Saturday 10 November 2001 the Principality of the Mists, here in the Kingdom of the West, held the Investiture of its new Prince and Princess, Richard de Camville and Elisabeth. Instead of the usual Medieval feast, we had a competitive feast.
There were three teams of cooks, each headed by one Chef. Each team was to make one course for one hundred people. Each course had to have at least four dishes: meat, vegetarian, side dish, dessert - although the Autocrat said we could make more. Because the kitchen was small, the Autocrat suggested that we cook some of our dishes ahead of time. The "secret ingredient" would be revealed the morning of the feast, but we only had to include it in one dish.
I had originally volunteered to be a support cook on a team, since because i've only been in the SCA about 2-1/2 years, i didn't feel i was knowledgeable enough to head a team. A couple weeks before Investiture, the autocrat came to me and asked "Would you be willing to head a team?", and I said, "Uh, sure."
Since my persona is Near Eastern, I decided to make authentic Near Eastern Medieval food. While searching my resources, I found a number of recipes that were distinctly Persian in origin, although there are no purely Medieval Persian cookbooks, so I decided to make Medieval Persian food the focus of my feast.
Saturday morning the Autocrat revealed that the secred ingredient was...
... saffron and supplied the cooks with some. Fortunately I had chosen to serve Saffron Rice.
All day the kitchen area was a-bustle with cooks chopping, cooking, and shaping various dishes.
After myriad events - such as the investiture of the new Prince and Princess, a small tourney held in the rain, an arts-and-sciences exhibit, a class on cordials that included a tasting, impressive scrolls on display awaiting signatures, and more - it was time for the feast.
Each Chef was introduced to the Prince and Princess and to the populace by "Emperor Chang" (played powerfully and humorously by Aaron of Buckminster), who strode forcefully up and down the hall waving a huge fan.
My team made the First Course.
Iron Chef Persian - First Course Menu
The Second Course was prepared by Iron Chef Oertha
The Third Course was prepared by Iron Chef de Paris
The Head Table were the ultimate judges, although comments from other diners were considered. I'm afraid I don't remember the names of all who sat at the Head Table. Those I do remember were - from my left to my right - Sir Veniamin Medvednikogotev, the new Bard of the Mists Connor and his lady, Prince Sir Richard de Camville and Princess Elisabeth, and Pied d'Argent officer Marguerite du Royon and her consort. I apologize to those who I forgot. I'm still learning names and faces.
Everything was so delicious it was difficult to select a winner. The contest ended in a tie between me and Euriol, to be resolved at a "cook-off" to be held at Mists Spring Coronet.
I would like to thank the folks who assisted me:
All the recipes i used were from historic recipes, or were derived from them. At the end of each original recipe, I refer to its Medieval source. I've used a shortened version of the name of the book or author, as listed below.
Copyright Anahita al-Qurtubiyya bint 'abd al-Karim al-Fassi, 2001
Page somewhat redesigned 10 May 2004