Monday, April 30, 2007

Cooks Symposium

Easton, MO. Beautiful weather!!!! Fabulous weekend!

We arrived around 10 pm Friday night and fortunately the rain had come through a couple hours earlier. Things were damp, but the ground was soft and we could easily put in stakes for the tents. We set up in the dark with the aid of the nearly full moon. We managed to find flat ground.

Chris and I stayed in the tents and Jenny and Samia stayed in a cabin. Considering the driving I did that day I could have been convinced to stay in a cabin as well, but I was really looking forward to staying in my tent and buckled down and got to work setting it up. I'm getting better at setting up this particular configuration and I don't think anyone would guess that it was set up in the dark. I had the perfect amount of covers and was very comfortable each night. The ladies who were at the gate were very helpful getting us settled and I brought them a treat of Lienenkugle's Sunset Wheat for their help.

"Of course it's good beer, it's from Northshield!"

I test drove the fire pit from Danr. It worked really well and I don't think it needs the little wall sections in the center. I felt the slopes on the edges did just fine containing the coals. I do think the legs need to be higher. There was not a huge amount of clearance under the firepit and raising the legs by a good 3-4 inches would really improve that. I placed the firepan over a gravel path so that I would not scorch the grass. The weeds coming up through the gravel were fine, but I had a very short fire. I will make a bag for the pan prior to Quest. We were a bit out of the way so not many folks had a chance to see it. Perhaps it will have more visitors at Quest.

I took 4 classes on Saturday. The first was a class on honey and the best part of it was the instruction on making a short mead. It was really nice. Super simple and I am inspired to make some short mead for a feast or any of the events coming up. I have the small 1 gallon kegs (at least I think I still have them) and I should be able to make a quick batch to try out before Quest to see how it tastes. I want to try a ginger spiced quick mead with wildflower honey. That just sounds good to me. We got to sample all kinds of honey. It was a lot of fun!

Next class was on German cookery texts and that was really helpful. I'm inspired to improve my German reading comprehension. My favorite book was the Munich handwritten recipes. I just loved looking at all the different script style. It was so much fun!

The next class was Italian Cookery texts, which was nice, but I didn't learn anything new. She had a nice handout and a good set of resources in the back which will be helpful to add to my library.

Lunch was served and his Grace Cariodoc spoke briefly about cooking, his beginnings in period cooking, his view on respecting the period approach, his interest in doing the research first, pretty much all the things that I agree with. I had a chance to spend time speaking with him and Gueniver from Atlantia Saturday night (for FAR too late) so I could tell him it was all his fault. He laughed. I also asked if I could knit him socks and he said yes, so that will be fun. I think I need to find Sasha's foot size as well so I can knit up a pair for him too.

I took a class on spit roasting after lunch. I didn't learn anything exactly new, but I did get to look at a neat tool they used to keep their spit from spinning. It's a 4 prong item that is placed at the end of a spit and can slide along the spit itself. You slide it forward (towards the meat) turn the spit and then slide it towards the handle to brace it against the upright. It was wicked cool and I need this! After the spit roasting I was exausted and went to the camp to relax.

We had been told that the pot-luck was at 7 so were planning our food prep accordingly and then found out just as we started to get our fire hot that the potluck was starting 30 minutes after court (so approx 6:30) and we had 10 minutes to get our food ready. That made us scramble just a bit, but we got everything ready and on the buffet table shortly after the head table went through. All of our items were well received and there was a LOT of fabulous food to try so it was all good. The sausages were quite good, I was very pleased. His Majesty was very funny and said that he thought there must be someone who looked like me cause it wasn't Lilies or Kris Kinder so I shouldn't have been there. I laughed.

I did my best to spread the word of Mead Meat and More and I hope that Cinniu receives a lot of submissions and a lot of subscriptions. I told people that my sausage recipe would be in the next issue so I better get to work on it. I started Aurelia's socks on Saturday so they are on the way. I can hardly wait for the silk to arrive so i can start on the silk stockings, but first more shade flys and more tents!


Sorcha said...

I like making small mead - just be careful of adding too much ginger! First batch had to age quite a bit to get past a strong flavor. I'm making my third now.

First batch was bottled into cleaned out gatorade bottles, gleaned from fighters. As there is still some fermentation after bottling, in order not to drink it right away, I did have people bleeding off the gasses. Most people did drink it within a month's time but one fellow let it age on his counter until it stopped inflating the bottles overnight. Said it was more like a wine after it had chilled down.
Looking forward to reading about your work in this area.

Liz said...

Yeah. I was warned about the ginger and to treat it as one would an infusion and drop it in a mesh bag during the boiling and remove it after a few minutes. I'm only going to try a gallon batch at a time so if the whole thing turns into a mess I won't feel guilty.