No-Ck-Potluck-art - 4/25/15
"No Cook Potluck Contributions for the Culinary Inept and Others" by HL Rycheza z Polska.
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: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
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.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
You can find more work by this author on her website at:
This article was first published in the Barony of Dragon's "The Flame".
No Cook Potluck Contributions for the Culinary Inept and Others
by HL Rycheza z Polska
It is mid-afternoon on Saturday at the event. The main tournament is winding down and you’ve made the rounds of merchant row. Perhaps you bought a new feasting bowl. The bard in the next camp is tuning his harp and warming up to perform at the feast. Then it hits you!
You can’t go to the feast! You don’t have a potluck contribution! Your famous casserole is still sitting at home on the kitchen counter. Her annoying little dog ate all the cookies in the car on the way to the event. Your kitchen blew up Thursday night. After six weeks you are still living with your mother-in-law waiting to close on your new house. A handsome young lord has enticed you to stay when you had planned to go home right after the archery competition. You are prohibited by law from cooking!
It has happened to all of us! Good news! Many perfectly delicious dishes are available directly from the grocer’s shelves.
Here are some guidelines and suggestions for instant potluck dishes.
Read the Event Copy! Many groups are now providing some dishes for even the most casual potluck feast. Frequently the sponsors provide bread, cheese, roast beast or bird or another dish.
Consult the HeadCook. As dishes are turned in to the kitchen, trends may become apparent. Perhaps there are ten tossed salads but no desserts or tons of bread but no fruit.
Bring Lots! It is always better to have too much food than not enough. Your potluck contribution should serve at least ten. Each individual attending the feast should contribute. You can combine contributions from a larger party. For example, your family or group could provide a sheet cake, instead of a salad and a side dish and a main dish. However, a single loaf of bread from a party of six is not adequate. Multiply the number in your party by 10 to find out how many your contribution should serve. Very small children may be left out of the equation.
Plan for Special Needs. When you bring children, picky eaters or restrictive diets to potlucks plan ahead. Bring snacks and extra items you know they can and will eat. Even at the best-planned event, things can get behind schedule. This can be a problem for children or people with special needs such as allergies or medications to be taken with food.
Be Prepared. You will need to take care of any preparations, such as slicing or mixing, yourself unless told otherwise by the HeadCook. Unless you know for certain that refrigeration or cooking facilities are available, assume that they are not. Even when a stove or refrigeration is available, space is limited. Remember, the closer to feast time the more hectic things in the kitchen will be. The less preparation needed on site the better!
Serve it Forth. How a dish is served can make the difference between the mundane and the medieval. Chicken in a cardboard bucket spoils the mood, but the same chicken spread upon a platter is more appealing and easier to serve. Provide proper serving utensils such as spoons, forks, knives or hot pads if needed. Wooden, metal or ceramic bowls or plates are appropriate. Even a Pyrex bowl is preferable to plastic. Make your contribution ready to serve: heat, slice, garnish or otherwise prepare it.
Offer to help in the kitchen! Many hands make light work. If your offer of help is initially turned down, try again later. Just because you aren’t needed at 4:30 doesn’t mean you won’t be needed at 7:30 or 9:30. Sometimes the headcook has a regular crew or particular schedule for preparation tasks. Clean up help is always welcome and remembered.
Clean up after yourself! Leaving your place in the hall strewn with bread crusts or other bits will endear you only to starving rats. However, clean up does not always include washing your dishes on site. Some kitchens can accommodate wholesale dishwashing, others cannot. Sometimes headcooks provide washing stations in the back of the hall, but do not count on getting your feast gear sanitized. Save plastic shopping bags or use small trash bags to store your used feast gear in until you can clean them properly. (One friend has made attractive individual bags for all of her feast gear, which she can wash out at home.) Do not wash your dishes in the bathroom. More than rinsing out your goblet is likely to clog the plumbing.
· Bread or cheese (If not provided by the sponsors)
· Fruit, fresh or canned (Bring a can opener)
· Ham or other cold cooked meat (sliced)
· Raw vegetables (sliced, pared etc.) maybe with a dip
· Deli or take out food (Stews, chicken, sausages and other items are becoming increasingly available.)
· Salads (Please, no macaroni or potato)
· Hard boiled eggs
· Pickles, olives, antipasto
· Cakes, cookies, other baked goods, etc.
· Cider or other non-alcoholic beverage.
Remember our aim is to re-create the ambiance of the Middle Ages.
Copyright 1998, 2010 by L.J.Henson. <mhenson at telebyte.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place 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.