Orlaith Carey (orlacarey) wrote,
Orlaith Carey

Finally - the Tournament of Chivalry brain dump

Warning - according to MS Word this post is at least 10 pages long - read at your own risk.

Note - I'm sure some things were forgotten in this post - any errors are my fault, but LLT did make a few edits. Times listed came from either ladygriele or spikywheel since I never looked at the clock.

Roxie showed up after midnight - I want to say it was somewhere around 1:15 when I went to bed. I turned off the first alarm and woke up at 6:45. Decided I really didn't have to get out of bed until 7.

LLT was already up and putting stuff together to take to the site. She'd already taken some stuff to the site with the help of Johanna on Friday so this was just supposed to be "the last few items". We got dressed, loaded out stuff and then went to breakfast with Acelina.

While we sitting at the resturant I suddenly said "Pistachio Cream" and LLT said it was still in the fridge at home. So she went through the list one more time and found several things that she needed to pick up from the house. We left and split up with Acelina who needed to go pick up some food coloring so she could dye the macaroni noodles she was going to be using for a children's activity.

Got to the site about 8:30 and found that the site guy still wasn't there. Since we were told he was supposed to be there by 9 am we were slightly worried but not yet having major issues. Sat for a few minutes with Badouin and Griele and admired the very cool chair that Badouin had made. Went back to the building where troll was and grumbled at some people while they trolled in.

To no one's great shock the site guy didn't show up by 9:00. From that point on all through the morning ladygriele was in contact with the site management. When baron_rorik got there he started trying to get some results as well since he is a lifetime member of the American Legion.

I should probably explain that this site, as wonderful as the actual site is, has one major issue. When we rented the site for Investiture the guy who was managing it said that he was going to be leaving the job. When we contacted them this time they had not yet replaced him. He's still there but apparently the replacement had fallen through. At this point the manager said he will stay on just long enough to finish out the commitments made by the end of last year and then he's gone. So needless to say the management of the site is suffering.

We were never able to have a walk through of the site so we had to go by our memories from last January. There was a misunderstanding about the amount we needed to give them at some point so we had to write a check which they either lost or never received. So on Friday we had to give them $100 cash in order to get on the site.

Then we got the news that they claim we never paid them for some damages that happened the last time we were on site (a table that broke when someone sat on it etc). According to the Storvik checkbook we wrote them a check for $50 and I'm fairly certain Gaspar would have told me if it hadn't been cashed by now. They're now saying we owe $100?

Not to mention the fact that we were supposed to have the main hall for a few hours on Friday night to do set up but on Friday it turned out that we couldn't have the hall after all, because the staff was not willing to stay for the time we would be in the hall. So needless to say, not so happy, but also not surprised when 9:00 hit and no site guy.

I'm still not sure who was SUPPOSED to be there, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Manager Dude. There seemed to be a massive game of phone tag going on from what I could tell with everyone saying that they were not supposed to be there but they'd make some calls. I don't think the guy who eventually showed up was the one who was supposed to be there. Based on the number of phone calls that happened and how unhappy we are I figure SOMEONE is going to get chewed out, but not sure who.

LLT figured out that there was a spigot on the outside of the hall and we were able to start both coffee and tea in the troll building. The first casulty of the day was then. Because we didn't unpack the car in an organized manner we would go in to dig out individual things as we needed them. I went to grab the box of coffee stuff and knocked over the bin of flour spilling half of it on the floor of LLT's car. Luckily the car is not carpeted - I was able to brush most of it into a trash bag. We just need to sweep it out this week before it gets wet.

spikywheel showed up at about 9:30 and we discussed how rotten the situation was. Finally we did the only thing we really could do - pull out the knives and cutting boards to start chopping veggies in the troll building. We started with the stuff to make the lunch: potatoes, carrots and celery. Shortly into the process Duchess Simone showed up and joined us once she got dressed. Right about the time that we were ready to start the onions Khadir showed up. Throughout all this we were actually in fairly good spirits - joking that the menu for dinner had changed to sushi (the tuna was ahi) and pistachio cream.

I should say something about the kitchen help. OMG, our kitchen help. Our friends are the coolist!!!!

The line up - I started to write something next to each person's name and kept running into the stories that make up the rest of this post. Suffice to say that EVERY one of these people were important, if not vital, to the creation of the feast:
Khadir's son (Andrew?)
Llywyllyn (Dedrie's Husband)
Johnathan (Dedrie's son)
Neil (as opposed to frederich)
martykp - without his understanding and taking the kids we would not have had spikywheel

We realized that we were rapidly getting to the point that lunch was going to be impossible to make at the rate things were going so we decided to get the propane tank and burners from the house and start the soup outside. I called Acelina's cell phone and frederich answered. I said "House of Bread delivery service?" Sadly since he was half asleep I didn't get the response I was looking for. He passed the phone on to Acelina who agreed to bring us the stuff we needed to get started. I hung up the phone and when janinas_nest came by I mentioned to her that this was the THIRD time in 8 days that Acelina had provided delivery service for the SCA. She agreed to discuss it with baron_rorik.

Later janinas_nest stopped by with Beatrix to ask me to write down Acelina's SCA name for a scroll. When she saw that Acelina's name is actually "Acelina Le Dragon" they had a discussion about using a scroll blank that had a dragon on it.

As more and more people trolled in we kept chopping - when we finished with the soup veggies we moved on to peeling the shallots. It was actually kinda cool getting to see people throughout the morning. Several people asked what was going on and we explained the situation to each of them - always with the standing joke that dinner was gonna end up being sushi. During the late morning ladygriele stopped by to let me know that enough people had checked in to pass the break even point for the event.

At some point we got the word that someone with a key had left Annapolis and was headed our way. It seemed like it was at least two more hours before he showed up, but I wasn't looking at the clock for any of this.

Someone, I have no clue who, came up with the brilliant idea that we could start warming the stock for the lunch soups in the crock pots we had brought for the lunch table. So that way we weren't starting ALL the liquids in the soups from cold water when the burners got to site.

Acelina showed up and spikywheel took charge of making the soups assisted by duchesssimone. Finally the site guy showed up after 11 - I don't remember the exact time but I want to say it was close to noon. Apparently one of the first things he said to LLT was "don't yell at me". ladygriele reports this was at noon. spikywheel reports this was at 11:20.

Now here is where one of the coolest things I've EVER seen in the SCA happened. mysticsablewolf made a point of asking us a couple of times if there was anything she could do to help around the duties that she'd already taken on for the event. I told her that one of the main things we were going to need was help getting the stuff moved from the troll building into the main hall once the kitchen was opened. When the site guy showed mysticsablewolf headed to the field to get us help. From what I understand they cleared the field to help us - fighters who were in their armor, people who were there to watch the fighting - everyone came and helped carry stuff. I didn't carry anything into the hall at that point because I didn't have time to. While LLT was in the kitchen dealing with that end I was in the troll building telling people what to take. I'd take something out of the fridge, put it on the table and someone would grab it. In the end I turned people away who had come up to help because there wasn't anything more for them to carry. In less than 10 minutes EVERYTHING had been moved. I told people to go back to the fighting. Of course after everyone had gone I remembered there was still stuff in LLT's car. Doh!

But Khadir's son (Andrew?) and Dedrie's son (Johnathan) were still hanging around asking if they could do anything for us. So between the three of us the car got cleaned out as well. I think the only thing I ended up carrying was LLT's Grandma's 60+ year old soup tureen, which I wasn't handing to anyone.

Once we were finally in the kitchen we had two major issues. The first was that we had lost all of our organizing time and we spent lots of time trying to figure out where stuff was. The second and more important issue was that the stove wouldn't work. Not a burner let alone the ovens. Ummm...yeah. To say that we were unhappy was putting it mildly. Then on top of that the site guy locked the door to their supply room without first getting out either the site's water pitchers or steam table, both things that LLT NEEDED. She got him to open the door so we could get those items and it actually stayed open for the rest of the day - which was good because during feast we realized that she hadn't pulled enough water pitchers.

For a while there we were feeling VERY nasty toward site guy. This only got worse as more than an hour passed and we still had no stove. What made it worse was that after futzing with things for a while he apparently called someone to come help and then went and sat to wait for that person - all without talking to anyone in the kitchen to give us an update. So here we are - all this food and no way to cook it. Luckily there was a lot of prep work that could be done without stove.

The biggest problem was that the starter course contained an onion pie - which meant we needed to prebake the pie shells then fill them and rebake them. Here's were we were very lucky to be so near home and to have spikywheel with us. She handed off the lunch prep to duchesssimone and took all the ingredients for the pies to our house where she singlehandedly and frederich made all of the pies. Needless to say she was gone for a few hours (according to her LJ she left at about 12:10 and returned at 3:45).

One of the first things we'd done while in the kitchen was set up Werner's station. He apparently had some kind of foot surgery a couple of weeks ago. He'd been in spikywheel's kitchen last weekend but had spent so much time on his feet that the doctor yelled at him. So we were determined to make sure that did not happen again. We set up a small table with a chair and a cooler for him to prop up his foot. Every time he got up for any reason he got yelled at by everyone in the kitchen. Before spikywheel left she told us that if he didn't listen and got up we were to go get Sir Vlad. The way LLT handled it was by keeping him busy. Every time he ran out of chopping she found more for him to do. I think he handled dealing with prepping most of the meat for cooking and I know he was part of the group that prepped the asparagus for cooking. I have no clue what else but he was busy all day. LLT says for being a vegetarian he was super sweet. He sliced all the beef for the cold beef soup, butchered all the pork and pulled the tuna out of it's packaging.

I did my usual job of making iced tea and setting up the Ipod. Actually the tea duty was a combination of me, dawnhutchings and courtney_d_h. Luckily I'd brought my hot pot so I was able to make hot water without a stove and there was an ice machine. In addition to the large orange water cooler which we brought to put out in the hall for the populace we had our two little coolers for the kitchen. One got iced tea and the other one ice water. Next time I want to remember to bring the simple syrup pump as well since some people like sugar in their iced tea - even if it is the good flavored kind that I usually make.

I asked LLT what music she wanted on the Ipod and she requested the "Violent" mix because that was the mood she was in. I really do have a playlist marked "Violent" - it starts out with Led Zepplin and moves onto Disturbed. Before I started the music I made a general announcement to the room that we were sorry if anyone was unhappy with the music but it was LLT's request to fit her mood. At some point cathgrace asked me how that playlist was supposed to HELP LLT's mood since cathgrace was finding that the music made her angry.

It wasn't too long after that I decided to move to the Driving Mix - which starts out with the Gorlliaz "Clint Eastwood". Just as I turned that on LLT came up to me and asked for the SCA mix. Since Clint Eastwood is one of her favorite songs I waited until it was over and put the Ipod on shuffle for the SCA songs. I was standing in the doorway (the Ipod being set up right next to it) and Beatrix asked me what was with the music (I forget the genre term she used). She said it was good music but it was unusual for an SCA kitchen. I reassured her that we were just switching it now that LLT's mood had calmed somewhat.

The lunch soups ended up being completely cooked on the outside burners. We actually had two sets of burners but only one propane tank. baron_rorik loaned us his tank so we could set up the other burner. That was when we realized that the 2nd set of burners was missing a leg so we never ended up using baron_rorik's tank. Instead we moved the soups off the burners so that we could heat up a pan of mini hot dogs for lunch for a certain Duke we like. The other burner got taken up with a huge pot of water which LLT intended to use to make beef broth. I carried the pot out and it was a little too full so I ended up with my front completely soaked. Good thing I was wearing an apron. ;) That was right around the time that the guy from the gas company came and I initially didn't start the burner in the hopes that it would be a quick fix. But LLT said she didn't want to wait and it was probably a good thing we didn't since it was at least 20 minutes before they got the stove up and running. In a move reminiscent of the Privateer Feast at one point I looked over and saw that the bottom of the oven had been removed so that they could dig inside. But they did manage to get the oven going finally. The site guy reported to LLT that the entire unit was up and running and with the exception of occasionally having to lite burners manually we didn't have any more problems with it. According to spikywheel's post it was 2:20 when I called to say that the ovens were fixed.

About that time site guy started becoming more friendly to us. It might have had something to do with Johanna inviting him to eat feast and LLT telling him he was welcome to eat from the kitchen noshing station (sharp cheddar cheese, half a spiral sliced boneless ham and macaroni salad). The guy noshed all afternoon and he seemed fascinated by the amount of work we were doing. As I said to LLT today, we are probably very strange to the people at the site - not just in our clothing. Since it's a youth camp they're probably used to seeing a lot of burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and fries. While it takes some time to put those types of meals together they are NOTHING like the amount of work it takes to put on a good feast. So I could see them thinking that us getting into the kitchen early was so we could get organized and put stuff in the fridge - since they knew we had stuff in the troll building's fridge they might have thought it wasn't a big deal to be late. But once he saw us working he realized that we didn't have time to fool around and I think he felt a little guilty.

duchesssimone was in charge of the lunch when spikywheel left. The original plan had been for bread, venison soup, lentil soup and hardboiled eggs. I think there were some olives and pickles as well. But with the delays of the morning the eggs never got boiled. Everything else got out though. Also we put out a cooler full of water. From what spikywheel says we got lunch out at about 12:20. I don't remember if the original start time was supposed to be 11:30 or noon - either way spikywheel and duchesssimone did a really impressive job getting it out that early. I want to make it clear here - LLT planned the menu for lunch and did the shopping. The early risers in the kitchen crew did the chopping but after that EVERYTHING for the lunch was done by spikywheel or duchesssimone. Well maybe some other people helped with putting things into bowls and putting out the water jug but you take my meaning.

All morning long I'd been worrying about eridun. She'd told me she was leaving her home early in the morning and I know she lives a couple of hours from site. But she hadn't shown up and it was after noon. I was getting more and more worried. So I was very happy to see her show up. I dragged her outside to give her the rundown of what had happened so far then she trolled in and started chopping. Did I mention there was a LOT of chopping in this feast?

Johanna was in charge of slicing up the fennel and saving the fronds for garnish. She started out not knowing what fennel was, decided she liked it after sneaking a sample, then decided she wasn't quite so fond of it after slicing 14 bulbs.

Khadir said to me that he's so used to us being so organized and not forgetting things that he'd only brought the most basic of his kitchen equipment - apron, oven mitts and knives. He was thinking that he should have brought his food processor and I said that we had one on site. When he heard this he asked why we'd hand chopped the onions. My response at the time was that we had enough help to do the chopping by hand - which is true. But LLT told me later that it was also because she doesn't believe in using a food processor to chop a lot of things - especially onions because it turns them into a mush. Chopping things by hand allows you to have the right cut for each item. And it's true - the onion pie had thinly sliced shallots while the lamb dish had finely chopped pieces - neither of which we could have gotten using a food processor.

Speaking of the Lamb dish - Khadir had chopped all the meat - two large boneless roasts. Then the lamb got parboiled for a while. Johanna took the meat off the stove and rinsed it to remove any scum (one of the reasons for parboiling meat). Then she started frying the lamb and onions together. She had two frying pans going and was in the zone. She did complain to LLT when she realized that the oven mitt she was using had a hole in the finger. While yes the hole was a problem I touched the mitt around the hole and it was piping hot too. So it wasn't JUST the hole that caused a problem. As each batch of lamb/onion was finished she put it into the pot and started work on the next batch. duchesssimone took over for her when she had to stop.

Since getting on site I'd been wanting to start working with the apples for the apple sauce. I'd worked on the dish for the test feast and I knew that they needed to be peeled, cored then chopped finely and baked before being smashed and mixed with the other ingredients. But LLT had not brought enough lemon juice to make acidulated water so we couldn't start working on that until the ovens were fixed. But once they heated up I had a crew working on the apples. First Khadir and I peeled all of the apples (42? 44?) Then they got cored and diced by a combination of eridun, ren_flora, me and someone else (I don't remember who took up after me).

We were having great fun chopping apples right up until the point that eridun cut her finger. While it wasn't a deep cut it was a big one - she actually sliced off part of her finger. So she spent part of the day with her hand over her head trying to stop the bleeding. When that didn't work I got Johanna to take a look at it. From that point on eridun was basically moved to the entertainment crew since she couldn't do much while trying to get the bleeding stopped and Johanna told her not to use that finger for the rest of the day. Luckily eridun's most important job was not effected - she is a professional photographer and I'd asked her to bring her camera.

I swear when we first asked eridun to come we didn't do it so she could take pictures, but it quickly occurred to me that she could be the answer to the issue that we've been having. I've been bugging LLT for a while that I wanted us to have pictures of the food we make for feasts so that I could eventually add it to her documentation. But in the heat of a feast kitchen it was the thing that ALWAYS got forgotten. So when eridun agreed to shoot for us we told her that was the single most important job she had all day.

eridun wasn't the only person who got hurt during the day. I remember hearing someone, don't remember who (Khadir?), asking for bandaids and Werner cut himself as well. A couple people also burnt themselves - including LLT. It's a good thing we brought the first aid kit, had a nurse in the kitchen and brought the food service gloves.

Grumble grumble, knife skills class, grumble, grumble, people hurting themselves, grumble, grumble, did I mention we discovered that Werner is good at sharpening knives? No - that's not a problem, it's a GOOD thing. It is much more dangerous to cut with a dull knife then a sharp one. We really need to take the time to sharpen every knife in our drawers but we haven't gotten to it yet.

After duchesssimone finished working on the lamb LLT says she and Jonathan spent most of the rest of the afternoon de-stemming parsley.

Soo...back to the apples. 40+ apples take a long time to peel, dice and bake. No really a LONG time. LLT had originally planned on starting that job at 10 am. The House of Bread doesn't own one of those Apple/potato slicer's that looks like a giant screw. Nor do I think we really want one since this was the first event since Havorc's Coronation feast where I found myself thinking it would be useful - and for the Coronation feast we used it for turnips not apples. We do have the other style but who knows where it is - which tells you how often we use it.

We started working on the apples while they were still making the gnocchi dough - which needs to sit for a while before it can be rolled. I know this because I was peeling apples when LLT told me that they'd run out of flour due to the spillage in the car. I offered to call the HoB to see if someone could bring us more but they ended up just replacing the last bit with extra parm cheese. So one of the batches was even cheeseir than the rest. Mental note: cathgrace told me that each batch also had extra cream cheese in it, which changed the flavor and the consistency. I remember thinking when I dished up an extra bowl of it that they were softer than usual. The dough rested and they started rolling. I don't remember how many people were rolling dough, but I'm fairly sure it was something like 4 or 5. All of the sudden LLT told me that they were done rolling the gnocchi and we were still chopping apples. When my wrist started complaining that I'd spent too much time chopping I realized that I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast. So I left renn_flora on her own (I'm sure someone else started chopping but I don't know who) to go eat some ham and cheese. While I was over there I started helping Andrew and Werner prepping the asparagus. The guys each had a knife and cutting board but I just grabbed a couple pieces at a time and broke the asparagus into pieces the way you would for a small batch. Before we knew it all of it was done. Once again, a reminder of how much faster having a fun kitchen crew makes the day seem.

About the time I was working on the asparagus spikywheel came back with the completed pies. She also found time to make sugar cookies in the shape of Easter Bunnies so that LLT and I could bite the head off something - did I mention we LOVE spikywheel?

When I left the apple chopping I kinda lost track of the dish. But I remember Neil asking at one point about the consistency of the apples (actually someone else asked but he was the one who wanted to know). I remember saying something about making some of the batches chunky and some completely smooth then mixing them together. I heard later that the texture was just right.

Neil also worked on the sauces. I know he juiced lemons and I think he sliced the rest for garnish. When spikywheel left she took the saffron for the pies. I think Acelina ended up going to get it so that it could go into the ginger sauce.

While frederich wasn't feeling well he came to the event and brought some of his armor with documentation. He ended up sitting in the troll building with his impromptu A&S display for a while. I stopped by to let him know that his main job was to make sure Acelina got to Court so he spent time coming up with reasons why they couldn't go home. I think I did that while I went out to double check the number of feast spots sold. The original plan was to cook for 104 IIRC (12 tables plus high). ladygriele had been advised that fighters often neglect to preregister so she decided to not lower the feast numbers (mental note, I'd like to find out how many people pre-regged for feast vs how many registered that day - I think it would be a useful statistic). The problem is that even though we had good numbers on site they weren't good enough to really need that many feast spaces. Hrmmm...an analysis I'd also like to see - the percentages of people on site vs feast spots wanted - not just what is sold but how many people were on the waiting list.

Anyway, it turned out that we didn't sell out - instead we did 10 tables plus high. ladygriele asked if I wanted her to cut it off there in case anyone else showed up looking for feast space and I explained that with the exception of some of the meats all the food had been cooked. We were merely trying to figure out how many plates to make so if she needed extra tables she should just let us know.

As I mentioned frederich was feeling sick so he decided to go home after Court. That meant we need to replace him in our feast staff because he does a valueable job for LLT. Ususally he's the guy who announces each course and keeps an eye out to let us know when the next course needs to be served. For feasts like this timing becomes an art form. Serve the next course too fast and people feel rushed. Serve it too slow and people become disinterested in the food. Of course everyone has their own idea of what "too fast" and "too slow" are. For this feast baron_rorik felt rushed - but someone else I talked to said the timing was perfect. No matter what this job is VITAL to a well run feast.

Luckily mysticsablewolf was in the hall. I went to talk to her and she quickly offered to take front of house. Ya know, I could get spoiled having mysticsablewolf around. She did things that frederich doesn't do, mainly deal with how the hall should be set up and gathering servers. Granted I don't deal with that stuff even when frederich does the hall steward thing - I usually direct those questions to the autocrat, but it was nice having someone to take that job who understands the head cook's perspective.

So if LLT's job is the kitchen, and frederich's job is the front of house, what is my job? I'm the one that double checks that there are enough plates of everything. I'm also the one that makes sure none of the servers serve things until High table has gotten their food. Basically my job is to be the stop gap BETWEEN the kitchen and the front of house. I have a good idea of what LLT wants each dish to look like and a copy of the menu. If we want to convey a message via the servers (this dish has a specific ingredient in it, or this bread was made fresh yesterday) I'm the one who knows it and tells the servers. Usually I repeat my message for EVERY server so a typical service for me sounds an awful lot like "this is roasted pork with garlic sauce, one roast plus two cups of sauce per table. this is roasted pork with garlic sauce, one roast plus two cups of sauce per table. This is roasted pork with garlic sauce, one roast plus two cups of sauce per table..."

For feasts where we are set up to run a rotating water service (something I LOVE) I make sure that we have enough pitchers for all the tables plus at least four. Each table gets one pitcher of water and the servers are instructed to bring back empties. There are always water pitchers on the counter and as soon as an empty is returned it gets refilled. This time was weird because we had servers bringing back half full water pitchers and taking full ones. I don't quite get that. One of the things I liked about this feast though, and I'd like to do in the future, is that since the sink was all the way across the kitchen I had the big orange water cooler filled with water and I filled pitchers from that. But I didn't figure out THAT until halfway through feast.

I had two tables set up in the kitchen with enough room for my walkway. That was "my world". LLT's world was the kitchen side and mysticsablewolf's world was outside the window. My take on things is that I was the only one who crossed worlds - nobody from mysticsablewolf's side talked to LLT. It helps to keep the head cook sane doing things like that.

Luckily mysticsablewolf gets that idea pefectly. She came to me to ask how LLT likes things run and if there was anything special that LLT wanted. A spark of inspiration hit. mysticsablewolf is a wonderful bard. So I asked if she knew Heather Dale's "The Server's Song". She didn't so I played it for her. She asked if I could write down the lyrics for her so I took about 10 minutes playing the song to make sure I had them right. Then mysticsablewolf spent some quality time with my Ipod learning the melody. She didn't get it exactly right but she basically learned the song in 20 minutes. This is something that museclio has been working on because it's a song that LLT loves and I think she'd like it to become a tradition in every feast she runs. Note the song is NOT about the cooks and cooks assistants. It's called "The Server's Song" because it's about servers:

The hall is well crowded
the feast underway
to cooks and assistants all homage we pay
but lest we forget those who serve us this day
I ask you to raise up your glass
to those who eat last
and who give us the best
I drink to the few who would serve all the rest

mysticsablewolf came up with a really good idea for the presentation. At the signal from the head table she started singing. Those of us who could afford to leave the kitchen each grabbed a glass and left the kitchen one at a time. LLT was the last one and when the song ended we toasted the servers. At that point LLT was escorted to the front of the hall to recieve the appreciate of the crowd for the feast. Ansel came and escorted me as well and I went to stand behind LLT because when all is said and done it was her feast from start to finish. LLT said later that she REALLY liked having the kitchen staff toast the servers.

Even during feast the cooking was going on. Everything had been prepped and the stuff that could be cooked before the start of feast was done. spikywheel had even poured out the pistachio cream into the 2 oz plastic shot glasses and left them in the fridge. Khadir took charge of poaching the tuna, something that he'd apparently never done before - though you couldn't tell from the way they turned out.

Werner took the other side of my table and helped make sure everything was plated correctly. Dedrie bounced back and forth between eating and refilling water pitchers. The entire kitchen crew kept working at breakneck speed to make sure everything was done in time. We actually were ready to go right at 6:30 and held back a few minutes to give people time to get settled in the feast hall. A lot of people had decided to take advantage of the shower house before dinner and LLT says we held the start for at least 25 minutes. The person with the final call for starting was actually mysticsablewolf since she was the one keeping an eye on the hall.

The onion tarts had been set out on the tables. I had to go get the one for high table back because LLT had forgotten she wanted to plate those pieces two to a plate. I must say it worked really well that way the plates looked wonderful. The "Cold beef" soup was also pre-staged on high table so eridun had to go out and get those pictures while it was sitting on the table. I put "cold beef" in quotes because it wasn't supposed to be a cold soup - it was supposed to be a soup made from leftover beef. This was one of the few things I'm not really happy with - reports from the front of house said the soup was not hot when they got it. Luckily most people were fooled by the name of the dish so didn't know it was supposed to be hot. This is, however, the only "temperature issue" I have heard reported. Not bad.

The next course was the Tuna, the hot fennel salad and the fresh bread. This was probably tied for the hardest course to get out. Each table's fish had to be poached right before serving and I noticed that some of the early dishes seemed to be getting cold. So we stuck them on top of the steam table with foil over the plates and closed the back door to the kitchen until after the course was served. People were slightly thrown off (including me I admit) because the salad had a lemon dressing and the fish had a ginger sauce. To tie the two dishes together the fish plates were decorated with fennel fronds and lemon slices. The bread had been baked the day before by frederich and one of the bread plates came back so fast that I swear the server must have dropped off the bread, walked around the table and picked up the empty plate. Later on I had someone ask if there was anymore bread but since we only had enough for one loaf for table I turned them away. Yes I could have given up the 2nd loaf to two tables but I didn't want every table thinking they could get more bread. Most of the fish plates came back empty but there was at least table that obviously had "we don't eat fish" people because most of it came back.

During the break between courses here was when mysticsablewolf sang the server's song.

Second course was Pork with garlic sauce, Gnocchi and apple sauce. For this course we also had a plate of hot dogs for Ragnarr (yes we like to spoil him). When mysticsablewolf got the hot dogs she said that someone had told her Rags was threatening people for the gnocchi so we sent out an extra bowl just for him. Several tables came back and asked for more gnocchi and we had plenty to give so there were extras for anyone who wanted them.

The third course was the Lamb, Asparagus and Semolina. We were a little behind getting the sides for this course together. While the lamb was made before feast started and just kept over the heat everything else had to be made right before the course. So mysticsablewolf got the bards together and they sang Born on the Listfield. I thought it was very cool how they staged bards throughout the hall for the song. The Lamb dish was so hot that when I tried to pick up a bowl I realized the servers would not be able to take them to the tables. LLT had brought the Storvik pie dishes but they didn't get used for the onion tart so we put each lamb bowl into a pie dish. Mental note we need to do a better job of explaining what semolina is. It's basically a wheat porraige, but my brain couldn't pull that information to give to the servers. Also people who knew that semolina was wheat didn't eat it if they had gluten problems - even though this dish was safe for them as it had no gluten. Note: spikywheel says Small whisks work better than big whisks for making the semolina dish. of the 3 pots, the one with the small whisk firmed up faster.

The final course was the Pistachio cream. I liked serving them in the plastic shot glasses except for one little problem. The glasses are narrower at the bottom then the top and they were filled high enough that they were top heavy. This caused problems because if the plate got tilted even slightly the glasses toppled. I had to tell the servers (who each had two tables) that they could only carry one plate at a time. One of the servers questioned this and I told her that if WE couldn't get the plates to the window without spilling the servers couldn't be expected to get them to the tables.

After the pistachio cream went out we were officially done. I spent some time going around collecting water pitchers and making sure all the serving dishes got back to the kitchen. spikywheel, Johanna and Neil were on the cleaning crew until the very end but gradually the kitchen crew disappeared for a well deserved rest. janinas_nest had carried through on her promise to get a massage theapist in (herveus's daughter) for the kitchen staff and I was happy to see several people partake in her services. LLT and I chose not to and instead we went out to sit with people and visit. baron_rorik came back and gave Neil a ring as a token (I wasn't there but LLT says it was because the only reason Neil came to the event was to work in the kitchen). spikywheel made sure all of the kitchen electronics made it back into LLT's car and everything else got put back in the troll building.

Johanna had put aside some leftovers of pork, gnocchi, asparagus and onion tart which she planned to have for dinner on Sunday night. When we got back to site on Sunday morning we found that these had disappeared to feed people looking for snacks at 2 am - I heard all the food was good cold too. ;)

LLT, Roxie, eridun and I went to sit at the bardic circle for a while to relax but ended up not making it all the way since we were distracted by a party of friends sitting under one of the dayshades. About 10:30 LLT announced that she was cold and didn't want to drive home alone so I needed to leave with her. eridun and Roxie followed us home and we had a quiet rest of the night. LLT went to bed shortly after we got home but eridun, Roxie and I ended up sitting up and talking until somewhere after 2. I think it was 2:30 before I got to bed.

We got up Sunday morning, had scrambled eggs and looked at the pictures that eridun had taken. About 10:30 Roxie headed home while eridun, LLT and I headed back to the site. Everything got loaded into the 3 vehicles (LLT's, eridun's and Johanna's. Then we had a meeting with Johanna and ladygriele to finish the troll paperwork before going back home where everyone had hamburgers, salad and sweet tea for a late lunch. While she was there Johanna did a fitting to adjust the coathardie pattern that LLT had made for eridun.

For dinner we had leftover tuna and orzo (tuna seared then dressed in a soy/ginger sauce - NOM, NOM, NOM!!!) and we watched Equilibrium before eridun headed home.

Thus endith the report.

Now that I've written this I can go back and read the commentary and posts regarding ToC. If you see any feast reviews (good OR bad) please link them here.

Edited: to add Werner's name to the Kitchen crew list and to mention - Akiyo is responsible for the really spiff brochure that was on every table. LLT sent her the documentation, she did the preliminary lay out then I added the table sized recipes (based on LLT's ditcation) and Akiyo edited then printed and finished them. I want to reformat the end product so that it makes sense on the screen (as opposed to being formatted for easy copying) and then I'll post it somewhere.
Tags: event, llt feast, sca, storvik, toc

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  • Revised menu for Novice Tourney

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    Happy SCA New Year...It's now Anno Societatis 46. Plans for today, breakfast and more packing with a Dr. Who break in there somewhere.

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