[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook or Livejournal. (Although he did succumb to the lure of Google+.) He hates cell-phones.


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Eating at At The Mark

There was a Rapier Collegium a few weeks ago at the lovely Tretower Court. One of the attractions - and limitations - of this site is its kitchen. CADW's website dates the kitchen to the late 15th century, and when we use the site, we can use the kitchen. This is great! Although, it does have its drawbacks.

The kitchen, as it is configured, has no functioning oven. This is not surprising. For most of the medieval period, baking was a specialist trade practiced in dedicated facilities. Large and elaborate establishments had their own bakehouses, but more modest dwellings, particular in urban settings, relied on external suppliers. The priests at Munden's Chantry, for instance, hosted a party in 1455 and the entry in their account book for that date includes this:
"Item in solutis Willemo Baker pro farina pyis factis et eius labore 5d."1
This means that if one wishes to serve 'bakun mete' (as the Liber Cure Cocorum would term it) at Tretower one needs to either outsource it, or precook it and serve it cold, or try to reheat it.

The kitchen is also not equipped with much in the way of cookery equipment. In many cases, especially US based sites, this isn't a problem, since the local groups have cooking gear, and the cooks can augment that with their own kit. Tretower, however, is a period site, open to the public. Which means the kit must be at least passably period (or period-looking).

This leads to the last drawback of the kitchen. While we can camp on the site, and the grounds are open to us overnight, the kitchen is in the building itself, which is opened up at around 9:15 in the morning, and locked up again at 5 in the afternoon. So the meal needs to be cooked, served, and the clean-up completed in that time frame.

If it sounds to you like this means I talked myself into agreeing to do a feast there, you are absolutely correct. An archery event called 'At the Mark' has been scheduled for early July at the site, and I'm signed up to do the main meal on Saturday. Among other things, this is an excuse to upgrade and expand my period cooking kit.

And, of course, I get to cook in a medieval kitchen ...

P.S. This is our new tent. Oh, and Tretower castle in the background.

1. K. L. Wood-Legh , ed., A Small Household of the XVth Century, being the Account Book of Munden's Chantry, Bridport; (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956), 9. 'Item in payment to William Baker for flour, pies made, and his labor, 5d.' (Translation mine.)


Luddite'sLog, 7 June 2017
© 2017 Jeff Berry
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