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kitchen-clean-msg – 3/7/10


Comments and suggestions on cleaning the kitchen after an SCA feast.


NOTE: See also the files: evnt-stewards-msg, headcooks-msg, feast-decor-msg, feast-serving-msg, tokens-msg, event-ideas-msg, camp-kitchens-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



Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 13:04:29 -0500

From: "Gedney, Jeff" <Gedney.J at phd.com>

Subject: RE: SC - "I lived... I've got to find out what to do now!"


kat wrote:

> btw, some advice, if anyone's got any to spare <g>...  Though it is sadly

> normal in our area for the kitchen crew plus autocrat to be the core of the

> cleanup crew, the incidences of early hall-fleeing were much higher than

> normal this year.  So much so, in fact, that not one of the kitchen crew were

> able to make an early escape, and we didn't make it out of the hall quite by

> the time we were supposed to.  I was wondering if anyone out there has ever

> found a tactful yet successful way of remedying such a situation; and if so,

> would you be willing to share?


When ever I autocrat, I judge it MY responsibility to get commitments in

advance for both hall AND Kitchen cleanup crews. I maintain them as

separate requirements. It is also my job as autocrat to follow up on

these commitments and find replacements as needed BEFORE the particular

shifts requiring such replacements. I also make them aware of the shift

schedule Before the event, and remind them of it every time the event is

discussed. (Also how I staff Troll, and Hall Cleanup)That is how I

autocrat. Cleanup should NEVER be left to chance.

Here is a sample Kitchen crew shift schedule:


3:00 - 4:30  First Pot scrubbing shift - one Person (keeps used pots

cleaned and ready for re-use as needed)

5:00 - 6:00  (First remove served) - Second Pot scrubbing shift - one

Person (keeps used pots cleaned and ready for re-use as needed)

6:00 - 7:30  (during feast service) Dinner Crew - 3 persons ( Two at a

time - in remove rotations so they each get to sit part of the feast )

keep the serving dishes and pots ready as needed

7:30 - done (Kitchen Cleanup) 4 persons Final Cleanup


This way, the kitchen is generally done and the doors closed on it by

9:30, and they all get to play.


Feast cooks are not allowed to clean up. Cooks are the Feastocrats

Responsibility, Cleanup is mine.


I know that some kitchens are not conducive to this level of

organization, but I try always to have kitchen cleaning in process as

early as possible, and I never lump it in with the kitchen staff's

duties or hall cleanup.





Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 23:45:13 -0500

From: Heitman <fiondel at fastrans.net>

Subject: SC - Finding a clean up crew


>Does anyone have any suggestions on getting such a wonderful, noble

>tradition as yours started out here?  Any suggestions would be greatly


>       - kat


Well, my suggestion of asking the households has already been taken.  :/


The BEST way I've ever found to get people to jump at cleaning up is

to talk to most popular person around into doing it.  Whoever it is who

has the most friends, is the most fun to be around, whatever.  You talk

him/her into doing it, then gently suggest that a couple of his/her

friends would certainly be welcome.......instant clean up crew, and you

only have to convince one person.


I have also been known to give out sinfully good, hand made chocolate

truffles, but only to the people still around AFTER the kitchen is clean.  :)





Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 14:02:54 -0400

From: Christine A Seelye-King <mermayde at juno.com>

Subject: Re: Re: SC - After feast


>Inevitably, either nothing is done, or the people who volunteer for the

>committee have "other commitments" and you get one or two folks who

>sweep or wash dishes for about an hour and then have to go home.

>Does anyone have any suggestions on getting such a wonderful, noble

>tradition as yours started out here?  Any suggestions would be greatly


>       - kat


Find folks to ask in advance for a few hours work after the feast.  Make

sure that they aren't folks who will have 'other commitments', like folks

that have only been in for 6 months to a year.  If they know in advance

that they will be doing grunt work for a while in the evening, they can

bring some older garb to work in.  Then, make it a treat.  Upbeat music

(some bawdy Irish drinking songs works well, instead of rock or something

[more] unperiod).  And then, have sodas, beer (if you're able), even

chocolates reserved for the clean-up crew.  I'll bet that pretty soon,

those 'other committments' will seem less important!  I have also

shamelessly asked a large Duke to be the 'Clean-up Crew Wrangler', I said

that I didn't need him to actually do the dishes, just help round up a

crew for the job.  That worked REALLY well.  ;)


And shame on the event planners for not following through with filling

out the committee they formed!  I know it is just one more thing to be

done, but in my experience, we have a lot of people who are more than

willing to help out, but they need to know what needs to be done, and

have someone who knows when and where things need doing.  (OK, maybe I

sound like a Pelican, but really, a little bit of advance planning and

someone who can direct the flow of work is all it takes!)


Mistress Christianna

who is intimately familiar with the tools of cleaning up, but doesn't

necessarily want to have to use them all the time!



Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 07:40:27 -0700

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

Subject: Re: SC - Antibacterials


hi all from Anne-Marie


Melisande sez:

>A while back I saw a documentary on the telly (yes, sorry, it's probably

>pseudoscience) that said humans couldn't stand the amount of heat

>required to kill off bad bugs, so we are better off using cold water

>since that retards their growth and the temperature of hot water we like

>is what the bugs like too, thus causing them to multiply more



actually, you're right that we cant wash our hands with temperatures high

enough to KILL bugs, but most tap temperatures are  more than high enough

to make them unhappy and make them fall off our hands, which is the point.

Its the soap that kills 'em. Manual scrubbing does a good job of removing

'em even without soap, too.


Most bugs are happiest at 36o celcius, ie body temperature (for the record,

that feels just slightly warm to the touch). That';s the temp they grow at,

though they do ok at slightly higher and slightly lower temps. They'll even

grow in the refrigerator (4o celsius) and no one washes their hands in that

cold of water (not on purpose :)). And most hot water is about 100o F or

higher. Proteins start to denature about 104o F, so even if it doesnt kill

them outright, they arent very happy about it.


The big thing about hot water is that it tends to make the bugs waxy outer

coats more liquid, so the soap does a better job.


I tell people in my food safety classes I teach:

1. soap and water are your friends, use them often. We will often have a

bucket of soapy water in our period camp so folks can wash their hands

frequently. Be sure there's clean towels so you dont pick up more bugs

drying your hands.

2. Scrub to knock off the bugs, etc

3. HOT water is great, especially when combined with bleach and used on

cutting boards, countertops, etc. We use boiling water whenever we can.

4. if you cant have access to soap and water to your satisfaction, use

something like diaperwipes or antibacterial hand gel. It'll taste gross but

it wont kill you, and it does a number of the bugs.

5. Nothing around us is sterile in the real world. Fortunately we all

should have a nice and happy normal flora who's job it is to fight off

foriegn nasty cooties. (yes, that's the official scientific term). Where we

get into trouble is when the balance of normal flora gets out of wack,

either through colonization by bad bugs (like E.Coli in hamburgers) or

through the ingestion of toxins (like in botulism).


wash your hands and your cookware so that you dont get enough bad bugs to

beat out your normal flora and cook and store your food correctly to avoid

the production of toxins, and you should be fine.


hope this helps some...

- --Anne-Marie, who feels a _serve it forth_ article coming on :)



Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 15:49:04 -0500

From: "Isha ArrowHawk" <ArianneShadowWalker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: SC - When planning a feast ....


From: Olwen the Odd <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

> Get volunteers _in advance_ for clean up duty.  Often a passer-by during the

> day is very happy to stand and wash prep stuff so make (using the plastic

> bag method previously seen on the list) a plastic covering apron so the

> volunteer doesn't have to spend the day wet.


Something that I do when my beloved and I go camping, is to carry a few of

those paper thin garbage bags, the really long ones?  I cut holes in it for

head and arms, and just slip it on over my clothes until I'm done with the

clean-up chores, then it gets tossed in the trash.  Fast, simple, and easy.





Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 08:01:43 -0500

From: "Denise Wolff" <scadian at hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Re: OOPS! 12th night feast

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


----Original Message Follows----

From: "Mark S. Harris" <MarkSHarris at austin.rr.com>

>>>> 12 people or more. the clean up will kill you.

That certainly would have improved things. You are right on there not being

enough hot water. I'd forgotten that problem. More cloth towels would have

helped as well. Even if the kids hadn't soaked several of them playing in

the water, there still wouldn't have been enough. The paper towels didn't

quite seem sufficient, but maybe that is the answer. There were lots of pans

and trays and steam pans to dry off.<<<<


***Lesson learned years ago. when buying paper towels- don't scimp on cost.

What you save in pennies add up when you need more than you thought you

needed because they either fall apart or don't absorb well




Invest in a large amount of cheap drying cloths (just for this purpose). I

just fill a bag with the overused ones and throw them in the washer-with

bleach after the event is over. save them for the next event in the group



<<<By the way, no one answered my questions about what to do with pots of

bad food, leftover glop etc. What is supposed to go down the drains? What

gets put in the trash? And if the latter, how do you package it? Plastic

bags full of unsolidified pudding or whatever, seem to be rather unwieldy

and likely to burst at the wrong time. And even gallon cans of glop are

likely to be a mess in the dumpster, even if you have enough




*** Drain off the liquids in the sink (unless especially greasy- then

disposing requires either alot of hot water and dishsoap, or reserve to a

fixed container- which can be put in the freezer- so it congeals. Dispose of

this when it does-not at the event most likely).

"Double bag" the semi solid remains and place in the can.


Hope this helps,

Andrea MacIntyre



Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 23:09:45 +0200

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Ode to the Scullion

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Yo, any Kiplingheads here?


Points for guessing the original :) And feel free to post this in your

Next feast kitchen.


The Scullions


After the sated feasters leave,

And the kitchen crew have fled,

The dutiful scullions come out at eve,

When their lordships are safely abed.


They wipe the tables and clear the plates,

'Till the feasthall stands silent and bare,

Then hie to the kitchens where still awaits,

Their labours' more arduous share:


In scalding water to plunge, unafraid,

Their hands, though the heat they feel,

For washing platters must not be delayed,

Lest the gravy and grease congeal.


They brave the knife in the shadowy murk,

Of the washing basin hid,

And sweep under cupboards where dust-mice lurk,

By their tireless conscience bid,


For they are resolute to preserve,

The good name that SCAdians bear,

And to leave the memories that well serve,

When we ask for the site next year.



It went down well with our crew, and I like to have the help feel






Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 22:54:54 -0500

From: "Nick Sasso" <grizly at mindspring.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] New Grits use OOP

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I had necessity tonight that led to inspiration.  I had a pot of tomato

sauce simmering with less attention that it needed tonight, and it began to

scorch . . . a little scorching is my desired effect to add depth to my

sauce, but this get a little too far.  We did not have a complete layer of

carbonized sauce, but more than browned bits.  I removed the sauce and

immediately ran water to begin dissolving what I could with dish soap  



When soaked for 3 hours or so, some of it softened to come off, the rest

adhered with some tenacity and resisted the plastic scrubby.  I reached for

salt to use as an abrasive.  No dice.  Only a 1/2 cup left for cooking.  So,

I reached for the stone ground grits.  I figured it would have some abrasive

property, and not scratch my stainless pan.  2 Tablespoons worked great.  If

you try it, I recommend going as dry as possible.  Damp sponge or rag at

most. I had a little too much moiosture, and the grits tended to soften too

quickly for the duration of scouring I needed to do (about 10 to 15 minutes).


Sure, you could use steel wool or Brillo, but the natural grit is what I had

and it worked . . . safer on the hands, pan and environment as well!  You

might try coarse grain of any sort as well, but be sure it is a hard grain.

Also check your price per pound before dumping in some heirloom cracked

grain of some sort.


niccolo difrancesco



Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 22:31:42 -0500

From: "Audrey Bergeron-Morin" <audreybmorin at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Blessed are the non-cooks

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Anybody who is willing to come in and deal with things when I am

> brainfried and tired is SO BLESSED.


Well, thank you :-) The local cooks' guild must thinks so too since they

gave me an official apron and offered me to join...


It all started a few years ago. I started by being on the serving  team, then I ended up washing dishes a few times - I'm friends with a lot of our Barony's cooks - in awful conditions. The worst time was when all we  had was one sponge (given to us by one of the feasters) and two towels to  clean a whole feast's worth of dishes.


I decided then and there that I would take over the washing part so we would never, ever be stuck like that again. So, as soon as the last course goes out on the tables, I grab a mouthful and leave the putting away to my Lord, and sneak into the kitchen. I put the leftovers out on the serving tables with assorted ziplock bags and plastic containers (I collect margarine, yoghurt and other pots that would otherwise go into the recycling bin), put out a big pot of soapy water for people to wash their dishes when there's no sink for that purpose, grab a good voice to tell everybody to get what they want, and start washing. Usually somebody shows up and takes care of the putting away of the leftovers. By that time I'm usually deep into the washing part :-)


I have put together a wonderful kitchen cleanup box. Plastic bags (including heavy-duty extra-large trash bags), sponge towels, assorted sponges and scrubbies, steel wool, dish soap, dry bleach tablets (never got to use them because we never have an extra sink for the rinsing), bottle brush (handy for washing strainers), kitchen gloves (don't use them but I have them just in case), about 25 dish cloths that I take out ONE AT A TIME (I know if I take them out all at the same time they'll all be wet within 10  minutes), even rope, scissors, elastics, hand moisturizer, nail clipper, pen and paper, bandages, and many other things... and the lid of the box is concave, so I use it as a drip mat.


And the cooks know I have the box with me, so they can ask for specific items during the day...


I guess I just found a niche that needed to be filled and I decided to do a decent job of it :-)


It just kills me to see the cooks who've put in work for months before the event, have often not slept much the whole week before and sometimes not at all the previous night, and cooked all day and all evening, and often not even eaten during the cooking part, sitting in the kitchen just watching the piles of dirty dishes... The best part is when I have enough hands and can simply shoo them out of the kitchen because they're "in the way" :-)



Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 08:28:29 +1200

From: Antonia Calvo <ladyadele at paradise.net.nz>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] health dept. and coolers RE:  kitchen tips

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


otsisto wrote:

<<< Side note/a tip: I have a box the contains 2 types of dish soap, sm. bottle of bleach, various sponges, metal scrubber, rubber gloves and a spray bottle with sanitizer for sanitizing surfaces, basically a washer's kit. You can not always rely on there being these items in the kitchen. >>>


Our group has a bucket of cleaning supplies that goes to events.


Antonia di Benedetto Calvo



Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 17:33:37 -0400

From: james of the vayle <jamesofthevayle at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Potentially dumb food safety question

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Just a note if using clorox wipes, from the clorox website:

"For surfaces that may come in contact with food, a potable water rinse

is required"


euriol wrote:

<<< I just want to add when I go in a kitchen to cook a feast, I thoroughly

wipe down all the surfaces with clorox wipes, even if it looks clean before

bringing any food into those kitchen. >>>



Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 01:38:55 -0500

From: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] dish washing

To: SCA-Cooks maillist SCA-Cooks <SCA-Cooks at Ansteorra.org>


Audrey commented:


<<< Welcome to the club ;-) I'm something of a semi-official dishwasher -

but only *after* feast. I want to eat sitting down, but as soon as the

last course is served, I'll rush to the kitchen for cleanup. Cleanup

shouldn't be the cook's job... they deserve a break after all that



Yes, my lady wife, Alina, would rather be in the kitchen scrubbing  

the dishes than sitting through court in the hall.


And while the cook's deserve a break, they should have someone  

available to answer questions and give directions.  There was a  

recent event, not in our barony, where all the cooks disappeared and  

there was no one to tell the dishwasher(s) which pots had food to be  

kept, which were to be dumped, which pots were owned by the hosting  

barony or individuals or were the site's. It was also interesting  

that none of the clean-up staff was from the hosting barony.




THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          



Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 08:59:02 -0400

From: "Audrey Bergeron-Morin" <audreybmorin at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] dish washing

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> dishwasher(s) which pots had food to be kept, which were to be dumped,


Our strategy is usually to put all leftover food out on a big table

with ziploc bags and plastic containers, and have a herald announce

that all food is free to grab. Cooks who wanted to keep something

already have done so before they left the kitchen. Anything left over

after that is either dumped or given away to people staying for

cleanup. We've had a few events held at churches where they would keep

the food for charity.


> which pots were owned by the hosting barony or individuals or were the site's.


We've never had site pots - not in the few years we've done cleanup

anyway. We have our own, and expect individuals to claim their own

pots, or they're packed with the Barony's things!


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org