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Sugarplat-Adv-art – 11/15/05


“Adventures with Sugar Plate” by Count Gunthar. Includes commentary from others on solving some of the problems Gunthar ran into.


NOTE: See also the files: sugar-msg, sugar-paste-msg, Sugar-Icing-art, Sgr-a-Cnftns-art, sotelties-msg, Roses-a-Sugar-art, marzipan-msg, flavord-sugars-msg, sugar-sources-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 13:02:52 -0600

From: "Michael Gunter" <countgunthar at hotmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Gunthar's Adventures with Sugar plate (very long,

      grab some tea and a scone...)

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Okay, you mugs made it look way too easy. Since there was

discussion a bit back on making sugarplate mock cinnamon sticks

I decided to give it a try. I mean, how hard can it be to take

play-dough, roll it out, dust it with spices and roll it up? Ta-da!

and I’d have a groovy little centerpiece for my Tournament of

the Roses display.


You guys suck.


I went to a local hobby shop where it has fancy cake making stuff

and bought a big can of gum Traficant because I wanted the real

thing, being all authentic and suchlike. I got powdered ginger and

cinnamon, lots of powdered sugar (I'm not so authentic like to

grind my own Sugar in the Raw to a powder, I leave that to the

drudges), rose water and prepare to make stuff to wow the masses.

I have these cruel evil books showing neat sugarplate recreations

from the period. Knights on horseback, castles, goblets and plates.

This stuff must be easy!


Of course I conveniently forgot the last time I encountered this

evil substance. It was at a Cookscon a few years back when Alys

Katherine hosted a class in sugarplate. But she provided all of us

with these nice little playdough cakes where everyone made wonderful

little sculptures and I made an ashtray. Eventually I was invited to go

in the kitchen and help stir the soup.....


ANY-way.....I opened the can of an innocent looking white powder

(like cocaine, the snowy substance hides Satan lurking) and added the

water. The instructions say to stir this until it's mixed. The instructions

don't indicate that your spoon eventually weighs 5 lbs as you try to

mix this gunk. Once properly mixed you dust a working surface with

powdered sugar and pour this nearly alive amoeba onto the surface

in order to knead it into submission. Now I have to feel that there is

something wrong with using powdered sugar in order to make things

less sticky.....


So, trusting how easy you guys say this is I don't exactly pour the mass

onto the board as convince it with spoons, tongs and a cattle prod. Once

on the powdered sugar it glared at me and oozed towards any crack in

the counter in order to escape. Now the instructions say to knead

until well mixed. Have you ever tried to knead something that resembled

the end results of an elephant with an allergy? It didn't knead. It rolled

around and stuck to everything. The counter, my hands, the rose

water bottle, the sink, the cat (I don't even OWN a cat!), the ceiling,

and the sugar. I have hands that make me look like I'm the makeup

artist for the Alien movies.


Then the phone rang.....


Okay, ignore the phone. Keep beating this goo into submission, I mean

kneading it until it is "well mixed". How can you tell when an amoeba is

well mixed? When your hands get tired, that's how. Now I got to take

the semi-firm substance and coax it into a plastic bag. Envision giving a

cat a bath in a teacup. I swear it yowled at me. After several attempts

and the use of a spatula, a cutting board and begging I got it in the

bag and sealed it tightly. It grumbled and hissed at me but it was trapped.

The instructions happily assured me that it would firm up in the bag if

I waited long enough. I wonder if 5 years would be good? But cleaned

the kitchen, the counter, the sink, the floor, the non-existent cat, my

houseplants and my truck parked outside of the remaining goo. It

had a disturbing habit of giggling as I scraped it up.


I called the girlfriend back and explained why I didn't answer the phone

since I was reluctant to have a cell-phone permanently grafted to my ear.

She thought it was amusing, the sadist.


After 30 or so minutes and several shots of Jack Daniel's courage in a bottle

I approached the bag with a large stick, a welder's mask and the kind of

electroshock stick they use on Hannibal Lector. Also, the girlfriend wanted

to experience the situation so I have the cell-phone balanced on my shoulder

giving a Geraldo Rivera on-scene commentary and walking like Quasimodo.

With trembling fingers I unzipped the bag. Nothing, no rush of angry sticky

goo with a taste for human blood, just a white lump of a dough-like substance.

Now this was more like it! Again referring to the happy instructions on the

can I sprayed the counter with Pam and scattered more of that wondrous

non-sticky-making powdered sugar. The sugarplate dropped out with a

satisfying splap. But it wasn't play-dough yet. More like a very soft and

sticky dough. Again with the kneading and dumping of powdered sugar.

Again it fights, within the lump were pockets of sticky resistance. The

girlfriend was much amused at my squeaking and cries of outrage as

the goo stuck to everything. But, I'm a knight and a count, I will not

be defeated by sugar! I gamely kept kneading and adding sugar until it

resembled a slightly less sticky mass.


And now, the creation!


Once it sort of resembled a dough it was time to whip out the dowel.

I dusted the area with confectioner's sugar and grabbed a walnut sized

piece of evil. Then mashed it down and rolled it out to a flat shape. Well,

that was the idea. I rolled it around the rolling pin several times. Peeled

it off and rolled it again. The hand is mightier than the rolling pin so  

I just mashed it down and powdered the hell out of it until it behaved. Then

I sprinkled cinnamon and ginger over it. I think the ancients used a better

distribution system because my cinnamon sticks wound up with yellow

and brown spots. Trying to spread it around was....unfortunate.

I also figured it would be best to roll them around a thin dowel. The  

only thin dowel I had was around 4 feet long so this was an adventure in

itself. But I got better, my tears and curses were a major source of

amusement to Deana. She seemed to especially like my description of

my "cinnamon sticks" as skinned spotted sea slugs. I guess the best

description that can be said for them is they are "Unfortunate Looking".


But there they are, hardening up and looking like rather diseased

cinnamon sticks or maybe bits of dough sprinkled with cinnamon and

ginger. I'm sure they resemble the things in period. I mean, the

tables were lit with candles and such and they didn't have eyeglasses,

the Lord couldn't see too well....could he?





Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 15:08:33 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gunthar's Adventures with Sugar plate (very

      long,  grab some tea and a scone...)

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


Michael Gunter wrote:


> Okay, you mugs made it look way too easy. Since there was

> discussion a bit back on making sugarplate mock cinnamon sticks

> I decided to give it a try. I mean, how hard can it be to take

> play-dough, roll it out, dust it with spices and roll it up?


Small batches and what they don't tell you is that

if you want it thin you roll it through a pasta machine's rollers.

Start thick and keep running it through so it gets thinner and thinner.

Then cut and roll for artificial cinnamon sticks.

If you do a huge batch, then only work with a part and keep rest in  






Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2005 16:46:40 -0500

From: "Elise Fleming" <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gunthar's Adventures with Sugar plate (very

To: "sca-cooks at ansteorra.org" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Aww, Gunthar.  What you bought couldn't have been gum tragacanth.  It isn't

white, it's a pinky-beige and costs more than $35/lb.  I'll bet you got a

gum paste mixture where all you need to do is add sugar and liquid.

'Tain't period, but it works just fine.


You probably should have mixed the cinnamon and ginger with a small amount

of the paste as you were working it up.  Otherwise, as you saw, it would be

blotchy. Sprinkling it on the kneaded paste won't help it work in to a

uniform color.  If you still have some of that recalcitrant blob left, try

kneading in some of the spices.  You may need to carefully moisten your

hands or dab bits of water into the paste to make it workable - without

becoming too sticky.


Huh... Sticking to everything?  Oozed??!?? Maybe it was too moist and

needed more sugar?  It should be similar to the consistency of a newborn

baby's tush, firm, smooth, but malleable.  Need a thin dowel?  Try a

pencil! Or an arrow, if you have one.  Sure wish I could have been a mouse

in the corner for this grand adventure!


Now, I will say that you fighter fellows make armored combat seem easy. A

number of years ago I donned helm and armor for a lesson from Mistress Sir

Hilary of Serendip.  Couldn't get my right arm to do what she wanted, not

even after an hour of trying various techniques, but she did compliment my



So, O grand and glorious knight and Count, what are you going to make with

the leftovers?  


Alys Katharine



Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 23:46:44 -0500

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gunthar's Adventures with Sugar plate (very

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


From A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen which first appears in

1608. This wording from the 1636 edition.


To make Paste-Royall in Spices


TAke of Cinamon and Ginger, of each a like quantity being finely

searced: mingle it with your searced Sugar, and Gum-dragagant

steeped in Rose-water, and worke it into paste as you did your paste-royall

white, and then you may turne it upon sticks made of peeces

of Arrowes, and make them hollow like Cinamon sticks: in

like sort you may make it taste of what spices you please.


This version seems to incorporate the spices with the sugar from

the start. On the bright side---Maybe not using ginger was what went  






Date: Sun, 06 Nov 2005 22:28:31 +0000

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Gunthar's Adventures with Sugar plate (very

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


> Well, mainly I wrote with comedic value, but it was pretty annoying. You

> are right, it must be some gum paste.


> I would think mixing the ingredients into the mix would be the correct

> thing but I was following the period example and it said to sprinkle the  

> cinnamon and ginger powder on after they had been rolled out.


> Gunthar


When we make them, we liberally dust the marble slab with a thick layer of

the cinnamon and ginger and roll the sugarplate right on it, turning over

several times to cover both sides.  Then we cut out rectangular shapes and

roll, either on a pencil or free-hand.  




<the end>

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

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org