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Feast reviews - the rare public post

This post is created thanks to a coversation I had on Saturday regarding reviewing feasts. A friend has started doing detailed reviews of feasts that she goes to and someone who doesn't cook was talking about it. I explained that the review she did for Storvik was one that I requested. I also explained that, while flattering, a review of "good feast" isn't really useful. I'd rather see a post talking about both the good and the bad then a simple statement of "good feast" or "feast sucked". Either way, a one sentence review is useless to a cook.

At the same time constructive critisim is an important idea. To see the post I wrote about this subject a couple of years ago go here.

Keep in mind that when we're in the kitchen we have no idea of what happens outside. We don't know if it seems like the food is taking forever between courses or if the food is coming out too fast. We don't know if one table had so much food they couldn't eat it or the next table snuck in an extra person so needs more food or had one person who so loves a specific dish that the rest of the table didn't get anything. Some people want one serving each and others want to take the leftovers home with them.

Detailed reactions of feasts (regardless of who cooked them) helps in planning for the future. Since I'm not sure how other people feel, I've created a

Poll #920791 Feast reviews

Do you cook for the SCA

I dabble in the kitchen occasionally
What there's an event outside the kitchen?
I eat feast but don't cook it
They serve food at SCA events?
What is the SCA?

How often do you do eat feast in the SCA

Every event
When the menu sounds good
When specific people are involved with the cooking
If I feel like it

If a cook - how often are you in the kitchen

Every event for my group
Every event I go to
A couple times a year
I don't cook

When eating a feast do you

Like period food
Want "meat and potatoes"
Bring your own food "just in case"
Live by the song "the feast song" (pass the bread butter and cheese"
bring containers to take home the leftovers
Ticky box are cool

How soon after feast would you like to read a review for a feast you worked on

Within 24 hours
Within 48 hours
After a week
Just post it privately, I don't want to know

Would you be willing to post a detailed review for a feast someone you knew (say me) made?

In a heartbeat - the good and bad
I'd think about it but probably not
Eventually but I'd cut out all the bad stuff

Preference question. You have a really cool dish that you want to serve, but not enough to go around. What do you do?

Special High Table Dish (and if enough, the kitchen staff)
Feed as many as you can then “sorry about your luck”
Leave it off the feast



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 5th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
I don't cook specifically in the SCA but I do cook at home once in a blue moon. I do have a couple of period cookbooks (one I got out of the school library way back in the 2nd grade. It's 17th-18th c dishes and I so wanted to learn how to cook them. I lost the book until we moved in the 5th grade and now it's downstairs. :-) Don't worry too much, I paid for the book once it was declared lost...and it came out of my allowance.)

Feb. 5th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
One of the questions doesn't apply to me, because I'm on the opposite side of the country and the likelihood of me eating a feast local to you is slim to none. That said, I'd be pleased to give an honest, constructive-criticsm type review should the occasion ever arise...

My one and only feast experience was webbed here:

Feb. 5th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
The way I meant it was pretty much regardless of who cooked the feast, no matter if it's your best friend, peer, sig O or perfect stranger. I hate writing quizes because no matter how well I think I wrote it at first, eventually I want to change something and really can't.
Feb. 5th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
Today, I got a survey call. Someone doing research about transportation preferences. Turns out (it became evident as the survey progressed) that it was about Amtrak. After asking me a bunch of questions about my travel in excess of 75 miles and not for commuting, they asked, "When have you last ridden an Amtrak train?" "Er," says I, "For this question, is it also non-commuter service also? Because Amtrak runs the commuter rail here." "Oh! That's a good question. Gee, it doesn't say anything about non-commuter service on this question, so..."

So don't feel bad; even the pros muff it pretty badly sometimes, too! (From later questions, I'm pretty sure they didn't want commuter trips, but, hey, I answered what they asked -- and so will everyone else in the Boston area who takes the purple line!)
Feb. 5th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC)
I do cook feast every now-and-again...I did four in one year, all for 100+, and decided that I'd better back off it before I burnt out.

I do period food, or food that is very very peri-oid...I'll do rice in milk and vegetable broth instead of meat broth so as to make it more accessible to the vegetarians. I think this is a period trick, but I can't find positive evidence of it on this particular recipe. Depending on how things go I might volunteer to cook for our next archery event, though.

I'd love to get reviews of the feasts I do, personally.

I tend not to do really elaborate things for head table. Partly because as head cook I don't need the worry and fuss. I did at the last feast I was at, as the menu was set before we discovered that the new king and queen did NOT eat fish. So I did ham, cheese, and egg rissoles. (Le Menagier, "Rissoles for a meat day"). That I viewed not so much as a special dish than as a gap-filler, and a chance for me to test-cook the dish before I put it into A&S.
Feb. 5th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
I am not a cook. I didn't start making things that didn't come in a box until about 5 years ago. I have several friends who love to cook, and I really enjoy sitting beside them during feast and learning about the food. I have written reviews before, mainly to discuss my perceptions of a feast with someone who has more experience in the kitchen. I might not cook, but I do like to learn about food and what makes a good feast.
Feb. 5th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, if I were to write my own answer for question #2, I'd say, "Every feast where I've been able to get a seat." There have been a couple of times (particularly when I was a noob) when I was way too hopelessly late to get on-board, even with a waiting list.

I do enjoy cooking at home, but cooking for a large crowd is a bit too much like my late mother's career in the school kitchen. I also miss period food when I'm at Pennsic.
Feb. 5th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
I don't work in kitchens as often as I used to. I've never been in charge of cooking a feast, but I have been very involved in the research behind a few feasts and done a lot of test dishes for other cooks.

Elsewhere I've seen the leftovers issue handled by a table that's out of the way of the path of the servers to the kitchen to hold extras. Tables that are done with a dish can sit their stuff there and people who want to see if there's more of something look for it there.

I don't see the point in a review that is purely positive unless everything really was completely positive.

And if there's a dish I really want to try and there's no A&S competition to enter it in, I might donate it to a silent auction the day of the event. But then I hail from a group whose laws state there shall be no high table at events.
Feb. 5th, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
I like this idea for leftovers and will mention it to LLT.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Orlaith Carey

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