Good worts! good cabbage!- Merry Wives of Windsor: I, i

To make buttyrd Wortys. Take all maner of gode herbys that ye may gette pyke them washe them and hacke them and boyle them vp in fayre water and put ther to butture clarefied A grete quantite And when they be boylde enowgh salt them but let non Ote mele come ther yn And dyse brede in small gobbetts & do hit in dyshys and powre the wortes A pon and serue hit furth.- Gentyll manly Cokere (MS Pepys 1047)

There are few more forgotten vegetables than our cruciferous friend the cabbage, and even fewer more despised varieties than his little sister the brussels sprout.

I personally love brussels sprouts in all its glorious forms from roasted to sautéed. Therefore I was shocked on my Gulf Wars Poll that so many people disliked this miniature cabbage.

Every year at Gulf Wars I do a version of Corned Beef and Cabbage in homage to St. Patrick’s Day. Though many people don’t like the traditional corned beef and cabbage dish, my version ( with a hefty dose of whatever beer is on tap) has become a much requested item.  This year Gulf Wars is earlier and we will all be home to enjoy Guinness and Irish favorites at our local pubs, so I did not put corned beef and cabbage on the meal.

However, I figured this would be an AMAZING opportunity to highlight the virtues of this glorious vegetable, and maybe change an opinion or two.

Therefore on Tuesday March 11th I am sponsoring a Best in Brussels Sprout Competition.

I will supply 1/2 lb of brussels sprouts ( fresh, not frozen) per entrant. You can use anything in my kitchen that is not being used for dinner, and any ingredients I have in stock. There will be a prize for the best dish as well as tokens from the judges.

You don’t have to be in the food plan to take part ( though I do need to know you if your not camping in the Middle Kingdom Encampment). There will also be a way for people NOT going to Gulf Wars to take part.

As these will be FRESH brussel sprouts, and one of the criteria is that they have to be ready at the same time as dinner, please plan accordingly. If your entering, please let me know, so I can make sure we have enough brussels sprouts. Don’t worry, if you get to site and haven’t RSVPed I’ll have extras.

Though you can use anything I have in stock in your recipe, if there is an ingredient you HAVE to have or a secret ingredient, don’t count on me having it, bring it yourself. I will not add anything other than your brussels sprouts to my shopping list.

The Finer Details

  1. Please reserve your veggies, I will have extras but I don’t want to leave anyone out
  2. If you are submitting at home (and we are cooking) it has to be an original adaptation of a period recipe.-Please include your sources and your original recipe
  3. You do not have to be camped in the Middle Kingdom Encampment
  4. You will be given 1/2 lb ( about 1-2 cups) of veggies
  5. You can cook in my kitchen or yours
  6. You can use anything I have in stock in my kitchen or you can bring your own ingredients
  7. The dish must be done by dinner time, so the judges can try it out prior to eating dinner. Any remaining will be shared amongst participants and dinners in the Middle Encampment.
  8. Rules subject to change or added to as needed.
  9. Have Fun!

Menu Planning Step 3: Pricing

After I have a general idea of what I am cooking and when, I than need to figure out how much it is going to cost.

recipeThe first thing I do is to take every recipe I am going to be using and putting it in a spreadsheet form. I include what quantities I need of which ingredients and how many it feeds. Once I have the spreadsheet for each of my recipes I then take all the ingredients, put it in a giant list and go shopping.

This is where technology is your friend! I go shopping from the comfort of my own home. I take that handy dandy shopping list and put it straight into peapod or another home grocery shopping site.

PeapodI use Sam’s Club and local grocery stores to do the actual shopping, but this gives me a pretty accurate breakdown of how much things are going to cost.  Yes, Peapod is technically more expensive per unit, however I have found that in the end it comes out pretty even. Why is that? Well when I price my recipes out, I do it down to the ounce ( or cup, ext. ) You can go in and buy a cup of almond milk, so you do end up with a little waist. This also gives me a tiniest bit of a cushion in case I need to get additional items or something goes wrong.

CostsOnce I have the current price of the item, it goes back into a spreadsheet that breaks down exactly how much it costs per piece, per tb, per cup, per lbs, ext… Currently did you know that a clove ( not a head, but a clove) of garlic is about .10?

I do keep these so I can track the cost of items over time. Sometimes I will use a previous spreadsheet, but I always get new prices at least once per year.

DinnerNow that I have those prices, they go back into our original spreadsheet that had out recipes and quantities in it. This way I can figure out how much per persona single recipe will cost.

I put them all together in yet another tab, so I can see how much the meals in total are costing.

Don’t forget the propane.

Propane contains roughly 20,000 btu’s per pound, that means a burner of 20,000 btu’s will last 1 hour on a 1lb bottle. If your burner is 12,000 btu’s you’ve got a little less than 2 hours of fuel in a 1lb bottle.

Because I run 2 ovens and a stove I go through anywhere between 3-6 lbs of propane per day. Each bottle runs aprox $2.50, so I need to make sure to add in $11.25 per day in fuel. If I am feeding 25 people, 2 meals a day that’s an additional .25 per person per meal.

But Gulf if so cold, do you really need ice?

Yes. It might be cold out, but you still need to get ice in the ice chests. I have 3 ice chests and each one gets a bag per day.  At $7.50 per day that’s .15 per person per meal.

Don’t forget to clean up.

You also need to include sponges, soap, bleach, paper towels, garbage bags, foil, gallon bags ( trust me),ext. Using out handy dandy online shopping tool, that comes to $30 (.60 per person per day)

You guessed it, all this goes into one more spreadsheet

Overall Meal Planning

 I now know how much each meal will cost as well as the average cost over the course of the week. This year, the meal plan will cost aprox $5.08 per person per breakfast and $12.63 per person per day for dinner.

Using this information I can judge how much to charge. I normally like to charge $10 per day, but I knew prices were going to need to go up this year.  The Gulf Wars ticket meal plan in the lodge runs $13 per day, so I did not feel bad raising my prices to $12 per day.   Of course if anyone asks why I raised prices, I now have all the spreadsheets to backup my pricing.

Menu Planning Step Two

The first step was getting an idea of who I am cooking for ( ie which groups) and any recommendations and known allergies.

This can be seen in the post Gulf Wars Meal Planning questionnaire Results.

The second step is taking those results and figuring out what I want to cook. (ie this post)

Gulf Wars is normally cooler, so I like to highlight a lot of soups and stews. This year will be a challenge as I am feeding

  • Vegans
  • Glutton Free
  • Royals
  • Low Carb
  • Allergies: Hazelnut, Citrus, Onions

I originally thought I would be having: ” kolaches, their will be sausages, there might be pizza, there might be Shepard’s pie, there will be cake and pies, and eggs, and veggies.”

I furthered narrowed it down to:
Irish-Shepard’s pie, Pizza, British- Stew, German-Sausage, Kolaches+BBQ (Ie anything left in the kitchen)

Breakfast Items:
Breakfast burritos, Cinnamon Rolls, French Toast, Breakfast sandwiches, Breakfast casserole, Oatmeal (everyday)

Apple Pie, Chocolate Creme Pie, cobbler, cake, cookies, Filled Pastries

Then when sitting down with recipe books, the menu, and a martini I ended up changing the menu ALOT. I actually like my menus to flow and jive. I also did not just want to make a vegan and low carb option for items we already had. Instead I wanted the low carb and vegan items to go with the main items so everyone can enjoy all the options.
The first problem came with the Shepard’s pie. I could not find anything short of a salad to accompany it. I also did not want to just make vegan version. Even though I personally hate Shepard’s Pie, I was sad to see this one go. It was instead replaced by a much needed chicken dish which could be served with a soap.
Next came the pasta night. Being Italian, I make a killer pasta dish. However, I was not coming up with a good low carb option. Yes, I could do spaghetti squash, but as this is the setup day the time frame would not be conducive to it. Pasta went away in favor of chili. I will do 3 types of chili ( all onion free) a vegan chili, a regular chili, and a spicy chili. Packaged cornbread will make an easy addition to this. When I decide my first night meal, I always try to find something that will be easy, quick, and can be kept warm for a long time as people have a tendency to trickle in.

I do everything in spreadsheets, so I started to plug things in making sure I had something for everyone. I also put in the desserts ( which also got changed).

Breakfasts I NEVER assign a day. I create and prep for certain items and then make what I feel like that morning. This year, I will be doing oatmeal everyday ( for those who want it), as well as baked goods which are vegan, and then a main breakfast item…Kinda like the format for a B&B actually. If there are any baked items left, I put them out and people can grab them throughout the day.  For ease of use though I randomly put these on the spreadsheet.

A huge note on breakfast: I know people LOVE scotch eggs, and I use to do them a lot, but honestly they are not the easiest breakfast item to make when your make 36 or more of them. Also, I was taking part in another persons food plan at Pennsic 2 years ago and I got one where the sausage was not cooked all the way through. Looking around I noticed a lot of them had raw pork in the center. I don’t mess around with food poisoning, so I stopped doing them. People don’t miss them, and honestly they love the breakfast Goetta I get just as much or even better.

I also include my schedule (ie what classes I am teaching when), battles ( if available), and important information like Court and battles.

For court I always do something easy so people can grab and go. Normally this is sausages & bratwurst from the Glier sausage company… Why do I like Glier sausage so much?

  1. The product rocks
  2. They are pre-cooked and I don’t have to worry about feeding people raw pork products
  3. I trust the quality of the ingredients
  4. The company is owned by someone in the SCA

The other reason I put the battle information on the spreadsheet is so I can watch for days where my people might not have time to eat. For instance on court- there is the champions battle till 5. This means that those fighters fighting in the champions battle have to run back, hopefully shower, and get ready for court. They won’t have time to sit down and eat. They will have time however to grab a sausage on the way back from the shower.

I am also going to do a very special filled pastry ( think éclair) for desserts on court night, so people can grab and go. In addition I will also be hosting a cookie competition where anyone on our food plan can use my ingredients and kitchen to bake the best cookie ( which can be shared amongst everyone during court)

This is what the current menu for Gulf Wars looks like:

Menu screenshot

Now onto pricing.

Gulf Wars Meal Planning Questionaire Results

As I started to plan for Gulf Wars I wanted a better understanding of how many people I might be cooking for and what would make their bellies the happiest. Therefore I created a little pre-registration poll to help me plan the menu.

campGulf is different from Pennsic, where I cook for just my camp. At Gulf the majority of the Middle Kingdom camps together, so I open my plan up to everyone in Kingdom. It is not a long walk from the Royal Cabins to the Middle Encampment, but this gives me a better idea on where I want to try to set up camp ( Middle Kingdom or the Overflow next to the cabins). groups

This one was just because I was curious WHO I was cooking for. I normally get a few new faces from word of mouth. But I kept hearing that my kitchen was the go to place to eat at (thanks Zsof) , so I wanted to know which groups/houses/ ext. would be joining me. This also lets me know how many people would be joining me for the first time.

Dietary Restrictions I always have a few dietary restrictions, and this year I knew ahead of times that I was going to have a Vegan in the bunch. In the past I have had glutton, sugar, sugar substitute, pork, beef, eggs, dairy, nuts ALL in a food plan spread amongst 5 different people. AllergiesAfter that I made the rule only 3 allergies ( minus the hazelnut one) per food plan. Not counting the vegan, this years allergies will be glutton, onions/citrus, and Dairy…. Yes I had to leave the warm beer entry in there as it cracked me up.

mealAt Pennsic I always do breakfast and dinner. Historically I only do dinner at Gulf, but last year I tried doing breakfast again. I was honestly looking at going back to just doing dinner only. However, the poll results show that a majority of people also wanted breakfast again.

breakfast Speaking of breakfast, here are the recipients favorite breakfast items. I am a little shocked by this one. I almost always do bacon & eggs, but I also mix it up with pancakes and the like. Looking at the poll results I think I will stick with eggs, bacon, sausage (Goetta and regular) as well as breakfast sandwiches and burritos. I will also add in oatmeal for my vegetarians.

requestsI always try to take requests for what people like. This word cloud had this years requests. The Goetta was a given, and I only get Glier Sausage and Goetta.

dislikesThe dislike wordcloud is a little harder. There are a LOT of veggies on there and I always make sure to get enough veggies into the meals. This year looks like it will not be a spicy Gulf Wars, which sadly means no chili ( or if I do, a few different kinds like a vegetarian, a spicy, and a not spicy). seriously people!!! What’s wrong with brussel sprouts? I LOVE brussel sprouts.

soupI always do tons of soups and stews at Gulf because it gets so cold. This year I think I am going to do a soup/stew with every meal ( especially if I can get enough cast iron). I wanted to know what soups & stews people enjoy the most. I can guarantee we will be doing a beef stew, potato soup, and tomato soup. I will look into Shepard’s pie, but I honesty don’t like them ( Yes, I still cook foods I don’t enjoy).



What good is a meal if it does not include dessert? I always have a dessert to end the meal. It looks like this year we will be adding cheesecake and pies to the mix.


activitiesThis is just another FYI one. Knowing what people are doing at war better helps me judge the scheduling of meals. It also lets me know HOW hungry people are going to when. A lot of fighters don’t like to eat a lot of breakfast before fighting, but do like a post-fighting snack. Once the fighting schedule is posted, I will look into do a post-fighting snack option.

Hopefully this also helps give people a better understanding of how much work really goes into campaign meal planning for a war.

This last wordcloud is WHY I love spending the majority of my war working ( besides the love of cooking). The question was ” Is there anything else I should know”



Gulf Wars Class Schedule

Below are the classes I will be teaching at Gulf Wars:
As always, please check the site booklet and class boards for the most up-to-date information

Beginning Shoemaking: Eastern Felt Shoe Making LECTURE ONLY

    Introduction to Middle Eastern Shoes: Come learn what shoes your Middle Eastern Persona would wear. First part of the class will cover documentation and extant examples (mostly Turkish and Egyptian), as well as social and religious customs. Second part of the class, participants can learn how to pattern their own Middle Eastern Shoes with instructions on how to make them out of felt or leather. Class fee $5 covers handouts and materials to pattern shoes.

  • Location: Al-Mahala Middle Eastern Area
  • Time: Friday 1:00PM
  • Length: 2 Hours
  • Class Fee: $5
  • Class Limit: 25
  • Under 14 with a parent only.

Beginning Shoemaking: Eastern Felt Shoe Making. HANDS ON

    A hands-on workshop to make a pair of wool felt shoes or boots worn in both the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Techniques taught in class can then be used for most other shoes or boots worn throughout the SCA time period. Should expect to work on shoes on own time to finish by end of war.

  • Location: Textile 1
  • Time: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10am – 11am
    1. Monday Class 1: General Shoes Pattern Making
    2. Tuesday Class 2: Cutting, Sewing, and Decorations
    3. WEDS-OFF
    4. Thursday Class 3: Sewing (part 2)
    5. Friday Class 4: Finishing
  • Class Fee: $30 for boots & $20 for shoes. Cost covers all materials (felt, soles, needles, thread, handout)
  • Class Limit: 14
  • Ages 12 and up (12-17 with parent)

Funny little cordial

    A look into the properties of humors in brewing: Medieval food and drinks were chosen and arranged based on their “humors”, a classification system of hot to cold and moist to dry that was thought to influences their temperament and health. Class will cover the classification of typical medieval beverages such as ales, beers, wines and mead as well as how to create a personalized cordial based on a desired humor. Over 21 Only. $5 for handout and samples

  • 1 hour
  • Over 21.
  • $5 for handout and samples

History of Drinking: common medieval drinks

    A look at the history of drinks, especially those in the between 3rd-16th centuries and how they affected society and culture. Class will include samples (and recipes) of the most common drinks found in the Middle Ages ( and in the SCA). No instruction on brewing provided. Over 21 Only. $5 for handout and samples

  • 1 and 1/2 hours
  • $5 for handout and samples
  • Ages 21 and up

Norse Seam Treatment Class at Gulf Wars

2013-03-13 12.00.49Normally when I teach my Norse Seam Treatment Class I do it at 1 day events as a single hour class.      Most students go home with a grasp of the general concepts, the beginning of their project, and instructions on how to finish at home.

2013-03-15 11.47.42Each stitch gets about a 3 minute description and explanation of the stitch, and then 7-10  minutes of the student trying to learn the stitch while I walk around and answer as many questions as possible. The handout is basically there to remind the student of the basics and techniques for finishing their project at home.

Though I feel like this is a little rushed, I don’t want to take up anymore of the students time, and want to make sure they still have a chance to enjoy all the rest of the wonderful activities the event has to offer.

2013-03-15 11.44.59I did things a little differently for my Norse Seam Treatment at Gulf Wars 2013- Each day had its own stitch. The first day I handed out materials, the students learned the straight stitch, and we constructed out 6 panel hats. By the next day a 2013-03-15 11.45.06majority hand their hats together, so they learned how to finish their edges doing the blanket and crossed blanket stitch. The third day I taught my favorite stitch- the heringbone. The next day was a day off, so the students could catch up if they were falling behind anywhere. The final day was the ossenstich, as well as answering any questions the students had.

The class was much slower and relaxed then my 1 hour classes. Teaching took about 5-10 minutes per stitch. Then I walked around for another 10-15 minutes making sure everyone had it and answering questions. Everyone then relaxed, stitched and talked for 30 minutes in a sewing circle. The final 10 minutes allowed us to pack up, clean up the space, and make sure everyone had everything they needed to finish up before the next class.

2013-03-15 11.45.17I had numerous requests from students to teach this format ( but another subject) next year, so I am taking it that it was a success. The biggest compliment came from one of the students who took my shoe class last year- she said she liked my teaching style and have started to look for my name within the class books at various wars.

I am happy to report that everyone who took the class, ended up with a firm grasp of the concepts and had a good time.

Roman Celebration of Gods

While putting my schedule together for Gulf Wars, I was perusing the main schedule and noticed that the Gulf Wars Known World Party was “Roman Celebrations of Gods”.  I know no one is required to wear particular clothing to a Known World Party, but it is super spiffy when they do.

Now this is where people who know me start to snicker, and some probably even snort. See I known many Romans, am currently dating one, and have adopted many. I have made some male Roman outfits, and am even teaching a Roman Shoe class at Gulf this year.

However I have been purposely NOT wearing anything Roman since I began primarily hanging out with a bunch of Romans starting last year, for to many reasons to list here.

Here lies why it is potentially humorousness of me actually thinking of making a set of Roman wear for Gulf.

Luckily I have some friends who have some incredibly stunning female Roman garb so I asked for some links/references ( plus 1 amazing link from my previous Roman male research)

From the Republic of An Crosaie Project, it looks like I need ( though I kinda want to wear a Toga Muliebris, just for the humor aspect, but I don’t think it would be appropriate to wear that with my coronet)  :

  • Supparus (Subucula, or Indusium) – Under-gown; for warmth and to protect the Tunica layer.  (potentially optional as I know I would want to do a gap sleeve tunica)
  • Tunica Talaris – Ankle or floor length gown worn by women and girls. Colored… NOT White!
  • Cingulum – Belt. worn at the high waist or under the bust and tied with a “Hercules Knot”.
  • Palla – Long, rectangular length of cloth ( 5 yards);  brightly colored and often patterned, can be fringed.

I am on the fence about the Stolla, as it is supposed to be for a married female, and I am not.

I figured I would “try” to make myself ( and possibly a girlfriend) a set of Roman wear. If I get it done, I can pack it for Gulf and then decide from there if I will wear it or not. It can never hurt to have another outfit for a war.