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prim-sit-fsts-msg - 6/28/07


Preparing feasts at primitive condition sites.


NOTE: See also the files: headcooks-msg, Fst-Menus-art, feast-serving-msg, feast-ideas-msg, pot-luck-fsts-msg, camp-kitchens-msg, camp-ovens-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:


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



Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 12:43:04 -0500

From: "Peters, Rise J." <rise.peters at>

Subject: RE: SC - Suggestions


> If all goes well, I will be cooking a feast for 120 at a state park with no

> kitchen facilities other than a power outlet and a spiget for water.


Remember that you're probably going to need every pot, bowl  and utensil you

can beg, borrow or... borrow, since without sinks, it's a lot harder to wash

and reuse items between courses.  We've discovered that, no matter what,

there are never enough pots.


Make sure that enough tables are allocated for

cutting/chopping/mixing/laying out things.


Something (plastic wrap?) to keep the flies off of prepared food before



Lighting, since someone is going to end up washing dishes after feast, which

probably means in the dark.


Garbage bags so the populace can take their dirty dishes home to wash them



Coolers... lots of coolers.  More ice than you expect to need.


Caitlin, in Storvik, Atlantia

        (Bowie, MD)



Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 13:48:05 -0500

From: Marilyn Traber <margali at>

Subject: Re: SC - Suggestions


If you have a water spiggot, you can have a sink, go to the local home depot

sort of store, get a plastic laundry sink-they run in the vicinity of $18, and a

garden hose, and they make what look like spiggots that screw onto a garden

hose. thread the hose through the faucet set hole in the back of the deep sink,

add the spiggot and you have an impromptu sink, just no hot water, but you

really dont need hot water to do dishes, just make sure to tee off the basic

spiggot so you have a rinse hose and wate4r supply hose in addition to the sink



1 deep sink, plastic

1 y splitter

2 hoses

1 faucet looking hose spiggot

1 controllable spray hose spiggot[like for watering lawns]





Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 13:19:20 -0500

From: Jeff Gedney <JGedney at>

Subject: Re: SC - Suggestions


I'll say this: You will never have as much Hot water as you need, so make up a solution of bleach and water to rinse cutting boards and utensils with, after washing between uses, and have a large container of hand sanitizer ready in the kitchen, and make sure your staff uses it every time the re-enter the kitchen (whatever the reason they leave the kitchen area), and after handling any meats or fats.


Keep two large pots for boiling water, and keep one on the fire, while you have the other in the kitchen for rinsing and cleaning pots and dishes and hands.


I hope you have a sink to go with the spigot, if not remember to dump all wash and other water at least 20 feet away from where you are cooking, to keep the flies away, and the footing clean.





Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 12:19:14 -0700

From: "Michael H. Lambert" <mlambert at>

Subject: Re: SC - Suggestions


When my lady and her Mistress cooked for the Outland royalty and visitors at

Estrella, they were pleasantly surprised when her Majesty presented them with a

plastic laundry sink.  This was hooked up to a hose attached to the spigot (100

meters away), with the drain attached to another garden hose running to a low

spot away from the cook tent.  Her Majesty indicated that the whole thing cost

about $35 at a building supply store.  It was great for rinsing and washing.  

Highly recommended.


Gwilim de Glamorgan



Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 15:17:05 -0800 (PST)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at>

Subject: Re: SC - Suggestions


- --- CONNECT at wrote:

> If all goes well, I will be cooking a feast for 120

> at a state park with no

> kitchen facilities other than a power outlet and a

> spiget for water.


Several of my suggestions have been mentioned before.

But I have two you might consider.


1) in order to get enough hot water, bring extention

cords and borrow or rent (if you have to)one or two of

the largest coffeemakers you can get a hold of.  I did

this at the last primitive site I cooked at and had

access to a 10 gallon coffee maker (I borrowed it from

my church).  I had all the hot water that I needed for

cooking and cleaning.  I was cooking for 250.


2) buy good quality disposable aluminum roasting pans.

You can put them on the charcoal grill and use them to

grill your food or warm up your roasts.  Afterwards,

you can just toss them.





Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 18:37:52 EST

From: Mordonna22 at

Subject: Re: SC - Suggestions


CONNECT at writes:

> What else should I be thinking about bringing to the site to make life a

> little easier for myself?


LOTS more dish cloths than you will think you will ever need.





ate: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 10:49:45 -0500

From: "Rosalyn MacGregor" <rosalyn at>

Subject: Re: SC - My upcoming feast


Good My Lord Stefan wrote:

> Since you want to do a documentable feast and since you were protesting

> other non-medieval foods, I think you really want something else.


> Pots of stew or pottage don't take that much care, although you'll

> need to cook them longer. They do seem to work well at primitive

> sites though.

> stews-bruets-msg  (65K)  5/24/00    Period stews and bruets. Recipes.


> The same comments also applies to most soups:

> soup-msg          (92K) 10/18/00    Medieval soups. Cooking soups at events.


Please allow me to add my agreement and a suggestion.


I've found that stews and soups taste better if the flavors are allowed

time to blend. By this, I mean that the stew or soup is not eaten the same

day it's prepared. I would recommend, if you have the time and space

necessary, that you make up the stews or soups a day or two in advance, and

keep them refrigerated until you need them. Alternatively, you could make

the dishes up and freeze them.


The point is, that you've already done the cooking when you get to the site

and all you have to do is warm things up to the right temperature. This

saved my *** when I did a feast at a very primitive site.


Your humble servant,

Rosalyn MacGregor

(Pattie Rayl)



Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 13:11:49 -0500

From: Anne-Marie Rousseau <dailleurs at>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Feasts without a Kitchen

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at>,      Fairy Tale Designs

      <avrealtor at>



I was asked many weeks ago to cook Coronation Feast again here in  

Caid. Doing this is not a problem, except I was told that I will not have any kitchen facilities.  I will have a dayshade or 2, electricity and a water source but no sink.  Also, i live about 1 1/2 hours away from the site so cooking at my home and bringing it there will be difficult. Oh and no refrigeration either.


I will look into buying/renting a big pit BBQ roaster for meats but any other things will have to be simple.





hi from Anne-Marie


we do regular dinners for large numbers at outdoor camping events and  

it goes pretty well.


a few key suggestions:


keep it simple. single course, or maybe two courses if you must. stews, soups, pottages or meats roasted at home that you slice and simmer briefly in a yummy sauce.


food safety is imperitive!! I highly recommend doing as much cooking/prep at home as you can, and then reheating/dishing up on site. use your food thermometer. have dedicated coolers that beer hunters wont be opening every 10 minutes :). have hand washing stations set up (even a bucket of soapy water that folks can plunge their hands in, with the water getting changed periodically is

better than nothing), and hand sanitizer (again, not perfect, but better than nothing).


boiling bags work great for touchy items like rice, frumenty, etc. no  

danger of scorching!


we often will setup a buffet line (not the most medieval, but nice for controlling portions and food safety) with modern chafing dishes. again, doing the dishing up means helpful people wonít stick their unwashed fingers in the pots.


you could do a served feast, but the amt of planning, equipment etc then multiplies exponentially.


lastly, presentation can take a simple meal of stew, bread, salad and dessert and elevate it to the sublime. do your prep at home where you have a sanitized cutting board and clean knives and can wash your hands frequently. Seal everything in ziplocs and heat/dishup right before serving.


another menu I've done that worked really well:

roast pork with sauce rapye



artisanal breads

compound salat

assorted tartlets, cookies and the like for dessert


roast the pork at home. slice and bag.

make the sauce at home. bag.

cook the funges at home. bag.

cook the frumenty at home. bag in a boiling bag.

buy the bread

prep all the salad ingredients, bag seperately at home.

make dressing at home, put in a jar.

make all the tartlets, etc at home (good thing to delegate :))


on site, put pork and sauce in a pot and bring to temp. be sure not  

to BOIL :)

reheat funges

reheat frumenty in boiling bag (no burning. hooray!)

assembel salad in big bowls. dress at the last minute.

arrange tarts, etc in a pretty display

hunk up the bread and put in baskets


easy peasy :)





Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 13:05:59 -0700

From: Susan Fox <selene at>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Feasts without a Kitchen

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


> Those cajun cookers Papa G referred to in his message are a  

> godsend.  We call them "flame-throwers", but it's the same thing.  

> They give you the power you need to be able to heat large  

> quantities of stuff.  And the "seal-a-meal" things are wonderful as  

> well...we use them for Pennsic instead of the large containers I  

> used to carry with stews, etc., in them and it makes reheating and  

> cleanup SO much easier.


Got both of these.  I've offered them up, as well as a nice outdoor

pavilion and washing station. The former, well it's not like we need to

sleep in it, plenty of room and walls that shelter period eyes from

modern necessities.  The latter is based around big-ass stock pots, of

which I've got three, and a dedicated propane stove for heating up the

wash water.  All we need is a legal grey water dump and I'm ready to

rock and roll.



Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 16:28:01 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Feasts without a Kitchen

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at>,

      avrealtor at


If you would like, you may borrow my propane two burner cook stove [not a Colman, but the 20,000 BTU kind], my propane grill [which can also convert to another two burner 20,000 BTU cook stove] and my propane oven [which I haven't used yet, but it again isn't the Colman kind, but an actual stand alone oven that uses the same large propane canisters.]  This should give you a lot of heating sources and help you immensely.


You may also borrow whatever serving stuff I have, if you like.


The large banquet that I did for Angels 20th at the primitive site was a standard feast menu.  Three courses.  I didn't do a single country or era menu, but did a montage so that I could have more freedom to do things that fit the cooking sources that I had.


I did a Roman pork roast, I did roasted and stuffed chicken, and I did beef e-stewed with onions.  I also did compound salads and fresh fruits.  One of my  

cooks insisted that we have frumenty, which wasn't difficult to make, but difficult to clean the pot because it burned horribly. I spent many hours scrubbing that pot because it belonged to my church and I always return borrowed items cleaner than when I got them.  We also had beet pies and stuffed mushrooms and lots of fresh bread.  And peas porridge. [Which I actually made more like pea soup, than porridge.] And honeyed carrots.  I can't remember all the subtelties [this was more than 15 years ago], but one was rosettes made using several irons shaped as an angel rather than the traditional rose shape. I served them with lemon sorbet.


The roasts [both chicken and pork], the breads, pies and mushrooms were all premade and reheated for the feast.  The beef, frumanty, peas, carrots, salads,  

fruits and rosettes were made on site.  I purchased the sorbet, and kept it on dry ice.





Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 10:55:53 -0700

From: lilinah at

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Feasts without a Kitchen

To: sca-cooks at


Muiriath wrote:

>   I was asked many weeks ago to cook Coronation Feast again here in

> Caid. Doing this is not a problem, except I was told that I will not

> have any kitchen facilities.  I will have a dayshade or 2,

> electricity and a water source but no sink.  Also, i live about 1

> 1/2 hours away from the site so cooking at my home and bringing it

> there will be difficult. Oh and no refrigeration either.


>   I will look into buying/renting a big pit BBQ roaster for meats

> but any other things will have to be simple.


This may be redundant, but...


I cooked a wedding meal for between 80 and 120. The site had a

kitchen, but had run out of money before it was furnished. It had a

modest sink, big deep counters, lots of electrical plugs, a small

home microwave, and a small home refrigerator (which was full of

wedding beverages, so i didn't use it).


I rented a convection oven that would hold 4 half-sheet pans and a

friend brought a small "hot plate" that was large enough to boil a

half-gallon pot of water. I tried to rent a more commodious

microwave, but none of the places i called rented them.


I live about 2 hours from the site, which was in the Santa Cruz

Mountains along a dangerous and winding highway in fog and rain.


So i pre-cooked and pre-made most stuff.


I cooked 30 lb of pot roast (with 10 lb of potatoes, 10 lb. of

carrots, 5 lb. parsnips, and a *big* can of tomatoes and other

seasonings) at home (that took almost 9 hours - since i had to make

it in three loads) a couple weeks before the feast, and froze it. I

cooked 25 lb of chicken in a spice and fruit sauce at home and froze



I made several sauces and dips, boiled about 100 eggs...


I took the meats out of my freezer well ahead of time so they'd thaw.


On site we reheated the meats, peeled the eggs, made a Caesar salad

from scratch (i had purchased garlic herb croutons at an artisanal

bakery near me), stuffed (with stuffing i'd made) and broiled fresh

mushrooms, microwave-steamed the broccoli... the rest is a fog, since

i didn't get enough sleep the night before (isn't that the way it

usually is?)


Now, granted this wasn't an SCA feast, but once again, the keys were

(1) planning the menu - making sure there were lots of dishes that

didn't have to be hot - and (2) pre-making as much as possible.


So... i recommend renting a convection oven, planning so that most

food doesn't have to be hot and making made ahead as much as possible.


Several years ago i made a feast for 150 that would be served at a

very rustic site. We were allowed to have propane stove ONLY on one

parking lot, as there was a high fire hazard level that August. I

made MOST of the food myself - i froze the meat dishes. Then on-site

we made dishes or assembled cold dishes, made couscous (and by

request tabbouleh, but without tomatoes :-) that involved only

pouring hot water over the grains and letting them sit in covered

pans, and heated the frozen foods using one of those big three burner

propane stoves on tall legs.


Again the keys were pre-cooking and reheating hot dishes, pre-making

as many cold dishes as possible, and making other cold dishes on-site.


While this feast was mostly period Middle Eastern, similar things can

be done with period European feasts. Tarts are great pre-made. And

here you have a huge range of possibilities - meat, veggie,

egg-and-cheese, fruits.


The Greco-Roman feast for 100 i did also featured dishes about half

of which were made ahead. That site was a church with limited

facilities (two home kitchen electric stoves, a double sink that

tended to back up through a floor drain into the kitchen, a small

home refrigerator). We assembled a number of dishes on site, and one

of the main things we cooked in the ovens (four home size) was

roasted chicken.


Because of the virtual lack of refrigeration, a number of my cook

helpers brought coolers for the things that needed to be kept cool.


My feast descriptions are on my website


Washing up - you'll need some cooker to boil water and lots of dish

pans. Set up several stable tables and have several wash stations,

each with a hot soapy dishpan, a warm rinse pan, and a second rinse

pan - i've never added any of those sterilizing additives - in a

situation like this they're probably not necessary. And of course

some way to dispose of the grey water...


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita



Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 21:34:45 -0500

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] The G'rilla in the Room

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


OK, if you want the easy way to do something like this...


If you have a hose outlet.


You need a dedicated gas heater like this:


An Omigawd sized stock pot, lots of copper tubing, male and female

fittings for the ends (and someone to solder them on securely for

you), thre regular hoses and a heat resistant hose, a Y splitter and a

couple of sprayer nozzles.


Starting at the spigot, attach it to the first hose. attach a Y

splitter. Attach the second hose to one branch of the Y splitter and

then one of the sprayers to that- this is your cold water. To the

other branch, again attach a hose, and this attaches to a female

fitting which is soldered to one end of the copper tubing, which is

coiled up inside the Omigawd stock pot, with the other end peeping

out, to which is soldered the male fitting. Attach the end of the heat

resistant hose to it, and a sprayer to that, and that's your hot

water. To use, fill the stock pot with water and heat it up. As the

water from the hose goes through the coiled copper tubing, it heats up

by transference, so the water coming out the other end is as hot as

the water in the pot.


Notes for a bit more sophistication.


If you choose the right size stock pot, everything can be stored in

it. You need the copper tubing coiled neatly against the outside edge

of the pot. And, rather than buying three hoses, you can buy on and

fittings and cut it to length and attach the fittings. All that will

fit in the bottom of the pot, with the sprayers and the heat resistant

hose. You'll need at least 100 feet of the copper tubing (maybe 5/8-

3/4" in diameter, and you should be able to turn the cooker upside

down on top of it all, making just one package. The propane tank(s),

of course, will be additional packages.


If you're cooking in an area where wind chill is a factor, you can

braze or solder on a couple of stoppers at the bottom of the stock

pot, and slip or velcro a flame resistant jacket over the pot, to

retain the heat. You can also cut holes in the stockpot lid to

accommodate the hose ends and put a piece of insulation on it to help

retain heat- but DON'T make it a closed system, unless you LIKE steam

explosions. You'll want to be able to add water or remove the top to

adjust the temp a bit more than the regulators on the cookers allow.

And, for Mercy's sake, don't use one of the waist high cookers- too

unstable with weight on them. Instead, use one of the short legged

varieties, maybe a foot off the ground.


Saint Phlip


<the end>

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