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p-feasts-msg – 3/5/17


General comments about period feasts.


NOTE: See also the files: p-menus-msg, p-cooks-msg, feast-decor-msg, nefs-msg, high-table-msg, ME-feasts-msg, p-kitchens-msg, books-food-msg, p-tableware-msg, tablecloths-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: gfrose at cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu (Terry Nutter)

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 14:55:02 -0500

Subject: Re:  SC - medieval courses


Hi, Katerine here.  Stefan asks about medieval courses.  From a modern

standpoint, think of them as mini-meals.  Dinners typically started with

bread, hard fruits, and hard cheeses on the table, and ended with soft

fruits, soft cheeses, wafers, and spiced wine. (I'm talking primarily

about 13th to 15th centur here.)  I have never seen either of these

described as a course; they're simply taken for granted as what's there

at those times.


Courses tended to include a range of dishes, from our point of view: meat/

fish dishes, grains, vegetables, sweets.  In general, a feast tended to

have two or possibly three courses.  The progression was less from one

food type to another (salad to soup to meat to dessert) than from simple

and hearty to delicate and complex.  How that plays out depends on where

and when you are.  But throughout Europe, the overall pattern is that

early in the meal, everything goes to everybody; and as you move later,

dishes (or sometimes even an entire course) may be restricted to people

above a certain status.


This view of meal structure did tend to place more sweet dishes late than

early, but primarily because sweet dishes are more highly represented among

the delicate and complex parts of most European cuisine than among the

simple and hearty ones, not because they were aiming toward some modern

sense of dessert.  Even the first course was likely to have a dish or two that

was relatively sweet; and even the last tended to have a largeish number

of savory and other non-sweet dishes.


This changes in the renaissance, as the final wafers-fruit-cheese-and-wine

expands into sweet banquets.  I'm not sure precisely when this happens; my

impression is that in England, it's roughly associated with the mid 16th

century.  (I'm sure it's no earlier than early 16th century.)


Hope this helps!


- -- Katerine/Terry



From: Debra Hense <debh at microware.com>

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 10:01:14 -0500

Subject: SC - RE: sca-cooks V1 #117


I've made a start on studying menus as it applies to 14th century France.

My overall impressions are:


   The first course/platter would consist of several dishes (removes) that

were spiced with appetite stimulating herbs and spices.


  The second course would consist of gross meats (ie: cheap meats - simply

prepared (boiled or roasted)) with sauces and various vegetable dishes.


  The next course would consist of fancier dishes which involved more

preparation steps and more expensive spices. If more than four courses -

repeat the fancier dishes/more expensive spices theme for each additional



  The final course would consist of fruits, nuts, and hippocras (otherwise

known as leisure food - sit back, relax, pick at the food, drink, talk,

repeat until tired of sitting.)  8-)  ;-)  :-)


There seemed to be no fewer than four courses, and as many as 10 for

special occasions and feast days. And each course has its own sweet served

with it.


I don't have my sources here - but Tavaillent (sp?), Goodman of Paris, and

le Menagier are my primary sources. Also, I have looked at some of the

extant menus reproduced in Fabulous Feasts (which I bought for the menus

and pictures - preferring for the most part to do my own redactions from

primary reproductions such as Caridoc's Miscellaney).


As to how the cookbook should be sectioned.  I think Meat dishes, Dairy

dishes, Vegetable Dishes, Sweets, would be good enough for me.  Let the

person putting the feast together decide which course they want the recipe

to reside in. Every cook is different. Appetizers seemed to have had a

whole different meaning in 14th C. France. Such as dishes using cumin,

ginger, galingale, and cinnamon.


Kateryn de Develyn

debh at microware.com



Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 13:02:54 -0500

From: gfrose at cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu (Terry Nutter)

Subject: Re:  SC - test cooking


Hi, Katerine here.  Shirley asks how many dishes "are supposed" to be in

a course, what are "the rules" about what they should be, and what

additional dishes one might add to Lombardy Rice and a mushroom pasty

to make up a course.


None of these questions has a hard and fast answer.  Depending where and

when you were, typical meals had different numbers of courses, with

different numbers of dishes in each.  And what dishes they combined how

also varied.


In 14th or 15th century England, a course seems to have had between five

and ten dishes (not counting bread, sauces, etc.).  In general, on a

meat day, there would be at least one meat dish and typically more; and

the dishes would usually represent some sort of balance between savory

and sweet, and between mild and spicy.


Within those bounds, do as seems reasonable!



- -- Katerine/Terry



Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 01:42:50 -0500 (EST)

From: "Elizabeth O'Donovan" <odonoea4 at wfu.edu>

Subject: SC - Homework


Hmmm...just in time for the eating season: some inspiration from my



"Then the first course comes, with clamor of trumpets

That were bravely bedecked with bannerets bright,

With noise of new drums and the noble pipes.

Wild were the warbles that wakened that day

In strains that stirred many strong men's hearts.

There dainties were dealt out, dishes rare,

Choice fare to choose, on chargers so many

that scarce was there space to set before the people

The service of silver, with sundry meats,

                       on cloth.

                       Each fair guest freely there

                       Partakes, and nothing loth;

                       Twelve dishes before each pair;

                     Good beer (!!!) and bright wine both."


From _Sir Gawain and the Green Knight_, Marie Borroff, trans.

        W.W. Norton & Co. New York;1967.


All kinds of hedonistic pleasures...




Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 12:30:04 -0500

From: Christi Redeker <Christi.Redeker at digital.com>

Subject: SC - Above the Salt


A few months ago, we had discussions on Above the salt feasts.  I am

currently reading "The Original Mediterranean Cuisine" by Barbara

Santich and she gives a quote I thought was interesting.


'Certain foods are more appropriate to the nobles and those who lead a

contemplative life,'


It goes on to list:


'and these are partridges and pheasants, chicken, capons, hares, kid and

rabbit, prepared in various ways; others are more appropriate to robust,

labouring types, and these include the meat of bulls and rams, salted

pork, peas and beans and coarse barley bread.'


So if you were a cook in these times (this is taken from a Latin text of

the late thirteenth century) what would you make for an "above the salt

course"  and then the "below the salt course" for a feast?




Christi Redeker



Date: Sat, 17 Jan 98 12:25:51 PST

From: "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip at morganco.net>

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


Alys Katherine,


This was so well thought out, and in line with a recent discussion, that

I've forwarded it over to Cooks.


phlip at morganco.net


Never a horse that cain't be rode,

And never a rider that cain't be throwed.



: Greetings!  After several days of reading comments about

: feasts, I’d like to toss in this for consideration.  While some

: SCA cooks (feastocrats) will try using period recipes most

: of them don’t seem to research what period serving methods

: might have been like in the years/country the recipes are

: taken from.  Whole chickens (or any whole cut of meat) are

: one example.


: Even through the late 1400s and the “bokes of courtesy” it

: is noted that there are special rules for cutting and disjointing

: meats.  The feasters were not expected to “hack” up their

: own chickens as we in the SCA are expected. One reference

: clearly states that a whole chicken is for the lord and that the

: lesser folk get only parts.  (Those at the “head table” were

: expected to send choice pieces of their larger dishes to people

: seated at lower tables, as a mark of favor from the lord.)  While

: general statements are rarely accurate, one might be safe saying

: that in the SCA time periods, no whole chickens should _ever_

: be served to any table other than the high table.  And, at high

: table, the carver should perform his magic.  It shouldn’t be the

: high table guests’ job to cut up their own chicken.


: While serving styles did change, for much of our (English) time

: frame foods were put in front of each two, or possibly four, diners

: who were then expected to eat from those dishes.  Our “family-

: style” meals, where one bowl is passed down the table, was

: probably not the norm.  Several people noted in recent posts that

: there were problems with the first feasters taking a lot of one

: dish, leaving little for the eighth or tenth person down the line.

: If one adapted medieval serving habits (as we are supposed to be

: doing) this would be minimized.


: We SCAers are doing a pretty good job of exploring the re-creation

: of all sorts of medieval arts, crafts, and combat.  Why is it that in

: cooking and serving we are content to present and serve food in

: a twentieth-century style?  There are primary sources available as

: well as good secondary sources.  It’s really nice to go to a feast

: where the presentation, serving, carving have all been done with an

: eye to re-creating that aspect of dining!


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

: (carving and serving) more “medieval”?


: Alys Katharine



: From:  alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)



Date: Mon,  8 Jun 1998 15:03:29 -0400 (EDT)

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

Subject: Re: SC - (Fwd) Re: AL -Need data about food


Excerpts from internet.listserv.sca-cooks: 8-Jun-98 SC - (Fwd) Re: AL

- -Need dat.. "Phyllis Spurr" at tdh.stat (1209*)


> Hii everybody  I have been doing research on Balls and dancing and have

> discovered a new eating custom I haven't noticed before. It was called a

> Collation in France. It appears to be a sweet table but there is a

> mention of liqueurs being served at it.. This meal occurred after the

> dinner and in a separate room. My resources don't tell me more about this

> custom. Do you have any info on Collations? I would like to know what

> kind of sweets and cold food were served and how were they served. Did

> Collations take place in other areas and if they were called anything

> else.


In England, it's known as the Banquet course.


toodles, margaret



Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 07:19:47 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Competitions


'Twas written:

>>3. I can "specialize" to some extent. Right now, I'm on a

>>candy-making kick. It's kinda hard to turn that into a complete



And Sianan replied:


>  Course you can.  Advertise it as a medieval candy-fest and I can

>guartunee that there would be a few bookings.


Actually, you could use a "period" term for the medieval candy-fest and

call it a "banquet".  Or "samples from a banquet".  In Tudor and Stuart

times the banquet was what we call the "dessert course" and contained

candies as well as numerous other items. Markham, I believe, has a

listing of things necessary for a banquet.  These always included

marchpanes (as the center attraction), preserved and candied fruits,

seeds, sweetened "breads" such as biscuits (twice-cooked "cookies"),



Alys Katharine



Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 17:42:02 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Course: was Sign-on Package?


Phlip wrote, in part:


>(snip) vs. the more Medieval/early period idea of making each

course or "remove" an entire meal in itself.


A "remove" referred to two dishes...one (usually a soup) that was put

in place and then "removed" and was replaced by another (frequently a

roast or a fish).


>Our modern 12 course meals are simple in each chronological

>presentation, and are expected to be finished in an hour or two- the

>early "feasts" were an entire day's eating, separated frequently by

>entertainments. I suspect this is the reason that early SCAdians

>used the term "remove" to differentiate between the two types of



>From what I can determine, the 20 to 30 dishes in a course were not

intended to be served to each person.  Some of the dishes were only for

the "high table" or the most important guests.  Others served lower

tables.  However, all the various dishes were listed for each course.

Also, depending on the era, the diners did not pass the dishes; at

least, they certainly didn't pass them very far. Sometimes the dishes

were expected to feed the two,four, or so people sitting in a

particular area.  Other times it is implied that dishes were to be

passed, at least a little way.  There is a period story of a naive

young man come to the city.  He was faulted for gorging himself on the

delicacy placed before him because he didn't know how to reach the

other dishes.  Anyhow, people didn't appear to expect that they would

get something of every type of food that was served.


>I suggest we look at the degeneration the term "banquet" has suffered

>over the years, as a means of comparison. In its original usage,

>"banquet" implied a feast similar to the multi-course meals we moderns

>consider highly sophisticated.


In the Elizabethan and Tudor years, the "banquet" was the final course

of sweets, frequently served in a separate location from the dinner.

This was often a special room or set of rooms called a "banquetting

house".  There are banquetting houses on islands in  artificial lakes,

and even a drawing of one up on a secluded roof. There is a very good

chapter about the evolution of "banquet" and "banquetting houses" in

the book _'Banquetting Stuffe'_, edited by C. Anne Wilson.  My

understanding is that the use of "banquet" for the sweet course

predated our use of it as a feast of multi-course meals.


Alys Katharine



Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 16:04:58 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)

Subject: SC - Re: Course:  Was Sign-On Package?


Adamantius wrote:

>I seem to recall that the term "banquet" was indeed the final course

>of sweets (and was sometimes the sole food served, possibly at a ball

>of some kind), but that the term itself actually refers to the piece

>of furniture on which the sweet dishes were laid out: in English it is

>more or less equivalent to the sideboard (snip)


C. Anne Wilson writes "...the confusion goes back almost as far as the

time when the word 'banquet' entered the English language.  According

to the dictionaries, the French word 'banquet' derives from the Italian

'banchetto', which had originally meant a small bench or table but had

also taken on the additional sense of a magnificent meal - perhaps

initially a very special meal served to a few important people at a

small table...first appeared in print in the plural form of 'bankettis'

in Caxton's edition of the _Golden Legend_ published in 1483."  (pp



"The word 'banquet' surfaces in direct relation to sweetmeats in the

early 1530s in conjunction with the banqueting house, and stays current

until around 1700." (p 37)


She doesn't mention, outside of the possible derivation from

"banchetto" that an banquet refers to a piece of furniture.  However, I

don't have an OED so I can't check to see if that is another possible



Alys Katharine



Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 15:08:23 -0600

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

Subject: Re: SC - A plea for help with presentation


Bruegel's painting, _The Wedding Feast_. 1566-69, shows a Flemish peasant

wedding.  Men are carrying in the food on doors laid on hurdles.  We

don't see the underside; they may not be fixed hurdles, just heavy poles,

but there sould be less chance of slippage if the poles were fixed to a

cross member or two.  We can see it's a door because the hinges show.

Nine tartes lie on the door, and one man at a table is reaching out to

get one with his left hand, while his right hand passes another tarte

down the table.  Somewhere or other, I have seen Bacchus carried into a

feast or hall, reclining on a similar litter (of course, it was probably

Fantasia!) but what a great spectacle it could be to have a corpulent

shire member semi dressed as Bacchus, with vine leaves in his hair,

surrounded by mounds of greenery and grape clusters, followed by litter

bearers carrying the food.  It will probably take too long for each guest

to help himself, so the litters could contain table sized serving dishes.

A shire member, with a gift of gab, could deliver a running patter to

entertain the guests while this is being done.


Also:   Wilson, C. Anne. (ed) THE APPETITE AND THE EYE. Edinburgh

University   Press. 1991. A collection of papers on the visual aspects of

food and   its presentation with their  historic context.  Not all are



Maybe you can get that book on ILL.



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

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 20:23:14 -0800 (PST)

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Feast Service


On Sun, 8 Nov 1998, Christine A Seelye-King wrote:

> (BTW, I was referring to the Introduction letter

> just recently posted from a lady in ?An Tir? who said her most recent

> foray into period feasting included reseached folds in the tablecloths, I

> am still curious to hear more about that.)



        I believe that was me, and there are several documents that

address the tablecloth issue. The one that I made most use of was from

Wynken de Worde's _Boke of Kervynge_ (15thc.). _For to Serve Lord_ also

has some passages about tablecloths, and a 'Fifteenth-Century Courtesy

Book' (bound with a fifteenth-century Franciscan rule by EETS). There's

quite a few books about how to serve one's lord, and most of them have

instructions on laying the table, as well as hand-washing (another thing

we did, with warm rose-water and special hand-towels and a polished silver

pitcher...). Reading these documents can be a bit of a pain, but if you

look in the reference section of a local college library, they are likely

to have a Middle English Dictionary- there are several. Let me know if you

have more questions.



- -

Laura C. Minnick

University of Oregon

Department of English



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: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 10:14:18 CEST

From: Christina van Tets <cjvt at hotmail.com>

Subject: SC - adults only feast serving idea / Dutch (NL) book


Greetings the list (and especially our friends in Adamastor),

     Cairistiona and I have been somewhat quiet on the list of late, mostly

because she has rarely been near the computer and I have been lazy and rude.

  However, we came across a beautiful picture the other day that we thought

would amuse (perhaps even be useful to?) some members of the list.

    The picture that we discovered relates to an earlier list discussion on

methods of serving/presenting feasts.  It is a late 14th early 15th century

painting of a feast,  the mixed company (half male and half female) are

seated at their dinner, a king and a nobleman are about to enter the room

and they are being entertained by a musician accompanied by a small and

presumably noisy dog.  The feasters are seated in hot tubs - two feasters

per tub, seperated by a board laid over the top of the row of tubs on which

the food has been served.  Presumably as a result of the unusual form of

seating arrangement, the clothing of the guests is notable for its abscence.

  However, to preserve decency the ladies and most of the men are still

wearing the headgear and their jewellery (I presume the minstrel is playing

"you can leave your hat on" or some mediaeval equivalent).  The feasters are

very obviously enjoying both the company and the meal (read into that

sentence whatever you like).

     This form of feast may be a little decadent for routine SCA use but I

thought that the more debauched among you might find it useful and the

remainder either informative or amusing.

     I cannot remember the artist or the exact date of hand (if you are

interested I can send them to you).  We found it on the front cover of a

recent publication by Raymond van Uytven who is a cultural history lecturer

at the Catholic University of Leuven (De Zinnelijke Middeleeuwen, 50 Hfl in

the northern marches of Polderslot, 900 BEF here in the decadent south).

The book deals in detail with the way in which the affluent half of western

european society enjoyed life in the 11th to 15th century - clothing tastes,

food, drink, beauty, dance etc. all good SCA stuff.  However, it is in Dutch

so this one is primarily for Polderslotians (Particularly brave

Adamastorians who think they can handle this ridiculously over-complicated

version of Afrikaans may also wish to give it a try. 900 BEF is about R

180).  We bought it for ourselves as a reward for learning enough Flemish to

battle our way through it (and also because it looked like a fun way to

improve our vocab.).




Jan van Seist (wickedly using Cairistiona's courier pigeons, heh heh)


Mev. C. J. van Tets

Bosstraat 195, B-3500 Hasselt, BELGIUM

(or: c/- Jhr. Dr. I. G. van Tets, Dept MBW,

Limburgs Universitair Centrum, Universitaire Campus,

B-3590 Diepenbeek, BELGIUM)



Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 08:16:05 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - adults only feast serving idea / Dutch (NL) book


This sounds like the illustration which is found on page 106 of

_Fabulous Feasts_, in the chapter aptly entitled "Sex, Smut, Sin, and

Spirit".  (Whatever else one might say about FF, it is full of interesting

illustrations.)  According to the caption it is late 15th century German,

by the Master of the Housebook.  As for the debauchery.... let's just

say that at least two of the feasting couples have moved on to dessert,

and it definitely isn't cuskynoles.  :-)





Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 23:01:50 -0500

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - questions


At 12:30 AM -0400 6/14/00, CBlackwill at aol.com wrote:

>I believe the "3 ounces of thrush in porre" was meant simply to illustrate

>the point that, while the number of dishes served at a banquet were, to our

>modern sensibilities, staggering, there is very little direct documentation

>to illuminate how "much" of each dish was served.


_Du Fait de Cuisine_ includes a shopping list, with quantities (see

below), from which you can calculate roughly how much food was being

produced; since it also provides a menu, you can get a rough idea of

how much was in each dish.  My calculation was a total of about

70,000 lbs (i.e. 35 tons) of boneless meat. That was for two meals a

day for two days, and he doesn't say how many guests are expected.


- ---

And first: one hundred well-fattened cattle, one hundred and thirty

sheep, also well fattened, one hundred and twenty pigs; and for each

day during the feast, one hundred little piglets, both for roasting

and for other needs, and sixty salted large well fattened pigs for

larding and making soups.


And for this the butcher will be wise and well-advised if he is well

supplied so that if it happens that the feast lasts longer than

expected, one has promptly what is necessary; and also, if there are

extras, do not butcher them so that nothing is wasted.


And there should be for each day of the feast two hundred kids and

also lambs, one hundred calves, and two thousand head of poultry.


And you should have your poulterers, subtle, diligent, and wise, who

have forty horses for going to various places to get venison, hares,

conies, partridges, pheasants, small birds (those which they can get

without number), river birds (those which one can obtain), pigeons,

cranes, herons, and all wild birds - what one can find of whatever

wild birds. And they should turn their attention to this two months

or six weeks before the feast, and they should all have come or sent

what they could obtain by three or four days before the said feast so

that the said meat can be hung and each dealt with as it ought to be.


And they should provide for each day of the said feast six thousand eggs.

- ---

Note the small birds "without number." Note also that they are

spending almost two months catching them; I don't know how they were







Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 16:53:34 -0400 (EDT)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at tulgey.browser.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Period Foods for Kids


> However, it's inclusion is just as OP as the idea of a separate children's

> feast is. Rather, such separate service of children is likely period but the

> idea of a menu specially prepared for them is not, SFAIK.


Actually, from what I can determine, children were generally fed

separately, and their food was usually prepared by someone else, or

included food prepared by someone else, rather than sent up from the main

kitchen. Therefore, the food menu would probably be different. Whether

there were separate feasts or not on occasion for young children I don't

know, but I seep to recall references to special dinners for parties of

noble children to entertain royal chidlren on special occasions.


Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise             jenne at tulgey.browser.net



Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 10:45:45 -0500

From: harper at idt.net

Subject: SC - Trenchers and alms


Connected to the recent discussion on trenchers...


I was browsing in the online "Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse,"

and I came across a 15th centruy serving manual. It goes into great detail

about "voiders" -- the dishes which were used to transfer scraps and

leftovers to the alms vessel in the kitchen. After every course, the squires

and other attendents gather up the trenchers, as well as broken breads and

broken meats, and put them in voiders.  Also, the almoner goes up to the

lord's table and takes "of dyuerse metes as it may goodly be forborne

and augment ther wyth the almes dyshe, and all this in the lordes


So not only were the trenchers *not* eaten by the feasters, but partial

loaves of bread were also taken away and replaced with whole ones at

the beginning of each course.


The URL for the serving manual is:



Sorry, my mail program insists on wrapping that line.  If that doesn't work,

try the main page at:



The same site also contains the Two Fifteenth Century Cookbooks.  All the

texts on the site can be searched, so you can look for all the occurences of

"garleke" or "canel".


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 23:54:01 -0600

From: Ted Eisenstein <alban at delphi.com>

Subject: SC - late feasts!


I've just finished going over a piece written soon after the coronation

of Richard III that goes into, among other things, the coronation banquet.

The author noted that the third course was served so late that all they

had time for was hippocras and wafers. . .


It's nice to know that even when Things Are Massively Delayed for us, at least

they're also period. <grin>





Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 19:56:33 -0600From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>Subject: SC - Re: Serving Whole ChickensStefan wrote:>Did medieval feasts have carvers for each table? Or just the head table?My impression is that whole birds were usually reserved to the high tableand were carved in front of the lord before being served.  Lower tables, itseems to me, received pieces-parts.  IIRC, one source mentions a whole birdfor the lord and some smaller portion for the second lower table.  Thenthere was some form of chopped up bird for the rest of the folk.  Does thatfit with anyone else's recollection? Alys Katharine


From: "Hrolf Douglasson" <Hrolf at btinternet.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] some questions from cooks guild

Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 23:05:59 +0100


> Did men and women usually eat together? Same meal? Same time?  Same

> table?


In norman times yes , providing that they were all of the sameish rank.

Viking women did eat at the same time


> Did children eat at the table with adults? (The first picture that I

> can find of children at the table is a family scene from the Tudor

> period - the Thomas Cromwell family, I think.)


Depends on the circumstances.....for family meals yes for banquets no


> Did people usually sit on both sides of the table or on only one side?

> Was this related to rank?  Was depicting people on only one side of the

> table an artistic convention?


One side only....normally the inside of the table was for seving


> Was there REALLY a "below" and "above" the salt?  This is a persistent

> belief - but was it real?  Anyone have documentation?


Yes lots of documentation especially about lifting above the salt

Start with chaucer





From: "a5foil" <a5foil at ix.netcom.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] some questions from cooks guild

Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 22:09:20 -0400


Regarding Catalan manners of the 15th century, as observed by Francesc

Eiximenis in his work "Lo Crestia". This work is his commentary on the

various sins, among them gluttony, and reveals something of common table

behavior. There is also a collection of his observations on table manners in

a book called "Com se beure be e menyar" (loosely, "How to drink well and to

eat"), but I haven't located a copy of that, yet.


> Did men and women usually eat together? Same meal? Same time?  Same

> table?


Yes, they did eat together, same meal, same time, same table, at least

enough of the time that it wasn't referred to as an unusual practice. It

appears that married couples sometimes shared a plate. Unmarried couples

were not supposed to share. Parents and children were not supposed to share.

Siblings and other children were not supposed to share plates.


> Did children eat at the table with adults? (The first picture that I

> can find of children at the table is a family scene from the Tudor

> period - the Thomas Cromwell family, I think.)


At least some of the time, they did, but I don't know whether this was a

commoner's table or a noble's. I have seen no pictures including children.


> Did people usually sit on both sides of the table or on only one side?

> Was this related to rank?  Was depicting people on only one side of the

> table an artistic convention?


In one of my books of medieval artwork from the National Museum of Art of

Catalunya, I see tables with settings on both sides, but people arrayed only

on the far side, facing the painter. I suspect it depended on a number of

factors, including where and when you are, the formality of the meal, the

size of the hall, and the status of those dining. At least in the pictures,

there does seem to be some association with rank where seating is concerned.

Artistic convention cannot be ruled out.


> Was there REALLY a "below" and "above" the salt?  This is a persistent

> belief - but was it real?  Anyone have documentation?


At least in the early 14th century, if we accept the original publication

year of the Libre de Sent Sovi as 1323-24, there are instructions to serve

spices at table, for the diners to add to their dishes beyond the seasoning

done in the kitchen prior to service. Eiximenis reminds readers that salt

should never be picked up with one's fingers, but lifted from one's salt

bowl with the blade of one's knife, and piled at the edge of one's plate,

where food could be dipped into it. While this implies multiple salt bowls,

I find no reference one way or another for the above/below thing. Given that

the recipes explicitly direct to provide spices to those dining, for them to

use on their meal, I suspect salt was not restricted in that way. I could be

wrong, though.


Thomas Longshanks



From: Druighad at aol.com

Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2001 09:52:52 EDT

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Seating and rank..

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Seating at meals was done by rank. the higher you were at the lord's

table/dais for example, indicated your importance. The farther one was from

the high table, the less important. Merchants were generally placed near the

ends, unless they were Guild Masters, then near the center, but below the

nobles. Visiting nobles were always placed near the Lord & Lady of the Keep,

as a sign of respect, regardless of rank, and so news could be more easily

shared without shouting across the room or down the tables. That was

considered to be vulgar, and suited only for the commoners.


Castle servants gerenally didn't eat with the guests, but it depended on the

particular rules of the keep. Some nobles let their servants, but not

servers, eat in the Great hall, but at tables away from the High tables,

where the dignitaries sat.


Never heard of above or below the salt though, unless it refers to noble, or

peasant birth.





Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001 01:35:35 -0500

From: Stefan li Rous <stefan at texas.net>

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

Subject: [Sca-cooks] delayed feasts are period


In reading "People of the First Crusade" by Michael Foss, I came across

this statement, which some of you can probably relate to:


p 193

The Crusaders had just captured Jerusalem and they are trying to figure

out who should rule it. It is between Count Raymond of St Gilles and

Duke Godrey of Bouillon.


"When the electors took secret soundings within the army to assess the

character of the candidates, Godfrey's own household, according to

William of Tyre, could find only one fault with their master:


Once he had entered a church he could not be made to leave, even at

the end of celebration of the divine office. He continued to question

priests and clergy as to the meaning of each image and picture until

his companions, who had no interest in these things, were exceedingly

bored. Moreover, because of this habit, the meats prepared for a fixed

hour were overdone and tasteless when finally eaten, as a result of

the long delay."


So remember, when that long court threatens to ruin the feast that

you have been slaving over for hours, that this is period....




THLord  Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

Mark S. Harris             Austin, Texas        stefan at texas.net



From: "Dan Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 21:57:25 -0800

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Food Quote of Interest


From "The Description of England", by William Harrison, 1587, Edited by

Georges Edelen


VI. Of Food and Diet of the English


A snippet regards the feasts of merchants:


"To be short, at such times as the merchants do make their ordinary or

voluntary feasts, it is a world to see what provision is made of all manner

of delicate meats from every quarter of the country, wherein, beside that

they are often comparable herein to the nobility of the land, they will

seldom regard anything the butcher usually killeth, but reject the same as

not worthy to come in place.  In such cases geliffes (jellies?) of all

colors, mixed with a variety in the representation of sundry flowers, herbs,

trees, forms of beasts, fish, fowls, and fruits, and thereunto marchpane

wrought with no small curiosity, tarts of divers hues and sundry

denominations, conserves of old fruits, foreign and homebred, suckets,

codiniacs, marmalades, marchpane, sugarbread, gingerbread, florentines, wild

fowl, venison of all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, altogether

seasoned with sugar (which Pliny callth mel ex arrundinibus, a device not

common nor greatly used in old time at the table but only in medicine,

although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicily), do generally bear sway,

besides infinite devices of our own not possible for me to remember.   Of

the potato and other venerous roots as are brought out of Spain, Portingale,

and the Indies to furnish up our banquets, I speak not, wherein our mures,

of no less force and to be had about Crosby Ravensworth, do now begin to

have place."


Daniel Raoul



Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 15:55:23 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] French table Serice and Web site

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


> Kiri

> I read French very poorly...it's been a VERY long time since I

studied it (bck in college in the very early 60's).  But from what I could

determine, it looks like there is some good information there.  I especially

would love to have a translation of the initial passage you refer to...I

believe that Scully referenced it in hi discussion of how kitchens are  

run in his "Early French Cookery".



I went and checked, and it seems that the portion of the site that is

available in English is less than 1/3 of what is in French. I looked to see

if they provided an Englis translation of the passage and they do not. So,

here is what is in my book:


"When the lord arrives at the banquet hall and takes his seat the steward

calls the cup-bearer, who leaves the table and goes to the sideboard. There

he finds the receptaces that the butler or yeoman of the cellar has

prepared; he takes them, rinses them with water and returns them. Once this

has been done, the cup-bearer takes a cup and looks at the lord, and he must

do it so attentively that the lord need only nod inorder to ask for more

wine. Once the nod has been given, the cup-bearer takes the cup in his hand,

and a bowl, and raises the cup so that his breath does not reach it. The

marshal of the hall lets him pass and when the butler sees him coming, he

fils a ewer with fresh water, and rinses the cup that the cup-bearer

brings, both inside and out. He then takes a bowl in his left hand and a jug

in the right, and pours wine first into the bowl that he himself holds, and

then into the cup that the cup-barer holds. He then takes the ewer and

pours water into the bowl, and then adjusts the wine that is in the cup,

according to his expertise and what he knows of the tastes of the lord and

his disposition. Once the wine has been decanted, the cup-bearer purs wine

from the cup into the bowl that he is holding and covers the cup, holding

the lid of the cup between the two little fingers of the hand with which he

holds the bowl, until he has covered the cup and given what he poured into

the bowl to the butler, who has to taste it in front of him. After that, the

cup-bearer takes the cup to the lord and uncovers it, pours wine into the

bowl, covers the cup again and tastes the wine. When the lord puts forth his

hand, the cup-bearer gives him the uncovered cup and holds the bowl beneath

the cup until the lord has finished drinking."


The book also provides an additional small quote from the same text:

"...the lord's jug should be distinguished by the pieces of unicorn horn

hanging from a cord."

Ad the author goes on to speculate that the strange 't' shaped pieces

attached to both the cup-bearer's pouch and the carver's pouch in the Tres

Riches Heurs miniature are unicorn horn pieces. Unicorn horn being  

Believed to turn black in the presence o poison.


I thought it was interesting.

Glad Tidings,




Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 21:1:09 -0500

From: "vicki shaw" <vhsjvs at gis.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] French table Service and Web site - xlation part


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


Here is a quick xlation of the first paragraph under the heading Le Service du vin selon Olivier de la Marche


The Wine Service according to.....


In the framework of the gand courts of time - and specifically to the Court

of Bourgogne - there developed a literature whose goal to meticulously

regulate the organization of feasts, the succession of courses, and the

services (probably here it means the dishes, the cutlery, te glassware,

etc).  The most famous treatise was written Olivier de la Marche:  it is the

state of the House of the duke Charles de Bourgogne said the Daring and also

The Foolhardy.

As Maitre D, de la Marche is not only responsible for advising the kitchens

of the dishes his master desires to have at his table, but also to organize

the meals to his satisfaction.


The wine service is ensured by the Echanson (could not find a xlation for

this word; probably the person responsible for the wine cellar or something

like that) who mainly sees to the mixing of wine to water according to the

preference (or taste) of the prince.

The seating is choreographed by the Maitre D like a ballet, where each

[guest], according to his rank, his place and his funcion is placed.


Ok, that's it for the first para.  More tomorrow



Angharad ferch Iorwerth; MKA Vicki Shaw

Barony Beyond the Mountain

East Kingdom



Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 02:36:25 +0000

From: ekoogler1 at comcast.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] French table Service and Web site - xlation

        art one

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


This is great.  I know that there are other descriptions, but this one  

is one that I had found paraphrased and a small quote in the Scully  

wor...and had used what I found in an article I wrote on 14th c.  

kitchens, etc.  This person was highly placed in the household of the  

Duke of Normandy, I think...and his diary entry on this matter is very  

useful.  It really will be far better to refernce the diary directly  

(closer to a primary source, even if it is a translation) than to use  

the reference from another book.


I look forward to reading the remainder of it!


Kiri (I know...what's a Japanese doing writing about European  



> Well, i jsut could not resist!  I had to start the translation.  Here  

> is a

> quick xlation of the first paragraph under the heading Le Service du  

> vin

> selon Olivier de la Marche

> The Wine Service according to.....



Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 21:55:46 -0500

From: "vicki shaw" <vhsjvs at gis.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Fench table Service and Web site - xlation

        part two

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


That last thing came out kinda weird.  Sorry about tat long list of

words...anyway, here is paragraph two.  I have put in brackets some words to

clarify or suggest a better or alternate word.. There is one bracketed

sentence that is part of the text, however, but it is more than one

word, so you will reognize it.


I will use the french words for

echanson = wine waiter

sommelier = wine boss (lol!) cause the dictionary def i found says sommelier

is wine waiter, but the document I found said echanson was wine waiter.

From the context, I think the echansn is below the sommelier, but I

could be wrong.


Now, they mention the garde-linge and xlated word for word this would be the

person responsible for laundry, but in this context it would appear this is

the person who holds the keys to the room where pots and pans and ewers and

drinking vessels and whatall....so I will use that word as well.


The text also keeps using the word pot and distinguishes it from ewer, so I

had to stick with pot where it said pot and ewer where it said ewer

(aiguillere).  Okay here goes:


"When the table is set and the baker has done his job [part], the hall

bailiff goes to fetch the echanson appointed to wait that day, in his

echansonnerie [wine office?].  There the garde-linge hands the covered

goblet which the echanson takes by its foot [base] in his right hand, and in

his left hand he holds a cup; [at the same time as he hands the goblet and

the cup, the garde-linge gives] basins, pots and ewers for the prince, to

the sommelier who washes and dries [them].  The sommelir gives the goblet

to the echanson who stands behind the hall bailiff who carries the basins in

his left hand.  Behind the echanson follows the sommelier of the

echansonnerie who must carry in his right hand two silver pots, one

containing the wine for the prince, and the other water.  The prince's pot

is recognized by a the figure of a unicorn [carved?  metal?] dangling from a

chain.  The sommelier must carry in his left hand a cup and nothing more,

and in this cup must rest [lying, not standing] the ewer for serving water.

This cup which the sommelier carries serves to do the trial [test] which the

echanson performs.  After the sommelier comes the aide who must then carry

the pots and cups to the prince's buffet [feast]"


Heavens to Murgatroyd, suh complicated protocol! Hope you can make sense

of it.





Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 12:51:03 -0500

From: "vicki shaw" <vhsjvs at gis.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] French table Service and Web site

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


Here is the next installment:


"The prince arrived, and the plate proferred, the Maitre D calls upon the

cup bearer (echanson), and so the cup bearer leaves the table, goes to the

buffet and locates the covered basins which the sommelier had prepared; he

takes them and performs [presents?] the water trial to the sommelier, kneels

before the prince, raises the basin which he proceeds to open with his left

hand, and pours water from the other basin over the edge of this one and

does proof and trial, and gives to wash from one of the basins and receives

water in the other.  Without covering the basins, he hands them to the

sommelier.  This done, the cupbearer places himself before [in front of] the

gobelet and looks upon the prince, and he should be so attentive that with

the subtlest sign [look], the prince can let it be known he desires





Angharad ferch Iorwerth; MKA Vicki Shaw

Barony Beyond the Mountain

East Kingdom

vhsjvs at gis.net



Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 19:02:12 -0500

From: "vicki shaw" <vhsjvs at gis.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] French table Service and Web site

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


This does not mean that the prince is instantly served since the cup bearer,

once he has received the signal, takes the goblet in his hand and the cup

and must hold the goblet raised high so his breath does not come in contact

with it [pollute].  The hall bailiff opens the way for him and when the

sommelier sees him coming, he fills his ewer with fresh water and refreshes

the goblet in the hand of the cup bearred both inside and out, then takes a

cup in the left hand and the mouth pot [?] in the right hand, and first

pours into the cup he is holding, and then into the goblet, and then takes

the ewer and pours into the cup he is holding, an dthen into the goblet an

dthen takes the ewer and pours into the cup and then dilutes [??] the wine

into the goblet, according to his knowledge of the prince's taste

[preference] and his tolerance.


The wine watered, the cup bearer pours from his goblet into the cup he is

holding, covers the goblet once again - and he must hold the lid between the

two small fingers of the hand with which he holds the cup until he has

covered the goblet again, and given what he has poured in his cup to the

sommelier; and places in his own, and then the sommelier must perform the

trial [tasting] in front of him.  Thus the cup bearer brings the globlet to

the prince, uncovers the goblet and puts wine in his cup and then covers the

goblet again, and does his test [tastes the wine].  When the prince extends

his hand, the cup bearer hands him the uncovered goblet and places the cup

under the goblet until the prince has drunk."


Angharad ferch Iorwerth; MKA Vicki Shaw

Barony Beyond the Mountain

East Kingdom

vhsjvs at gis.net




Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 22:37:22 -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>


Barbara Benson wrote:

>I wish to branch out

> a bit and find out more about the German Feast presentation and

> formats that were common (or not so common). snipped

> The caveat is that I do not read German. I would like to plan a 16th century

> German Feast with as much in the way of entrements and presentation as

> possible to work out while remaining as authentic as possible within

> reason.


German sources certainly exist; the only problem is that a great deal

of the German material hasn't been translated. One major name is Dr.

Trude Ehlert

whose home page is here:


She's the author of  Das Kochbuch des Mittelalters.

You might want to start with the chapter on medieval Germany in Regional


of Medieval Europe, edited by Adamson. Adamson's essay on Germany does

mention the work

of Thomas Gloning.His homepage is



Albala's chapter in Food in Early Modern

Europe is short and concentrates on pointing out that Germany is a

modern concept.

The political states and regions that spoke German varied a great deal

and ranged from

Vienna to Saxony to Brandenburg.

If I can think of an easy way to do this, I will let you know. Perhaps a

travel account

or a court account written in English might be the way to go. Say a


account in English.

I'll see if I can find something tomorrow.





Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2004 20:03:54 -0700

From: "Wanda Pease" <wandap at hevanet.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] German Feast Formats

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


I'm not sure if this would be of help/interest to anyone but I got a book

from a German exhibition on tableware/service in the Kronprinzepalais, 29

November 2002 to 11 March 2003:  Sorry, no ISBN number, but it might still

be available from the Deutsches Historisches Museum.


It is Die Offentliche Tafel - Tafelzeremoniell in Europa 1300-1900.

Herausgegeben von Hans Ottomeyer und Michaela Voelkel, Deutsches

Historisches Museum.   There are many pictures and engravings of banquets,

food service, and tableware.  There is probably a great deal about both in

writing as well.  Unfortunately I only buy books in German, I don't read

them (grin).  I buy them for the pictures.


Regina Romsey



Date: 2 Jun 2004 07:07:35 -0000

From: "Volker Bach" <bachv at paganet.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] German Feast Formats

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


On Tue, 1 Jun 2004 18:45:08 -0400, "Barbara Benson" <vox8 at mindspring.com>

wrote :

> I have become very involved in German Cookery, and now I wish to branch out

> a bit and find out more about the German Feast presentation and formats that

> were common (or not so common). Now, I know exactly where to look for this

> information on French, Italian and English, but I was hoping that some good

> gentles on this list might be able to point me in the approprite

> direction(s) for sources for German.

> The caveat is that I do not read German. I would like to plan a 16th century

> German Feast with as much in the way of entrements and presentation as

> possible to work out while remaining as authentic as possible within reason.


Your first point of interest would be Marx Rumpoldt's 1581 "New Kochbuch"

which gives a collection of banquets suitable for IIRC emperors, kings,

electors, archdukes, dukes, counts, gentlemen, burghesses, and peasants

(the last seems a wee bit facetious). The usual format is three courses of

various mixed meats and side dishes, followed by a fruit course augmented

with various sweet bakes goods. There are woodcuts in the 1581 edition

(available in facsimile through ILL, if you're lucky. The ISBN is 3-487-

08112-1), but they are of limited value as they seem an eclectic mix

selected more for general theme than specific appropriateness. Being

german, I never bothered to translate much of it, but Gwen Cat has an

ongoing translation projection the web and may already have done the



From the impression I get,. presentation pieces do not seem to have been

that important in medieval Renaissance cuisine. There were usually things

like beast-shaped pastries (chicken pastries shaped like chickens, fish

like fish etc.) and often you see the head of a boar (presumably with

gilded tusks and egg eyes), but the pictures I know of normally show rich

tableware filled to overflowing with pretty food rather than artful



Museum collections often have things like golden saltcellars, fruit

bowls etc. from the 16th century.


One trick that was popular at least into the 16th century was the 'fire-

breathing boar head'. The boar's head has a bowl or boll of wool soaked in

spirits placed in its mouth which is lit. the server then blows through a

hidden tube to make flames billow out of the mouth.


Several recipes for chicklen-in-a-jar survive, the aim of which is to have

a cooked, deboned chicken served in a glass jar with the head sticking out

the opening.


The 'Kuechenmaistrey' lists a method for gilding cookies and I distinctly

recall having read something about letter-shaped fritters, though I don't

know where off the top of my head.


Rumpoldt also lists two recipes that might interest you for the dessert

course: a beaker-shaped cake and a heraldic pastry:


Mach ein Teig an mit Milch / Eyern / und schoenem weissen Mehl / thu

ein wenig Bierhefen darein / un mach einen guten Teig / der nicht gar

steiff ist / unnd versaltz jn nicht / setz jn zu der waerm / daß er fein

auffgehet / ...


Make dough with milk, eggs, and good white flour, and add a little brewing

yeast. Do not make it too stiff and do not oversalt it. Leave it to rise in

a warm place ...


Nimm ein newen Krug / schmier jn innwendig wol mit zerlassener Butter /

thu einen solchen Teig darein / daß der Krug halb davon voll wirt / und

wenn er auffgelauffen / daß er voll ist / so scheubs in heissen Ofen / und

laß backen / thu jn herauß /  und laß jn kalt werden / zerschlag den Krug /

unnd thu die Schifer davon hinweg / unnd gibs fein ganz auff Tisch / so

sihet es wie ein Krug.


Take a new pot, grease its insides with melted butter, then take of such a

dough (as described in a previous recipe) and fill it half full. When it

has risen to fill the pot entirely, place it in a hot oven and bake it.

Then take it out, cool it, and break the pot. Remove the shards and serve,

and it will look like a pot.

(Rumpoldt, Gebackens)




2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 1/2 - 3 cups flour

1/2 cup raisins

1 sachet dry yeast


Break the eggs into a bowl and beat. Dissolve the dry yeast in the milk and

slowly add to the eggs. Add flour by the spoonful until a thick paste

results. Stir in the raisins. Leave to rise in a warm spot until roughly

doubled in size. If you're feeling generous, by all means use the crockpot

method, but the dough can equally well be baked in a simple buttered

cake pan.



(Marx Rumpoldt)

Nim ein Turten Teig / treib in duenn auß / unnd beschneidt ihn rundt / wie

ein Adler oder wie ein Hertz / mach ein Kräntzlein rundt herumb / scheubs

in Ofen und backs / thu es wider herauß / und nimm gebratene Epffel / duie

durch ein Härin Tuch gestrichen / und fein mit Zimmet und Zucker angemacht

seyn / streich uber den gebacken Teig / bestraew es mit kleinem Confect /

und gibs zum Obst kalt auff ein Tisch.


Take pie crust, roll it out thinly and trim it all around into the shape of

an eagle or a heart. Make a wreath (or edge) all around, place it in the

oven and bake it. Take it out again, take roast apples passed through a

hair sieve and seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, and spread that on the

baked crust. Sprinkle it with small confits. Serve cold with fruit.


1/2 lb flour

1/4 lb butter



1-2 cups apple puree





Work the butter into the flour, then make into a soft dough with water (or

egg, to make it richer). Roll out on aboard and trim into any desired

shape. Use trimmings to build a raised edge around the bottom. Bake at 175°

C until slightly browned, then remove from oven and cool. Season apple

puree with sugar and cinnamon to taste and spread over cooled crust.

Sprinkle with confits and serve.


I am tempted to play around heraldically with various jams and jellies.





Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 13:04:15 -0800

From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Sca-cooks Digest, Vol 18, Issue 71

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


Cadoc wrote:

> Dunno, I am starting to be of the opinion that unless the group

> hosting the event

> wants a huge mucking feast, then we should make a single remove with

> desser.

> I was inspired by Elizabeth's smaller feast. It means two things,

> less of the night

> is taken up by the feast, and you hold your eater's attention with

> fewer dishes that

> you can put more time and effort into, instead of being in a hurry to  make two

> or even three removes.




> But from working many feasts over the years, I have seen that most people

> lose interest in the feast after the first remove.  The long and short of it is that

> a smaller feast allows you to focus your attntion on just that remove, and

> dessert (ok, two removes if you count dessert, gotta have dessert!), and it

> should serve to help keep the costs down for the event, so more people are

> able to be on-board and enjoy period based foods.


Master hiquart (1420), discussing a feast given by his master the

Duke of Savoy to the Duke of Burgundy, describes two courses (fancy

dishes, fancyentremets) and then says:


"And if you want to serve a third course I will find enough from

which to make it, however I advise that that would be extremely long."


So there is some period precedent for that attitude.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 19:42:57 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How meals are served in period

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


The item at time service is commonly associated with German feasts, but I

suspect it may have had wider use, especially in earlier times.  Serving a

single dish or a small group of related dishes would work better with a

feast of long duration than the large courses.


The three course multi-dish meal served over a realtively short period is a

practice that appears to have been made popular by the dinners held by

Catherine de Medici.




> I've been curious about how meals are served in period. I've always been

> told that it was served in courses/removes, with each being a miniature

> meal in itself.

> Was this always done?

> Recently I noticed a feast that was served apparently an item at a time,

> not in "courses/removes" and was done really really well.

> Is there a document somewhere that describes a _simple_ meal? (I tend to

> doubt that because why would anyone write about a meal that wasn't

> unusual in some sense?)

> I'm trying to plan a meal that the event steward has asked be themed in

> late period Italian, so that will play a part in it too. (I've been

> reading "The Stars Dispose" and "The Stars Compel" and getting lots of

> inspiration from their interpretations of Apicius).

> Maggie MacD.



Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 10:59:57 -0500

From: Robert Downie <rdownie at mts.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Research question

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


The Batty Bard wrote:

>      I was wondering if perhaps anyone knew if there was any  

> documentation on the wedding feast of Charles the Bold and Margaret  

> of York.  I keep finding all these vague references to this lavish  

> banquet, but nothing specific.  Any help and/or advice would be  

> greatly appreciated.

>      In Service,

>      -Gracia Esperanca de Sevilla


There are some references in Roy Strong's _Feast a History of Grand  



... the creation of elaborate temporary decor for great banquets.  This

could take the form of either a mise-en-scene superimposed on to an

existing hall, or the creation of a special room for the occasion.  When

Phillip the good married Isabella of Portugal in 1430, the courtyard was

transformed into a banqueting hall complete with a minstrels' gallery

for sixty, a stag and a unicorn pouting rosewater and hippocras, and

golden trees supporting  the arms of the lands over which the Duke  



Almost four decades later, in 1468, this arrangement was repeated when

Charles the Bold married Margaret of York, but with the addition of a

gallery from which the ladies could observe the feast.  The ceiling was

of blue silk, the walls appropriately hung with the story of Gideon and

the fleece, and both behind and above the high table there was a rich

length of grey cloth of gold embroidered with the ducal arms.


... THe drive towards making the state banquet into a political tableau

may have reached its apogee in the festivals that marked the marriage of

Charles the Bold to the Yorkist princess, Margaret of York, in 1468.

Two feasts on that occasion attempted dynastic apotheosis by means of

metamorphosed food.  On the first occasion guests entered to find

fifteen guilded and six silver swans, each wearing a collar of the Order

of the Golden Fleece and the arms of an individual knights.  The table

was further populated with an array of elephants bearing castles, camels

with panniers, stags and unicorns all in gold, silver and azure, filled

with sweetmeats. Each figure carried a banner with the arms of a

province of the duke.  A few days later there was a rerun in a final

banquet.  This time the tables were laden with 30 plates, each bearing

minitaure gardens bounded by golden hedges.  n the middle of the hall

rose a golden tree with meats piled up around it; the tree itself was

decked with fruits and flowers and the arms of thirty abbeys in the

ducal domains.  Close to where the duke was seated stood a model palace

enlivened with mechanical figures and a fountain that spurted rosewater

as if it were watering the miniature garden. ... It is difficult to

establish whether these subtleties were edible, but they were certainly

made to place on the dining table.




I've seen more complete descriptions of other banquets, but not for this

one yet (but I'm still researching, so maybe I'l find more eventually).

If you're interested in learning more about subtleties in general, this

group may be helpful:






Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 17:38:04 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Research question

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


>      I was wondering if perhaps anyone knew if there was any  

> documentation on the wedding feast of Charles the Bold and Margaret  

> of Yok.  I keep finding all these vague references to this lavish  

> banquet, but nothing specific.  Any help and/or advice would be  

> greatly appreciated.      In Service,

>      -Gracia Esperanca de Sevilla


Playing librarian--

Strong's sources for the passages that Baroness Faerisa quoted from are

taken from the Memoirs of Olivier de la Marche who was a courtier in Burgundy.

Titled Mémoires dâ™Olivier de La Marche, maiÌ‚tre d’hoÌ‚tel et capitaine des gardes de Charles le Téméraire when they were

published in the 1880's, they were first printed in 1562. The New Catholic

Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11246a.htm) writes that

"The author is sincere, but his style contains many Wallonne expressions

and, as in his other writings,

he introduces too many descriptions of fêtes and tournaments. Most of

his works are in verse."


Just what we want-- actual descriptions of fetes ad tournaments.

His heading is La Marche, Olivier de, ca. 1426-1502 in case you want to

search for him in catalogs.



   Have you looked at


Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, 1446-1503 / Christine Weightman.

Published/Created:  New York : St. Martinâ€s Press, 1989.


There's this--  Wikipedia writes

Her marriage to Charles the Bold at Bruges, on July 9th, 1468, ...The

wedding was extravagant even by the standards of the Burgundian court,

the most opulent and cultured court of the day. The celebrations

ncluded the "Tournament of the Golden Tree" that was arranged around an

elaborately detailed allegory, designed to honor the bride. During the

wedding, Margaret wore a magnificent crown ...it can still be seen in

the treasury at Aachen

Cathedral. The paraes, the streets lined with tapestry hung from

houses, the feasting, the masques and allegorical entertainments, the

jewels, impressed all observers as the marriage of the century. It is

annually reenacted at Bruges for tourists.


have you tried searching n that title-- Tournament of the Golden Tree


Museum event--



There is a book--




You might try and interlibrry loan a copy and see what it has.


I will check a couple of other books and see what else I have.





Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 21:49:32 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Period description of "events"

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


If you have academic access, then there's EEBO of course

and all the accounts that can be found in there.


Otherwise you might want to start with Roy Strong.

Feast is entertaining. So is Charlemagne's Tablecloth by Fletcher.

Eat, Drink, & Be Merry by Ivan Day is another. Also Apples of Gold in Settings

of Silver by Young. They all offer bibliographies. Take their sources

and go from there.


The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe

by Ken Albala will be out in 2007.




Patrick Levesque wrote:

> I'm looking for sources period descriptions, narrations or tales of events,

> ceremonies, tourneys, banquets, balls, feasts, etc, etc, etc...snipped

> They don't have to be only about food itself - I've recently been looking

> into events from a more holistic perspective.

> Thanks! Petru



Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 08:01:15 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Festival Books was Period description of


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


Continuing along where I left off last evening, you might like

this online source from the British Library.


Treasures in Full. Renaissance Festival Books.

'Read Renaissance and Early Modern festival books on your desktop now


View 253 digitized Renaissance festival books (selected from over 2,000

in the British Library's collection) that describe the magnificent

festivals and ceremonies that took place in Europe between 1475 and 1700

- marriages and funerals of royalty and nobility, coronations, stately

entries into cities and other grand events."




What is a festival book?



Examples-- http://www.bl.uk/treasures/festivalbooks/italy.html


Johnnae llyn Lewis


> Patrick Levesque wrote:

> I'm looking for sources period descriptions, narrations or tales of events,

> ceremonies, tourneys, banquets, balls, feasts, etc, etc, etc...snipped

> They don't have to be only about food itself - I've recently been looking

> into events from a more holistic perspective.

> Thanks! Petru



Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 18:39:16 -0500

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] documentation for a sumptuous feast

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

        authenticcooks at fiedlerfamily.net


I'm almost afraid to post this because I know several people including

Christopher likely to run with it, but I just transcribed this and

wanted to share it with the list:


From Roy Strong. "Feast: A History of Grand Eating" p. 73-75




What is probably the best and most complete account we have of a late

medieval banquet describes the dinner given by Gaston IV, comte de Foix,

at Tours in 1457. It was staged in honour of an embassy from the king of

Hungary, a mission which included not only Hungarians but Germans,

Bohemians and Luxemburgers. To that cosmopolitan guest list of a hundred

and fifty must be added the whole of the French court. The guests were

seated in strict order of precedence at twelve large tables with the

host, together with the leaders of the embassy and the most important

French notables, served separately, as was customary, at a high table.


The feast was exceptional, not only for the number of courses involved

-- no fewer than seven -- but also for the fact that the account

actually describes the food served. Up until now, such details were

normally passed over in silence or, if mentioned at all, simply remarked

in terms of splendour and abundance. The meal opened modestly with

pieces of toast that the diner dipped into the spiced wine called

hippocras, but then swiftly moved on to 'grands pates de chapons

[capons],' 'jambons de sanglier [hams of wild boar],' and seven

different kinds of potage, all served on silver. Each table bore a

hundred and fourty silver plates, a feat of ostentation that was to be

repeated in the courses that followed. Ragouts of game came next:

pheasants, partridges, rabbits, peacocks, bustards, wild geese, swans,

and various river birds, not to mention venison. These ragouts were

accompanied by several other kinds of dishes and pottage. Then came a



Although there is no reference in our account to the placement of the

tables, they must have been arranged in a horseshoe forming an arena at

the centre. Into that space came what was called an entremet, the first

of a series. Twelve men wheeled in a castle on a rock. Whether the men

were concealed inside the rock or not we do not learn, but the castle

itself had four corner towers and a large keep at the centre with four

windows, at each of which could be seen a richly attired lady. The

central keep was adorned with heraldic banners bearing the arms of the

king of Hungary and those of the other great lords who made up the

embassy. At the top of each of the four towers a child sang like an

angel (though what they sang we do not learn.)


After this display the feast resumed with a dish called 'oiseaux armes',

which has defied definition by culinary historians, served with yet more

pottages. But the real distinction of this course was that 'tout ce

service fut dore' '-- all the food was apparently gilded, or at least

given the appearance of being golden. Then came the second entremet: six

men, dressed in the regional constume of Bearn, carried in a man

disguised as a tiger wearing a collar from which was suspended the arms

of the king of Hungary. The tiger spat fire and the Bearnais danced, to

great applause from the onlookers.


Following a fifth course which included tarts, darioles (small moulded

dishes, sweet in this case) and fried oranges, another entremet came

forth. In terms of sheer spectacle this must have eclipsed everything

that went before. Twenty-four men were needed to bring it into the hall,

an indication as to both its size and weight. It was a mountain

containing two fountains, one of which spouted rosewater, the other 'eau

de muscade'. Suddenly out of this rocky promontory rabbits scampered

while live birds emerged to fly around the hall. Four boys and a girl,

all dressed as savages, descended to dance a morisco. Then the

count distributed largesse to the various attendant heralds of arms, the

one from Hungary recieving, in addition to the two hundred e'cus

bestowed on the others, a fine length of velvet.


The sixth course consisted of dessert, red hippocras served with certain

kinds of wafer called 'oublies' and 'roles', after which came a final

entremet. A man attired in embroidered crimson satin appeared astride a

similarly caparisoned horse. In his hands he carried a model garden made

of wax which was filled with roses and a variety of other flowers, and

set it before the ladies (an indication that they must have been seated

separately from the men). This, we are told, was the most admired of all

the entremets, although what followed in the way of food as a finale

must have been equally extraordinary. It involved a heraldic menagerie

sculpted in sugar: lions, stags, monkeys and various other birds and

beasts, each holding in beak or paw the arms of the Hungarian king.


Unbelieveably, the banquet was not yet over. In came a live peacock with

the arms of the queen of France encompassing its neck and the arms of

the ladies of the French court draped over its body. In response, all

the lords present advanced and pledged to support the cause of the

Hungarian king (it was customary to make vows of chivalry on birds). Our

account closes with one other important detail. In the middle of the

room there was apparently a platform, an estrade, from which singers and

an organ provided music during the dinner.




Since the original of this description was in Catalan, I would suggest

that the fried oranges are really the cheese balls described in De Nola.

Having the ladies sit separately, if indeed they did, would have

followed the Eastern European meal tradition.


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



Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2007 22:57:38 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Thoughts about a neat feast

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


>> I was thinking about doing a totally fancy feast. It would

>> be very expensive, costing diners $20 - $25 probably.

>> But it would be done in an all day, period fashion with

>> courses brought out at various times with musicians

>> and entertainment.


>> The theme would be the Greek Gods with each course

>> being dedicated to a god or group of gods.

> This sounds like the sort of thing that, if period at all, would be

> late period--at least, that's my association. Do we have examples of

> that sort of themed feast?


I believe there are a number of late-period Italian examples described

in Roy Strong's _Feast: A History of Grand Eating_


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



Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2007 20:26:01 -0700

From: Lilinah <lilinah at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Thoughts about a neat feast

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net> wrote:

>>> I was thinking about doing a totally fancy feast. It would

>>> be very expensive, costing diners $20 - $25 probably.

>>> But it would be done in an all day, period fashion with

>>> courses brought out at various times with musicians

>>> and entertainment.


>>> The theme would be the Greek Gods with each course

>>> being dedicated to a god or group of gods.


>> This sounds like the sort of thing that, if period at all, would be

>> late period--at least, that's my association. Do we have examples of

>> that sort of themed feast?

> I believe there are a number of late-period Italian examples described

> in Roy Strong's _Feast: A History of Grand Eating_


Those Italian feasts are unbelievably amazing - with tables with

machinery in them so they split and move during the feast - and food

that descends from the ceilings on clouds.


Amazing and astonishing reading.


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita



Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 19:54:59 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Cooking the Books

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

        SCA_Subtleties at yahoogroups.com


While searching for something else

I came across this online exhibit of culinary illustrations.


It's the one down on the page after Hibernia. Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cooking the Books

Among other things, there's an illustration of a table decoration

labeled as Tafelaufsatz aus einem Skizzenbuch

- sketch of table decoration from c. 16th century.





Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 09:48:01 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Flandrin's Arranging the Meal

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


And here's another new book




Jean-Louis Flandrin

*Arranging the Meal*

/A History of Table Service in France/

Translated by Julie E. Johnson, with Sylvie and Antonio Roder; Foreword

to the English-Language Edition by Beatrice Fink


Foreword, by Georges Carantino

Foreword to the English Language Edition: Jean-Louis Flandrin's World

Order, by Beatrice Fink




1. Composition of the Classical Meal

2. Roasts

3. Entr?es and Entremets

4. Composition of Meatless Meals




5. French Meals in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

6. Sixteenth-Century Overview

7. Classical Order in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

8. Innovations from the Revolution to World War I

9. Hidden Changes in the Twentieth Century



10. English Menu Sequences

11. Polish Banquets in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth  





A. Additional Material for Part Three

B. Dietetics and Meal Sequences

C. The Cuisine of the Renaissance

D. Additional Printed Sources








Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 06:41:21 -0500

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Course/Remove

To: "Gretchen Beck" <grm at andrew.cmu.edu>, "Cooks within the SCA"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>,   sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Margaret asked:

> So (since I'm being lazy and have too many other things to dig up at the

> moment), when was this style of serving adopted in France, and what did the

> French call this particular object/action?


Several other folk have posted, quite eruditely, about this.  "The Appetite

and the Eye", in a chapter by C. Anne Wilson, implies that the "new method"

was the manner of setting out dishes on a table in particular patterns with

folding-plate illustrations showing how to set out the dishes.  Ms. Wilson

writes: "As the seventeenth century drew to a close, a new method was

discovered for conveying the way to set out dishes upon the

table...Folding-plate illustrations had rarely appeared...but

folding-plates showing table-settings seem to have been incorporated in F.

Massialot's 'Le Cuisinier Roial et Bourgeois' of 1691.  They were soon

copied in...Monsieur Audiger's 'La Maison Regle'e' of 1692...This new style

of representing plates upon the table-top arrived in England with the

publication in 1702 of 'The Court and Country Cook'...(Alys notes -  It's a

translation and combination of two French cookery books.)... The second

edition of Henry Howard's 'England's Newest Way in All Sorts of Cookery,

Pastry, and all Pickles that are Fit to be Used', published in 1708,

contains the final innovation which was to set the pattern for diagrams of

table-settings...there is eveny the recently adopted usage of the 'remove'

(a dish to be succeeded by another)...[A soup] was served out to everyone

present, and its large serving-bowl or tureen was then removed.  In its

place was set the item of meat or fish written in the lower half of the

circle...(Alys notes: This is one of the circles on the illustration

showing where the dishes were to be placed on the table.)  The soup and its

'remove' or replacement marked the first step towards a different division

of the courses which led evenutally, after the coming of the Russian

service early in the nineteenth century, to the usual sequence of courses

at today's formal dinners."


There you have it.  Documentation for the "invention" of a remove, which

isn't a course, and which does not fall within the SCA time period, plus a

brief explanation of the change from the old style of serving foods -

dishes being brought in by servers, one course after the other, to dishes

being already placed on the table in symmetrical (and crowded?) patterns,

to today's formal dining service.


Alys Katharine



Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2009 16:16:48 -0700 (PDT)

From: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Handwashing in 1500's Italian feast menus


There's something I've noticed when looking through two menus in Messisbugo, that recalled to mind something I had seen in the Scappi menus as well.


Just before the final course the top tablecloth was removed to reveal a clean one underneath, scented water was provided for hand washing, and in Scappi, they were given clean napkins.


From Messisbugo's Libro Novo, Menu in the Middle of August 1530

"And therein is removed one tablecloth and everything on the tables, and they are given sweet-smelling water for the hands."


Again from the Menu for the Eight of September 1531

"And there they removed tablecloth and everything on the table, and they are given sweet-smelling water for the hands,"


This was apparently not limited to only feasts or even evening meals, as looking through the Menu translations posted by Helewyse here:


You can see this mentioned in both Lunch and Dinner menus


From Scappi's Opera


Lunch on the 15th of October

"Raise the tablecloth, wash hands, change the white napkins"


The same is mentioned again in the dinner menu on the same day

"Raise the tablecloth, wash hands, change the white napkins"


In the August lunch and dinner menus on August 8th and 15 all this is mentioned each time in the same place in the menu, translated as: "Lift the tablecloth, give water to the hands, one changes to the white serviettes and one serves" the? Italian transcription is:

"Levata la tovaglia, & data l?acqua alle mani, si muteranno salviette candide"


This is listed immediately before the final course, and is seen consistently in both sources.


I've used the serving practices listed in Scappi's menus before, with each course alternately buffet style from the sideboard (Credenza) or served from the kitchen (Cuchina), but I have yet to attempt this changing of table linens and providing scented (I would guess rose, or citrus) water, before the final course and I'm wondering about the logistical feasibility of it. Perhaps this is something that could only work for a perfect period feast where all of the servers and diners are trained in what to expect as I can imagine the chaos and complaints that might ensue if I were to try this currently. Perhaps if there was a class on one of the etiquette manuals, or an overview of many? Any thoughts?





Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 14:37:27 -0500

From: JIMCHEVAL at aol.com

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] English period recipes and household info


The archives are wonky just now, so I don't know if this collection has  

already been cited. But for what it's worth, there's a wealth of recipes in

this  collection, as well as lists of prices, household functions, etc; (see

the  introduction for an overview.)


A  Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal

Household, Made in Divers Reigns




Only place I've seen cumin used with peacock. Oh, and there's  an item for

'roo in brothe' - not anachonistic, just, apparently, "roe" in  period



Jim  Chevallier


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