Being a kid in the SCA is hard. You are too young to fight or scout and too old to play in the dirt like the babies. Either you have to be very little, and get dolls and toys to play with, or you have to be a teenager and hang out with your friends. Being in the middle group is the hardest ever, because you have nothing to do. Nobody seems to take you seriously when you offer to help or you want to learn about something. I know this because I take two kids to events (6 and 10) a lot and I hear this from them all the time!
But, if you ever wanted to play with your food and learn how they cooked it in the medieval times, this class is for you ! After this, food cooked in the olden days will not seem so weird to you. The medieval people liked their vegetables as much as kids do now, not very often, cooked intensely, and often on the sweet side. Bye- bye broccoli, they didn't have it back then !!
I always helped my mom in the kitchen when she cooked for a lot of people, so I kind of grew up liking to cook. But, I learned how to cook medievally by reading a lot of cookbooks, working in the SCA kitchens (I started by washing dishes), and trying out the recipes at home. The best way to learn is to help in the kitchen at an event, and hopefully.....this class will help you with that.
The main thing to remember when working in a kitchen is that you have to wash your hands a lot. This keeps the germs out of the food. Wash your hands when you start and whenever you get too messy. If you work with meat, fish, or chickens, always wash your hands and the utensils you use right afterward. Use lots of soap and VERY warm water.
Now, an SCA kitchen is usually very noisy and very busy. But, if you want to help out there are always things for you to do. Often the cook needs honey butter mixed, or something chopped up, or mixed, or even washed. When you come into the kitchen, ask for the head cook, tell him(or her) that you want to help and tell what you can do. I'm sure you'll be put to work immediately. If you aren't, don't worry, just offer again at the next event. Not everyone is comfortable with kids in the kitchen.
Now, today I chose a couple of easy recipes that you can make. I chose these because I think it will be fun to make them and aren't too weird to eat. I know kids don't like fish or brussel sprouts, so I don't force them to try it. You can eat that stuff when you grow up!!
Take the mawe of the grete syne, and fyfe other sex of pigges mawes. Fyll hem full of self fars & sowe hem fast, perboile hem;and take hem up. Take blaunched Almaundys, & kerf hem long, smal, and sharpe, & frye hem in grece & sugre; take a litel prycke, & prikke pe yrchons,an putte in the holes the Almaundys, every hole half, & erche from pe other, leg hem wyth whete floure, & mylke of Almaundes, sum grene, sum blake with blode, & lat hem nowt browne to moche, & serue forth.
Harleian MS 279
Now, don't panic!! People spoke differently back then and they wrote very badly as well. So it is not as hard as it looks. Most of the words sound like the ones you want them to be ( like litel: little and prycke:prick) and for those you really can't make out, we have dictionaries of what they really meant.
But, I already did that for you today. The recipes is for Hedgehogs. The hedgehog in this recipe is like a meatball with almonds stuck in it. The best part of this is making then look like animals. If you have never seen a hedgehog, think of it like a baby porcupine. Don't forget to give yours eyes !
Take Ground meat (we have sausage and hamburger meat), put in a bowl.
Take Ginger, Salt, Sugar- add a little pinch of each to the meat.
Roll meat into a longish ball ( like a football)
Smear the flour paste on it (flour, water, and saffron)
Put almonds into the ball, and put raisins for the eyes
Put it on a tray , and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Take out when golden brown.
Vegetables in Honey
Take carrots, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into pieces; Cook in a medium pot in as little water as possible, cook until almost tender. Stir in honey. Shake pan to coat all the vegetables.
Moms everywhere make us eat our vegetables, and carrots are the sweetest kind. Now, if you add honey, like they did, it tastes even better. Think of them as Carrot candy !
Nym Rhys, an bray hem wyl, & temper hem with Almaunde mylk, &boyle it,& take Applys,& pare hem, an small screde hem in mossellys;prow on sugre y-now, &coloure it with Safroun, & caste per-to gode pouder,& serue forthe.
Harleian MS 279
This is a medieval recipe for apple and rice pudding. You take cooked rice, chopped apples, almonds, cinnamon, ginger. saffron, and sugar, mix it together and make a dessert. It is easy to make and it tastes great!
So! That is all there is! The kitchen is not so mysterious after all! We bring the food to the event, prepare it, cook it, eat it, and clean up afterward. Your help in the kitchen in any of these areas would be welcomed. Perhaps, with time and experience, you can grow up and be an SCA medieval cook too! I wish you all good luck and good cooking!
P.S. Anytime you see me in a kitchen, please feel free to help me out. I'd love the help and I'll teach you some more really good things !Lady Andrea MacIntyre, OSC,OM