Potluck Hints and Tips

(One stop for quick ideas, and links to further info.)

These are some ideas to make potlucks more interesting, and perhaps more fun. (Many thanks to Paulus of the Heather, Crickstow-on-Sea, for inspiration.)

Hints and Tips

To participate in the feast you must bring a potluck dish. Every person in your party (excepting very young ones) must bring a dish large enough to serve 8-10 people, and a card listing all the ingredients must accompany it. (For instance, an adult with two teenagers bringing buns and butter will have, in total two to three dozen buns and a pound of butter; the buns will be in a large bowl or basket, and the butter set out on a small plate or bowl.)

Charts are often used to guide feasters. Here's an example:
If your ordinary/modern last name begins with... then bring... If no guideline is given, bring your favourite medieval dish (suggestions and recipe links below).

If you live more than a half-hour drive from the event, consider dishes best served at room temperature, that are not troubled by the travel; bread and cheese fits that category.

Then there is the question: "How much should I spend?" Paulus of the Heather answers this way:
"This can be a ticklish question. Is it fair that someone brings a beef roast and someone else brings a loaf of bread when both people fill their plates from the same table? Instead of comparing the items on the table, a contributor to a potluck has to take a look at their own finances and ask the question, "What would I pay for a ticket to a feast for myself (and my family)?" and budget for their contribution with that amount in mind. Therefore a couple who would normally spend $30 for feast tickets should consider that spending $10 to $20 on a potluck contribution is still a significant savings.
Get medieval: Generosity is a chivalric virtue!"
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If you are new to SCA potlucks, or are looking for an update, this may be useful to you.

Regarding your contribution: Regarding your presence: [return to top]

Non-cooking ideas

If you shop for your potluck contribution, here are some suggestions to help simplify your choices.

round loaves (and buns); whole wheat, rye, seed, currant; flatbread (pita, chapatis) is also appropriate. (If your pocketbook will allow, also bring the butter or cheese.)
Cheese sliced:
(there are others, but these definitely were known in medieval times): yoghurt cheese, farmers' cheese, Brie, Caciocavallo, Cantal, Fontina, Dournay, Gruyere, Livarot, Munster, Neufchatel, Pecorina Romano.
apples (small pinkish, yellow or green), pears, apricots, bilberries (blueberries substitute well), grapes (seedless are easier to deal with); dried fruit is also appropriate (apricots, dates, figs).
olives, mushrooms, eggs, marinated vegetables
Chicken, hot roasted (deli!) and cut for serving:
with Cinnamon sauce, or Ginger-Mustard sauce
Ham, cold sliced:
with Galyntyne sauce, or Honey Wine Mustard sauce (for meat or fowl)
Roast pork, sliced:
with Yellow pepper sauce, or Cinnamon sauce,
Roast beef, sliced:
with Garlic-Pepper sauce, or Ginger sauce
Sausage, sliced (deli):
gypsy salami, genoa salami, pastrami, etc.
Also consider greens and herbs in salads, with olive oil and vinegar dressing.

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Medieval Recipes

These links to medieval recipes barely touch the surface of the recipes available. Not all recipes are complicated, so explore the possibilities fully; many recipes call for less than 6 ingredients!

Roasted carrots: chopped, dressed with olive oil, spread on a cookie sheet and baked.
Carrot salad: shredded and dressed with oil, vinegar, and a touch of sugar.
Savoury rice: cooked with caraway seeds and bay leaf; color with saffron.
Bashed 'neeps: rutabagas boiled, mashed with milk, salt, sugar, and nutmeg.
Onion soup: onions gently fried olive oil until well-carmelized, covered with vegetable stock and simmered; thicken with breadcrumbs or not.
Beef roast: dry rub the roast with pepper, cumin, and salt, and let sit a couple of hours in fridge; roast (see any basic cookbook) in a medium-low oven until medium-done; cool and then refrigerate; slice thinly before serving.
Cumin chicken: brown chicken; simmer in a sauce of beer, bread, cumin, salt and pepper.

Visit these links for more recipes and recipe details:
No-Cook Potluck Contributions for the Culinary Inept and Others - Dragonslaire
Modern Dishes in Medieval Guise - Dragonslaire
Medieval food for Vegetarians - Elizabethan
Making Mundane Food Medieval - Kingdom of Caid
Gode Cookery Recipes, the main listing
Newe Boke of Olde Cokery
Cariadoc's Miscellany Recipes
Medieval/Renaissance Food Page
Goodman of Paris (still looking for the link)
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Other notes

First Time Feast Gear
Yes, medievally, cutlery and tableware was used; fingers may have come into play, but the manuals of the time are quite specific about which fingers were used for what purposes (and I will not attempt to summarize such compexities). And since we neither waste food, nor wish to sully beautiful garments that we (and perhaps you) have spent hours creating, we like our "feastgear".

We encourage the medieval look, but that can come later...

Optional feast gear [return to top]

More links [return to top]

And if you've reached this point... Halima has further notes from Paulus' class that she would be happy to share, many of which would be useful to head cooks and potluck organizers. And, of course, more recipes, book references, and stories.

Please report broken links to Halima.