothing more embarrassing then the server to high table not being able to

tell the King if he can eat whatever is being served (which is really an

issue, since our current King is a vegetarian....)


Caitlin Ruadh, who missed the sight but caught the smell, and who merely

wishes she had long enough hair to have to worry about such things!



Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 12:51:37 PDT

From: "Bonne of Traquair" <oftraquair at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: SC - High table servers--was Re: Ooops--hello!


>...Seriously, though, is there any efficient method for organizing

>inexperienced servers (at the moment I have two lined up, which is

>two more then I expected to have in advance), that preserves both the

>ceremony and the integrity of the feast?


Educate every server that you do know about in advance. Just before

the feast is not the time to try to explain everything to all the

servers. Explain to those you do expect, then a quickie explanation

and the instruction do what so and so does will at least be available

to the last minute volunteers.


Write out your plans for service and for schtick if schtick is

expected. If you aren't the cook, be sure you and the cook are on the

same wavelength before making plans with anyone else! Keep the

description to a few points, not long drawn out instructions lest you

overwhelm and frighten the servers away. E-mail or give a copy to the

servers you know of.  Ask for and expect feedback and adjust your plan



My "plan" as was given to my head server and my daughter in advance,

was nothing more than a list of priorities.


1. No one should want for water to drink.  Ice water available before

feast and kept available during feast.

2. Courses served as groups of dishes as a result of learning how much

having dishes trickle out one by one annoys the Baron.

3. dirty dishes brought back before more food sent out.

4. leftovers dealt with as we go.

5. someone will be washing up during feast.

6. serving is more than carrying food out and empty trays back.

servers will be helping prep the food beforehand and deal with food

brought back to the kitchen.


I had some hoped for schtick and had discussed it with the head

server. It involved serving a dragon subtlety and the baron demanding

someone taste this new and dangerous food.  His page is quite a little

actor and would have stolen the show risking his life for his Knight

by tasting.  But the page didn't show and the dish that would prompt

it turned into a simple roast chicken because of modern complications,

so, it didn't happen.





Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 17:49:55 -0500

From: LYN M PARKINSON <allilyn at juno.com>

Subject: SC - Re:Serving tips, was Ooops--hello!


You want to let the servers know what serving utensils will go

out with what dish, and which dishes and utensils *must* be brought back

to the kitchen at what time, for washing and re-using.  The servers

should ask, if they have assigned tables, whether there is anyone there

with specific allergies--i.e., where is Dennis the Decadent sitting, so

he doesn't get the alchohol version of the Fruit in Wine?  Our vegetarian

King's table will be pretty easy to find.  ;-)


       They need to be told how necessary it is to repeat, ad nauseum,

"The ingredients are posted on/by the kitchen door."  every time they get



       Don't know if it was done in period, as I don't have a copy of

The Babies Book, but you should serve from the right, take from the left.

A bow is made each time they cross in front of the thrones.  If you have

nice linen dishtowels, one over the left arm is handy for wiping up

spills. Carrying around to each table a bowl of warm water, preferably

rose scented, and a towel, is nice to let diners dabble their fingers

clean before feast and between courses.  If there is soup or something

that is to be dished out of a large container, they *must* understand how

much they are allowed to give each diner.  Otherwise, ignoring the cook's

"That's ALL there is!", they will ladle it all out to the first third,

and have none for the remainder of the guests.


       Giving them a book of matches is nice, or a fire-starter, so the

diners who forgot can have their candles lit.  Even if the herald

announces the dishes, people won't be listening, so the servers need to

know the correct pronounciation.  2 well-trained servers per table is

good to have.  Yeah, right!


       They need to know the location of the garbage cans in which

diners can empty their slops.  This should be done for the High Table.

They need to know if any dish washing accomodations are being set up at

feast's end.  From your experience, knowledge of the whereabouts and

operation of a fire extinguisher is a Good Thing.


       You can help them out as a Kitchen Steward by posting your menu

with a time line, and utensils needed.



allilyn at juno.com, Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Pittsburgh, PA

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 13:18:40 -0500

From: "Paul Shore" <shore at dcainc.com>

Subject: SC - Re: accommodating at feasts


> As you are the second person to ask this, I hope that HRM Gunthar,

> Baroness (soon to be cooking Laurel) Clarissa, perhaps Bear or other

> Ansteorra headcooks can answer. I haven't, and don't ever plan to, cook a

> feast as the headcook. When I'm in the kitchen it is as scullery hand or

> pot washer. So I'm not sure how the logistics are done.


The servers are usually sent out to fill drinks first.  They are told to find out how many persons at each table are eating feast.  We then use a chalk

board in the kitchen to track each table and how many are at each table.

(This also gives us a chance to check total to make sure the gate has not

oversold.) As each course is portioned, we adjust the serving platters, etc.

for each table.  Pies are the worst to handle this way.  When the servers are

preparing to carry a course out, they tell the portioner 'how many' they need

and are directed to a platter containing that amount.  Some things are served

ala rus, that is the bowls are brought on platters to a central pot for filling

with soup or salad.


Other notes.  It is extremely rare for us to take advance reservations for feast

in this area.  The few times I have seen it attempted, it has not worked well.


Arglwydd Aeddan ap Trahaearn

Shire of Mooneschadowe

Kingdom of Ansteorra



Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 12:35:50 -0800

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

Subject: Re: SC - serving whole chickens at feast


Bonne of Traquair wrote:

> the best prices are still for whole chickens when I buy fowl for

> >feasts, but sometimes it's more economical to get parts. I know that the

> >parts are generally more appreciated at the feast table, since people don't

> >have to hack their meat off the bird in the dark...But the whole birds LOOK

> >a lot more Medieval. It's a tradeoff.


> Is it really more Medieval to send the bird or roast out to table whole?


Yes and no...


> I've read that

> A. People ate with spoons and/or fingers and also had small personal knives

> with which to cut their own food smaller


Spoons and fingers, yes. Small personal knives, yes and no. They are

mentioned in the manners books (instructions on keeping them clean,

etc.) but in the illuminations they are neither small nor personal. Take

your pick.


> and

> B. the squires and servants have great big knives and a duty to make the

> food ready for the table.


Also yes and no. The service staff have great big knives and are

supposed to use them. That is part of their job- particularly the

carver. HOWEVER...


In the earlier illuminations, you see pictures of whole birds on the

tables, but no one tearing or cutting at them. They appear intact. They

might have 'just' been served- I don't know. In the later illuminations,

you see specific scenes of whole birds on the tables, and the carver

(with the towel over his shoulder) kneeling before the table and carving

the bird right there ("They'll make the guacamole right at the table!"

*grin*). What we don't see is the other tables. They usually only show

us the high table. And the manners books really don't address the issue.


What I can say for sure, is that it is likely that birds, joints, etc.,

are carried to the high table, served whole, and carved at the table. We

have pictorial evidence, and there are instructions in the manners books

to teach young men to do this carving.


What we don't know is what went on in the rest of the hall. I would

guess that they haven't the personnel to carve at table for everyone.

Maybe the smaller pieces are served there.


What we did at Investiture was made the whole pieces (whole chicken, big

joint of meat, etc.) for the high table, and I cajoled, er, sweet-talked

one of our knights into serving as carver. The rest of the hall got the

other portions, pre-cut, etc.


> I've combined these bits into the idea that by the time the food is placed

> in front of the guests, it has already been divided into portions, if not

> bite-sized pieces.  Makes for more elegant, less messy eating and serving.

> Sending out a whole bird for the diners to have to WORK at getting their

> serving from seems not quite the thing.  Perhaps it would stay intact from

> kitchen to the sideboards where someone cut it before serving it.


Well, as I noted, if it was carved at table, it was not done by the

diner (that I know of).




Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 16:21:42 -0000

From: Christina Nevin <cnevin at caci.co.uk>

Subject: Re: SC - serving whole chickens at feast


Bonne of Traquair wrote:

> Is it really more Medieval to send the bird or roast out to table whole?

> I've read that

> A. People ate with spoons and/or fingers and also had small

> personal knives with which to cut their own food smaller

> and

> B. the squires and servants have great big knives and a duty to make the

> food ready for the table.


At last year's Lammas feast I sent the pork roast out to the tables cut up

in 1 inch cubes. My source for that was Scully ("The Art of Cookery in the

Middle Ages" p.172) who says:

"Where a boiled or roast joint of meat was part of a course, it was normally

presented already cut into 'gobbets' or bite sized pieces in order to

facilitate the diners' job. For any further cutting the diner could hold the

meat in his or her fingers under his or her knife. At the head table alone a

carver might exercise the honour he had been awarded with his office, that

of reducing the host's meat to smaller more manageable chunks."

Unfortunately he doesn't give footnotes for that assertion, but I trust him

enough to believe he has a reason for it.


As 'Lainie says, the manners books don't really directly address the issue

(other than how to carve at High Table), although there are instructions in

several that if you are sharing a plate with a woman to cut her meat up for

her (as the poor creatures weren't very good at it!).


This is how I intend to serve the roast lamb at Crown next month, except for

a leg for High Table, where one of our knights and a squire have kindly

volunteered to do the full hand-washing/serving/carving thing. It should be

cool to watch!


If you are interested in learning more about the serving and carving

aspects, the best book is


This contains several instructional 'books' of manners - Aristotle's A B C,

Urbanitatis, Stans Puer ad Mensam, The Lyttle Childrens Lytil Boke, The

Bokes of Nurture, of Hugh Rhodes and John Russell, Wynkyn de Worde's Boke of

Kervynge (Carving), The Booke of Demeanor, The Boke of Curtasye, Seager's

Schoole of Vertue, some French & Latin Poems, and a foreword on Education in

Early England.

Oxford Early English Text Society, 1997 (Acanthus Books sells it)

or Greenwood Press, 1969.

They're both reprints of the Early English Text Society Publication, first

issued in 1868.




Lady Lucrezia-Isabella di Freccia   |  mka Tina Nevin

Thamesreach Shire, The Isles, Drachenwald | London, UK



Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 15:31:14 +1100

From: Lorix <lorix at trump.net.au>

Subject: Re: SC - serving whole chickens at feast


Bonne of Traquair wrote:

> I've combined these bits into the idea that by the time the food is placed

> in front of the guests, it has already been divided into portions, if not

> bite-sized pieces.  Makes for more elegant, less messy eating and serving.

> Sending out a whole bird for the diners to have to WORK at getting their

> serving from seems not quite the thing.


I am not commenting on the periodness of whether the bird was served hole, but

more on the practicability of same.  I have served whole birds & portions of

chickens & been at other feasts where whole chickens were served as opposed to

pieces. It has been _my_ experience that often, because the diners have to work

at cutting up a whole chicken rather than picking up a couple of pieces of

sliced meat or pieces, they simply don't cut up the chicken & much leftovers are

returned to the kitchen.  Some tables haven't even touched the whole chook.


Whereas, if stuff is in piece that are easy to pick up or serve, it is more

likely to be gobbled.  This appears to be the case with other foodstuffs:  ie

the easier it is to pick it up or serve or eat (provided it tastes OK ;-) the

more likely it will be completely eaten.





Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 05:14:53 EST

From: MPengwyn at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Feast Fees in Ansteorra


One problem I noted often in my feast steward days was large groups insisting

on sitting together at one table when it had been repeatedly announced that

service was for tables of 8. Even with the use of sign up sheets and floor

plans, there was often a table with 11 people sandwiched in and across the

room a table of 5. When a deputation was sent to the kitchen to demand extra

food, we researched the problem and re-seated the extra people, often to much

grumbling. Mistress Elaina once issued tokens for feast that bore a design of

some sort on it so that people with that specific design knew they sat at the

corresponding table. (Owls for instance or drekkars...each table different.)

It helped immensely.





Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 18:13:55 -0400 (EDT)

From: cclark at vicon.net

Subject: Re: SC - Serving question


Melbrigda wrote:

> ...  If I have a full staff that is made from members of

>my group, their payment would be to eat first (or at least first of

>each remove) and ...


I once had the misfortune to be serving at a feast where this plan was tried

out. The "servers" ate first while everyone else waited. It was a very

embarrassing situation that I would not ever want to experience again.

Getting to eat first is, in my experience, *not* a reward for serving. It is

a punishment.


Henry of Maldon/Alex Clark



Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2000 09:30:23 EDT

From: ChannonM at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re: non-messy, period, dayboard-type food


d'Aubrecicourt writes:

> Even beef jerky will leave grease on the fingers.  Fruit will leave sticky

> from the juice.  If I put as much work into a project as your average

> needleworker, I would definately want to wash my hands after eating

> anything.  Personally, I would arrange some way to have hand washing

> available, even if you need to heat the water.  Then you could serve any

> finger foods you want :-)


I agree with this post wholeheartedly. The only way your going to have food

that doesn't touch you is to eat it through a straw!


you could have finger bowls available on the table with a small towel

available, or even a table set aside to wash. There is a wonderful

handwashing recipe in Menagier. I've been incorporating handwashing into my

feasts, large and small, and it is always met with pleasure. Usually the

washing is done before eating, but never mind that.


For one feast, I couldn't manage to get towels for all 150 feasters, so I

bought rolls of really good paper towels, the quilted kind (sounds like a

commercial). I put 8 into a flat bowl (think soup) and filled with warm

handwashing water. Each person could take a towel, use it and dispose of it.

Sort of like using baby wipes only more period.


Here is my recipe (albeit simple) and the original,

Menagier de Paris found in Cariodocís Miscellany Collection


"To make water to wash the hands at table: Boil sage, then strain the water,

and let cool until it is luke-warm. Or instead you can use chamomile or

marjoram, or rosemary and cook with the peel of an orange. And also laurel

leaves (bay leaves) are good for this."




1 Quart of  water (if at Pennsic, used bottled water or it will turn brown)

10 fresh sage leaves, or a small handful of chamomile, marjoram or

rosemary(you can use tea bags here or cheese cloth, to make the straining

later a non issue)

1 peel of an orange (preferably a Seville orange, eat the rest) or rose water

( this was the choice as one of the feasters has a severe allergy to citrus)

1 bay leaf


In a pot, bring the water to boil and add the herbs and peel, if using rose

water add at the very end or it will lose itís aroma. Allow to cool then

strain. Bottle and keep (if you need to) for a few days.


Simplified Instructions;

When readying to use the water, heat gently or add hot water to warm it

slightly. Using a pitcher and basin, keeping  a towel over your shoulder,

allow the person to hold their hands over the bowl while you pour. They

should rub their hands together. When finished, offer them the towel. Where

there is no table to set down the bowl this best works with two people, one

to hold the bowl, the other to offer the towel and pour the water.





From: Nambeanntan at aol.com

Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 22:22:27 EST

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Handling special diet needs at feasts

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


mark.s.harris at motorola.com writes:

> Thanks for the clarification. However, this still doesn't affect

> my questions about how to handle these special situations, nor

> my comments on how making such special dishes complicates the job

> of the headcook,



       When the publicity goes out on an event I cook for, I ask that anyone

with dietary concerns contact me.  In the last six events I was contacted

only once before the event. The gentle couldn't eat pork so I made sure she

had enough chicken to compensate. That was the only special request so I was

her server for that course.


If I get asked before lunch about dinner I will work around requests. I don't

pre cook food or use prepackaged foods very often so that's not a problem.

How I do it with individual dishes varies. I'll ask if there are any others

this person will be seated with and if the altered dish would work for them.

Then I choose a server I've worked with before tell them the plan, show them

the table and person(s).  If it is just one person and I have to do single

servings I tell them to come to the kitchen and pick up the dish themselves

or have someone at there table do it.  I will not tie up a server to cater to

one individual.  Funny thing, when presented with the fact they don't get a

personal butler most peoples allergies/illnesses clear up.:)





Subject: Re: Off list: handling special requests...

Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 19:16:51 -0600

From: Gorgeous Muiredach<muiredach at bmee.net>

To: "Mark.S Harris"<Mark.s.Harris at motorola.com>


>Once you've decided to make these special dishes, just how do you

>make sure they get to the appropriate person(s) without being

>to disruptive or giving the wrong person the wrong dish.


Ah!  Yes, of course, makes sense <smile>  Sorry I wasn't answering the

right question :-)


The best way to handle that kind of thing, and I must admit I never tried

it at a feast, is to use playing cards. Used to do that at camp when I was

cooking for upwards of 450 kids, and there were requests for variations on

the meal.


Again, it goes back to planning <smile>  Get some playing cards.  Cut them

in half.  Whether a person has signed up ahead or at the last minute for a

different dish, organize a way for them to get the half card.   It can be

done at Troll when they check in, or it can be done at the time you meet

with them to talk about it.  Have a paper list of the cards available, then

beside it list which request it is for.


This goes on the assumption that one serving staff is assigned to one

table/section for the whole feast.


When the server goes to the section where there is someone with a card,

they then know who to serve what, based on the "chart" you have listed with

the half cards.


It only *seems* cumbersome, it actually works fairly well.


Gorgeous Muiredach

Rokkehealden Shire

Middle Kingdom



Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 09:09:00 -0600 (CST)

From: "Pixel, Goddess and Queen" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Feast Service: thanks and a question


On Mon, 28 Jan 2002 jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

> Now, I would like to hear from people how _they_ handle formal feast

> service in their area, if they do it, and what they consider good feast

> service, as I've volunteered to coordinate the feast service for an event

> in June and need all the suggestions and help I can get.


Feast service according to me:


Servers get half-price or comped meals, if at all possible. I may have

mentioned before--it doesn't have to be the feast dishes, it can be

something else easily heated up, like lasagna or stew in pans.


Servers eat early-ish--if feast is at 6, then servers eat at 4:30 and can

take their time eating and still have time for setup. Servers can help set

up the tables but this isn't strictly necessary.


Head server coordinates serving pieces together with head cook, so that

both of you know if those serving bowls will need to be washed right after

the first course, etc. I like to lay everything out on tables in the

staging area, so I know if I have enough serving spoons for the rice dish

in the second course without having to wash the ones used in the first

course. Of course, it helps if the group has dedicated feastware.


Head server has the useful list of courses and what ingredients go in each

dish, so that the servers don't have to go bother the head cook.


Head server acts as intermediary between servers and kitchen.


If there are enough servers, some of them get to be beverage

servers--their job is to make sure people have enough to drink,

independent of the food servers. Children are good at this, it makes them

feel useful and important, and they don't have to try to carry heavy

platters of hot food.


Having matching tabards for servers is really spiffy. A number of groups

have service tabards for their feast servers, some as simple as

parti-colour in the group's colors, others with silkscreened devices. I

know when my household volunteered to be feast servers, the other servers

wanted to know if we had extra tabards to lend. Tabards also work very

well as aprons to protect the clothes of the servers.


Margaret FitzWilliam



Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 10:38:30 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Help at Feasts (was: Feast steward at the



We have had some bad luck with "helpers" at feasts. Originally, they

got in free. Their names were at The Gate and they got checked off

the list.


Unfortunately, a number showed up, got in free, but somehow never

made it to the kitchen...


So a new policy was instituted. Helpers came in, they paid for the

feast, their names were checked off a list at Gate. The cook also had

a list and noted who worked in the kitchen, and those who actually

helped were reimbursed at the end of the feast.


That way we didn't lose money on those who didn't do an honest day's



Another thing i've done with my feasts is have a separate table in

the hall for my helpers near the kitchen door most distant from High

Table. When a course is served, they get to go out and sit and eat

and watch or participate in the entertainment. I can pop out of the

kitchen and get folks if i need them, so i'm not abandoned. Heck, i

may even sit down for 15 minutes during a course if all is going






Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 18:27:17 -0400

From: Solveig <nostrand at acm.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] table service in Spanish Islamic and Jewish


To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Greetings from Solveig! There are a number of religious and other customs

practiced by the different faith communities. The most important one for

Jews is washing both before and after the meal. This requires a rather

large open mouth vessel without a spout which the washer can fill, pick

up, and poor water over their hands. There should also be a clean towel

available for hand drying. There are some other rules having to do with

how bread is handled. Finally, there are of course the dietary laws.


Muslims also have dietary laws to consider. That said, all three


are world religions and table service, the nature of the menu, &c will

strongly reflect the local culture. Therefore, you should begin by picking

a specific time and place such as pre-reconquista Spain where all three

faith communities lived together. Then, develop your feast around the

food and customs of that time and place.


The drizzle of honey bit is specific to Rosh HaShannah. Normal practice

involves course kosher salt which is prinkled over the bread or you

can dip the bread in salt. If you are specifically interested in Friday

nights, then there are two loaves of bread which are covered with a cloth

while a blessing is said over wine before the bread is picked up and thanked.

The bread is then divided, salted, and passed out to those present.

There are of course rules specifying how to divide the bread, how to

pass it out, and how to eat it. You can find this stuff in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Essentially, the bread service recalls the offering of the korban in the temple (may the temple service be speedily restored in our day, &c.).



                              Your Humble Servant

                              Solveig Throndardottir

                              Amateur Scholar


| Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D.         | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS   |

| deMoivre Institute              | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est       |

| mailto:nostrand at acm.org         | mailto:bnostran at lynx.neu.edu       |




Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 05:23:14 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Buffet?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Also sprach lilinah at earthlink.net:

> So, like, does anyone have any idea if there's a "period" word, in

> any Western European language, that means sort of like what "buffet"

> means today?


You might research [further, as in, don't take my word for it] the

Elizabethan sideboard or banquette, which is literally a piece of

furniture and, by extension, a bunch of foodstuffs served

thereon/therefrom. This would normally involve sweets, fruits, both

fresh and preserved, and light, palate-ey cleansers, that sort of

thing, and might be set up at a dance or other similar, celebration,

and as the name implies, off to one side of the room, to keep the

center clear for other activity. Sources like Markham have pretty

extensive instructions as to what kinds of things go on a banquette

and how to set it up.


One of the logistical problems you're probably going to run across in

trying to justify a buffet is some opposition to the idea that nobles

should serve themselves, or walk around in search of food, under

normal circumstances, and this opposition would come from the servers

as well as the nobs. The buffet you're probably thinking of (with or

without sneeze shield ;-)  ) is more an 18th-century thing, I think.





Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004 08:02:42 -0600 (MDT)

From: Martina C Grasse <grasse at mscd.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Re: German Feast Formats, Digest, Vol 13, Issue 3

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Greetings from Gwen Cat


I have translated one section, the 4 banquets for kings (an early and a

late meal for a feast day and same for a fast day).  They are webbed at:



I did a feast based on selections from said banquets and the originals,

translations and redactions for that feast (along with pictures) are

webbed at:


Unfortunately Rumpolt rarely gives any special instructions for fancy

presentations, just "bring it warm to the table, so it is good and



I also have the book on Tafelzeremonie. I have not taken the time to

read much of it, but if there are pages or phrases you would like

translated please let me know, I will try to assist as time permits.  I

THINK it dealt mostly with the tableware (pretty silver sailing ship

salt cellars and such, but there might be more to it.)


In Service (and still shaking Grand Outlandish SANDgrit out of EVERYTHING)

Gwen Cat

who has 4 days of use-it-or-lose-it vacation to take in June and HOPES

to get caught up on lots of things including webbing Volkers



PS, I would translate Krug as pitcher rather than pot or crockpot

(which here is an electric slowcooker), but it is a recipe I have

always wanted to try (OH and I think I know a potter who might help

GRIN).  And Im very curious about the chicken in the jar ....



Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004 10:27:25 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] German Feast Formats

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Having given the question more thought, here's an approach that will work

given time (think weeks not hours) and a good sized library with ILLoan

facilities. An academic collection would be better.


The really major problem is the not reading the language which makes even texts

like the one Wanda mentioned (Die Offentliche Tafel) questionable for your purposes.

It's not a common book either. Only 13 libraries in the world report

holding a copy.

The review is up at---

URL: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=128901081995926.

Volker mentioned Marx Rumpoldt which is catalogued as Marx Rumpolt.

The facsimile is available and there's an edition up online in German.

Gwencat's translation  is a long term project.

There are 90 works listed under Cookery Germany --Early Works to 1800 and the

only one listed as being in English isn't going to be of help. [The Germans tend to dump everything in under the subject heading "Kochbuch" which doesn't help when it comes to identifying materials addressing a certain century.]

The obvious place to start of course would be with the Deutsche Bibliothek

Database which is the union catalog of the records of National Library

of Germany or the Deutsche Bibliothek.


But the question is...can you manage that if you don't read German?

Can you manage even to locate books on Amazon's German division?



So what I suggest you do is --- Get a good General hsitory of Germany or Austria

of the German states. Then....

Choose a timeframe, an area or region or a court or a prince. Determine of

course if you want Catholic or Protestant (it does matter).

Then start reading everything you can about that court and era and region.

This will and should include biographical material, agricultural, economic etc. Expand out from the initial court accounts through the footnotes and

bibliographic materials.

Loan in everything that might offer so much as a paragraph on the topic.

Eventually you'll need to narrow down to time of year and event you want

to recreate.


Johnnae llyn Lewis

(if and when I make it to Vienna next month I'll look there for German




Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004 10:58:30 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Buffet?

To: Cooks within the SC <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


My thought on this is that it also started with the furniture and

then went to the food placed on the furniture an then went

to being a style of service or dining where one went and got one's

food off the furniture. (I obviously need more pepsi this am. I micrograted

one finger last evening so I am typing with a band aid in place this am




Buffet is a blo or strike (blind man's buff) or as a verb to beat back;

a hassock or stool; A sideboard or side-table, often ornamental, for the disposition of china, plate, etc which is 1718 for the earliest quotation. Or A cupboard in a recess for china and glasses.which is 1720 for the earliest quotation. and a refreshment bar which is 1792.


Sideboard is much older--


A table (esp. for taking meals at) placed towards the side of a room,

hall, etc.


     * 13.. E.E. Allit. P. B. 1398 Þenne was alle þe halle flor hile

       with knytes, & barounes at þe side-bordes bounet ay-where;


By the 17th century this is mentioned--

1679 Hist. of Jetzer Pref. A b, They saw him every day..Dine at a

Side-board Table by himself.


Sideboard might work well as a term. (Buffet might be better understood

by those that aren't into the terminology of this all.)





Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 21:25:29 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking & Serving...

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Our available kitchens generally have between 2 industrial burners

> available (really four, but only 2 accessible with big pots) and 4

> residential burners (2 stoves of 4 burners each, with only 2 per stove

> accessible with modest stock pots) and 2 industrial to 4 residential

> ovens. This works fine for our size of feasts.


The kitchen I normally wind up in has a six burner commercial stove with

commercial oven, a commercial stove with grill top  and commercial oven, a

commercial convection oven, small Hobart, commercial slicer, about 20

different pots from 5 to 20 gallons, three or four 14 inch cast iron

skillets, etc., etc. etc.  The kitchen will handle more than the hall can



> So i'm wondering, how the heck do you cook for 400!?!? There wouldn't even

> be enough room in most kitchens for 3 courses of 3 dishes each for 400,

> let alone trying to cook that much food in one.


A lot of parallel preparation and scheduling of resources.  Fortunately,

most feasts that I prepare run in the 200-250 range.


> And - plating? You mean, you actually serve each course onto each diner's

> plate in the kitchen? Doesn't this take an awful lot of time?


In the case of Gunthar's feast, Sokol Hall has steam tables setting before

the bar.  It is also a very cold hall, which means that any delay means the

food may arrive cold.  Plating directly to the plates from the steam tables

is as efficient as setting out a messe and it means the food arrives at the

table ready to eat rather than needing replating.


The hall I normally use, it is easier to serve by messes.


> We generally have 8 people sitting per table - there is one server for one

> or two tables, who just bring out serving dishes with enough of each food

> for all the diners. The food gets on the tables quickly, then people help

> themselves.

> Anahita


Consider how many serving pieces you need when cooking for 400.  Consider

the effort needed in cleaning those pieces.  Consider that you have to have

enough waiters to handle all of the tables.  The larger the feast, the more

difficult it is to bring all of this together.  It is why I tend to consider

feasts exercises in logistics rather than exercises in culinary artistry.





Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 10:50:49 -0500

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE: KASF feast

To: "Irmgart" <irmgart at gmail.com>,     "Cooks within the SCA"

      <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I will definitely have to consider that. Of course, then I may start

> to run into running out of dishes to serve sauces in :)

> -Irmgart


For one of my courses, I was serving 3 sauces with the pork roast, and,

although it wasn't particularly period looking, (but face it, neither were

the rest of the serving dishes) I used those disposable plastic bowls, in

colors, which color coded the sauces, and, with a bit of planning (thanks

for doing it Andrea ;-), allowed the sauces to be presented in a colored

bowl that either contrasted with or complemented the sauce served in it.

They're not terribly expensive, and you can get at least 4 colors- white,

red, yellow, and blue.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:55:21 -0500

From: Daniel Myers <edouard at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: coffyns

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Feb 23, 2005, at 7:07 PM, Nancy Kiel wrote:

> Something to look for (hint, hint, researchers): period

> descriptions/instructions for serving pies


  From "The Boke of Keruynge" by Wynkyn de Worde (Peter Brears, ed.)


[from facsimile]

All bake metes that ben hote open them aboue the coffyn & all that ben

colde open theym in the mydwaye.

Custarde cheke them inche square that your souerayne may ete therof.

Doucettes pare away the sydes & the bottome beware of fumosytees. (?)

Fruyter vaunte fruyter saye be good better is fruyter pouche apple

fruyters ben good hote: and all cold fruyters touche not.


[Brears' translation]

All hot meat pies: open the crust at the top, and all cold, at the side.

Custard: cut it in inch squares for your lord.

Doucettes: pare away the sides and the bottom; beware of indigestible


Meat fritters and sage fritters are good; pouch fritter is better.

Apple fritters are good hot; but do not touch any cold fritters.


- Doc


   Edouard Halidai  (Daniel Myers)



Date: Sun, 03 Jul 2005 19:08:49 +1200

From: Adele de Maisieres <ladyadele at paradise.net.nz>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question of serving

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Speaker To Idiots wrote:


> This is what I, as head server, feel the job entails:

> coordinate with head cook about setup of feast hall set up feast hall

> figure out serving paraphenala, plating order, etc. instruct servers

> liaison between the hall and the kitchen

> The cook should be done at this point, unless the kitchen staff is

> helping plate things. We have a volunteer coordinator as a staff

> position for our events, so that there's one main point of contact for

> volunteers--in the past, I'd be handling that part of it too.

> In this specific case I ended up coordinating the toasts, but only

> because I got proactive about it.

> So how do other people/places handle it?


That about jives with what I (a cook) do with head servers, except that

I sort out the presentation aspects (serving equipment and plating) with

the kitchen the staff, so that the servers don't have to do any food

handling/messing around.


Adele d'M



Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2005 12:16:36 -0400

From: <kingstaste at mindspring.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] A question of serving

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Excerpts from "The Feast Planner's Handbook" by Christine Seelye-King

(Mistress Christianna MacGrain)


Organizing the Service Plan


      There are several options available for organizing your service plan.

Consider the size of the dining hall, it’s location nd traffic flow from

the kitchen, number of diners and placement of tables, theme of the event and meal.

Options include:


      Buffet - Setting up tables for the food to be placed on.  Diners line up

and serve themselves from the buffet line.  This works well for meals that

are served over a longer period of time, such as brunches, day boards, or

other ‘eat when you are ready’ scenarios.  At meals where everyone sits down

to eat at the same time, there is a vast difference in the dining times of

the first and last people through the line, not to mention getting the dregs

of the dishes!  Two or more serving lines can help alleviate this problem.

This style works better for smaller groups (40 or below) if everyone is

eating at once.


      Tableside - Servers bring food on platters or other serving vessels to the

table and serve each diner individually.  Soups are often served this way.

If there is something that needs to be done to a dish at the moment of

service (as in lighting a flambé, cutting meat, adding a sauce) training

servers to do this tableside can create a very memorable experience for

the diners.


      Family Style - Platters delivered to the table containing the entire

portion of food for every diner there.  Serving utensils are added and

dines serve themselves.


      “One server from every table...” - a method of serving Family Style

service. A designated server or individuals in rotation get up from each

table and collect the foods portioned out for them.  Ensures that every

table gets served but cuts down on the amount of server education you can

do. A Feast Menu on the table helps in this situation.


      Covered Trencher - An SCA-ism for a pot-luck dinner, where members all

bring a dish to serve at least 6 people.  Very effective for one-day events

and socials.  Themes and recipes can be distributed in advance so that cooks

can try new dishes and share them with the group.  Divisions can be along

the lines of “English personas bring the meats, French personas bring the

breads, Middle Eastern personas bring the desserts...” or some other such

method. This can be combined with a partial feast, such as the group’s

Feast Planner cooks the main meat course and provides the beverages, and the

diners bring everything else.


      Kitchen and dining area are separated by a large distance - this adds

difficulty to the job, but nothing a good plan can’t handle.  Arrange for

hot food to be kept in larger pots until served at the dining area, or even

inside coolers to retain heat (or cold).  Arrange for carts or dollies, or

even trucks to transport the food.  Create fragile presentations at the

dining area, don’t try to transport anything but the individual components

if possible.




The people who get your great food to the tables at seated feasts.  You will

need about 1 server for every 8-12 diners to really take care of your

guests. You may choose a service style that asks for one server from every

table, or select individuals ahead of time.


With enough advance time, you might consider livery for your servers.

Simple tabards, arm bands, or even hats could identify them, and with enough

time and resources they could all be clothed alike!


It is the Peer’s prerogative to serve High Table.  Consider asking local

Peers or those from your pre-reservations if they would like to serve.

Whether using Peers or not, try to arrange at least one server in advance

for the High Table so they know what special things will be going on and

will be able to help make things go more smoothly.


Children enjoy serving at feast, and can be utilized for items like

beverages or bread, things that are not too heavy or spill-able.


Depending on the formality of your service style, you may choose to feed the

servers at a separate dinner ahead of the main feast. This gives them a

chance to familiarize themselves with the food, as well as taking care of

their hunger so they aren’t starving while everyone else eats in front of



It is very important to educate the servers on the food they are serving.

Months of research, preparation, trials, sweat and effort can be wiped out

in an instant if, when a server is asked:  “What is that?”, they say:


“I don’t know”,


or worse -


“Uh, some kind of green stuff?”




Hall Steward


   An effective Hall Steward will be an individual that is organized, has good

communication skills, has the ability to delegate and is successful at

drafting help, and has an understanding of SCA feasting.  They should also

be someone that is calm and level-headed under pressure, and hopefully

good sense of humor.


   The Hall Steward will work as a liaison between the Feastcrat and the Autocrat. The Hall Steward will need to have an understanding of the facility,

including the basic set-up of the hall (and if there is a standard way the

hall is to be set up when the group is done leaving it), and the number of

tables and chairs available vs. those needed (this number may need to take

into account other daytime event needs such as classes, gosling activities,

kitchen rep needs).   Set-up may include two or three changes, for Friday

night and Saturday daytime activities, Court, Feast, and Revel. They will

need to determine whether the set-up is ‘traditional’ or something

inventive. Light, air, and sound may need to be taken into account, as well

as pathways, kitchen and exit access, Royalty requirements, garbage and

clean-up preparations.


Their job may start as early as Friday night, with an inventory of tables,

chairs, and other fixtures you may be using in thehall.  Then, set up for

Merchants, gaming, conversation, etc. can take place.  Sign-up lists for

volunteer help may be set up in the hall or at the Troll.  If there is a

Friday night Traveller’s Fare served, the Cooks in charge of that meal will

need to coordinate with the Hall Steward for their needs.  Saturday morning

breakfast Cooks may also interact here.  Once the basic plan for the event

is laid out, the Hall Steward will work in the hall to ensure that

everything happens when it is supposed to, just as the Feastcrat works in

the Kitchen to make sure that dinner is served on time, in the right order,

and at the right temperatures.   The Hall Steward and the Feastcrat will

work together to coordinate the rhythm of the meal, the length of breaks,

and the overall presentation of the meal.


As a safety note, the Hall Steward must be well versed as to where to find a

mop or towels in case of spills, and he or she must be mindful of a place to

have guests store their feast baskets.


The Hall Steward may or may not be in charge of Servers.  If there is

someone else in charge of Servers, they will work under the Hall Steward.

The Hall Steward will need to have an understanding of the menu and the

service needs.  You may choose to have a dinner for Server first, to

familiarize them with the foods, and assure that they have the opportunity

to sit and eat before they start working at serving everyone else their

dinner. There may also be a separate meal for children, which may need

planning as well.


The Hall Steward will also work together with the Entertainers on theatrics,

special events or games, and with the Royalty in the event They wish to open

a dinner Court.


First time Foibles: Many hall stewards don’t leave enough space for walking

between tables. They forget that when people are sitting in a chair at a

the dinner table, the back of the chair is between 18” and 24” from the edge

of the table.  If dinners are sitting back to back, there needs to be at

least 4 feet between tables for the diners to sit with comfort as well as to

be able to get into and out of their seats.


      Also, be mindful of our disabled friends, who will need to have even

wider aisles.



Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 01:05:12 -0300

From: Micheal <dmreid at hfx.eastlink.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How meals are served n period

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Okay out here on the east coast we do full service single items most of the

time. Lately the number of table dishes has increased. Table dish one dish

for a sitting of eight type. But service takes Half an hour for full 5-6

dishes for 80-120 people. 30min. between removes and again 5-6 dishes 30

min. You imply have to work on the timing of service we found and getting

enough servers ahead of time. Our feast always have a Serve-o-crat or

Head waiter if you prefer.





Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 17:36:10 -0500

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 32, Issue 49

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> ISTR that servers in livery are either very late period, or out of

> period entirely.


Servers would be grooms and gentlemen in waiting, and other employees of

the host. Generally, clothing or lengths of cloth were part of such

servants' hire, though it might not match. Since most people had very

few suits of clothes, presumably those would be the clothes they would

serve in. I checked OED, and the use of the term livery for distinctive

clothing of employment (or guild membership) does date to period:


13.. E.E. Allit. P. A. 1107 And alle in sute her liurez wasse. 1375

BARBOUR Bruce XIX. 36 Thre hundreth and sexte had he Of squyeris, cled

in his liverye. c1386 CHAUCER Prol. 363 An haberdasshere and a

Carpenter, A Webbe, a Dyere, and a Tapycer, And they were clothed in o

lyueree Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee. 1389 in Eng. Gilds (1870)

21 Ye bretheren and sisteren of yis gilde..shul han a lyueree of hodes

in suyte. 1399 LANGL. Rich. Redeles II. 79 That no manere meyntenour

shulde merkis bere, Ne haue lordis leuere {th}e lawe to apeire. c1440

Gesta Rom. xv. 51 (Add. MS.), xlti knyghtes of oone leveraye. 1463 Bury

Wills (Camden) 41 Bothe my colers of silvir, the kyng's lyfre. 1473 J.

WARKWORTH Chron. (Camden) 14 He..wered ane estryche feder, Prynce

Edwardes lyvery. 1480 Wardr. Acc. Edw. IV (1830) 124 A gowne and a hoode

of the liveree of the Garter for the Duke de Ferrare. 1485 CAXTON Paris

& V. 14 Every baron gaf hys lyverey that they shold be knowen eche fro

other. 1522 WRIOTHESLEY Chron. (1875) I. 13 The kinge and he ridinge

both together in one liverey. a1548 HALL Chron., Hen. VI, 173b, The erle

perceiving by the livery of the souldiors, that he was circumvented.

?a1550 in Dunbar's Poems (1893) 319 {Ygh}e noble merchandis..Address

{ygh}ow furth..In lusty grene lufraye. a1592 GREENE Geo. a Greene (1599)

F1b, Two liueries will I giue thee euerie yeere, And fortie crownes

shall be thy fee. 1622 BACON Hen. VII 58 Liveries, tokens, and other

badges of factious dependance.


>   But huge chunks of meat carved at high table were not common.  Most

> of the recipes we have for meat tell us to start with a roast, then do

> things to it.


Carving meat at table, however, is mentioned consistently in all the

manners texts. Looks like one 'mess' (serving for one table group) for

each of the higher tables would be carved at table. Birds in particular

were carved. (see _The Little Babee's Little Book_, Libro de Cuoco, etc.)


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 18:15:22 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

      <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 32, Issue 49

To: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net, Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Jan 17, 2006, at 5:36 PM, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:


> Servers would be grooms and gentlemen in waiting, and other employees of

> the host. Generally, clothing or lengths of cloth were part of such

> servants' hire, though it might not match. Since most people had very

> few suits of clothes, presumably those would be the clothes they would

> serve in. I checked OED, and the use of the term livery for distinctive

> clothing of employment (or guild membership) does date to period:


I STR that in the introduction to Scully's edition of Chiquart,

there's an account from the household books of the Duke of Savoy,

featuring the names of various employees in the households of the

Duke and the Duchess, and their respective salaries and liveries. Of

course, this is using the term in an English translation, but the

concept appears to be period.


>>   But huge chunks of meat carved at high table were not common.  Most

>> of the recipes we have for meat tell us to start with a roast,

>> then do things to it.

> Carving meat at table, however, is mentioned consistently in all the

> manners texts. Looks like one 'mess' (serving for one table group) for

> each of the higher tables would be carved at table. Birds in particular

> were carved. (see _The Little Babee's Little Book_, Libro de Cuoco, etc.)


True. It's also frequently illustrated in places like the Bayeux

Tapestry. In addition, you can look at the menu references to gros

char (which is just a big ol' hunk-o'-meat, like beef, pork or

mutton), sliced into manageable pieces and served with sauces. Some

of the sauce recipes you see in medieval sources omit references to

which meat they're to be served with, but in fact appear to be sauces

for those big hunks of meat.





Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 20:30:09 -0800 (PST)

From: Honour Horne-Jaruk <jarukcomp at sbcglobal.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Theater, roasts and historic serving

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


>> From: Pat <mordonna22 at yahoo.com>

(In reference to my post)

> ISTR that servers in livery are either very late

> period, or out of period entirely.


Full armorial livery, I agree; it's both late and

rare. But originally, 'livery' meant 'provided

clothing that came with the job', not a full

clone-gang thing. We've had good results just from

giving everyone matching caps and armbands (and asking

them to wear tunics); cost maybe ten bucks.


>   I agree about good theater, and I think we need

> more of it in our feasts.

>   But huge chunks of meat carved at high table were

> not common.  Most of the recipes we have for meat

> tell us to start with a roast, then do things to it.


Of course that's what we have recipes for; plain

roasts of the cook-plunk-carve variety required no

recipe. We do have, however, many varied manuals of

instructions for domestics- and they explain quite

consistantly how 'to carve before the Lord'. You don't

give instructions on how to do something that will

never be done.


There are also plenty of plain roasts in the feast

lists. It simply didn't occur to people to give

instructions for such simple cooking; how many modern

cookbooks give instructions on how to make a

cold-cereal-and-juice breakfast?


Yours in service to both the Societies of which I am a member-

(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.

Alisond de Brebeuf, C.O.L. S.C.A.- AKA Una the wisewoman, or That Pict



Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 09:31:22 -0600 (CST)

From: Cat Dancer <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 32, Issue 49

To: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net, Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Tue, 17 Jan 2006, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise wrote:


>> ISTR that servers in livery are either very late period, or out of

>> period entirely.

> Servers would be grooms and gentlemen in waiting, and other employees of

> the host. Generally, clothing or lengths of cloth were part of such

> servants' hire, though it might not match. Since most people had very

> few suits of clothes, presumably those would be the clothes they would

> serve in. I checked OED, and the use of the term livery for distinctive

> clothing of employment (or guild membership) does date to period:


The Rules of Robert Grossteste (13th c) talk about making sure the

servants are wearing the household livery: "The (sixteenth) rule teaches

you on what clothing your men ought to wait on you at table. Order your

knights and your gentlemen who wear your livery that they ought to put on

that same livery every day, and especially at your table and in your

presence to uphold your honour, and not old surcoats, and soiled cloaks,

and cut-off coats."


According to the household accounts I've been reading, members of the

household would be wearing clothes of the same fabric according to their

place in the social order, i.e., a group such as valets would get a

specific quality, amount, and color of cloth, but the particulars of the

cloth varied by group. So you'd have the knights in blue, and the valets

in murrey, and so forth.


Margaret FitzWilliam





Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 11:04:17 -0300

From: Micheal <dmreid at hfx.eastlink.ca>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] feast booklets

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


- can't trust the heralds, ya know?

> Giano


   You to some times I have to wonder , but what can you do. Not argue with

the herald  just before the feast.  I have had soups announced as sauces,

Sauces announced as soups. Pastry as non bread wheat products, and Chickens

as over the expiry date eggs. Roast as some kind of meat parts, and Salads

as escapees from the garden patch. Which is great fun until you get asked

for recipes several days later on the Bee puked glassed drunken ham, instead

of Pork Roast stewed in Honeyed Wine.





Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 13:24:13 -0400

From: Gretchen Beck <grm at andrew.cmu.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Documentation "Fun"...was "Potatoes


To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


>> How do you square this with allergies? I allways post a menu somewhere

>> pulic, which lists the name of the dish, the source, and what it

>> contains. Sometimes I have a "restaurant style" description as well.

>> That way people can know that the strawberryes contain almonds, that

>> the cawdel of saumon do not (I tend to nick the fast day alternation of

>> "milk of kine or almond", reverse it, and use to get around the dreaded

>> 5-verions-of-everything syndrome whenever needed)


For this, you employ the servers -- for each course, tell the servers (or

have the head serveer do this) what each dish is and instruct them on how

you want it to be presented (You know, "ok, now, when you get to the table,

show the platter to the table and tell them what dishes are on it"). It may

not get the info to every table, but it will to most, and if you establish

the habit, the servers will start asking. Another possibilitie is to herald

each course -- have a herald announce that the course is being served and

call out the names of the dishes. This allows folks to match the dishes in

a course with the recipes in the documentation.


toodles, margaret



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 14:39:00 -0400

From: "Elaine Koogler" <kiridono at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] odd feast I went to

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I was at the same feast...and viewed the way it was served with mixed

emotions. On the one hand, Sir Xenophon is such a fabulous cook that, had

the courses come out the way they usually do, I might have "pigged out" on

the first, and been too full to taste the lamb and pork which came out

last. But it was somewhat intimidating to have that much food on the table

all at one time.  So I dunno....not having it sliced or with serving

utensils is frequently done in Atlantia, so that didn't really bother me...I

prefer to supply utensils and serve the meat sliced, with the possible

exception of High Table.  But I know that many, if not most cooks  

here do not do this.




On 4/19/07, Olwen the Odd <olwentheodd at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I recently (last weekend) went to an event called Night on the Town.  The

> feast staff was headed up by a fellow named Sir Xenophon Vaughn who I

> understand wanted to do certain things on the menu way out of range of the

> budget so he footed the remainder of the bill himself.  Very interesting

> though.  One person from each table was called up to serve the table.  Then

> Sir Xenophon came out and addressed the assembled crowd and announced that

> there were five courses and all would come out at the same time because the

> kitchen staff also wanted to sit down to eat.  All the serving trays were

> the decorative but disposable round metal type trays.  It began with a bowl

> of bread slices of different hearty breads (no butter at least at our table)

> the first meat one coming had roast beef surrounded by medallions of beets

> and turnips roasted.  The second was chicken served on top of asparagus, the

> third was lamb roast on top of peas (I may have the chicken and lamb mixed

> up in order and which veggies), the fourth was a pork rib roast on top of

> pickled red cabbage.  None came out sliced or with serving utensils.

> Although I like everything that was on the menu, I, for one, did not like

> the idea of all this stuff on the table (under ceiling fans) at the  

> same time.  What are your thoughts on this type of serving?

> Cariad a heddwch (love and peace)

> Dame Olwen the Odd

> Barony of Bright Hills

> Kingdom of Atlantia!



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:44:12 -0400

From: Jehan-Yves <jehan.yves at signofthetiger.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] odd feast I went to

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


This is the style of service that Sir Xenophon is known for. He has

done many feasts for Barony Lochmere over the years and his food is

always excellent. Some people do like the service done that way. I

agree that often it is difficult to fit the serving dishes for a

three or four dish course on the table at once.  Five courses must

require setting some of the dishes (or peoples table settings) on the  



(who favors three, three dish, courses)



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:53:45 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Lady Orla Carey" <orla at lady.sca.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] odd feast I went to

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


We were also at this feast and I have to say it was not my favorite.  The

veggies were all served cold and seemed to be more of a garnish then

anything else.  On the other hand some people like that type feast and to

his credit the event flyer did list that the feast would be "meat heavy"

so I guess vegetarians knew not to plan on eatting feast.


As far as I can tell no one got butter for the bread and this seems to be

the thing I see commented most about this feast.


The way we handled the dish overload issue was that the bread bowl ended

up on our cooler (luckily we were at the end of a row of tables so we

could have the cooler nearby).  As each dish was passed people took what

the wanted and as soon as we could consolidate dishes we did - ending up

with one platter with the remains of all the dishes (except the peas which

ended up in someone's bowl) and the other platters stacked underneath.




> Did you get a bed with this feast?  Sounds like my Gran'ma's boarding

> house.  Now, I know how she got that much food on the table, 'cause she

> had a honking huge table, but how did y'all make everything fit?

> Most sites we use have those wonderful 6-8 ft. folding tables.  Once you

> get eight people, and all their accoutrement at each table, there's not

> enough room for five platters.



Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 18:10:31 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] odd feast I went to

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Hmmm, I was not present at NOTT, though many of my friends with Gardiner's

> Company were.  It sounds like it was an attempt at a more period feast than

> is commonly done in the SCA, but maybe not.  The bread served alone, the

> vegetables as garnish, the dishes sent out together instead of acting as

> seperate courses.  All of these things fit my understanding at least of

> late period meals than our usual practices.




> If you served

> the food all at once for authenticity, thats one thing, though not  

> usually practical.

> Ranald de Balinhard


Serving everything at one time isn't a very period practice.  Since feasts

were meant to cover an extended period, sending out individual dishes (a

primarily German practice, if the references are correct) or sending out

groups of dishes as courses would be more likely.  Bread would have been on

the table and would be replenished during the meal.  The table would be

cleared by the almoner and his waiters between courses.


The idea of limiting the dinner to three courses of multiple dishes appears

to be attrributable to Catherine de Medici during the period of her regency

for her son.


From the recipes, I would say late period meals are more likely to have

seperate vegetable dishes than early period.  At least more attention

appears to have been given the veggies then.





Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 21:42:37 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] A question of service

To: <mary.doug at pierocarey.info>, "Cooks within the SCA"

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Communal or common service, based on the methods of the Roman Era Christian

communes, although I doubt it was called that in the Middle Ages or the

Renaissance.  In practice, it probably would have been limited to religious

communities such as monestaries and abbeys where all were equal before God

(just some more equal than others).


The flunkies or lackies are generally referred to as waiters.  Waiters

usually fall into two classes, gentle waiters (pages. squires, the lord of

the manor attending the king) and yeoman waiters.  Waiters serve the tables

under the direction of the steward of the hall (often a knight, who acts as

the host of the manor on behalf of the lord) and the senior waiters and

clear the tables under the direction of the almoner.


Your serving hatch is "the bar."  The bar marks the division between the

cook's domain and the domain of the steward (or possibly butler or pantler).

Meals and portions that are sent across the bar are accounted for and

compared to the menus from and quantities requisitioned by the cook from the

clerk or the wardrobe (treasurer, exchequer, privy purse, etc., etc.,





> In mundanity, there are names for different types of meal service.

> Russian, French, Buffet, Family-style, etc.  I've read of different

> styles of service for feasts in the SCA, but I can't recall that I ever

> really heard any of them _named_.  So, my local group's next feast is

> probably going to be the type where you delegate 1 person from each

> table to go fetch the serving bowl or tray from the serving hatch.

> We've always had enough flunkies, er, lackeys, er, um, volunteers to

> fetch & carry before.  This is the 1st time we've tried it this way, and

> we don't know quite what to call it.  Can anyone tell me a good term to

> use?  Is there a recognizable SCAdian term for this style of service?

> When the head cook asked me this question today, I was at a loss. The

> only idea I came up with was "cooperative service", but I was just

> making it up out of my head.  Anyone got any ideas?

> Yours, in puzzlement,

> Maria from Alderford/Mary Piero Carey



Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 07:59:20 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] serving unusual foods

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On May 11, 2009, at 1:39 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

<<< But do you ever serve some medieval dishes that might strike people  

the same way? What dishes?  How have you handled it at feasts you've  

cooked? Have you just expected the feasters to figure it out?  

Perhaps it's simply the matter of which sauce goes with which meat  

or food item?


Perhaps it is the matter of serving a whole, small bird. Not all  

feasters have been faced with figuring out how to eat such a thing  

before. Or eating a whole, or almost whole fish with most of its  

bones intact. Or sending a large chunk of bird or beast to the table  

and expecting those at the table to be able to portion it out? (Not  

to mention this is probably not a period way of doing it). How did  

you handle things?


In some places medieval foods/feasts have a bad reputation.  

Sometimes it is because the feasts in those areas have been  

inedible. Sometimes perhaps it has been something like this, the  

unfamiliar. What can be done to solve this? >>>


I'm not sure if there's a guaranteed solution, but I've been rather  

sensitive to this problem for many years; it's one of the reasons,  

along with the frequently inherent food waste that sometimes comes  

with improper carving and service, I'll occasionally go for the Less  

Period Option, all other things being equal: which is more grating for  

the period ambience; the [for example] square block of ham or the bone-

in ham nobody knows how to carve? I'd posit the latter. Not that  

there's a whole lot of baked ham presentations in the SCA (or are  

there? there probably shouldn't be...)


But in general, I try to teach a very basic carving class when I can,  

using both modern culinary-standard techniques and any of several  

period sources on carving and service. The hope is that eventually  

there'll be fewer feast tables with nobody present at them who knows  

how to deal with a whole fish, say, or get eight small servings out of  

a whole roast duck. If you're one of those people who can deal with  

it, it's always nice to take at look at the next table to see how  

they're doing, and offer assistance if needed, or even the loan of a  

better knife. And yes, carrying a decent knife for carving is a good  

thing, too.


As head cooks, taking a minute to discuss course details with servers  

can be helpful in preventing the kind of problems Stefan mentions. And  

then, of course,  presenting food in as close to a plate-ready state,  

in portions with sauces and garnishes as much in place as is  

practicable, is also helpful.





Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 12:02:09 -0400

From: Bill Fisher <liamfisher at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] serving unusual foods

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


When I did feasts, I did my best to present the food in a ready state to try

to minimize the waste.

I had already seen people stare blankly at uncut pies, uncarved hunks of

meat, etc at other feasts

I had worked on, so I tend to try to make my presentations as "user

friendly" as possible, when I can.


But, all that being said, you have to work with what you have on hand.   If

you don't have the serving vessels

to do a pre-prepped delivery, then maybe you can set up some servers with

roaming or regional carving stations.


Even do the dreaded buffet style feast...


I've already wheeled a vat of soup around a feast hall on a kitchen cart and

served people that way.  (it was a

lot of fun too, well, only if the cart has good wheels...wasn't my feast, I

was just helping)





Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 14:34:11 -0500

From: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] serving unusual foods

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


-S commented:

<<< case in point - Coronation feast on Saturday.  Most people it seems did not

understand that the sour cream that went out was supposed to be eaten with

the pierogi.  It probably should have waited for the pierogi but there was

room on the first platter so I sent it out at the beginning of the course

and the pierogi followed. >>>


I think the solution in that case is to tell the servers, or at least  

the head server who should pass it on, "The sour cream is or the  

pierogis which will be out shortly". I've seen entire courses come  

out, out of order, and some dishes get shifted from one course to  

another or not come out at all. It happens. And I don't have a  

problem with sending out something like this sour cream when the  

space is available. But get the word out. Otherwise, folks are going  

to be trying to figure out what the sour cream is for and they might  

find another use for it, on food or not :-), and not have any left  

for when the food it was meant for comes out. Thank you, Susan.




THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          



Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 20:43:09 -0400

From: ranvaig at columbus.rr.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] serving unusual foods

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


-S commented:

<<< case in point - Coronation feast on Saturday.  Most people it seems did not understand that the sour cream that went out was supposed to be eaten with

the pierogi.  It probably should have waited for the pierogi but there was

room on the first platter so I sent it out at the beginning of the course

and the pierogi followed. >>>


Its better to have the sauce first, than to have it appear long after the item it was meant for had been devoured.





From: john heitman <gottskrieger at GMAIL.COM>

Date: March 30, 2010 9:20:09 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] Feasts


On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Mark Schuldenfrei <mark at schuldy.org> wrote:

<<< A lot of what troubles SCA cooks in getting food out fast, is

that they lack both staff and facilities - in my opinion. >>>


Your opinion is dead on with my experience moving from professional to

SCA kitchens.


Church kitchens are set up for cafeteria style serving at best.

Individuals come to the window for an individual plate of food.  There

is no butlers pantry (the area where food is plated and held at

temperature for distribution) and the flow inside the kitchen is not

designed for more than three people to work.


But just as important is that the traditional server at an SCA feast

is NOT a professional. There is substantially more to quality serving

than getting the food from the kitchen to the table, and knowing a

decent low knee bend.  Good service is almost a well rehearsed ballet

between the kitchen and the table, with servers knowing where other

servers are in the dance. This is not something that 15 minutes before

feast can create. Especially if the kitchen changes every meal.  Very

few people are truly interested in creating a serving team as part of

their persona.


But having said all that, I will say that seldom do I eat at other

social groups' functions where the food and the service are as good as

what we produce regularly with our volunteers.  And that includes the

groups who use professional caterers.




<<< Mostly staff.  It takes a good bit of time to evenly portion

out food.  It can be made faster if you have a lot more

space and materials - but it's still slow.  (And a lot of

SCA folks don't know the tricks that professional chefs have

shown me in dishing stuff out.)


Also, professional chefs often have hot-boxes and other food

storage facilities that rental kitchens lack, or that we

don't know how to use.  So, rather than starting to plate

at 5 for a 5:30 feast, we start to plate at 5:30.  We get

behind, and we never catch up, and we don't have staff.


Next time you get a chance, observe that most SCA kitchens

look like at service time.  There's a reason why, in most

professional kitchens, the head chef sits "at the pass"

and expedites food delivery.  It's really tricky.


I've been in charge of "table service" for meals at

events, and while I can't claim perfection, I can

say that there are LOTS of ways to speed up the

transition from stew-pot to plate.  But it's a bigger

job than most folks think, and it is something often



Speaking in general, not just to you Eringlen - next

time you anticipate a feast, split your jobs.


Provisioner - purchases and brings all the food to

the kitchen.  Ingredients.


Kitchener - cooks the food.


Galley - cleans all day and after the feast.


Head Waiter - handles the plating and delivery of

food to the tables.


       Tibor >>>



Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2011 23:13:42 -0400

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Whole or In Parts:  Was amounts of food per



Bear wrote:

<<< Whole chickens are great for appearance or in specific whole chicken

dishes, but on a couple of occasions, I've been the only person at the

table that knew how to carve a whole chicken.  I also am of the

opinion that thighs provide the most meat for the least cost. >>>


And, may I echo that a whole chicken would be unlikely to have been put

on the period table and left there.  The diners would not have carved

it; it would have been carved for them.  Lower ranking tables would most

likely have been given a dish with meat already prepared.  The high

table might have been given a whole item with the carver then preparing

bits and pieces for the high-ranking guests.


Putting a whole bird - or a large, uncarved bit of meat - in front of

diners is (to me) one of the common errors when SCAdians try to recreate

a medieval feast.


Alys K.



Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2011 22:37:14 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whole or In Parts:  Was amounts of food per



<<< Putting a whole bird - or a large, uncarved bit of meat - in front of

diners is (to me) one of the common errors when SCAdians try to recreate a

medieval feast.


Alys K. >>>


I actually served a whole turkey to the head table last feast I did.  It was

presented to the Baron who carved the bird and presented the meat to the

Crown. It was a bit of showmanship with my stag handled Solingen carving

set to add a little more pizzaz.  The other tables were served cold sliced

turkey ala Rumpolt.  There would have been too much wastage serving whole

birds. The kitchen staff and the servers picked the head table bird clean

after it came off the table.


Just as I was buying for the feast, turkey breast showed up for 98 cents a

pound, so I had about six turkey breasts and three turkey hens (to provide

dark meat, drumsticks, wings, etc.).  I used about 70 pounds of raw turkey

to feed 160 relatively inexpensively.





Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 07:10:06 -0400

From: "Jim and Andi Houston" <jimandandi at cox.net>

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Whole or In Parts:  Was amounts of food per



On 5/04/2011 3:37 PM, Terry Decker wrote:

<<< Putting a whole bird - or a large, uncarved bit of meat - in front of

diners is (to me) one of the common errors when SCAdians try to

recreate a medieval feast. >>>


I like using whole animals as presentations/subtleties. Put the whole

critter on a fancy platter and decorate it, present it to the nobles and

parade it around the hall, then whisk it back into the kitchen, carve it

very quickly, and serve it. I have done this twice with large whole fish

(mahi and salmon) and once with a 60 lb pig and it went over very well.




<the end>

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