out-fst-safe-msg – 6/26/05


Outdoor feast safety. How to cook food for groups outside safely.


NOTE: See also the files: kitch-toolbox-msg, kitchen-clean-msg, picnic-feasts-msg, P-Food-Safety-art, cooks-clothng-msg, fd-transport-msg, headcooks-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.


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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: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 00:03:04 -0500

From: "Barbara Benson" <vox8 at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


Several people have mentioned shoes already and I would like to second (or

third) the importance of them. It may just be a problem inherent to the

Southern Reaches but we seem to have a fairly large minority that

categorically refuses to wear shoes. When these good gentles come to my

kitchen to volunteer and I ask them to put on shoes they frequently refuse.

My response is thank you but no thank you.


I have recently had a particularly ugly problem with a lady in a puddle hem

dress. It was at an outdoor cooking site and it did not occur to me to

request that she lift her skirts to confirm the presence of shoes - after

all she had volunteered to run a grill. I did not find out that she was

shoeless until I had to pack her off to the chiurgen because she had stepped

on a full sized, red hot coal.


It may be tacky, but from now on I will insist on a visual confirmation of

shoes. I am considering something along the lines of the typical Marshal's

inquiry "Are you properly Armed and Armored?". I was unable to track her

down later, so I found the chiurgen and she only managed 2nd degree burns.

Luckily her frequent non-wearing of shoes had produced quite a callous layer

on her feet, but the chiurgen said that as the burn healed she would lose

that callous and reaquiring it would take some time.


Glad Tidings,

Serena da Riva



Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 00:13:39 -0500

From: "Barbara Benson" <vox8 at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


> Ranvaig> I'm going to expand this... How do you handle food safety in

> an outside kitchen?


> We cook a feast once a year in a place with NO running water, all

> water and ice are carried in.  This is a living history group, and

> trying to look period.


I am afraid that my solution would be sheet walls and such to block the

cooking process from viewers. Period is all fine and well, but safety is not

an area to compromise in. I have very limited experience in kitchen-free

cooking and no running water I have never dealt with. I have set up a

typical three station wash area and dedicated one fish cooker style propane

tank to heating water for cleaning. I made sure to have multiple cutting

boards and everyone had two hand towels.


Another relatively new thing that is great are those pop-up containers of

cleaning wipes with bleach in them. I had a tube of those sitting every few

feet on every workstation. I also had one table that was dedicated to work

using the raw meat, and it was set up a good 25 feet away from the other

prep areas on the opposite side of the grills.


I am afraid that this might not be very helpful, I wish you much luck.


Glad Tidings,

Serena da Riva



Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 01:06:44 -0500

From: "Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


> I have a few questions which I hope the answers you provide will allow

> me to address things I have not thought of.


> 1.  What do you do to protect yourself in the kitchen from injuries?


Good sense, and alertness- never enter a kitchen without it ;-)


More seriously, there are two theories of safety in any enterprise. The

first is to wear every bit of protective gearyou can acquire, that is

appropriate for the situation, the second is to dress as lightly as

possible, and learn to move fast.


While I understand why people wear protective gear, they often don't wear it

correctly, and in conjunction with other materials that actually makes it

safe, instead of an additional hazard.


For example, Adamantius is an excellent example of wearing appropriate

protective gear. He wears natural fibers, a versatile and protective cote,

which can be removed hurriedly, long pants, covering comfortable and skid

resistant shoes. I could wish he wore eye protection, but since he doesn't

wear glasses, he doesn't.


OTOH, I have seen people in kitchens wearing synthetic fibers (NEVER a good

idea around fire), shoes but no covering above, to prevent stuff falling in

their shoes, long sleeves that can (and do!!!) get into everything, along

with long hair that does the same thing, etc.


My preference is for the other alternative- minimal covering, and alertness

and the ability to move fast. My usual kitchen/smithing clothing consists of

natural fiber fabric tunics and trews, with sleeves rolled or pulled above

my elbows, trews held above my calves and no shoes, or else trews down long

enough to cover my shoes, if they aren't sandals.


No, I know people are going to complain about bare feet- some have started

already, so listen to my reasoning, and make your own choices.


I prefer wearing bare feet for the simple reason that I have better contact

with the floor. My biggest difficulty and ongoing problem is sprains and

strains of the joints, caused by slippage on wet/greasy/oily floors. While

I'm more likely to get an odd splash of something on my bare skin, it isn't

trapped against my skin, burning for the seconds it takes to do serious

damage- it's there for a split second, and by that time, I'm on my way to

cold water. I'll take the minor burns, and avoid the major ones,

thankyouverymuch. And, a minor burn or cut will disable me for a day or two.

A sprain will disable me for weeks.


As far as the lady who was barefoot, under a long dress, the long dress

caused the problem, not necessarily the bare feet- if she could have seen

where she was stepping, she likely wouldn't have stepped on the hot



And, that's another reason I prefer bare feet- I'm much more watchful and

alert. I use the same principle when I'm working on the forge, too. I refuse

to allow my students to wear gloves, except under special circumstances,

because the protective gear makes people feel "safe" and they get casual

with the materials (which are lots hotter than most of what you find in the

kitchen) and instead of getting a minor "educational" burn, that teaches

them quickly not to DO that, that way, when they do get burned (and it's

going to happen- it's not an option) they tend to get burned much more



Personally, I'd much rather my students go home with the odd blister, than

have to make a trip to the ER.


> 2.  Do you bring your own first-aid kit?  If so what do you consider

> essential?


Well, I'm a Chirurgeon. I never go to an event without my full jump kit, and

I usually have one of the little kits available for booboos- if they need

more than that, they need to see me.


> 3.  Do you have any personal "problems" and what steps to you take to

> look after yourself - proir, during and after the event?


Well, I have joint problems- neck, back, knees, ankles, and when you have

these problems, you need to use strategies to avoid reinjuring the areas. My

first thing is that I can do anything, but I need to do it in moderation,

whether sitting, standing, walking, running, or lifting. I'm very careful to

change body positions frequently, and when I get tired, I start limiting my

activities. In the AM, I might cheerfully haul the trash, or carry or move

heavy and bulky items, or do something which requires bending down, but

later in the day, I'll get someone to do it for me. It took me a couple

years to get entirely away from pain meds, and I'm not going back- it ain't

worth it. I've learned to listen to my body, and when it says certain

things, I pay attention.


As far as eating and drinking, if I'm cooking, I lose my appetite. I taste

things as I go along, but if I'm helping with a feast, I'm just not that

interested in food. I just make sure I keep myself hydrated, and worry about

getting actual food into my system the next day- which usually requires

eating well and getting plenty of rest the day before.


Saint Phlip,




Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 18:51:36 +1100

From: "Glenda Robinson" <glendar at compassnet.com.au>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


> How do you handle raw meat in places that canšt be cleaned easily?


> We are using unfinished wood tables, that canšt really be cleaned.

> I cover them with clean table cloths, and change as necessary.

> and cutting boards for raw meat.


> Ranvaig


Have done this for 18 years without problems.


We always clean the cooking area before and after cooking with boiling

water, a splash of detergent, scrubbing brush and elbow grease. Also, we use

a concentrated cleaning product (not 'antibacterial'), and will wash the

cutting boards in this if anything is suspect. Our cutting boards are oiled

wood. As we are running LH encampments, the cooking fire is used to

boil the water.


We always get each person coming along to the camps without running water to

bring some - usually each person brings 15- 20L for a weekend. We

usually end up with a couple of containers left over.


Why use unfinished wood tables? All tables in the mediaeval period would

have been finished, then scrubbed often as part of the cleaning process.

They would have been quite smooth. Or do you mean unoiled/unlaquered?

These are fine for this process - the wood will no doubt contain its own

anti-germ properties.





Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 09:57:36 -0500

From: margali <mtraber251 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


in a word [or a few]

Cheap Plastic Picnic Tablecloths and Multiple Cutting Boards*.

Buckets of a Quaternary Antimicrobial Solution

Handwashing Stations [with carried in water]


*they actually make sets of color coordinated knife/cutting board so you

can separate chicken from meat from veggie from dairy, but just make

sure you have multiple cuttingboard, and you wash and sterilize both

knife and cutting board when you change what you are cutting. Also, be

careful not to cross contaminate mixing bowls/spoons and stirring

spoons. I for example am deathly allergic to mushrooms to the point that

they are forbidden in our pennsic encampment. we have good kitchen

setup, complete with a sink with hot and cold running water, but I am

still not willing to risk the slightest possibility of dying...



Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 10:02:46 -0500 (EST)

From: <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Safety in the Kitchen

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


>  I know this is a living history group and you probably don't want to

> use anything that isn't period.  However, we do have to be a little more

> careful with how we handle things as our systems just aren't used to all

> of those little "nasties" that our ancestors' systems could handle.

> Would it be unreasonable to use some of those disposable cutting boards?

> Failing that, you should probably have some kind of bleach or something

> to clean off those wooden cutting boards...particularly after working

> with poultry.  Or maybe a good dunk in boiling water might kill the

> nasties.


Boiling water and soap should be sufficient to remove the nasties, unless

the cutting boards are not washed promptly. (In which case, bleach is your



Having cooked at Pennsic in one of those encampments where the water

pressure is not sufficient to have running water except once a day, I

can vouch for this.


If you are working with raw meat, using a cutting board with a lip, and or serviettes under the board so as to keep any juices off your table, can be

helpful. Bear in mind that finished tables, rather than tables with

cloths, are more typical of period food prep-- because they can be

scrubbed down.


>  It is also important that you keep the meat refrigerated up until the

> time you are ready to cook it.


However, keeping the meat in a cooler with ice, with appropriate

period-style covering should do this.


-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net


<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