stitchwhich: (Default)
We skipped going to an SCA event this weekend which means that we also missed the elevation (woo hoo!) and party for a friend... but boy did we need the relaxed time. It did not start relaxed as I had a flat tire while driving to a gas station to fill that tire this morning, so ended up buying two new ones sort of off-the-cuff, without consulting Bossman about it. We'll likely need to replace the other two also. Tires pretty much wear out after 53,000 miles, yes? Especially considering that some of those miles were 948-mile round trips to and from a campground outside of Butler, PA from our home on the Virginia coast. That is hard on a vehicle.

But after new tires were acquired I tootled down to a Walmart market to buy what seemed like one gazillion one-liter bottles of flavored water. I regret that we both like that specific brand since I'm usually a shopper who will 'vote with my bucks' and prefer to buy local stuff. But having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I'm picky about the water I drink. And I absolutely won't buy anything from Nestlé's.

I got home to an awake hubby who already knew about the tire purchase thanks to reading my entry on FB. This is good since I had posted with him in mind. I knew he was going to read his FB feed while going through his morning wake up.

After a week in bed, this morning I was full of energy so we travelled on down to a nail's salon and treated ourselves to pedicures. He loves pedicures... Never treat your man to a salon pedi unless you are willing to have him addicted. A whirlwind of grocery shopping followed, then a late lunch, and after that I slumped. A long nap ensued for both of us, but he did the dishes while I was still passed out cold. More shopping after that and that was our day.

Tomorrow we'll have our circle of 'associates' (apprentices and protégées) to play cards again. We've been sliding into modern-day games too much lately and will have to pull out the rule book to go through some of the late-period ones. We need to practice up for the gaming hell we're hosting in January.

I am two weeks away from giving a class on eating well while single-camping in the SCA and I haven't done nary a thing to prepare. I need to get on it. One of my apprentice/protégées sparked the class. She doesn't cook (how can a person reach nearly 40 years of age and be unable to feed themselves?) so is dependent on meal plans while at weekend events. I thought it'd be nice to have a class about how to batch it while camping, starting with the sorts of meals that are easy to put together without any need for cooking and then moving up to what is possible with a one-burner stove and a pan (or two). Including the rarely-considered need for cleaning up afterwards.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Our willow is beginning to shed leaves. It hasn't hit the heavy dropping stage, just the sort of shedding that we get after a hot, hot summer and then wind moves in to usher the seasonal change. Hurricane Matthew continues to be watched. We are supposedly heading west this weekend to crash with friends who live in the country (yay, a botany major's fall harvest on the table! Yum!) and then attend a meeting in the middle of Saturday elsewhere. It will take longer to get to, or from, the meeting than the thing is scheduled to last but sadly, I must attend so I can pick up fence posts and sheet walls from the guy who'd borrowed them from me last spring. It really is tempting to throw the whole idea to the wind and simply drive to the guy's house on Monday since he lives only 90 minutes from me rather than the six hours we'll be driving to get to the meeting. We are due for heavy rainfall Friday through Sunday but Monday is pretty clear. Ah, but we'd not be visiting Ken & Jael, and missing all the storm-surge flooding in our area over the weekend. It should soak back down by the time we head home Sunday afternoon. But still - three hours on Friday, six hours on Saturday, three more hours on Sunday... I really don't feel up to all that driving just for a quick meeting, even if we get to visit friends as the better bookend part of it. Our house sitter lives where flooding is normal during storms so is more than happy to relocate to our place for the weekend. We somehow ended up with a place that is about a foot higher than the surrounding area so (knock wood) have never flooded even when our next door neighbors have water in their living rooms.

I've been painting sheet walls for the last couple of days. Just a simple badge in the upper right corner of each wall but 22 badges do make for a lot of time bending over a table. Those are done and now I'm inspired to finish a very fancy sheet that I'd started last spring and had to set aside. I should be frying up ground beef to freeze for the event but the paint, it beckons. Expect to see some photo before I fold the thing up for packing.

Stormy weather has brought on another headache. I suppose I should consult with a doc and let them diagnose 'cluster migraines' but it seems rather silly given that the main treatment medication isn't something I can use so Motrin or Tylenol will be what I can take for the pain. So why waste the doc's time with something he can't treat and I'm just going to have to tough out? Especially something as medically hazy as 'cluster migraines'?

One of my most difficult food-intolerant diners has had to back out from coming to the event. She was 'difficult' only in that her sensitivity was one I'd never heard of before and necessitated a lot of pre-cooking for things I'd normally buy ready-made. Of course, all of those are prepared now. Poor lady, though. I can't imagine living with such a restriction. (She cannot have carrageenan, which hides in 'processing' so is often not listed in the ingredient lists on food packages.) She was really looking forward to the event but her doc has nixed it.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We went to an event yesterday and I won a competition. I don't 'do' competitions - in fact I may be the only Laurel of the SCA who did not ever compete (sort of - I did once, early in my SCA life, and the judging was so ridiculous that I had to laugh rather than get mad and that was the end of that.) But this time a friend was sponsoring a "in honor of our neighboring Shire which was just disbanded" A&S competition and I was concerned that there would not be any entries - which would really hurt the feelings of the (probably) two ladies from that Shire who'd be attending the event. So since my first event was hosted by that shire ("Samhain", 1989), I decided to bring their "traditional" dessert to yesterday's event and serve it as my homage. It didn't fit the actual category of the competition since I was not using anything from the Shire's heraldry but I figured that those two (turned out to be three) ladies wouldn't care - they'd just know that their group was remembered with love.

So I back-documented the dessert into the category of "probable", that being the closest we could come to "medieval" (I found one for dates cooked the same way), and was good to go. It turned out that the head cook was also sponsoring a last minute side-board dish competition. So what the heck, I entered that too... again, because he's a good guy and the chances were slim that there would be many entries (there were actually 4 besides mine. I was relieved for his feelings! It sucks to sponsor something and only have 1 or 2 entries.)

I won.

The cooking competition. And got this as a prize:

I was stunned to see the salt/truffle fusion in the prizes. Wow. He spent some money on that. Now - I'm not actually much of an every day cook and don't want to waste his lovely prize so I have decided that I shall do the time-honored thing and save these spices to pass on as an appreciation gift to the Chancellor of Pennsic University this year - he's a kicking good cook and I have not done enough to support his work over the last few months. So this is better than my standard "knitted bag filled with goodies" appreciation thing. But I am going to regret losing the containers. :)

More importantly, a few people liked the dish well enough to take photos of the "documentation" so they could serve it for dessert at feasts they will be preparing in the future or as a dessert for their camp. So Berley Cort's legacy will live on.

The recipe? You're actually interested?

Pears Poached in Cream
heavy cream
canned pears (you can cook them up from raw but why bother?)
assorted spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, a tiny smidgen of mace, whole cloves, and chunks of dried ginger)

Combine in a pot and heat over a low temp burner. Spoon up with a slotted spoon.

The cream will last for friggin' ever so be prepared to make this again and again as you try to use up the nummy cream. It microwaves well if you want to just keep opening small cans of pears for a quick 'two person' dessert. Or do as we did yesterday - crumble windmill cookies into the bottom of a bowl and spoon the cream and the remaining pear bits over the top, then eat like a thick pottage. Some of us were thinking about trying it with peaches, though, and spooning the mess over a small spice cake with strawberries on the side.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I'm avoiding working on a scroll - the paper I chose for the thing (Bristol) is very thick so my light-board isn't working well. I'm not an artist, can't draw worth a darn, so need the silly light-board in order to get anything done. But it is so dim on the other side of that Bristol paper that I actually took my glasses off and had my face hovering a few inches above the surface so I could squint enough to see the images shining behind. I have the bottom edge design traced out and am only needing to draft in the left edge patterning and then - OMG - do the text. Which, btw, will be traced with an extra-fine Sharpie pen and not callig'd. This is because I "wrote a cheque from an empty account". I haven't had a chance to practice any calligraphy and being a leftie means that it takes me a bit longer to get up to speed. The two scrolls are due this Saturday morning. I shouldn't have volunteered to do them but I got my time sense confused and thought I had an extra week to get them done after the camping event.

My meal plan was successful as far as the diners went. I was unhappy with the level of disorganization that I had and grateful that I had a 'memos' app on my phone so I could make a list for myself in the middle of the night, that being when solutions to problems seem to become clear and elegant. If I'd waited until morning they'd be lost forever. The biggest difficulty was my own lack of ease in getting things done. This would have been alleviated had I asked for a kitchen helper every day instead of trying to do it all myself and if I'd stored the dry goods in bins sorted by meals. Asking someone to lay out the items in a small 'breakfast' bin while I started the hot water on the stove would be such a step up from my own rooting around in a giant bin pulling out boxes and jars while folks hovered in the public area waiting for their coffee and oatmeal and the unneeded items had to be placed on any convenient surface while I found the breakfast or lunch items.

I learned that my 'food restriction' person had given me, as we suspected, a list of foods that were a blend of dangerous-to-her ones and personal dislikes. As she said on Friday when I mentioned that I might just end up scrambling everyone's eggs on Saturday, " I don't DO scrambled eggs!" I bit back the reactive "Then you can just eat oatmeal if you are lucky, b*tch" thought that immediately crossed my mind. (I was in pain and very cold, it being a little over 40 degrees, so grumpy.) Later in the day she mentioned that she had been through a three-month elimination diet with no appreciable results so I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that she may not actually know what is causing her intestinal discomfort. I imagine it must be quite frustrating to find that some foods create dire effects one day and yet not on different one, with no medical explanation of why or the common factor. Nonetheless, she will not be on my meal plan next year.

Oh, did I mention that I am already planning on doing it again next year? I did enjoy it even through the frustrations of my disorganization. It's been years since I've cooked a meal plan for more than four people. Probably a full decade, actually. And I ended up with 5 more people on it by Friday - the head of a household who'd asked after the plan just 12 hours before I was due to leave home told his shire members that they were on it. Which I learned after they arrived two-by-two from out-of-kingdom. But with the help of a person swinging by the grocery store after their trip to Lowe's, we had plenty for everyone. They loved the chawettes, they loved the lumpia, and they adored the SOS. Which made me giggle - of all things boring SOS seems to be the one that people greet with raised eyebrows and then come back to the kitchen sniffing hopefully for seconds.

It was cold at night. Just barely above freezing. We slept warm though, and shared Bossman's air mattress instead of setting up our normal two beds. I had expected that the arrangement wouldn't work - he normally sleeps catty-corner on the mattress so he can fit. But instead we fitted together just fine. I guess old habits are not ever lost. :) The mattress was difficult for me on the days he wasn't there as I could barely get off of the thing but once he got on site I was fine so long as he was in the bed while I was exiting. I needed that extra firmness to push off from! Before we left home we went to a secondhand store and bought a couple of quilted bedspreads to take with us for the bed. I'd meant to buy only one but there were two that matched and he wanted both of them. So after two thin wool blankets were laid down one quilt (King sized!) followed, then our down comforter, then the other matching quilt. They were large enough that I could tuck the ends and the foot-level bits of the sides under the mattress, which effectively kept the blankets from sliding off the mattress during the night. Those things are not designed for tucking in one's bedding. The plan was to return the quilts to the store as donations, effectively 'renting' them for the duration of the event (a whole $14us!) and keeping us from having to find new storage space for them, but he likes the ugly things so now they are packed into a vacuum-sealed bag and put away on top of the camping gear for next Pennsic.

We had brought a small but powerful propane heater with us. We never needed to use it. We did finally figure out that it was useful on Sunday morning for the gathering area while folks had their breakfast and coffee/tea though. It was nice to have that hot air blowing on us.

The Great Dark Horde camp had six brothers camping in it and eight chagua. We had a couple of Brothers have to cancel plans, durn it. I made twelve new sheet walls for the camp to go with the six I'd already made - there were no more than that there. No one else made or brought any. Luckily for my morale, I had only expected one more wall to show up, as I knew that most of thems who made walls were not going to be able to attend. I just bought more sheets to launder and cut into new walls. Hopefully if I do a set of two sheets every payday we'll have enough by next WoW. Friends of ours who live in Clarksville are going to let us store the household's camping supplies (sheetwalls and poles. Maybe a fire bowl) at their place so we can have them consolidated. Having each of us store and bring a personal set of supplies was good in theory but rotten in practice. Next week, after our Baronial Investiture event is over I shall start painting designs on the walls with the help of some of my khanate members. That will be fun.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
All of a sudden my days seem crammed - prepping for War of the Wings has become an over-riding need. And so much was left undone after Pennsic! Which I did not really notice until this morning. I just finished making 46 little pork chawettes and still have filling available, enough to make probably another two dozen. I think instead I'll use up my left over lumpia wrappers to make a pork version of 'rolled thin pancakes'. Staying in the Great Dark Horde camp means I should serve at least one Mongolian dish, right? And it would be dead easy to add the extra ingredients to the leftover pork. Besides, they can be fried in the same way as the chawettes. And more importantly, I won't have to go to the Hispanic store to buy more supplies.

Tomorrow I shall be roasting beef and a turkey in order to have luncheon meats to serve. Maybe a ham, too. We'll see what is available at the Commissary. I'm serving eight people but only on Friday and Saturday. That is making portion-anticipating a bit of a challenge. Especially since three of them are staying at a hotel. The easy and boring route of 'instant oatmeal or fresh muffins or bagels" is going to be breakfast. I'm not going to chain myself to a stove all morning on the off chance that someone from out-of-camp will wander in hungry for breakfast.

This meal plan has its own special challenges. Oh boy, yes. One person sent me her list of forbidden foods (sensitivities, apparently). For your enjoyment, this is it:
Bell/sweet peppers
Lima beans
Raw onion (cooked okay)
Almond flour
Most soups and stews (Brunswick okay)
Oranges/tangerines/clementines/mandarins etc
Most dairy – milk, soft cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream (hard cheeses okay)
Ground beef is iffy
Most spicy things

In the world of medieval cookery, this is both easy and tough. Cooking without almonds? Tough. Or at least 'weird'. Leaving out New World food products - not a problem. Even the mayo doesn't phase me. I could bring some for mid-day sandwich making but I think I'll just bring two different sort of mustards and people can deal with that. The cheeses are confusing - she just told me that she could have mozzarella... I would have considered that a soft cheese. Still, there are also other folks with food concerns. One is lactose intolerant, one does not eat any veggies except for corn (which I won't serve at an SCA event) and one specified no "guacamole, hummus, or sour cream". The menus were fairly easy to come up with but I was saddened that I must leave out some items I'd been anticipating serving, like "Savoury Toasted Cheese". That would have been lovely once the sun began to set and the chill of the day set in but with two lactose-intolerant folks I will skip that one.

I've been driving for Uber like crazy at night, trying to get as many hours in as I could this week to make up for the days I'll be unable to next week. It finally dawned on me that we have an event the Saturday after we get home from WoW and I've promised two scrolls to our outgoing Baron and Baroness for their final court. They are depending on me for wording. Guess I'd better get on that too, eh?

Okay. Time to get off of the computer and get sewing again. Tomorrow is food prep, then the test feast (we're invited) for the Investiture event. There is a huge pile of laundry to take care of, pavilion curtains and flooring to sew, and packing to do. Before early Wednesday morning. Whew!
stitchwhich: (making sushi)
I've spent two weeks basically ignoring heraldry. I shall be paying for that this week during the catching-up phase.

It was all due to the lumpia fundraiser, which did well for a first effort and not only reaped a tidy profit (roughly $740 for the day's food booth, to be added to as orders come in for frozen rolls) but was fun enough that the booth workers are cheerfully planning 'next time'. I'm not sure when 'next time' is going to happen. We are looking at next spring... our next Coronation was suggested but since there isn't a bid in for that yet, we'll see.

I learned a lot. One quick (and heavy) lesson was that if we offer "onion free" versions of the lumpia, which we did knowing how many of our friends can't eat onions, we will be overwhelmed with requests for that style. Because while we were thinking 'allergies' customers were thinking 'preferences'. My little 'special order' 4-lumpia pan was not up to the number of orders we got, nor was our supply. I'd made only 60 onion-free rolls out of every 200.

Next time we will definitely serve everything buffet style. We have the heater/serving units with the sterno cans sufficient for what we can serve, and with aluminium half-bins in each of them we can offer meat/no onion meat combos easily as well as different desserts. All of them sold for a dollar a piece so having the cashier just count the rolls on a plate should make things faster and easier.

Experimental flavours are fun to make and all, but they present a serving nightmare when there are too many of them. However, doing a buffet and using the bins means we can just cook up a batch of whatever-it-is and then whisk away the empty bin and replace it with another flavour afterwards. It does mean that if someone is looking for a particular type of dessert (or the pizza rolls, or the pork & pineapple rolls), they'd better keep an eye on the booth.

I think we have whetted the appetite of our kingdom members for lumpia so when we choose to do this again I believe that sales will be at least as good as they were this time. And perhaps we will get pre-orders for delivery of frozen packs also.

There was only one overheard "I refuse to buy any of that because it isn't period" comment. It is unfortunate that I wasn't the one who heard it, and that I was not effective in teaching others that this was a (far less expensive and more modernly common) variation of an actual period recipe. Maybe that unhappy person would have been appeased. Be that as it may, we were flying through the hours of serving, and in no way missed the disgruntled individual - we were too busy cooking and serving others.

So the barony had fun, made money, and ensured a hot lunch for the attendees. Outside of the 'should have done it buffet style' lesson, my only regret was that I wasn't able to get some of the lumpia to the feast cooks while they were working.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Yesterday my husband spontaneously mentioned how much he loves the thickness of the limbs/leaves of our willow tree. This storm season, with its dearth of storms (knock wood!) has allowed the willow to just be peerlessly beautiful. I can't believe it is ten years old now. The trunk is fatter than I am.

Over Pennsic, our Youngest transplanted my little violet plant (Viola odorata rosina <-see what they did there?) because it was dying. I had to walk him through the process over the phone, at near midnight when he was at the house. He sheltered the newly-resituated plant against the willow tree's truck, where it would be safe from the winds and get 'just enough' sunlight in the summer heat. It has bounced back beautifully. But I am still somewhat wistful about it - it has never bloomed, ever, in the four years or so I've had it. It now is darkly green and healthy but still... no flowers.

My days (and nights) have been given over to rolling lumpia, washing dishes from rolling lumpia, shopping for more supplies for rolling lumpia, or chopping ingredients for lumpia. We've hosted two 'rolling parties', with another one tonight and two more to come, and then, I swear, I shall be done with that until after Atlantia Coronation (Oct 5th), which is where we shall be serving all of it. I hope. It is a fundraiser lunch for our barony so we can get a new pavilion. Originally, I was only going to serve freshly-fried ones of four different kinds of meat, but after mentioning a remark made in my journal by [ profile] loosecanon, the Sunday Rolling Party started riffing on "other ways we can play with fillings". Since we're not even trying to pretend like this is a medievally correct food, the floodgates opened. We tried bananas (not impressed, too bland), then apples. Oh, the apples were a success, especially with a nice (okay, it was based on a medieval recipe) blend of spices which even included a pinch of white pepper. Those were marvellous! After that we had to try other additives, so now we've got apple & raisin, and apple w/raisins & walnuts, as well as apples with caramel chips - those made two people with wildly differing preferences in desserts actually crossed their eyes as they ate them. And then we took peaches (too bland by themselves) and added walnuts to them, which now tastes as though we used a lokim recipe for the filling. We are planning on trying some frozen (fresh) mixed berries with white chocolate, and one of the RollerBabes bought all the ingredients to attempt 'pizza' lumpia, which idea does not thrill me but what the heck, she'll have fun and someone will surely eat them.

In other news, my leg is healing. It still looks incredibly nasty and feels like I've melting plastic stuck to my shin, but it is obvious from our once-a-day pictures that the wound is beginning to close and the areas around the wound are becoming less and less inflamed. Tomorrow I go in for more prednisone shots. Ugh.

Countdown: 217 days to a Gleevec-free life.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am definitely slower about posting entries but aren't we all, pretty much?

Viking demo cooking stuff )
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have blistered one finger by doing too much hand-sewing intensely. We travelled yesterday from our area to the District of Colombia to attend a meeting (read: hang with our Horde Brothers) and while we travelled I sat in the backseat of the car and stitched away at some white linen that I am going to use as an apron-tie during my up-coming Viking demo next weekend. The linen is very nicely dense but that meant that I had to use a lot of pressure to work the needle out of the fabric. And man, are the roads awful in their dis-repair! Four and a half hours of sewing in the car followed by about 6 hours at the meeting. I had to stop and set it aside during the trip home. But by our return I had the apron-belt finished as well as 2/3 of the headwrap I will need. (Thanks, guys, for deciding that the Viking Camp will feature people from the early eleventh century so the only woman in camp, who by the way is your cook - might wanna think about keeping her happy, eh? - will have to give up her hangerroc and brooches, you know, the fun stuff to wear, and dress as a Good Christian Lady. Bor-rrr-RING!) Luckily for me, the day promises to be not-so-warm so I won't sweat to death with my head covered completely up by miles of linen.

Tonight while watching television with Da Boss for an hour, I pulled out my sewing and finished the head wrap. I thought that my finger felt a little more sore than it should and decided to stop for the rest of the evening. That was a good decision. A blister has now risen underneath what looks like a developing callus. No wonder it was sore. Oops. I should back down from any hand-sewing until it heals but there is still the apron itself which needs to be edged on all four sides. Thank goodness it's just a large rectangle. I guess I could hold off on finishing it until I got home from the demo and just wear it 'raw', but then I'd be afraid to wash the thing before I could complete the stitching. So that finger better heal quickly. I gots work to do!

I've been winnowing down my list of foods to prepare for the demo. I am to feed 14 Viking-era reenactors breakfast and lunch. They're on their own for dinner as most of them are hotelling it anyway at night. I won't be - I'll be sleeping in one of my tents. Our group leader promised sausages. I rolled my eyes at that one as he hadn't actually consulted me when he started making promises to our two guest groups - I don't even know if sausages were eaten by the Norse during that time! Yay, leader! (He also promised Scotch Eggs but I drew metaphoric blood from him on that one.) So far this is what I've got planned, keeping in mind that this is to be visible to the tourists:

Available during the day:
Dried cherries, plums, apricots (not many of those of course) and raisins
Walnuts & hazelnuts
hard-boiled eggs which are going to be SO COOL because I'm getting them from a guy who is raising heritage chickens and the eggs he has are white, tan, dark brown, light blue, darker blue, pinkish, and teal. No, really - teal!
Apples (Lady apples), cucumbers, and pears (Bosch? I'm not really sure which type to bring)
Breads, white cheeses, butter, lingonberry jam and honey

That should keep everyone going and show well to the tourists.

Breakfast, I think, will be mystron (barley cooked in beef broth) one day and oats cooked in water & blackberry juice with apples and honey the next. (I'm bringing canned balckberries since I won't have to keep them cold, and figured I might as well take advantage of the juice by putting it in with the sweet breakfast. I think some of the guys are going to balk about the mystron so I am planning on pre-cooking a lot of bacon and setting it out at the same time so the grumpy ones can snack on that while they get their courage up to eat a non-sweet morning dish. Or maybe I'll take pity on them and pack in a few raw eggs to be scrambled.

Lunch is going to be sausages (sigh) with stewed parsnips & carrots on Saturday followed by blackberries in cream. The next day will be meat pies (small ones, actually. I'm using empanada wrappers and filling them in advance. They should be easy for the cooks to fry in a bit of oil in the big pot. And we might try simply heating them on the frying pan since they are so small), celery stewed in chicken broth with onions, mushrooms, & young peas (or else bean soup - I haven't decided), griddle cakes made with walnut flour & fruit bits, followed by skyr mixed with berries or honey, as they'd like.

I think that should do it, both for combining protein & carbs, as well as being somewhat interesting to see by the tourists. I'm not doing any of the cooking over the fire, as it has been determined that I'm not safe without my glasses, so I have to make sure that the cooking will be easy to do by non-specialists. But I'm bringing a 'farby tent' and inside of that I'll have a coleman stove where I can do some of the cooking that my 'kitchen helpers' (everyone is tasked with 2 hours a day helping me) can't handle at the fire. Plus this time, for the first time, I can actually wash the dishes without having to wait for nightfall and the tourists to leave. That is going to be a huge relief! I'm bringing my normal camp kitchen's washing pans and can take care of all of that out of sight. Thank goodness.
stitchwhich: (Default)
"...a PhD student in archeology, Daniel Serra, who is conducting similar experiments this summer at the Lofoten Viking museum, and blogging them at "

Gunnvor (Viking Answer Lady) posted the message to the Norsefolk2 list and I don't want to lose the links.


Mar. 14th, 2009 05:39 pm
stitchwhich: (taking note)
This has been fun to look at: The Renaissance Kitchen. Illustrations from Scappi
stitchwhich: (jollyfish)
My ears are clogged. Is this what old age feels like? (Achey, deaf, wanna sleep all the time. And my jaws ache too. Weird.)

Thera-flu is my friend.

Getting some good conversation on the (new) Marinus Cook's Guild List about what to buy to restore our supplies to something useful. Man, I can't believe how bad everything went down between when I stopped cooking and when I started again. Oh my Gawd. But it'll bounce back. Especially with four or five eagle-eyed shoppers looking around. I got a kitchen-supply catalogue in the mail a couple of days ago courtesy of a non-cooking baronial member with a nice network of friends. :) I haven't opened it yet - anything requiring thought is not happening in my world until after the worse of this cold passes. I have such a teeny brain, you see, that any kind of sinus pressure just squeezes out all cognizance.

I've been eating, eating, eating. Finally figured out why - chewing helps relieve the pain in my face and ears. I need to convince Arni that he's healthy enough to make a store run so we can get supplies and I can get some gum - else I'm going to be too fat to fit through the door!
stitchwhich: (Default)
Okay, so I was the head cook yesterday for the first time (for me) in about four years. What did I do? Well mostly, I sat in a chair and chatted with folks. I did wash a lot of dishes, as they came up, and I peeled some cucumbers (gave me a chance to giggle with Kat) but mostly, I was lazy. Well, lazy after I got all the supplies unloaded. Because when folks who know how to cook better than you do are your 'helpers', well, there just isn't anything to do but sit back and watch the magic. So I did. That was fun. Watching them interact was the best part of the day for me... cool people meeting cool people over a stove - now that's the way to make friends!

The food was good, I think. At least, everyone in the kitchen liked it and a few folks even came back to the kitchen to tell us that they liked it too. I don't think we could reproduce exactly anything we made - the basic recipes were messed with as they would be when good cooks get to play with spices and supplies. There was a lot of spoon-tastin' going on. :)
And for all that I over-bought supplies (on purpose), there wasn't much packed home. Mostly the stuff that I couldn't put out on the sideboard (the person in charge of it in the Hall decide to shut it down two hours before dinner was ready and on top of that, I forgot to put out the apples and pears in the first place! Arg.)

I'm grateful as all-get-out that Arni packed my chair. I'll be spending the next few days in the house and taking my time sorting and re-packing the baronial supplies - I'm back to "feels like walking after being treated to Falanga" so time on my feet will necessarily be as short as I can make it. I will be most glad when the heal process is over because it sure affects my effectiveness. Not to mention my mood. But it will still be a very nice memory now that it's over. And I found that I was right - while I don't really enjoy being in charge of a feast, the folks who come to help me make all the pre-feast stress worth it.
stitchwhich: (Default)
We gave away 100 copies of my little picture collection of Pennsic... one person wrote to me to tell me how she liked it. She's so sweet. And her note reminded me of how gracious she's been all the time I've known her - quietly, consistently, kindly. Every time I think of her, it makes me smile. I hope other folks liked it - I was ridiculously uncomfortable about giving such a mundane gift as a 12thNight gift but at the same time, it's so SCAdian. Next year I'm back to 'normal' things!

I boiled up 4 dozen eggs last night to start beef-brining them. That's more than half of how many I'm serving so it feels good. Well - it feels good *now* before I start peeling them (and yes, I know all the tricks. It's still tedious!) (And no, Perry-who-is-buying-a-house, I didn't call... because YOU, good sir, are BUSY and this is piddley work.) The chunk o'pork is getting tossed into the oven tomorrow. Or maybe today, if I can convince myself that I really want to set my alarm clock to keep getting up to check it.

Zack, my eldest son, turned 27 yesterday. Funny, I don't feel as old as I'm sure that tidbit should make me. maybe this November when I turn 50... and maybe not. I've never been good at that whole 'age' game.

Gotta go peel eggs, drain a cooler of salty water, bake a piggy, and then start cutting out Arni's garb for this weekend. Elizabethan garb. Glad it's a 'low-brow seaside tavern' because my sewing skills, such as they are, are not up to my standards for this set of garb! Medieval (Viking era, Norman, Anglo-Saxon) I can produce in a couple of hours but this stuff makes me need to think. And that's hard to do outside of cooking venues right now. I comfort myself that this is all going to be in cotton anyway, so 'isn't really garb'. (By my definitions. Ya'll get to have your own, you know.) But it is by Arni's so I'd best do my best.
stitchwhich: (hamster)
I have a big honking leg o'Pork thawing in my sink right now. Yes, I know it's safer to thaw meat in the refrigerator. That supposes that the 26.5 pound chunk of pig could fit in my refrigerator. Which it can if I take two shelves out. And find a place to keep all that other stuff cold while the pork takes its merry time thawing. So I may end up beginning to cook it while it is still partially frozen. I don't know. I asked on the Cook's List for advice. Got two nice responses (good advice) and a bunch of "oh, oh, cook it with apples!" responses, which were endearing but didn't really help this never-cooked-pork-leg person. Some suggested brining - uh, huh. I'll just run out and buy a big rubbermaid tub, fill it with the pig thigh and add water and salt? Hmmmm... Actually, I could do that. Do you think it'd matter if the chunk was still partially frozen? Would the plastic affect the taste? Hmmmm.... I can't do anything but oven roast it. I wonder if I could brine it a bit first...

Arni weighed it for me. It was very cute watching him do it. But he played coy and wouldn't let me see how much he weighed. Heh. He just told me that the 'scale is very good'. Well, yes, I know that - I bought it so I could have an accurate idea of what I weigh every day. (Weighing every day helps me control impulse eating - either I remember that I was down more than the day before, "hey, it's working. Get that food away from me" or that I was up a bit more, "My goodness, I've over indulged the last few days. Get that food away from me!" I carefully ignore the concept of water weight after I step off the scale each morning. I carefully remember it each time I step on.)

Arn has a new tunic and undertunic for IB-12. Siobhan gave him the fabric years ago and I didn't make anything from it for the longest time. I found it again while I was looking for muslin to makes some kitchen aprons with for my cook crew. And in a fit of avoidance behavior, decided that I needed to sew more for Arni than what I already had on my plate. Of course. But it didn't take much time and it is very gratifying to see him smile while he's trying on new duds.

Okay, back to cruising the Internet to find cooking instructions that don't assume that one is working with a 6-8 pound shank of pork. (For those who feel inspired to help - I'm figuring to roast it at 325 for 25 minutes per pound. I'm concerned about it drying out so am trying to find out if covering it with foil would be a good idea and basting it like it was a chicken... rubbing in salt, pepper, garlic has been suggested. So has covering it with sliced Granny Smith apples. I'm truly at the puzzled but beginning to see the light stage.)

(And it's going to be fun.)
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