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cookng-guilds-msg – 3/3/13


Descriptions of various SCA cooking guilds around the Known World. When do they meet, what activies do they do, how are they organized.


NOTE: See also the files: guilds-msg, cooks-clothng-msg, feast-serving-msg, headcooks-msg, Run-a-Feast-art, Fst-Menus-art, SCA-meetings-msg, teaching-msg, redactn-class-msg, Teach-in-SCA-art.





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: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 00:47:37 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Culinary Guild


At 4:00 PM -0500 9/26/98,  JEN AND THOM CONRAD wrote:

>I'm in the process of helping to form a culinary guild within our

>barony. Does anyone have any helpful hits, ideas, warnings, etc.


My suggestions are:


Make it clear from the start that the guild exists to promote knowledge of

period cooking, not to run feasts. Otherwise you risk a situation where

joining the guild is interpreted as volunteering to help cook the next

feast, which may drive off some people. Ideally, the guild should be seen

as a place where a chief cook can go to get information, and to ask for

assistance, but not as the  people responsible for cooking feasts.


We have done lots of cooking workshop in our house, where we select period

recipes from primary sources and do the shopping, then when people show up

(typically starting about 1 P.M. Saturday) each one picks one recipe and

cooks it. When something is done, everyone tastes it and makes comments.

The comments and the description of how it was done (we tell our people to

measure and record everything) go into the computer, along with the

original, as a first aproximation to a worked out recipe. It's fun,

sociable, and introduces people to the idea that they can actually take a

recipe written down in period and figure out a plausible interpretation.






Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 06:33:27 -0700

From: "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <acrouss at gte.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Culinary Guild


Hi all from Anne-Marie, Guildmistress for the Madrone Culinary Guild!


we are asked about the forming and running of a guild. Our Guild has been

around for about 20 (since May 1977!) years. It was formed way back when by

a bunch of people who liked to cook and who were interested in doing period

(well, at that time, it was more "perio-oide" due to the total lack of

resources of the time) food.


We have the minutes of the first meeting (and every meeting since then.

Needless to say our archives are rather large!). We carefully set down a

"charter", ie in writing, what the goals of the Guild were to be.

Specifically, in our case, they were:

1. to experiment with medieval recipes

2. Cook for SCA events

3. sponsor culinary contests at events

4. coordinate information and source lists of medieval recipes and

banquetting guides

5. Research recipes and banquetting techniques

6. Prepare presentations for coronations and other events

7. Devise fund raising projects

8. Publish a medieval cookbook

9. Publish articles in the Crier and other society letters

10. Teach culinary skills at the Univeristy of Ithra and other places.


It was agreed that the Guild meetings would be every two-three weeks and in

keeping with our primary purpose, each  member was to bring an "authentic

medieval dish" to form a potluck meal for each meeting.


Now almost 20 years later, we still meet every other week or so, for a

potluck meeting where we discuss business, like our cookbook series,

culinary stuff for public demos, upcoming banquets, charity banquets (we

sometimes auction off our services for real world philanthropic

organizations), etc. In addition, we've added monthly (give or take)

reconstruction meetings where we play with primary source recipeis and eat

our results. Once a year we put on Peasants revel, a goofy fun event where

we all wear our grubbiest clothes and run around playing peasant games.


We have no guild structure except that we have a Guild Head who's in charge

of running the meetings, etc. This turns over every couple years or so, and

new Guild Heads are chosen by consensus. Anyone is welcome to work in our

kitchens, come to meetings or do anything else they like, though often

Kitchen Heads (the person in charge of a given banquet) is often someone

who helped on at least one other banquet.


All in all, this works well for us! We have our own bank account, a large

garage filled with cooking and serving equipment and a reputation for doing

amazing things with food. Oh, and we have fun too!


- --AM



Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 09:56:51 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: SC - Guilds-(was Alcohol law in the SCA-personal thoughts)


All of our guilds are chartered by the officers of the Shire and are Shire

Guilds. They each recieve one time start up funding of 50 dollars and are

responsible for raising any further moneys through guild efforts. Each guild

has a steward (e.g. exchequer) that is responsible to the Shire exchequer. If

I am understanding you correctly your guilds are associations of individuals

that happen to be SCA but are not chartered either locally or in the

Kingdom. Since one of the tasks of the A & S minister is to encourage the

formation of Guilds, I find this curious although I am aware that self

chartered guilds certainly do seem to be the norm in the Society for what

ever reasons.





Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 17:12:02 -0000

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

Subject: Re: SC - Cooking Guilds?


>Every so often I see a reference to a cooking guild mentioned here.

>I am curious, how often do you meet? what do you do in your cooking guilds?



Our Bright Hills Cooks Guild meets once a month.  Usually we have a theme,

say vegetables, and folks then search through their sources for period

recipes for a dish.  The dishes are then prepared and brought (or prepared

on site) and the dishes are then tasted, and in a following sit down

meeting, discussed.  The things we are looking for are dishes that would

work well in a feast so there are certain criteria such as cost

effectiveness, ease of preparation and likability.  These meetings are also

good practice for folks that are newer to cooking.  Several folks have a

good number of period cookbooks and these are poured over by those that

don't have any or many.  Also, we discuss upcoming events that we will

either be cooking for or having a bake-sale at.  Menus are discussed,

autocrats, if they like, can come and contribute their opinions and offers

made to the Guild are discussed.  We get lots of different types of offers,

most of which we do not do, like weddings.  We feel that we are not an

official catering service and don't want to be one.


It is a nice way for folks to get together and share their skills and

knowledge. We support each other and teach one another.  Our membership has

grown quite a bit lately so it is advisable for people to come VERY hungry!  

Although we work as a team, credit is definately given to whomever the

person(s) involved in preparation for a dish.  We know what are the

strongest skills certain folks have, like say, Lord Shamus, he can cook

fried squash to perfection every time.  I can't cook fried squash to

anything but pig feed.  Some folks are better at meats, some truely enjoy

relaxing with a knife in their hand chopping stuff up.  At the Queen's Tea

that we did last year, as folks were coming down the line, they would stop

and ooohh and aahhh at things and whomever was the server at that station

would tell the guest who was the maker of the dish or item.  "Oh, yes, these

delightful ____ were prepared by Mistress so-and-so"  "Yes, I'm sure she

would give you the recipe, she is right over there".  As for me, it is so

much nicer to have someone else speaking my name in complement and I feel

GREAT being able to give complement to another.


We try to give everyone exposure to every aspect of the kitchen and building

their skills.  We pride ourselves with the shopping abilities we have and

are always on the lookout for new places to go for items at better prices.  

Making up a menu is one thing, portion control and costing it out is quite

another. Our members have the opportunity to learn these skills too.  This

is, after all, one of the things that make up the DREAM.


This is also nice in that it offers each of us time to go out of the kitchen

and participate in other things going on at the event, like shopping or

archery or classes.  Our current Baron and Baroness are members of our

Guild. They have lots of other things that they need to do, but they both

enjoy being able to step into the kitchen and do 'whatever' for a change of






Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 11:05:51 -0700

From: Mary Morman <mem.morman at oracle.com>

Subject: SC - Dragonsspine Cooks Guild


Beatrice asked about local cooks guilds and Olwen gave an excellent

account of the Bright Hills guild.


The Dragonsspine Cooks Guild has been meeting once a month, most months,

for more than ten years.  We've had a number of meeting formats.  One

year we worked through Elinor Fettiplace (which is arranged seasonally)

and different folks volunteered to bring or prepare different of

Elinor's receits each month.  This worked well in that we got a good

feeling for the Elizabethan table and garnered several excellent recipes

which we then used in feasts.


Another activity is to plan upcoming feasts.  We usually have one

planning session, where people suggest different dishes, we see what

would work well together, and what our kitchen will accomodate, and

actually come up with a feast menu.  Then we'll have a second meeting

where we prepare the different dishes and closely document our times,

amounts, and ingredients.  We'll often prepare a dish in two or three

slightly different ways and compare the results.


A couple years ago we did a series of "seige" meetings where folks would

arrive to find a certain set of ingredients placed out on the counter

and then would have to look through the available source books and find,

document, and create a dish using what was there.  First come first

served, and the latecomers get the spinach.


Our group has gotten quite good as working -together- to plan and

prepare feasts, so that even though one person or another may be the

head cook, the feasts are a group effort with lots of experience and

support going into the mix.





Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 09:40:40 -0500

From: "Denise Wolff" <scadian at hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Ostgardr supper club

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


>So, what is a Ostgardr "supper club"?



The Ostgardr Supper club is a gathering of like minded cooks that meet once in a while ( we try to meet quarterly) to make, eat, and experience a medieval aspect of cuisine.


I got the idea because I like to host things and we have so many cooks here, not everyone gets to play as often as they like, and I wanted to learn from others in a less formal venue than a class or an event.


The host and/or cook decides the topic and we all come to help out and eat the results.


We have the advantage of a small amount of diners, who like to help and it is a perfect way to try out a new idea. It's a time to experiment on a small amount of interested  and friendly critics.


Brekke did an all Lenten feast with yummy salmon and I did a feast which concentrated not only on the food, but the medieval atmosphere of the dining (complete with hand washing rituals)- Devra brought a marvelous soup for us all to try as well.


We have lot of  cooks  here so they are currently vying to see who is next.


It's a lot of fun. Sort of like a gathering  where everyone learns and helps out.





Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 10:09:47 -0500

From: Marian Walke <marian at buttery.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Ostgardr supper club

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


Denise Wolff wrote:

> So, what is a Ostgardr "supper club"?

> Stefan

> The Ostgardr Supper club is a gathering of like minded cooks that meet

> once in a while ( we try to meet quarterly) to make, eat, and  

> experience a medieval aspect of cuisine.


Good idea!  In Carolingia it was the custom of the Cooka Guild to

hold an annual "Conviviality" -- a pot-luck dinner, for which we

made those dishes that were too labor intensive, too fragile, or

too expensive to serve to a baronial feast.  Baronial feasts fed

over a hundred (sometimes over 250).  Cooks Guild numbered 10-15.


   The event got even more convivial when we held it jointly with

the Brewers Guild, and they brought samples of their best, to

complement the food.


--Old Marian

Barony of Carolingia, East Kingdom



Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 11:31:28 EST

From: Etain1263 at aol.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Ostgardr supper club

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


scadian at hotmail.com writes:

> Sort of like a gathering  where everyone learns and helps out.


Hmmm...ACG has a Cook's Guild that meets once a month.  We usually meet at Master Gille's house and he gives us a "topic" which we research and find recipes and bring the stuff to cook.  He's got "staples" (if you can call rosewater, saffron, etc. staples) that all can use.


We cook all afternoon and then sit down and eat the fruits of our labors, each cook explaining what they made, where the recipe comes from, etc.  We have also built up an adjunct "Eater's Guild" to help eat all the food!  


Several times last summer, we cooked over a firepit at THL Rhenna's home, where she has put in a permanent (stone surrounded!) firepit for our use.  Last year we did cheese, Lenten, things in pastry (of various sorts), and we also cook as a group for events and test the   feast recipes on Guild days.





Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 09:46:01 -0400

From: "Amy Cooper" <amy.s.cooper at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild in my Shire ...

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




My idea was to have a meeting once a month, scheduled

a month in advance, that would have a theme (A la Iron

Chef).  The theme would be either an ingredient or a

type of cooking (eggplant - ingredient or Thai -

type).  I thought then everyone could bring a dish to

the meeting and there would be 3 - 4 people who would

actually make their food at the meeting and teach how

it's made.  Everyone would bring copies of a recipe

for their dish.



That sounds very similar to how Sigrid and Kadlin have set up Cooks'

Nights in the Barony of Roaring Wastes, Midrealm. I haven't been able

to attend recently because of conflicts with my Shire's feast night,

but did make a couple of them at the beginning. They choose a theme

that each cook needs to meet, and everyone brings their recipes.

Themes have been things like "Holiday foods for your persona", "German

foods", and more that I can't remember right now.


I agree that scheduling makes things difficult - before setting a

date/time for yours, I would suggest polling the likely attendees and

find out what works best for them. You'll never please everyone, but

hopefully, you can find a date/time that pleases most of them.



Shire of Starleaf Gate, Midrealm



Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 08:16:06 -0800 (PST)

From: Euriol of Lothian <euriol at yahoo.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild: opinions


<<< I'm helping to organize my local barony's cooking guild. I've organized a guild before, however, I wanted to see how other people have organized cooking guilds for their Baronies and groups?? Feedback on how meetings were run, organized, themes decided and how to pick organizers when everyone is very enthusiastic would be great.


--Mercy >>>


I've been both the minister of a local cooks guild as well as a Kingdom cooks guild, and I find that each group will have its own unique needs. I've recently moved to a new shire, where I wanted to establish a cooks guild. The people in the group were not at the same page as I was when it came to the workshops I organized. Last month I conducted a survey of the shire membership to try to understand what they wanted from the cooks guild and based on the results from that survey, I have revised my approach to the cooks guild workshops. We shall see how successful I am.


So my advice to you is to try to understand what it is the people in your cooks guild want from the experience of being in a cooks guild.





Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 09:32:18 -0800 (PST)

From: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild: opinions


I agree with Euriol, whole heartedly! I have worked with several local guilds as well as restarting and driving the local guild where I now live and the Kingdom culinary guild, and they all have their unique needs. I've found that even within the same group it works best to be open to changing with the group's needs.


In working with other groups as well as starting and driving one myself I've also found that the interest and experience level of your attendees will also make a difference in how to best organize the group, e.g. with the Madrone Culinary Guild they have two meetings a month. The first meeting is a planning meeting and potluck where they discuss guild business, vote on things, plan events, etc. The second meeting is a hands-on cooking night, where they will often work on recipes for the next banquet, testing for a new pamphlet, or other research.


I love that format, but I have found that not only is my local group's calendar so busy that it was hard getting just one night a month on the calendar, but that how feasts are run here are completely different and as a result, so is the roll that the Culinary Guild plays in feast planning and preparation.


When I first moved to my new barony and started having cooking nights here I'd sometimes get 12-20 people (some of whom just came to be social and sample), and now I get much smaller groups who are all interested in being hands on.  I've also found that posting reminders a week before and then a day before the regular monthly cooking nights seems to have the best outcome as far as giving enough warning and then a closer reminder.


I would humbly suggest that you poll your populace, and be flexible about accomodating requests. I've found that if you have what you love doing as the default, but offer to have other meetings, cooking nights and classes by request that it keeps things fresh and fun! If you have a consistent number of participants, perhaps you could take another page from Madrone and ask for volunteers to take turns hosting the meetings so how far people have to travel varies and it's not always far for the same people.





Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 10:52:16 -0700

From: Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com>

To: Raphaella DiContini <raphaellad at yahoo.com>,       Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild: opinions


I absolutely agree that polling the populace (not just once but

periodically) and finding out what they want is key.  When I moved to my

Barony I took over the cooks' guild which had gone dormant.  I was very

enthusiastic, we didn't have a cooks' guild in the Shire I came from back

in the East - everyone just knew who cooked and who didn't.  At our first

meeting we discussed things people wanted to do and I wrote a list.  I

tried to schedule things on the list and sometimes got a great turn out and

sometimes I'd be sitting in my kitchen alone.  Some people, as has already

been mentioned, do not think their skills are strong enough.  They need to

be encouraged to participate all the same.  Also, we like to include

children (8 and up) as long as a parent is there also.  Teaching the young

ones to cook is great succession planning.


We don't rely on the guild to do all the cooking at events - each autocrat

decides for themselves who they want to work with (guild or not) and go

from there.  There are many talented cooks in our Barony who do not

consider themselves part of the guild but are always quite willing to pitch

in for events.  When I sent out a request for assistance I always included

the entire Barony and not just the guild.


I had to learn that I could put forth as many ideas/projects (mine and

others) as I wanted but I could not force people to participate.  We are

next to Caerthe that has a very active guild and they are always gracious

to invite us to join them.  I too invited them to join Caer Galen - and I

think that enhanced our programs a great deal.  I think it is helpful to

join forces with other Baronies/Shires to cross-educate everyone.


Some of our more successful guild programs were cheese making, bread

making, canning, macaron making, and firepit cooking.  I think if I had

more knowledge of period recipes and techniques I could have brought more

to the table.


Others wanted to be in charge so I no longer run the guild and sadly it has

fallen dormant again.  I wish you great success and would love to hear how

you do.





Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:07:17 -0800

From: <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

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

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Guild: opinions


I think one important question is whether the guild exists to help its

members learn about period cooking or to cook feasts for your barony.

They are quite different purposes. If it's taken for granted that

joining the guild means volunteering to help with feasts, that will

discourage people interested in learning about the cooking but not

willing to commit to helping with feasts. Also, if the purpose of the

guild is putting on feasts, then some of what it is teaching members

will have nothing to do with medieval cooking.


My own preference would be a guild dedicated to period cooking, willing

to suggest recipes to the head cook of a feast, but not committing its

members to help produce feasts. But I think the other model is at least

as common.




<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