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As you may remember, I want to organize a Gaston Pheobus-inspired equestrian picnic/"hunt", to occur no sooner than next year. I have a pretty good idea of what factors (such as site and planned activities) would make this a fun event for equestrians. But since one of the main ideas behind this event would be to combine EQ stuff with other SCA activites -- in this case cooking -- I need to have a good idea as to what factors would make such an event fun for the cooks.

So I'm asking you, my cooking friends, what would tempt you to participate in a Gaston Pheobus-style hunt picnic? To be clear, I don't even know whether or not you'd want to feed the riders. It could be that you'd just want to have a late 14-15th C cooks (French?) playday, and then everyone eats some period picnic food that's brought by someone/riders/whoever wants to bring something. Maybe non-cooks pay for ingrediants if they eat the food cooked? I don't know; that's why I'd like some input. :-)

So, what would tempt you to such an event? What would discourage you? If you'd like to do it, how far would you be willing to travel? Site and weather requirements? Activities other than those of a "cooks playday" that I'm not thinking of? Bottom line: What would make such an event fun for you?


Date: 2011-02-17 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
At a minimum, the site needs to have clean running water. We can bring stoves and stuff, but hauling water is a pain. Tall BBQs, like the ones at Ed Levine park are also very helpful. Picnic tables near the BBQs is also helpful.
I wrote a bit about the last playdate in my lj, check

Date: 2011-02-17 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not a direct answer to your question, but an upcoming book may be useful for your project ... "Livre fort excellent de cuisine: A Critical Edition and Translation" ... a French culinary source that, I think, is 15th c.

Date: 2011-02-17 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For those of us not paying close attention, what all is involved in this sort of event? What is special about it?

Date: 2011-02-17 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So at our 12th Night meeting the WK EQ group wondered what it could do to encourage attendence to EQ events. Eventually the idea came to combine EQ stuff with other SCA activites. (See one of my previous posts from after 12th Night). I was inspired by the illuminations from the Gaston Pheobus Book of the Hunt, of which there are several versions. [ profile] hrj used one of these for her postcard-sized handout Picnic Projec handout at 12th Night. Besides there being very cool depictions of a hunt, there's a scene of the lord before the hunt dining with his fellow hunters. This was a tableu (sp?) that I thought we could use for a combined EQ/Cook playday.

One version can be found here:

I have a paperback of illuminatons from another version.

If we could get people to replicate the costumes of the illuninations and have some sort of "hunt" that could be a new thing for our EQ crowd to work towards, and have fun in the process. The other part of the equation is, of course, to get cooks to be interested in participating in this tableau as well. You can think of this as an EQ manifestation of the Period Picnic Project, as well as a performance art project. ;-)

Date: 2011-02-17 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had a dream about this last night. I was going to help make clothing for some of the people involved. I asked you who we needed to clothe, and you said 'I'll get the list of attendees from Bethany'. Then you came back and said 170 people were going to be attending. Then I woke up, probably due to fear. :-)

Date: 2011-02-18 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are a funny funny woman... ;-)

Date: 2011-02-18 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think this is a very cool idea! And the synergy of intersecting the equestrian activity with a cooks playdate is exactly the sort of new idea that I think will energize people.

For me, as a cook, just providing eager and appreciative consumers is a draw -- the authentic cooking itself is fun, but it's even more fun if there's a specific goal. And the picnic idea takes away the pressure to create something formal and elaborate. Requirements pretty much come down to some minimum infrastructure and a relatively short distance between the cooking area and where vehicles can approach. (And, of course, there's no requirement that the cooking and the picnicking be in the same location.)

One thing that would make it even more fun is if the activities were coordinated so that the cooks had a chance to watch interesting equestrian activities after the meal (since they're going to be cooking before it). I don't know what the "must do"s for an EQ event are, but I'm thinking along the lines of the less spectator-friendly events going on concurrent with the cooking, then picnicking together, then the "hunt" event. (And then, of course, clean-up!)
From: [identity profile]
I would completely expect to pay a feast fee or ingredients fee or what ever in order to eat.

I would be more than willing to offer riding time. I've got one horse that is beginner suitable at the moment and should have my second one back by next spring.

I am willing to donate interesting ingredients. Processed Squab and quail are easy. Live or New York Dressed, stewing hens, mature roosters, and period similiar bred meat chickens are doable.

From: [identity profile]
donating interesting ingredients! whoo! (in fact, if I wanted to buy processed squab for a different event, how much would they cost? also stewing hens? roosters?)
From: [identity profile]
Squab and some other specialty poultry are available from Squab Producers (which is a co-op located in Ceres, CA - so you are supporting local farmers).

For quail, I go to my local meat store and they order commercially processed bobwhite (head and feet on) for me. I think they were in the $6/pound range. Actually, I've gotten them to order the squab in the past too.

Stewing Hens/Roosters - Commercially that's tougher. In the Bay Area, your best source would be the "Live Bird Markets" in China Town, as most of these will at least New York dress the birds for you. The "New Stockton Poultry Market" in Stockton is another source. For the places that sell them off the farms (mostly in Southern CA), I think mature hens (20-60 weeks old) are selling for $5-7/bird live at the moment.

If you are willing to process your own, I can usually lay my hands on spent fowl with a few months notice. How many thousands would you like?

If you want Muscovy Duck (Native to Latin America and Southern Texas) or Guinea Fowl (Native to Africa, not sure when they were introduced to Europe), try:

Chuckar Partridges (Eurasian - Not sure if any of the Western European species are grown commercially)) and Ringneck Pheasants (Originally Russian/Caucasian, probably introduced into Western Europe sometime during the Roman Empire). These are raised through out CA for the restaurant and hunting trade. A good meat store should be able to help you find them. I suspect Squab Producers does some custom processing and may have the ability to get some with notice.


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