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The information included below is a general guide. It is not the only way to do things, it is simply a recommendation for those who may never have completed this role before, and who need assistance in knowing what to do and where to start. When possible, it is always best to shadow someone with experience before diving in. 

If you have any additional tips, advice, resources, or guidance please let us know, and we will add it to the guide. 

How to Plan and Cook a Feast for an Event 

Planning Stages 

Your territory is hosting an event. They chose a theme and time period. You decided to feastocrat. Its time to decide out what to cook.  As Feastocrat you are responsible for the menu, purchasing the food, and determining the cost of the food. Along with that is the preparing and serving the food.

Step 1 – This is a large undertaking, and you should not be doing it all alone. Plan on who will be helping you in the kitchen. Plan the menu. Start with the region and time period. Is it Italy in the 1450s? Or Norway 1150? This will guide you to what should be included on your menu. 

 

Where do you go to find recipes? 

  • There are lots of books now available with period recipes that have been translated and tested – see resource list. 

  • The internet is a valuable resource but stick with sites and chefs that cite the period source/recipe

  • The Kingdom Menu Book  

Pick dishes you feel comfortable preparing. Don’t get crazy with exotic medieval dishes. People remember what they liked, not how much research you did. 

 Things to consider when planning a menu

  • Food allergies (Keep a copy of all recipes for review by those with allergies) 

  • Vegetarian options

  • Storage ability (Can you prepare it in advance and heat up? Or do you need to prepare it on site)

  • Cost of food (Veal vs chicken will be a big price difference)

  • How much help do you have? (get people to commit beforehand) 

  • Do you want to limit the feast number (ie 50 / 80 people)? If you are new, start small. 

  • How many removes do you want?  Are lunch or day board included?

 

Typically, there is a day board, a 1st remove, a main course (2nd remove) and dessert. You can certainly do more or less.  This is a guideline.

 

First course should be able to stay hot without deterioration in case the timing of feast changes last minute. Second course can be something that requires last minute cooking or heating.

Step 2 - Once your menu has been decided, test the recipes at home and  estimate the cost. Take the estimated cost and divide it bu the number of people you will be serving.

Example: $500 for groceries; cooking for 50 people. ( 500 / 50 = 10 )  The feast fee is $10 per person.

 

Tables and Approximations 

To serve each guest 1 - 1 1/2 Lbs of food, with two meat removes use these approximate proportions 

4-6 oz Meat per remove  (beef, chicken, fowl, fish, pork) 

2-4 oz Cheese 

3-4 oz Vegetables (Spinach, onions, leeks, turnips)

4-6 oz fruit (apples, figs, dates, pears, grapes)

4-6 oz Starch (rice, barley, beans)

3-4 oz Bread (Or 1 loaf per 4 people) 

1/2 cup soup

1 qt beverage per person

Beverages 

1 gallon mead per 16 people per remove

1 gallon ale per 24 - 32 people per remove

1 gallon of non-alcoholic beverage per 24 people per remove

 

Food 

1 6 lb. Chicken per 4-6 people 

1 4-6 lb. duck per 2 people 

1 5 lb. boneless roast beef or pork per 12 people 

1 9" pie per 8 people 

Step 3 – Consider the layout of the kitchen and what you have at your disposal so you can plan your day successfully.

 

Questions to ask the autocrat:

  • How big is the kitchen? (how many cooks can fit in there to help)?

  • How much counter space is available?

  • How many burners does the stove have?

  • How many ovens, and how big are they? 

  • Can we use the oven and the stove top?

  • Do they have serving dishes and utensils, or do I have to bring my own?

  • How many outlets are in the kitchen (in case we need crock pots)?

  • Do we have freezer or refrigerator space?

  • Do they have chafing dishes or do we need our own?

After considering the size and layout of the kitchen, as well as the number of staff, determine if and when people are able to utilize the kitchen for washing individual feast gear. If the kitchen is not suitable, alternatives include making paper towel and plastic bags available to wipe and store dirty dishes or put out pots or tubs of washing & rinsing water with paper towel or dishtowels.  Announce that to the autocrat for publication on the event page or post a sign outside the kitchen on the day of the event.  

Step 4 - Provide the menu (with ingredient list for allergies) and the on board fee to the territory, and the autocrat for publishing on the website. If there is a cap, be sure to include that information as well.

 

Step 5 – Now that the menu is planned, what can you do in advance?  Plan cooking days with your feastocrat team. Cooking dishes in advance and freezing those that will hold up, like breads, soups, or pies, until the day of is a great way to simplify the day of the event.

 

 

 

Prepping Stages

Step 6 –  Time to shop. Keep your budget in mind. Fill out a reimbursement form to request reimbursement and funding for shopping. Buy needed groceries. Save the receipt to provide to the Exchequer on the reimbursement form. Check with the prior cooks (from the last event) and ask about the traveling pantry. Check if there are ingredients left over from a prior feast that you can utilize before spending money on new dry goods (i.e. coffee, juices, flour, oils, spices, and other non perishable ingredients).

Step 7 –  Cook ahead and freeze what you can. Prep what you can in the days just before the feast. Make the day as easy as possible. If you need help, ASK! Whether it's freezer storage, help cooking, help hauling food, whatever it is, no one knows you need help until you tell them.  Ask for help!

Step 8 – Plan out how to distribute food. Do you want a buffet table?  Do you have staff to serve each table? Do you want to assign each table with 1 head person to retrieve food from the kitchen? Coordinate this with your team, and discuss with the autocrat. It’s helpful to have one of your team responsible for hall food service on the day so you can concentrate on cooking and that person takes over getting the food plated and served.

Step 9 – Have a plan for all kitchen activities at the event. Who will be distributing food? Who will be cutting veggies? Who will be cooking the food?  Plan out what time which foods need to go into the oven/be heated up  to be served as close to schedule. Post the schedule in the kitchen so that everyone is on the same page. Be sure that you, the royalty, and the autocrat have the same schedule in mind.  

Day of your Event

 

Step 10 –Be onsite early for set up and prep. Organize the kitchen to make it easy to prepare, cook and plate your courses. Thaw out any foods in advance where appropriate, and keeping food safety in mind.  

 

Step 11 – Prioritize and prepare the day board and serve.

 

Step 12 - Start cooking the main feast courses according to your schedule. (Fill Chaffing dishes with boiling water to save time and fuel). Stay on top of all needed tasks in the kitchen. Washing pots and other items as you go along prevents a huge amount of washing after the feast.  

 

Step 13 -  Have a drink. You did it!

 

Step 14 – Clean up. Send people home with doggie bags if available. All dry ingredients that have not been used, add back into the travelling pantry, and hand off to the next chef.  

 

 

 

Additional Resources

Books

Pleyn Delit  (The single best medieval cookbook)

The Medieval Kitchen by Odile Redon

The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black

Websites 

https://www.britishmuseum.org/blog/how-cook-medieval-feast-11-recipes-middle-ages

 

https://medievalcookery.com/recipes/recipes.html

 

https://www.medieval-recipes.com/

 

https://cottageatthecrossroads.com/medieval-recipes/

 

https://medievalbritain.com/category/type/medieval-life/medieval-recipes/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_cuisine

 

https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/medieval-culinary-texts-500-1500/

 

https://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-food/medieval-recipes/

 

https://www.medievalcuisine.com/culinary-journey/recipe-index

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