SCA and the Arts and Sciences 50 Challenge

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I haven’t been doing a lot of art of recent. I’ve done very little to be honest. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working on other projects. I assisted Mistress Hauviette d’Anjou with the feast at Winter Revel. I volunteered to do the soup. We agreed upon a vegetarian soup, the Baroness of Andelcrag requested pea soup. I made ten gallons of soup for the event. There were several problems with this project.

First, because I tried to grind up the old vegetables in my garbage disposal from the vegetable stock I made my kitchen sink is still unusable. I’ve had professional strength liquid plummer in my sink for a week and it’s only gone down about half an inch. I think my cast iron pipe has finally rusted completely through. I had my bathroom replaced a few years ago, and I think it’s time to have my kitchen pipes replaced. Just have to find a day when I can be home to get an estimate and schedule a day.

The second problem was that as we were heating up the first batch of soup in my stock pot, it scorched. It stunk pretty bad. We still had enough to serve and there was some left at the end so we didn’t run short.

Now truth be told, I don’t care for pea soup. The split peas were still firm and gritty. One of the diners, Baron Odo, said he’s made a lot of pea soup and that’s how it’s going to come out unless you cook it for a very long time. He said it was very good so I’ll take that complement.

At the event, I was asked to be Mistress Hauviette’s apprentice. I had been her student and was honored to have her as a teacher, mentor and guide. She’s been a friend of mine for many years and hope she always will be.

I had decided at the event to participate in the Arts and Sciences 50 Challenge. In honor of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s 50th anniversary, there was a challenge that was started several years back. There are several forms of this challenge. I chose to make 50 different projects. Documentation is not necessary but I plan to at least have some references and sources for my projects.

Tonight I just finished with my first project. It is my apprentice belt. The belts are green in color. Instead of a leather belt I decided to make a woven belt. I made seven woven braids on my inkle loom. Inkle looms are not period, but I really don’t have the space in my house for a warp weighted loom. Many people use Inkle looms because they are portable and have become a common staple as far as looms go. Each of the inkle braids were at least six feet long. I then wove the braids together to make a braided belt. I don’t have a photo yet but I will be posted to my facebook page soon. I like it because I’ve never seen anyone else with a woven belt like this. I’ve seen people make macrame squire’s belts but not one like this.

Each woven band was made of green crochet thread bought from my local Michael’s craft store. I had twenty threads on the warp, and used a black thread on the shuttle. The result of the bands were a band a little over a quarter inch thick with a black dotted line on the edge of each band. The black is subtle and only shows up on good light.

I’ve decided on my second project. I am going to make a bracelet with copper beading wire. It will be based on an early period Anglo Saxon bracelet that was made out of silver. More details later.

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Feast and Friends

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Today, the big news and event was a trip to Kalamazoo to meet with my friend Channon Mondoux and her associates who were gathering to discuss preparations for Winter Revel.  Winter Revel is a SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event to be held in Ionia on January 19th.  I had volunteered to create the soup for the feast.  We met, feasted on foods some for the event and some other items that were brought.  It was a great time.  We had time to meet to discuss the event and make some plans and revise some.

As the event theme is a 16th century German feast that would be common fare for an inn or tavern, I was thinking of a Mustard soup.  Mustard soups are common in German and the Netherlands today, but unusual enough for the modern American pallete that I thought it would be a good idea.

After discussion of what had been requested and what we wanted we decided on a recipe in a German Cookbook that would be a lighter soup, as there will be plenty of food and we didn’t want to make it a heavy grain laden soup like a barley soup.  We will be making it vegetarian, a request for a split pea soup was made and any onion used will need to be purreed as one of our guests of note does not like the texture of onion.  We found a good recipe and I think it will be a good item along with the rest of the meal.  Other items in the meal will be two types of bread a rye bread and individual loaf of white to be served with the soup.  There will be smoked salmon, (we tasted smoked whitefish today — AWESOME), and venison sausages.  Saurkraut, and pickled carrots and beets.  For desert we will be making apple fritters which will be amazing when made fresh that day, and pears in honey.  For a ten dollar feast it’s going to be amazing.  

Channon has gathered some amazing cooks in the Michigan and I felt so fortunate to be amongst this crowd of creative and talented people.  Some of the people there, I had the fortune to meet at prior events but it was a great experience to be able to talk food, make food and share it.  Loved it.

And the weather was great for a road trip.  In all it was a very educational experience today and one I know I’m going to enjoy.