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Feast-Basket-art - 10/18/00


"The Well-Tempered Feast Basket: a guide for newcomers" by Lady Jehanne de Huguenin.


NOTE: See also the files: feastgear-msg, forks-msg, spoons-msg, tablecloths-msg, p-tableware-msg, horn-utn-care-msg, utensils-msg, nefs-msg, aquamaniles-msg, trenchers-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                              Thank you,

                                   Mark S. Harris

                                   AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                        stefan at florilegium.org                                         



Originally published in March, AS 33 in "Storm Tidings", the newsletter for the Shire of Adamastor in Cape Town, South Africa.



The Well-Tempered Feast Basket: a guide for newcomers.

by Lady Jehanne de Huguenin


House Drakewhistle has a feast basket. It holds the feast gear for five of

us and any guests we invite. ItÕs a large basket, with at last count nine

goblets in it. It squats in a corner of the kitchen and snaps at the

kittens and the legs of the unwary. It eats candles and spits out the

remains. It is not a well-tempered feast-basket. HereÕs what a

well-tempered feast basket possibly should be:


The SCA setting requires that gentles bring their own feast gear to events,

a sensible policy which means each branch doesnÕt have to acquire several

hundred bits of crockery and cutlery for its members to break, eat or lose.

Feast gear is defined as anything you personally need to survive the

evening atmospherically and in persona. The following checklist gives

suggestions for feast gear, not only what to bring, but where to find

medieval or medievalish items.




There are two schools of thought on this: the goblet, and the tankard.

Genuine medieval goblets would be metal - silver or gold in the case of

nobles, or possibly pewter. In the current middle ages, with gentles

lacking large land holdings to finance their tableware, silver-plate is

popular and pottery very common and perfectly acceptable. Most people tend

to avoid glassware - it breaks. Tankards follow the same rules, although

theyÕre more of a peasant and less of a noble choice. YouÕll probably need

at least one per person, with a few extra for guests, breakages and serious

drinking bouts. Craft markets are an excellent place for goblets. The Red

Shed at the Waterfront has a pottery place with lovely large goblets.

Homeshops such as Stuttafords stock the metal varieties, as do lots of





Remember that the fork was not in use until very late in our period.

Medieval eating was done with a knife for cutting and spearing things, a

spoon for broths, and the fingers. ItÕs surprisingly easy to do this

neatly, with practise. YouÕll need a bowl and a plate per person; one extra

each means you have the luxury of not having to wash them for the dessert

course. The plate is an equivalent to the medieval trencher, a slice of

hard bread which was used to serve food (the soaked bread was later given

to the poor). A small wooden board would also work as a substitute. The

bowl is for broth and stews - plain pottery or wood is the standard. ItÕs

rather nicely authentic to eat with your belt-knife, if you have one.

Wooden spoons can be bought at most craft markets and curio shops, and at

Greenmarket Square (we tend to buy the ones with crude animal carvings, and

saw off the carvings). A wooden-handled knife is a reasonable substitute

for a belt-knife. You will also need napkins, since finger-eating is the

rule; one largish white linenish napkin per person. If we were really

organised, weÕd have the Drakewhistle badge embroidered on ours. (WeÕre





ItÕs really up to you to provide light at your table setting, which means

you should bring candlesticks and candles, enough for at least one candle

per person, preferably a couple. Candlesticks could be wooden, pottery,

metal. Again, craft markets have wonderful selections, particularly the

wrought-iron stuff. (Ask the Herald, the man with the largest personal

candlestick collection in the Shire).




ItÕs not just the practicalities which count, itÕs also the atmosphere.

Tablecloths! Fancy runners! Embroidered napkins! Water-jugs! Finger-bowls!

Salt-bowls! Nefs! And, most importantly, personal display - banners,

shields, your badge on as many things as you can fit it on, as colourfully

and ornamentally as possible. The SCA is about the pageantry of the Middle

Ages, and donÕt you forget it!


You can see why a household is so useful: it makes sense to build up a

collection between several people, and use your stuff to decorate a common

table area when you feast. It also helps to have several people to lug the

basket or chest or whatever you decide to cart the darned things in. (If it

has to be a plastic something, bring a cloth to throw over it).


And, while you build up your collection, any hints as to taming the

Drakewhistle basket would be gratefully received... No! Down! Back, sir!




Copyright 2000 by Lady Jehanne de Huguenin, jessica at beattie.uct.ac.za, P O Box 443, Rondebosch 7701, Cape Town, South Africa.. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<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