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I'm looking forward to Coronet this weekend. It's always nice when the site is so close to us. The dance competition will be Danse De Cleves (also called hearts and flowers). This version is close to what we do, but their style is a bit more choppy (punctuated? I can't find the right word to describe it).
Whedon hits it out of the park again with this very slightly anti-Trump get-out-the-vote commercial. I'm glad I saw that before I turn off the internet and TV until after the election. Seriously, did the earth slip into some alternate dimension? Did a radioactive comet get to close? Where did our sanity go?
We didn't get many tomatoes out of the garden this year, partly (I suspect) because of the squirrels breaking the branches and partly because of the drought. Most of hardier herbs seem to be surviving, which is nice.
Most of you may have seen it on facebook, but the site for Perfectly Period Feast (Burgundy) has been reserved. It's the girl scout camp we've used for some of the West Coast Culinary Symposiums, Camp Bothin (3125 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Fairfax California 94930). Pretty site with cabins that have bunks and showers!
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Over the past year, we’ve had a couple of discussions on creating mini-PPFs, or events-within-events, to explore a specific bit of history.
One of the things I’d like to do at West Collegium 2013* is “Lunch with Cardinal d’Este’s Retainers”. In her book, The Cardinal’s Hat, Mary Hollingworth uses the records of Ippolito d’Este to reconstruct what his life was like. She also goes into some details on the pay and food of his retainers. Form this, and with the help of the Italian courtesy books, I’d like to create a lunch where the students (in groups of four) would get the same lunch d’Este’s retainers would have gotten, and would then have to share it out amongst themselves with the help of a hand-out/guide and probably some advice from roving instructors.
We’ll need to create a menu, probably make beer and bread, figure out trenchers/pitchers/spoons and more details I’m probably not remembering right now.
So, would you take this class?
Would you like to help create it? 

* (November 9th, website has no details yet, http://www.westkingdom.org/as48/nov/collegium-occidentalis)
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http://www.perfectlyperiodfeast.org/ We'll try to go over as many of these as possible at dance practice tonight.

  • Set 1

  • Pavane & Galliard (Belle qui tiens ma vie)

  • Villanella *

  • Queen’s Alman

  • Sellenger’s Round

  • Dulce Amoroso Fuoco * (Passo E Mezzo)

  • Pinwheel (Les Quatre Bransles)

  • Set 2

  • Contrapasso

  • Rufty tufty

  • Black Alman

  • Alta Regina *

  • Bransels Pinagay & Charlotte

  • Candlestick bransel *

  • Set 3

  • Conto Del Orco

  • Jenny Pluck Pears

  • Lorraine Alman

  • Horses Bransle (Bransle de Cheveaux)

  • Gathering Peascods

  • Petit Vriens

  • Galliard (Untitled?)

* = dance to be taught in afternoon classes

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My other class for the West Cost Culinary Symposium is going to be a panel discussion on the 1480's English Perfectly Period Feast we did a  few years ago. It's going to be Sunday morning, and sadly against the chicken and gelatin classes, so please feel free to quietly drop in&out for a topic that particularly interests you. Topics (hopefully!) including: Roles in the Early Modern Feast hall, Spoons & material culture, Towels & napery, Bread & trenchers, Furniture, Table service & drinks, Hand washing & the Ewery, The next PPF (1580's Ferrara in the spring of 2012), plus a Q&A session.

Class Title: The Perfectly Period Feast: How we did it, and how you can too

Instructor: Panel lead by Crystal of the Westermark with Geoffrey Matthias, et al.

Class Description: 8 Brief presentations by the project leads who researched and created the material culture of 1480's England for the Perfectly Period Feast presented at Collegium Occidentials, 2008.

Lecture: yes (projector and screen would be helpful)

Time Needed: 3 hours

Time Scheduled: Sun 9am

Location: Stone House

eta: unrelated, but must be seen: today's xkcd cartoon.

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For the West/AnTir cooks' symposium next spring, I'm going to co-teach a class on bread with [livejournal.com profile] gormflaith. She's covering the practical bread-making parts, and I'm doing an overview of the use of bread trenchers and portpains in the medieval feast hall. I might include the instructions for cutting bread at the table c. 1480's England.

If you were going to take such a class, what questions would you like to have answered?

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Thanks everybody who came out for the cook’s playdate at Coronet. Looking though the pictures that have been posted, it seems like there were a lot more people who came through than I realized.
For those of you who made food at the playdate, please write up your recipes (if you can) and submit them to the Mists Chronicler (Martin of Rivenstar) for inclusion in the next edition of the principality newsletter. Everyone who participated is welcome to write about it for the West Kingdom History site.
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A few more details on the cook's 14th century playdate this weekend.

  • John's bringing spit adapters for the BBQs at the park
  • Janos is bringing his monster BBQ
  • Zinaida's bringing her oven on a trailer
  • Gianetta's bringing oil for frying
  • Crystal's bringing a krumkaka iron for wafers.  

If you can, feel free to bring wood or hardwood charcoal. I hope to get the fire started before 10am. I expect we'll cook all afternoon until about 5pm. We'll eat as we go, and we're going to be listed in the site handout, so be nice to the folks who wander by for a snack. :)

We're also going to have some musicians, at least one group of singers for the 14th century salon, and a discussion of the Story of Patient Griselda see link in comments for discussion questions, and go here http://www.bartleby.com/195/2.html and here http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/clkt-par.htm for the texts)

I'm hoping we'll have a dishwashing station, and a place to sit and eat out of the smoke. I'll have 5 gals of drinking water available.

If you can, please bring a clipboard and pen. Juana is bringing some extra ingredients and recipes (and I hope to have some too), so if you decide to cook one up, please write down your recipes/experiments.

At least one person as asked for oven space for bread. I'd like to bake a tart.

Details about Mists Coronet: http://mists.westkingdom.org/2009_Fall_Coronet.php

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The 14th century cooking demo is still on for Mists Coronet. Please look for the yellow and black BC-style sunshade near the flat parking lot.

If you'd like to bring some samples your favorite food to the Tastes Of The Mists, that would be cool too.
> In west-cooks@yahoogroups.com,
"the fabulous duchess" <...@ ...> wrote:
> Their Highnesses of the Mists would like to invite all
> interested cooks to participate in a Festival of Tastes at
> Mists Fall Coronet. They would like to give cooks an
> opportunity to show off their yummy food and the populace a
> chance to learn that period food is yummy. If you are so
> inclined, please bring tasting samples to the Mists Royal
> Pavilion after court and after dinner on Saturday evening at
> Mists Coronet. Since many people have food allergies, please
> have a list of ingredients available. This is separate from
> the 14th c cooks playdate
> which will be happening during the day at Coronet, but
> feel free to make extras of the food you cook at the
> playdate to include in the evening festival.
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GM and I are taking our 14-16th century tableware class on the road to Cloondara tonight. I'm fussing over the slide presentation on my lunch hour. Does anybody who's taken the class before have any suggestions? I feel like I'm trying to include too much. This class is just about the material culture (spoons, plates, cups, linens) not the etiquette or server's class.
In addition to the "how we made it" discussion, we hope to include some of the "where you can buy it" so if you have links to share, please write me before 4pm pacific time today. 

Stuff you can buy:

Ceramics, Knives, Table Linens, all kinds of things from Historic Enterprises (info@historicenterprises.com)
Drinking vessels:

Trenchers, spoons, salts, misc tableware from Billy and Charlie's: http://www.billyandcharlie.com/misc.html

Steve Millingham Pewter Replicas:
Cutlery and Tableware http://www.pewterreplicas.com/dept.asp?id=38
Drinking Vessels http://www.pewterreplicas.com/dept.asp?id=36

Mercy the Potter,  cups, plates, animal head pitchers!: http://www.rakurakutei.com/sales.htm

Knives from Gaukler Medieval Wares

Cups, water jugs

Aquamaniles and pitchers from GRIFFIN DYEWORKS & FIBER ARTS

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I should have lunch with learnteach more often. I always come away with an idea for something interesting to do. In the previous playdate post I talked about books we might use as sources, and now I’ve got ideas about using some iconographic eveidence. I’d like to  re-create some of the scenes from the Luttrel Psalter (warning! this very cool, page-turning link will want you to install Adobe Flash). The last page is a dining scene we could use for the table. There’s another 14th century picture of a man and a woman dining in an open tent. I uploaded some pictures of people dining in the 14th century to the perfectlyperiodfeast yahoo group. I'll dig around for some pictures of 14th century cooks, as there's one of a man roasting little birds tied to a spit I'd like to try to re-create with the quails-stuffed-with-cheese-and-wrapped-in-bacon recipe from Taillevent.
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I've been talking to LearnTeach, and we'd like to host a 14th century cook's cook-over-fire playdate at Mists Fall Coronet (Ed Levine Park, October 16th-18th). This will be in conjunction with the 14th Century Salon suggested by the fabulous CallistoToni.

So what's cooking in the 14th Century? Just on the web there's English translations of these four cookbooks:
*) The Forme of Cury, English 1390: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/
*) Le Viandier de Taillevent, French http://www.telusplanet.net/public/prescotj/data/viandier/viandier1.html
*) Ein Buch von guter Spise, German http://cs-people.bu.edu/akatlas/Buch/recipes.html
*) Le Ménagier de Paris, French (cooking sections only) http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html#Beginning

Right now we haven't decided on which recipes we're going to try, so if you have a favorite please let me know.

If you don't like cooking, feel free to bring a story from Chaucer or the Decameron to read to the cooks.

Crystal of the Westermark

ps/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_century

ETA: I was focused on web sources and neglected to mention Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval Recipes from Catalonia avaliable from http://www.poisonpenpress.com/cookery.html.

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GM and I are still trying to document how medieval people got food from plate to mouth. I've found three period paintings that actually show what might be pieces of food held in the hand. One of them is Grimani Breviary: The Month of January. If  any of ya'll have pictures of people with food in their hands, or even on their spoons, can you let me know where to find them?

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For those of you who missed the "perfectly period" feast at collegium, I'll be teaching a class for the Queen's College on Saturday at June Crown. I hope it will be about 4pm, but I'm not sure where. If you were a carver at the feast, I may try to conscript you for a chicken-varving demo. 
There will be 15 class handouts, bring a cup and dish if you want to eat the chicken. No cost, no limit.

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I've signed up for a class at A&S, Feasting in the Fifteenth Century which will be the Q&A/post-mortem for the feast at the last Spring Collegium. The class will be on Saturday from 10:45 - 12:15pm. We'll have some snacks and hopefully drink up the leftover ale. 
Attendance at the feast is not a pre-requisite for the class, please come if you are interested in table manners and table service in England in the late 15th century. 

ETA: Here's the schedule http://www.westkingdom.org/index.php?alias=schedule08&office=aands

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It's done. And done is beautiful. 
I'm just starting to get my brain back enough to talk about it, so I'll be going back to answer questions posted in the previous threads. 
The Q&A session will happen at Mists Investiture in May or A&S weekend in June. If you cannot attend, I'm happy to answer questions via email, but I might use your question as a pre-submit in the Q&A class. 

Thank you everyone who helped:
Senior Hall Staff

Marshall: John Theophilus
Butler: Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
Panter: Wulfric of Creigull
Yeoman of the Ewrie: Vyncent atte Wodegate
Almoner: János Mihály
Carvers Lead: Geoffrey Mathias
Ivar Hakonarson, Juan Santiago, Rose de Le Mans, János Mihály, Brian FitzWilliam of Glastonbury, Vyncent atte Wodegate and Klaus Rother von Schweinichen
Servers Lead: Etain du Pommier
Cordelia Tosere, Rosario de la Torre, Godric of Castlemont, Sefa Eiriksdottir, Michael Anderburg, Nicole Anderburg, and Brandr Viobjorn 
Cooks/Kitchen Staff Lead: Crystal of the Westermark
Flidais ní Eitigen, Anna Serra, Wulfric of Creigull, Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez, Effric neyn Ken3ocht, Alef of King's Crossing, Richard, Niall Mor, and Rhys Alefson
Pies and Garnish Lead: Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez
Christian de Holacombe, Cordelia Tosere, Crystal of the Westermark, and Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
'A'isha bint Khalil al Herati, Aldric of the Northmark, and Vittoria Aureli
Spoons! Lead: Geoffrey Matthias.
Crystal of the Westermark, Cynthia Barnes, Donata Bonacorsi, Effric neyn Ken3ocht, Flidais ní Eitigen, Gelis of Balweary, John Theophilus, Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn, Vyncent atte Wodegate, and Vittoria Aureli
Napkins and Tablecloths: Crystal of the Westermark, Cynthia Barnes, Etain du Pommier, Geneviève de Vendome, Johanna Ludwiger von Hertesbergk, Vyncent atte Wodegate, Sophie Xylander and friends.
Portpaines: Aldith Angharad St. George
Benches Lead: Vyncent atte Wodegate
Crystal of the Westermark, Donata Bonacorsi, Etain du Pommier, Flidais ní Eitigen, Gelis of Balweary, Geoffrey Matthias, János Mihály, John Theophilus, Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez, Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn, Vittoria Aureli, and Wulfric of Creigul.
Pottery Lead: Geoffrey Matthias.
Crystal of the Westermark and Flidais ní Eitigen
Special thanks for loan of tables, chairs, serving ware, tablecloths, music stands, curtains, etc:  Eliska z Jihlava, Geoffrey Matthias, János Mihály, John Theophilus, Juan Santiago, Marguerite du Royon, Rose de Le Mans, Wulfric of Creigul, Victoria, Vyncent atte Wodegate, and a host of others.
The feast was sponsored by Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn in honor of her upcoming birthday.
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Grrr! Where the hell do these rumors come from? I was talking to one of the Crosstonites at dance last night and she asked about the feast at collegium. Fine so far. Then she said that she wanted to sign up for it, but she heard from somebody at Crown that it was invitation only. I said huh? Dammit! I had to ask her not to tell me who it was who told her that because I was afraid I'd be annoyed at them forever. Then another Crosstonite came into the kitchen and said she'd heard the same thing. How the hell did pre-registration for a class (not a hard concept, I hope) turn into *private feast keep out, peons!*.
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So much to do. We missed the kilning deadline for class. The last of the bisqueware will get fired at Clay Planet in San Jose. Should be interesting to see what differences their kiln makes.
We did get one complete basin back, and hopefully one other is in the kiln now. With luck we'll be able to pick it up on Saturday. Short of kilning disasters we should have all the ceramic ware we need for the feast/class at collegium. We will bring whatever basins we have to March Crown for testing the handwashing procedure.
I know it's wrong, but I wish we could use lead glazes. The medieval stuff is so much whiter than what we've been able to produce in the high-fire kiln. 


Mar. 10th, 2008 10:32 pm
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3 days before the last of the ceramics for the Collegium Feast/Class must be painted and turned in for kilning. 12 days before March Crown. 47 days until Spring Collegium. I still have no actual plan for dancing or entertainments at the feast. The stage directions are not done. The class handout is not started.
But the benches are done, or at least out of my hands. A new volunteer has popped up for making knives, and another for hall clean-up. I found the right table for the butler's station, and a person who wants to keep it afterwards. The caving class last Saturday went well, I think. All the carvers have dismembered at least one chicken. Progress is being made.

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So, about this feast/class I'm trying to put together for collegium. Yesterday, [profile] bonacorsi pointed out that in 1480 small birds such as chickens would have been served at table with their heads and feet on. I skimmed through the tiny number of pictures I have where plates of birds are visible on the table, and while feet might be an un-resolvable question, they do seem to have their heads. In one picture, the birds are "sitting up" in the bowl almost like they were placed to resemble a nest. Now I'm wondering, if I tried to serve headed and footed birds at the collegium feast/class would it be too scary? I don't want the feast/class to be too modern, but we're already planning a few things that might be (cumulatively) too weird, even for a willing audience.
Has anybody out there ever been unexpectedly served a bird that still looked like a bird? If yes, what was your first reaction? Did you eat it (eventually)?


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