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Re: on feast help

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  • lilinah@earthlink.net
    ... Or it could mean that most of the food had been prepared ahead of time, so the kitchen was relatively inactive. ... I agree that making a schedule can
    Message 1 of 40 , Jun 30, 2005
      Donata wrote:
      >I agree with the scheduling. Many of the feasts out here are a whole
      >day event with dancing, competions and court between courses. If
      >things are planned before the feast, a tighter schedule is best. A
      >shorter feast would mean smaller portions and/or fewer dishes per
      >course. Whatever your schedule, post it for the populace to see.

      Or it could mean that most of the food had been prepared ahead of
      time, so the kitchen was relatively inactive.

      >I also agree with the rigid timetable, do your best to see what the
      >facilities look like ahead of time. This will affect your schedule. If
      >there are only six burners and two stoves, you need to know that ahead
      >of time. A timetable will help you find any sticking points --dish X
      >needs to be in the oven before dish Y is done. There is almost no way
      >to over-organize cooking a feast.

      I agree that making a schedule can help. I've written them up in both
      30 minute and 15 minute increments, depending on the complexity of
      the feast and how much had been pre-cooked and how complicated the
      kitchen dance is going to be (do i have one home kitchen type stove
      or a big industrial stove? A grill? how many ovens? etc.).

      >One last note, one thing we've started doing is listing ingredients
      >for the various dishes for those with allergies. Some cooks don't like
      >doing this because they consider it trade secrets, but it keeps people
      >from running into the kitchen at every course.

      Donata and I are in the same Kingdom and i've been listing
      ingredients since i began cooking feasts during my second year in the
      SCA (i've only been in 6 years). I got this idea from the SCA-Cooks
      e-mail list. I always include a paper menu, listing the dishes in
      each course and the ingredients in each dish. For my first feast i
      didn't get to the photocopy place in time, so i posted the menu and
      ingredients next to the kitchen door, so folks didn't have to come
      into the kitchen. Otherwise, i make a menu or feast booklet for each
      diner. I realize this is rather modern, but it's better than someone
      eating something that will make them sick, or someone out of caution
      not eating something they could have.

      I mention my feast ahead of time on our Kingdom list, asking that
      folks with allergies and other serious food issues contact me, but i
      have yet to be contacted in 6 years. So I also suggest that diners
      ask for me at the kitchen door if they have a problem... this hasn't
      bothered me, but around here most people are polite and ask first if
      they feel they need to enter the kitchen. Heck, i cooked a couple
      Boar Hunt feasts during which the Boar (a heavy fighter with a
      special helmet) ran through the kitchen. I threatened to cook him for
      the feast (good naturedly, of course)

      Anyway, one frequent diner really disliked vinegar. She came to the
      kitchen door and explained and i was able to dish her salad before
      tossing it with the vinegar. A very simple concession.

      But our feasts here in The West are rarely at the Kingdom level
      (except at Collegia), most being at the Principality or Shire level
      and having fewer than 100 diners. And generally people don't have
      unrealistic expectations such as not contacting the cook and
      expecting special treatment the day of the feast. Folks with complex
      food issues tend to bring their own safe food, without burdening the
      Feast Cook. I can see that people cooking for larger groups, or with
      an excess of impolite diners might face more challenges.

      Additionally, about 10 per cent of the diners at my feasts are
      vegetarians. I've recently started using a designated vegetarian
      server - since the vegetarians are all around the hall - when i have
      separate platters of some dish for the vegetarians and for the
      omnivores. I anticipate vegetarians and plan my meals so that
      vegetarians can have plenty to eat - i don't require them to contact
      me ahead of time. There's no problem - all i do is cook the
      vegetables that would be simmered in broth in a rich vegetable broth.
      It's also possible that because the vegetarians know i have
      vegetarian friendly meals more of them come to my feasts, since i've
      heard other Cooks say they thought there weren't so many vegetarians
      at their feasts.
      Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
      the persona formerly known as Anahita
    • Adele de Maisieres
      ... I think that s actually good cooking as well as good allergy planning-- afterall, people don t want to eat fifteen dishes that all taste the same. ... I
      Message 40 of 40 , Jul 5 2:22 PM
        bronwynmgn@... wrote:

        >My method for dealing with allergies and vegetarians and food dislikes is
        >all the same:
        >I plan my menus so that no more than 1/3 of the total number of dishes
        >contain the same ingredient.

        I think that's actually good cooking as well as good allergy planning--
        afterall, people don't want to eat fifteen dishes that all taste the same.

        >I find that people in my area very rarely will contact the cook about food
        >allergies or needs - I think I've had two do it over the course of 8 or so
        >feasts I've cooked.

        I absolutely expect people to contact me ahead if they have special food
        needs. If people don't do it, it needs to be added in large letters to
        any feast publicity.

        >I have worked in kitchens where the cook has made special
        >portions for people with allergies and I find it altogether too complicated and
        >time-consuming to do on a regular basis.

        Whether I make anything special depends on what I'm making to begin with
        and what the allergies are. Sometimes it's purely a matter of making up
        an ingredients list and having the servers call the attention of anyone
        with allergies to it-- other times, it's making something extra.
        Somethimes I can kill several birds with one stone by making an extra
        dish that will suit people with more than one allergy or food
        preference. Basically, I try to make sure that no-one gets left out of
        any substantial portion of the meal, _not_ that there are seperate
        portions and alternates for each and every little thing.

        Adele de Maisieres

        Quot homines, tot sententiae.
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