[ATE] Big Feast

The Big Feast will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.

What is The Big Feast? It's a 16th century English feast being put on by members of the Collegium Cortina Draconis (a cooking group based in the Barony of SunDragon) where we focus not only on the food but on the ambiance. For example, we will be providing feast gear appropriate to Elizabethan England.

The Big Feast will have space for 40 seated guests at an approximate price of $20 per person (we still need to nail down the food costs but I don't expect this to change more than +/- $5). At this time I am taking reservations for people interested in being a seated guest at this event. You will need to pre-pay for the event but not at this time. Right now I just need someone's contact info (including SCA name, modern name, mailing address, e-mail, and phone number) and the number of guests in their party (not to exceed four people). I expect that there will be more people interested than we have slots for so it will be a first-come-first-served with the reservations but priority will be given to those who help with The Big Feast prior to the event (for example someone who helps us build benches for The Big Feast will be given priority over someone who hasn't helped in our many workshops).

You don't have to be a seated guest though to enjoy the feast. Anyone who works the event will get to enjoy all of the food and the ambiance and you won't have to pay the fee. We will need people to help with serving, garnishing, entertainment, set-up, tear-down, etc. I am also taking names of people interested in helping out with the feast and what areas you'd like to help with.

Any questions or you just want to make a reservation? Please e-mail me at kat_weye@yahoo.com

In Service,

Frequently Asked Questions About The Big Feast

Q: What is The Big Feast?
A: The Big Feast is a 16th century English feast being put on by members of the Collegium Cortina Draconis (a cooking group based in the Barony of SunDragon). We are using the term “The Big Feast” as our shorthand for the entire exercise.

Q: So, it’s another feast. We have those all of the time. What’s the big deal?
A: Most SCA feasts are focused only on the food. The Big Feast focuses on the entire dining experience. Not only will you be served food that the English nobility of the 16th century would have eaten but you will be eating that food with 16th century utensils and the carver for your table will be cutting it in the 16th century style.

The goal of The Big Feast is to take you far beyond what you’ve experienced so far when dining in the SCA. We want to give you the feel of attending a feast provided by a member of the Elizabethan nobility.

Q: But I don’t own 16th century utensils or feast gear. Does that mean I can’t attend?
A: You don’t have to own anything. Everything will be provided for you, down to a napkin that is 45 inches by 27 inches in size (the measurements for a napkin used during King Henry VIII’s meals). It is this attention to detail that takes The Big Feast beyond the typical feast.

Because of these details, the members of Collegium Cortina Draconis are learning skills unrelated to cooking and are drawing on the expertise of artisans outside of the group. To make the pewter spoons for all of the diners, the group members will need to learn about sand-casting and thus they will need to consult with someone knowledgeable in this area. Then there are the wood trenchers, table knives, pottery bowls, and many other items that are needed for a 16th century English table setting.

Q: Do I have to wear Tudor/Elizabethan clothes?
A: No. Although those working The Big Feast will be dressed in styles appropriate to 16th Century England, we do not expect our guests to be similarly clothed.

Q: This all seems like a lot of work. Why are you doing this?
A: We were inspired by the Perfectly Period Feast put on in April 2008 in the Kingdom of the West. We heard about their feast on the SCA_Cooks list. We were excited about the possibilities of such an endeavour – the opportunity to delve deeply into the manners and rituals of dining and to focus on one country and time period – and we decided to try and do one of our own. We wanted to explore the interaction between people’s food choices, belief systems, and status in society. But mostly we wanted to take SCA feasting beyond the norm, to give people a show, an education and a memorable experience.

We chose 16th Century England as the setting for our first try at such a feast as it was the area we had the most expertise in and the most research material for. It also helps that several of our members visited Hampton Court Palace in England in 2007 where they were able to see some food historians replicating Tudor cooking and dining.

Q: Okay, I’m interested. When is The Big Feast?
A: The Big Feast is Saturday, July 18, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.

Q: How can I learn more about The Big Feast?
A: If you want to talk to a specific person, you can contact Baroness Katheline van Weye at kat_weye@yahoo.com If you want to follow our progress, we have a Yahoo Group and a Livejournal Community set up for the group.

Q: Can I help?
A: Yes!!!! We are going to need help in every area of this endeavor and you don’t need to be an experienced cook or an expert artisan. We are going to be making table settings for 40 people and that will mean many hands. We are going to need servers and carvers and garnishers on feast day. We will be sewing linen napkins and making 16th century clothing. If you wish to help, we can definitely find a place for you and any time that you can give will be greatly appreciated.