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Crown tournament

  • 8th May, 2006 at 11:21 PM

Washing salad
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Early Saturday morning, I cleaned up all the party things, threw the leftover food in the fridge, and trudged home to collapse on my bed. Then, later that morning, say 8:00, I awoke to the sound of my alarum clock. I dragged myself out of bed, showered, and walked down to the car rental place.

I found miseri waiting for me as I came down City Councillors. We walked into the store, I signed some papers, and we walked outside. I pressed some buttons on the keychain, hoping to find the car that I was going to drive to the kitchen. I like small, fuel-efficient cars. But what I got was a bright blue behemoth of an SUV. Lovely.

After confirming that we were supposed to get this car, Miseri and I threw our bags in the back and drove up to Mont-Royal métro where we found Mia, Strato, and Damian. They piled into the back seat and off we went. As we drove west, the sky got progressively greyer. And greyer. And then it started to drizzle. I got lost, found a petrol station, bought a map, spoke some very broken French, got found, and by the time we arrived in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, it was starting to pour.

Washing strawberries
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I got our motley crew inside and we signed in to the SCA Crown Tournament. There we found baprime dressed in a gorgeous green dress which I completely failed to photograph. I suppose this is because I had left my camera in the car, so I borrowed Damian's for the few pictures that I took. I put my things down the kitchen.

Damian and I idled until about 13:30 when the lunch crew, led by Charin, had cleared the kitchen. Actually, by idle, I mean ate a lot of tasty food. Then it was time to prep. We stuck cloves in huge salmon filets, washed an absurd amount of fruit and salad, and chopped a vast amount of vegetables. To help us pass the time, eveglass came in to sing some tunes.

Now this kitchen was attached to a campground for children. So they were actually pretty well equipped. They had a nice gas stove, a french plate, several ovens, a walk-in fridge with access doors, and a large warming oven. It even had a cat! The only downside was that all of the water was not potable. This meant that we either had to pour bleach in all of our cleaning water, or boil it. We opted to boil it during service, so that we could re-use dishes without having to dry them. But it required asbestos hands from Ardenia and I, until Alix brought us some pairs of rubber gloves.

 Mushrooms in orange-scented cream 
Puréed peas

Duck pie
Sugared cantaloupe

Roast lamb with a sour-cherry compote
Citrus fruits

Apple, pear, emmental fritters
Strawberry preserves

Broiled salmon with white sauce
Poached shrimps

Fruits with whipped cream
Sugared almonds

Service is always the most exciting part, especially when it was for 150 people. Here's how it went… The first two courses came out smoothly and beautifully. Then things started to go downhill. The roast lamb of the third course took a good fifteen minutes longer than we expected, because the ovens seemed to run cold. Next time, I will have to remember to bring oven thermometers. But they were done perfectly by the time we carved them. The fritters in the fourth course took far too long to make on the grill, because of all the fiddly flipping I had to do. Working the grill was so hot that I had to strip off a couple of layers. That and the hair on my right arm is significantly thinner. And then the fifth course came out without the broiled salmon, because they were underdone. Curse those cold ovens! We recovered by sending out the fruit course soon after the seafood, but by then about half our diners had already left.

We put out the leftover food on the pass when we were done and gathered up our things. We had a kitchen staff photograph taken, and after some thank-yous to the cleanup crew, we were off to the car. We had to wait for it to warm up and defrost the windshield before we drove off into the night, leaving a police car to investigate the loud and bustling campground. I hope nobody got in trouble for that.

I was so tired that I kept misreading highway signs. I just drove and drove until someone shouted, "Exit here." Damian and I refueled the car, dropped it off at the rental lot, and walked home. I had only worn a T-shirt since it was so warm in the morning, so I was quite chilled by the time I climbed into bed.

The next morning, I tried to get up and brush my teeth. But I couldn't stop my arms from shaking in exhaustion. So I just went back to sleep.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
9th May, 2006 04:10 (UTC)
Simon I love you!
10th May, 2006 04:03 (UTC)
I love you too.
9th May, 2006 05:24 (UTC)
Hi hon! It was a great feast, and I'm sorry I needed to leave early. Usually I like being on the dishwashing crew (yes, oddly enough, I actually LIKE doing dishes).

Kudos to both you and Damian, as well as the rest of the kitchen staff. I've worked service at many feasts, and there are always snags. You just rolls with the punches, and you guys rolled well the whole time I was there.
10th May, 2006 04:04 (UTC)
Thanks! It was fun cooking for you.

Damian just visited tonight and asked me when he could cook again. :)
9th May, 2006 05:52 (UTC)
One of the entries I never got the chance to write was to write about the incredible (SCA) feast I helped cook and serve for Kingdom 12th Night last year. Feasting is always an incredible experience -- from either end -- and something I wish I had more time to do. Maybe more someday. :-)
10th May, 2006 04:05 (UTC)
I have these silly delusions in my mind that I'd organize one some day. But then I snap out of it when I remember how much work it takes.

I'll be happy to be sous-chef any day.
(Deleted comment)
10th May, 2006 04:21 (UTC)
I have no idea. It can't possibly be food or sleep, though.
9th May, 2006 21:56 (UTC)
ah, I understand your pictures now :)

society for creative anachronism? what exactly was this 'crown tournament'?
10th May, 2006 04:32 (UTC)
The crown tournament consisted of men dressed up as Mediæval European fighters, attacking each other in paired combat to determine who would be King for a year. Personally, I think that swinging swords about is no basis for a system of government. But everybody else seems to have fun, so who am I to complain?

The reason I was there is that Crown Tournaments attract a large crowd, even if it is pouring rain outside and the people watching the men fight are soaked to the bone. Which means they have rather healty appetites for hot food when we serve it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )