So to give you an idea of what was on the menu - here it is (it is in Italian and English):
Italian Feast Menu
1 credenza freddo
1st Sideboard (Cold)
Pane e oglio
Homemade Bread & Oil*
Globi alla Romanesca
Roman Pastry Balls*
Biscotti alla Milanese
Aniseed Biscotti in the Milanese style*
Torte di pollanca d’india
Indian Hen Pie (Turkey Pie) (warm)
1 cucina calda
1st Kitchen (Hot)
Insalata di cipolle arrosto
Roasted Onion Salad*
Tortellini con piselli
Tortellini with peas*
Purea di carote
Lombo di boue
Roasted Beef with Spices
Lenticchie al limone e coriandolo
Lentils in Lemon and Coriander*
Salza di visciole
Sour Cherry Sauce*
2 cucina calda
2nd Kitchen (Hot)
Insalata di cedrioli
Foglie di cavolo ripieni di nosetti
Cabbage stuffed with Nuts*
L'aglio salsa di formaggio alla Catalano
Garlic Cheese Sauce in the Catalan style
Maccaroni alla Romanesca
Roman Style Macaroni*
2 credenza freddo
2nd Sideboard (Cold)
Noci canditi alla Spagna
Candied Walnuts in the Spanish Style*
Ginger flavored Cheesecake
Neve di late
Bowl of Snow*
Mele al forno con zucchero caramellato
Roasted Apples with candied sugar
Perfumed Toothpicks (Toothpicks in Rosewater)*
Canditi e confezioni a beneplacito
Candies and confections in abundance*
Andalusa limone sciroppo
Andalusian Lemon Syrup*
Andalusa melagrana sciroppo
Andalusian Pomegranate Syrup*
It was an ambitious menu (over 30 dishes) and I am pleased to say that we only had to discard 2 of them for timing and people getting too full (the Roman Style Macaroni and the Roasted Apples in candied sugar). Most of the event was a blur, but I will try and get all my thoughts down. It it kinda like having kids (so I am told) you only start to remember the warm fuzzy stuff! LOL
Dafydd, Avelyn and I tried to pre-prep as much as possible for the feast so there wasn't as much to do day of. So lets me chat about how the day went.
The week before we were prepping all week for the event, we even brought tones of equipment in case we didn't have it at the event. Next time I will HAVE to bring less! The night before we worked on some of the more time consuming dishes and prepped the dough, etc. Dafydd and I were allowed to get into the space early evening so that we could get stuff into the fridge and freezers. We were super lucky to have 3 fridges and 1 large freezer at our disposal. The room also had 6 stoves which we needed to share with the lunch staff, but once they were done, we could get to work. The other issue we needed to be aware of was the various food allergies and intolerances that our Baron and Baroness had, so we didn't cross contaminate. It was easy to do in that space, since it was a Home EC room. My lovely husband Takahiro came in later to help set up and after dinner help with the veggie prep.
So the day of the event My hubby and I met up with my sister Alison at the school to start getting stuff ready. We had the craziest chart on hand that Dafydd set up with when everything needed to be started and ready. So first things first we needed to get the bread started. There was going to be 2 small loaves on each table which we had 11 tables. We had 91 reservations for the event, and I found out that we actually served 93 (2 people snuck in) and had a 50 person waiting list! I was also excited because we had our Baron and Baroness, the Baron and Baroness of Ile du Dragon Dormant AND our King and Queen of Ealdormere...I haven't cooked for royalty yet, so this was soooooo exciting! YAY!
While we were working on the bread, I discovered that one of the ovens didn't work, so that pushed me back a bit. I found that we were standing so much that we needed to sit as much as possible. It was hard back breaking work. I am sure many came in wondering how we could be so calm and organized, we were but we were also so tired! :P The other hiccup was that I forgot the pickles at home, thankfully Takahiro said he would run out and pick them up. Luckily we only live 40 minutes out!
I have to say that during the day it went fairly smoothly. My biggest concern was getting the food out hot and in a timely manner. I didn't get to see any of the event, but sent my sister to take pictures, so hopefully I will see some more of it later. We had a lot of people coming in regularly to do dishes, and by the end of the night we had a system of putting dirty dishes by the sink and anyone who wanted to do them would pop in and wash whatever was there. Everyone was a huge help with that. Avelyn had to spend some time setting up her serving stating in the hall so that when we carted the food down to her, the servers could get the plated dishes. I have to say that this was a pain in the butt. The dishes needed to be out so fast, that we were being held up by getting the dishes to the room. There was Dafydd after a LONG day of fencing and marshaling, running the food with some volunteers. I am not sure what I would do to change that, but with less dishes it sure would be easier.
My sister and Avelyn took care of a lot of the prepping of the dishes and the Globi - which I think were a hit. Come cooking time I would loose Avelyn and so I had to rely on Alison and Takahiro...whew! They so took up the challenge and dealt with my craziness in the kitchen. I have both of them a bunch of dishes they needed to prepare and look after themselves, both of them have never cooked in that scale before, but man was I super impressed! Calm under fire! Thank you both for such hard work and keeping me sane!
I decided that I wanted to be out in the hall when the last course was served to get an idea of how everyone enjoyed the meal and if there was anything I could improve next time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, there was enough (more than enough) food, and people had to be rolled out of the hall! I received some lovely gifts from our Baron and Baroness and the King and Queen. I even received a small token from someone who could never sit feast normally, but because of the all the tweaking of the food for our Baroness, she could actually eat it. It was so nice to hear that people who could not normally sit feast, be able to do so this time. The fun was hearing how people enjoyed the dishes what were the favorites.
A couple of the comments I heard or was told about was that one person who has been playing for over 40 years, said that this was the best feast in at least last 25 years and another said that she had never sat a feast this good in her time of playing in the SCA (12 years I believe). Well that was the point. To make people enjoy the food and raise the bar for all cooks in our area! Food can be good and period!
The poll put on the Barony's Facebook page had the top 5 dishes as the - Roast Beef with Cherry or mustard sauce, Indian Hen Pie (Turkey pie), Asparagus, the Ginger Cheesecake and a tie for the Tortellini and lentils.
Except for my bread recipe all the recipes were from period Italian sources. So if you are interested, let me know and I can direct you to what recipes and where they were from. :)
I guess that it all, but whew good thing I won't be doing anything like that for another couple of years!
PS - maybe Avelyn will be able to tell me more about how crazy it really was! :)