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Warners-art - 6/29/98


Warners by Honour Horne-Jaruk (Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf). (Warners are disguised food. Sotelties are sculptures made from edible ingredients but not always intended to be eaten or even safe to eat)


NOTE: See also the files: sotelties-msg, sugar-paste-msg.





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


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


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


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


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Warners

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honur Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Sun, 09 Jan 94 19:55:17 EST

Summary: list of suggestions for disguised foods


    Honour Horne-Jaruk

    P.O.Box 56

    So. Lyndeboro, N.H. 03082




     This  is  about  warners (disguised  food),  as opposed  to

sotelties  (Sculptures made from edible ingredients,  not always

intended to be eaten or even safe to eat.)


     If it doesn't look like (or at least doesn't look much like)

what it is, and you can eat it, it's a Warner. Some Warners  look

like other foods, some like nothing even imaginably terrestrial.

Mine  aren't  even close to as weird as they get. Go wild;  it's

harmless,  fun and cheap (Or at least, no more expensive than  it

would have been to serve the same ingredients in modern guise.).


     Just remember- If it SMELLS Blue-plate-special-at-the-local-

diner normal, they'll try it even if you make it LOOK weird;  the

stranger it smells, the more normal it has to look. Pay attention

to the basics, they matter too. Hot things HOT, cold things COLD,



     (Those  last act like Warners in the modern eye, though  to

our  personae  they would be perfectly normal. Bread used to  be

round because Iron-poor europe didn't bake bread in pans, and  if

you  stick  a  plain  lump of yeast dough  in  an  oven it  just

automatically goes round. Pies were rectangular-- which explains

the funereal `make a coffyn of paste ' you keep seeing in the old

receipts--  because with the thick walls necessitated by panless

pies, a long, narrow shape cooked more evenly. Round pies appear

to  be colonial US in origin; supposedly, some harried lady  got

sick of the fighting over the end crusts and baked a round one in

a spare skillet. No ends, no argument. Bread pans seem to be even



     Don't  worry  too much about the  Royals,  they're worrying

about  court,  and not paying attention to more than 1/3 of  the

feast, and won't be back anyway; play to the Pigman- he's staying

around.  (We  hope.  And  the more he likes  what  he sees,  the



     The  above is not intended to insult Royals; it's meant  to

emphasize  the  importance of rank-and-file.  Anyone  who really

needs to find it insulting may, of course, do so.


     One critical serving piece needs to be made (Don't think  it

can  be bought, sorry!) ahead; the Great Big Tray (GBT). Make  it

slightly  narrower  than a door- buying a door with  one damaged

side  from a lumberyard, then cut two inches off the  long edge,

works  well.  Don't  use Marine Plywood-  Very  nasty chemicals!

Whatever  you  start with, add a one-half inch  raised edge  all

around the top. (To stop drips. You knew that, right?)


     Buy  or make holders to bolt underneath, two by two by  two,

sized  for  oak closet poles. You have to be able  to slide  the

poles in after you get the GBT through the kitchen door.


     Paint  all  surfaces  the food will touch  with  FOOD GRADE

polyurethane. The label has to say `Safe for Kitchen counters' or

some  equivalent thereof. Satin- finish looks least plastic,  if

you can get it.


   In no order whatsoever except main-ingredient groupings:



     1:Bone them out from the inside- it takes about twenty tries

to  become  competent, so practice at home every  time you  need

poultry for anything boneless. (Joy of Cooking, available at most

large libraries, has detailed instructions.) Then shape them with

stuffing so that they look like normal roast chickens. Great fun

if each table carves its own; they go NUTS...

     2:Or  re-shape them so they DON'T look  like chickens...heh

heh heh

     3:Drumsticks  cooked standing up and served in  some battle

formation-  especially good for fighter-type Kings. By the  way,

round  slices of very large turnips, parsnips, et al. make  good

shields for these fellahs, though I would only bother with the

side and front ranks. A sufficiently deft pastrycook could make

`helms ' to be added for the last twenty minutes of cooking...

     4:Boneless breast sliced paper thin and simmered as "Chicken

noodles"-AWFUL pun when it's soup, takes them several minutes  to

get it. Good make-ahead dish.

     5:Boneless breasts baked overlapping to form `scales '  over

an upside-down oval steel- change the sauce and it's the back  of

a  dragon, an anteater from Africa, or something mythical (don't

call  it Mermaid's tail, though; you'll never hear the end of  it

from  obnoxious single fighters. Live and Learn.). Good only  for

big  ovens,  and  don't nest different-size  bowls  for  cooking,

because  parts  won't. NEVER try to `cheat ' by  using hardware-

cloth  or chicken-wire frames, either; giving your guests heavy-

metal poisoning effects your reputation.

     6:You  can  do this with pre-cooked breasts for  any recipe

that  tastes good cold; but there'll be meat wasted  by trimming

the  `scales ', so plan someplace to use it. It does allow  for

much bigger beasts, though...

     7:Boneless thighs tucked tightly into flat pans so they have

round tops make a convincing cobblestone road. They work well with

drumstick soldiers for marching scenes.

     8:If  you  have one planned , skin-on necks make great  sea

snakes  for  a  nautical Warner. Do cook  them,  some starveling

always eats them.

     9: For a candlelit feast: make a Cockentrice. Buy the big-

gest, brightest live rooster you can find. Have the live-poulterer

`stick ' it instead of wringing its neck, so that the feathers

aren't  damaged.  Cut off the entire tail assembly when you  draw

and  clean it and have your children's guild make the archers  a

popinjay. (They used the tail for a second Warner; but then, they

died young.)  

     Also buy a whole, headless Boston Bluefish. Have the fish-

monger scale it for you; by candlelight the skin looks fine and

you don't need the hassle. Use coathanger wire threaded up the

windpipe to pose the rooster as if it were crowing. the tail

armature  has to be REALLY sturdy.

     Nestle the cut end of the bluefish under the feathers so it

looks like one continuous animal. Pose on the GBT with the tail

flipped  nice and high. Use greens to make `water ' and hide  the

slit where they gutted the fish. If you ordered the fish for Sat.

morning  pickup and transported and stored it on ice, it's fresh

enough to be boned afterwards and served as Fyshe in a Paste; use

lots of Hyssop and seal that fish TIGHT. If no air gets in there

will be no fishy smell and people who barely tolerate canned tuna

will eat it.

     The chicken backs are fit only for soup.

      10:Not  a Warner exactly but great theater- pile the birds

all  steaming on your Great Big Tray (GBT) and haul 'em to  high

table  in a heap. More visual impact and they stay warmer.  Also

works  for hams, roasts, anything that looks impressive grouped.

(Pies  don't,  and I don't know why.) Portioning meat into  one-

table servings in the kitchen should be reserved for things  that

can't  be  portioned  fairly by the servers, it's  not how  they

normally did it and the food gets cold faster in small lots.

     11:Even  if you cook little chickens/gamehens in  the oven,

consider  serving them on swords. The crowd goes wild. Clean  the

swords first.


     As above if you're that rich, but who is?

     12:Empty  out  bones as for chicken #1, then  stuff with  a

boned  duck,  stuffed with a boned capon, stuffed  with  a boned

chicken,  stuffed with a boned guineafowl, stuffed with  a boned

gamehen, stuffed...

     Everybody  I  know  who's had this fail made  one  of three

mistakes--  Didn't  bone them (argh, how gross); Cooked them  at

350 degrees F(they're too dense- outside burnt, inside raw.  Use

275 F and baste like h---.); or forgot the Theater of it. All that

work  does no good if nobody can tell you did it. You're putting

spices  in  this, right? And it gets cooked slowly,  so all  the

spices mingle before it's done cooking, right? Divide your spices

by color and rub each bird with a different color before nesting

them.  Then,  when your carver unlaces it (On a  small table  in

center hall, down at the Commons level though facing High Table)

everyone  sees the layers color-coded and knows just  how clever

you've been. Heh Heh Heh...

         Pig parts:

     13:Another cockentrice: suckling pig is tougher to make than

it looks and not  as impressive as you hope. Save it for a King

who specifically asks, and then get the youngest, smallest one

you can. Clean it through the  neck hole after removing the head

and forelegs;  damage  the anus as little as possible. Scrub

piggy with soap and water  and a  little  bleach  both before and

after cleaning,  and  keep  it buried  in ice in the fridge till

the last second.  

     Prepare a rooster as in #9, above. Assemble the same way.

     Carry it out first thing first course as  soon as the

lights are low, trot the Cockentrice around the room  and

disappear  it. In summer the rooster makes cock-a-leekie and  the  

Piglet's rear gets boned and simmered for meat pie. The risk,

even  though it's  slight,  that the handling has raised the  

bacteria  count makes  roasting  either  half unsafe. Kingie gets  

the  head  end.

     14:See numbers nine and thirteen, above. Combine techniques

from both to produce a Sea-boar-- Pig front, fish back. It's much

harder  to  hide  the join; do some research ahead  and you  can

choose  a fish whose (scaled) skin is colored similarly to  your

chosen  piglet. If you're serving 500 and they LIKE fish, do  all

three for a no-waste triumphal procession of Warners Rampant.



     Bone-in:  Use  your  sturdiest servers and  pile  'em high,

especially  for a dark ages bunch. The worst that can happen  is

they'll start looking for Obelix.

     15:Cooked cold ham is excellent carving material for winter

feasts-  do  the work outdoors and  refrigerate immediately,  of

course.  Have  your carver wear butcher's  gloves  (welded steel

mail!  Yeesh!) because he'll get clumsy fast, and have him  wash

his  hands  every three-four minutes; he's probably touched  his

nose and his hands need warming up anyway.

     There's  something  so endearing about watching  the Royals

'reduce' a ham castle...

     16:(If  the ham is served at lunch, or in the first course)

Since  the small end bits get dried out in the oven anyway,  trim

them  beforehand and simmer them separately. Add the scraps  from

the  carver. Grind them up with some ham fat- this is a judgment

call,  it should just barely stick together- and spices. Use  to

make  pinwheel  bread. Until they take that first bite, they'll  

think  it's  grandma's  cinnamon buns... Heh Heh Heh

     17:Somebody  suggested buying a spiral-cut ham to pull  out

into a ham slinky and stuff with soft filling (ground cheese-and

boiled-onion?).Don't know if it's period but those It. Ren. Types

did get peculiar sometimes, it might be.

     18:Haven't  tried it; I think I'd use all those lovely  thin

slices as shingles on an onion-bread guildhall, cemented on  with

spiced mustard... Hmmm... Great Big GBT?



     Doesn't  carve worth squat unless it's oldstyle block  salt

beef,  and then what do you do with it afterwards?! But it's  the

best  for molded chopmeat (hamburger, ground pork,  ground lamb,

etc.)  things. If you order ahead or haunt the sales you can  get

20% or less fat and it's worth it, any higher fat content and  it

slumps out of shape in the baking. Don't do anything with narrow

little stick-out bits, they turn to leather. You need to baste it

anyway so color the sauce and double the fun.

     19:This  is a dumb one and MUST be done ahead. But it's  fun

dumb. I did it to a Knight who I knew for a fact could not carve.

Have  someone slice into lovely thick restaurant pieces a really

big,  very  rare, stone cold roast. (Now you know why you do  it

ahead.)  Reassemble  it into a whole roast and hold  it together

with  cheesecloth. At the Hall reheat and baste like crazy.  For

some  reason, once it's hot it sticks back together enough  that

you  can remove the cheesecloth VERY CAREFULLY (you did put  the

open  edges of the cloth on the bottom? Good!) and hustle it  to

your  intended  victi-  carver.  Have  the  herald announce   so

everyone's  watching.  He touches the knife to the roast and  it

'slices itself '. heh heh heh...

     20:  This  is the real budget-breaker and you may need  two

GBTs- that's twelve people just to carry, be warned. Buy a saddle

(the  entire ribcage!) of beef, one of pork, one of lamb, one  of

piglet, one of turkey (OK you buy the whole turkey and carve  out

the  saddle  yourself,  same for geese and  duck  and capon  and

chicken and...) Skin them and cook them all absolutely drowned in

red  sweet  basting sauce (red oranges being rare hereabouts,  I

used  honey, frozen OJ and food coloring; should have been  beet

juice but my guests...) If you got the sizes right you assemble a

"dead  dragon"  (He's on his back and cut open, with  'entrails'

made of appropriate colors of sausages.) The pastrycook does the

head  and  legs, dyed red, and displayed by  candlelight it's  a

marvel to be spoken of in whispers. I only got up to the piglet,

but  it  was  a hire feast long ago- a Coronation  could do  the

whole-ah-Worm? Only problem is I can't imagine any way to have it

hot  when you carry it out, we took it back and dismembered  for


     21:there's a way to prepare beef so that it looks and smells

like redder, ranker horsemeat, but even for a Pagan  Irish King  

I ain't touching that. (People eat my feasts and I want it

to stay that way.) Here goes: sanders, wild leek and aesofeodita;

cut the beef in fist-sized chunks and simmer. I've never tried it

and have no opinion, good luck.

     (Baroness Arastorm the Golden says she would serve

horsemeat first.)

     (Aesofeodita,   according   to   Balian   FitzGilbert,    is

appallingly rank and could ruin moonrock, leave be food. He  also

claims grass-fed horsemeat is sweet and tasty.)


         Deceased Sheep:

     22:Cook  a whole (but skinned and gutted) weanling lamb  in

`sleeping' pose. As soon as it's out of the oven grab the shaker

of  lightly toasted, white-pepper spiced flour you had ready  and

dust  it white before serving. (If you wanted you could add  any

other  white  spice,  I guess.) I'm allergic to  sheep meat  and

obviously  haven't  tried  this but I think you'll  want to  add

pastry  ears,  or a whole face even. The skull would  look gross

elsewise.  This  would be good for an Easter  or  Passover theme

feast, though.



     23:Eagle's nest sallet: shred greens so they look like  hay,

pile  on  your  GBT in the characteristic  volcano  shape of  an

eagle's nest, fill with peeled boiled eggs and drizzle liberally

with mustard & cream dressing- Yup, the sticky yellowish dressing

looks like just what you thought it would...heh heh heh

     You  can  add  peeled carrots as  'branches',  or even  use

licorice-root if some madman in your group likes the stuff,  they

know who they are...

     24:For  a crusader feast in Aug.-Oct., use zucchini to  make

'ships'-dhows,  pilgrim  transports, whatever. This is the  only

time I don't serve part of a Warner; nobody wants to eat Zucchini

up  here,  and we get them free anyway. If you paint  the inside

with  egg  white JUST before serving you can fill them with  hot

soup-  use a gooseneck funnel so as not to disturb  the rigging-

without  getting  an unwanted zucchini taste. You could use  any

other Old World `gourd '- check your origins carefully- but other

types  you'd  have to pay for and should therefore plan to  use.

(Throwing the zucchini isn't wasting food, I never thought it was

edible anyway and it goes to my liege's compost heap.)

     25:Raddichio,  redtop  broccoli, regular  broccoli and  the

other  heading-floret  things make good forests, get  your local

crazy to make the base (of nails through a foodsafe plank) and go

to town. (You may want to make the base so the nails come out for

storage; why take chances?)

     26:Sort  of  an extension of above to  non-broccoli season-

beet  tops, celery leaves, any other EDIBLE greens. (Not rhubarb

or potato leaves) Combines well with chicken-leg soldiers for  an

attack on Dunsinane... heh heh heh

     27:If  you  can get old-variety parsnips, the big ones  are

hollow centered. Make an aqueduct. Could be done by pithing large

'burpless'  (Turkish  originally  but  now  called English,  you

figure) cukes if you can't.

     28:Take  the  middle out of a cabbage and fill  with almost

anything except more cabbage. The books usually say `tie top

leaves together before steaming ' but I recommend cheesecloth.

     29:For   a  lunchboard  fill  burpless  cukes  with   cooked

forcemeat  and stick the ends back on with egg white,  but serve

over a second tray filled with ice. For dinner you can put it out

with  the  nummies  before  first  course,  along  with the  ham

pinwheels and the plates of-

     30:  Flower  sallet:  homegrown  or  organic  sources only,

please!  (Can  you spell Dioxin, boys and  girls?)  Rose petals,

nasturtium, violet, chive flowers, daylilies, sorrel... Warn  the

High Table ahead of time, they'll think it's either a really dumb

centerpiece or a finger bowl with the water forgotten...



     31: For any Spring thing make decorated eggs. No, it doesn't

matter  what Spring thing, they're a Pagan custom the Christians

took  over.  Nice for a Passover or Equinox event dayboard,  and

(Yea!) great make-ahead . Bring the kids into cook's guild stuff


     32:Okay,  maybe  it's  cheating but I had a  pro cook  make

Hanony  Champignon (Mushroom Omelets- he volunteered and it  was

only thirty people, honest!) and served them as 'sunset clouds '.

A little saffron on the edges (I do believe in candlelight, I  do

I do I do...)

     Endore  is  made  of spiced whipped egg  yolk  and produces

beautiful gilding, especially on pastry, but ONLY USE IT ON  VERY

HOT FOODS!!! Salmonella is not your friend. Make it as the timer

goes off for that particular item and paint it on at once.

     Cracked  eggs  are  for throwing at seagulls.  Even if  you

'know'  it  was  cracked  'only a minute  ago  '. SALMONELLA  IS




     33: Rose jelly- use the recipe on the plain Knox box to make

lemon-juice  jelly,  but color it with rosepetal  juice (Organic

source  only!) and punch up the scent with rosewater.  The first

time you serve it, that's all. Once most of the Barony is used to

your  Wicked Ways- you fill the pans half-full, then  make Five-

petaled  "tudor  roses" by painting rose petals with  cool  sugar

syrup and arranging them upside down on the cooled jelly. Finish

filling the tray so the "roses" are suspended inside. You can use

a  drop  of apricot jam to make centers for added realism.  When

unmolded  it's  downright disturbing. The King will  get up  the

nerve to try it about the time the Baron takes seconds.

     34:Molded  Jelly-  Oh,  I know it's been done,  but with  a

`damsel'  trapped inside (made of fruit by my choice) and molded

in  a  clean sandcastle mold, it really doesn't  look like  Elks

banquet  and it's a great make-ahead. (Maybe a ghost? Or Merlin,

in  a tree?) Try violet or orangeflower flavors. Just don't  use

Jell-O, Please? Coal tar dyes neither look nor are period. Stick

with Knox.

     35:(If you need instructions on the use of cakes!) There are

great  molds  available  out there  rental  from  larger cooking

equipment shops. Doesn't cost to look; check them out. Relatively

few people like fruitcake, try out other low-crumb period recipes

and  use whichever one your Non-SCA twelve-year-old nephew  asks

for seconds of.

     Design cakes with as much frosting left plain as possible,

because food colors really do effect the taste.  Better still,  

use  period  edible  colorants  like  sanders,  turmeric,

powdered roses and/or violets, mints (There's thirty of them  out

there, with flavors like geranium and lemon, don't use  spearmint

because they'll think the frosting's toothpaste...) saffron  (NOT

egg  yolk, even refrigerated it's a risk, salmonella  is not...)

and  while  they  effect the taste too, at least  the effect  is

period and pleasant.

     36: Make Gingerbread-house gingerbread with holes in it  the

shape  of  windows  and  fill them  with  sugar-candy 'glass  '.

Everybody  always says bake the panes in place, but  one mistake

and  it's  ruined, I make the panes separately and glue them  in

with a little boiled frosting.

     37:  Make  a big pane of plain sugar-glass and paint on  it

with color-spices boiled into medium crack syrup. Tricky and hard

to transport, but worth the work: I especially recommend this  if

you  have a good, skilled cook who can't work with people;  they

can  do  it  ahead all alonely-o and still get  their moment  to


     38:  Buy  ground almond meal, preferably  defatted (General

Nutrition Center sells three-pound cans) or make it as a sideline

of almond  milk production (You weren't going to "throw  out" the

grounds,  were you?) and mix it with crystallized honey for  lots

of  relatively cheap marzipan- only 1/2 the cost  of supermarket

stuff, and it can be used outside on hot days because there's no

egg white in it. It is a little grittier than the commercial kind

(Well, sometimes a lot grittier ) but my guests actually seem  to

prefer the richer flavor.

     39:  Oldest  trick  in my repetoire- Bake  honey  or ginger

cookies  in  Heraldic  colors and have the kids  turn them  into

people's  arms  with  patissieriste's  tubes  of  colored boiled

frosting. You'll lose about 1/3 to your "assistant cooks".  DON'T

tell them they can eat the broken or ill-done ones, it encourages

poor work. Have them compete for the High Table's arms. Make sure

they get the credit.



     40:  Sweet  pastry to be  served hot  is standard. For  cold

just  remember the bottom crust should be a little heavier  than

usual  so  the  liquid doesn't soak through while  it waits  for

Beowabbit  to be recited...(You only wait a cold sweet; you  only

wait a cold ANYTHING. Hot things HOT.)

     41:  Use lard for pork pie crusts, suet for  beef, schmaltz

(rendered  chicken fat) for chicken. You paid for it anyway,  and

it  really does taste better. Use oil for the Veggie types-  They

had  'em (Remember Lent?) and they did. Shallow cake molds  make

great pie pans if you have GBTs enough to flip them onto. Tray on

top  of pie upside-down then flip as a unit, remember- and  have

your servers practice first. A lot.

     Well,  it's a start. Remember, almost no one in the SCA  is

poor  enough  that  they'll enjoy ugly  food  just because  it's

filling; looks count. Looks count at least as much as taste does,

and  often  more.  Halve the budget and double  the Warners  and

people will rave about your "delicious" feasts. Get crazy!


      This may be reprinted once by any SCA publication, provided

my SCA and legal name are both listed as Author, and a courtesy

copy of the publication is sent to me at: 2 Shadow Lane, Apt.#2,

Peterborough NH 03458. All other rights reserved.



      Honour Horne-Jaruk,

      KSA:Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf(COL,etc.)


<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