[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. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on t he PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

An American Reenactor Abroad, Part the First

Welcome to my latest endeavour, or sub-endeavour, An American Reenactor Abroad. It is distinguished from An American Luddite in the UK by being limited to reenactment topics, most things to do with the SCA, but not necessarily things limited to the UK, per se. It is also not going to be so heavily food focussed as the main Aspiring Luddite site. Of course, having said that, I'm going to talk about food.

I'm going to do (another) feast! I've signed up to do the feast at Flaming Arrow in the shire of Glen Rathlin. (Well, technically I believe it is in the Shire of Eplaheimr, but hosted by Glen Rathlin.) The actual site in in Clara, which is, for those playing at home, in Ireland. I live in England. This presents me with some interesting logistical challenges. I understand that the kitchen itself is, shall we say, quirky. To balance this out, it's only for about 70 people, and there are number of talented and generous people who have worked the site before and who have familiarity with some of these issues. It should be fun. I'm planning to do a series of articles about my process in the vein of my old Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery. Let us begin.

Here are the specs as I have them at this time (early Jan 2017):

  • Date: 28-30 April 2017
  • Meals: Friday Travellers Fare, Saturday and Sunday Breakfast, Saturday Lunch and Dinner
  • Numbers: 70 for the main meals
  • Budget: €12.50 for the weekend
  • With 54 people heard from I have:
    • a potentially fatal allergy to oranges
    • a seafood allergy
    • an allium allergy
    • two varying degrees of lactose intolerance
    • three with various degrees of gluten intolerance
    • three vegetarians (one of whom will do fish)
Two lovely and talented ladies have already volunteered to take over Friday night's travellers fare, and I am expecting to have other volunteers to handle breakfasts. I am on deck for feast for certain, and possibly for lunch. Having discussed the matter with those who have gone before, the usual budgetary split is something like this: €2 for lunch, €1 for each of the breakfasts and travellers' fare, and the remainder for the feast.

The kitchen has a single stove, which might be a sheet-pan wide, but only has two racks, and is, to quote one of sources, "a tempermental piece of crud." I've got four gas-rings, none of them very large, but there is a separate water-boiler which can water up to temperature. There's a steam table.

Those are the basic parameters I have to work with, and looking at them, the idea of serving as much as possible cold sounds like the way to go. I'm already thinking about some kind of pie that I can cook Friday night and serve cold the next day. I stumbled across one of my old recipes the other day - Mylat of Pork - and according to my younger self, I served it at room temperature. So that might be worth revisiting. My younger self did not have as much access to some of the cookery sources that my current self does, and was, naturally enough, less experienced. The source was, I think, this scan of the 1780 Pegge edition of what is now British Library Add MS 5016. The transcription I used back then is much flawed, primarily in the lack of proper expansion of abbreviations. These days I use, by preference, Curye on Inglysch, which includes Forme of Cury. In that edition the recipe is #162 on p. 134, and looks like this:
Malaches of pork
Hewe Pork al to pecys and medle it with ayren & chese igrated. Do þerto powdour fort safroun & pynes with salt. Make a crust in a trap; bake it wel þerinne, and serue it forth.

There is a possibility that I will be able to get some venison from the site's herd, which would be another meat dish. If I roast it, that would take up the oven for the run up to feast time. That's all right, because two meat dishes is probably all I'll need, since I think I'll limit myself to two courses. I might add something else when I've crunched some budget numbers - but it would need to be something I could serve cold or cook on the stove.

Time now to hit the books and see what sorts of things I'd like to serve.

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© 2017 Jeff Berry
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