West Kingdom Purgatorio 2002
Casbah! Feast
Introduction and Menu


Purgatorio is the event at which the second King and Queen of the year, victorious at June Crown, step up - we have three Crown Tourneys per year, unlike other kingdoms. Purg is held in August, when it is very dry in Northern California, and often fairly hot.

In 2002 there was extreme fire danger, and the site at which Purg was held would allow no candles, no oil lamps, no propane lamps, and no West Kingdom style fire pits (elevated 18" off the ground). We were allowed to set up propane stoves only in one designated parking lot. Additionally, the site was not far from San Jose, so many people were only day tripping, and some other folks were staying off site.

Duke Fabian Arnet Von Switzingan thought it would be a good idea to feed as many people as possible to encourage folks to hang around and to have a more festive atmosphere. I was asked to come up with a menu. He said historical food was good, although not essential. He also enlisted a group of people to run some fun "gambling" games for after the meal. And of course the Saucy Wench served up various forms of liquid cheer.

So i came up with a menu of mostly historic dishes. Tabouleh was requested, so I made it without New World ingredients.

The menu consisted of:

Meatballs - 13th century Andalusian
Sinab = Honey-Mustard Sauce - 13th century Andalusian
Minted Fresh Cucumber Pickle - 14th century Abbasid
Tabouleh - modern Lebanese
Couscous - essentially "period"
The Face of the Couscous = Spiced Onion-Raisin Condiment - modern Morocco
Seven Vegetable Tagine - modern Morocco, peri-oid
White Tharidah of al-Rashid = Chicken with vegetables in tangy almond sauce - 9th or 10th century Abbasid
K'ak = Cookie Rings - 14th century Abbasid
Irnin = Date Squares - 14th century Abbasid
Cinnamon Oranges - Morocco, possibly "period"
Koshaf = Marinated Dried Fruits and Nuts Compote - modern Egypt

Duke Fabian and his Lady Eliska z Jihlava graciously took me to buy most of the ingredients at a large discount store. And he cooked 600 meatballs from my recipe. He enlisted another well-liked cook, Ivan Ivanovich Streltsov, to bake the desserts, so i sent him two cookie recipes based on period ones, and Ivan also made two modern fruit breads that were suitable for vegans (I do not have Ivan's recipes for the vegan fruit breads). I cooked much of the rest of the food during several days before the event, and carefully cooled it, freezing the chicken.

Trying to heat the food at the event was quite another thing. Fabian and Eliska brought a huge propane stove, multiple serving and prep tables, and quite a number of chafing dishes. Kindly volunteers helped me make the fresh dishes on site (tabouleh, couscous, and cinnamon oranges) and warm up the cold dishes. It took lots of effort, patience, and persistence, as well as dipping the plastic bags of food into hot water to thaw it, then putting it in pots to heat it through. But we managed.

To the best of my knowledge, this has never been done in The West, which does not have feasts at kingdom camping events (that is, eight out of our eleven kingdom events). It appeared to have been a success.

If you aren't planning to cook for 150, but think some of the recipes look interesting, feel free to contact me about smaller versions.


On to the Recipes!

Accompaniments:
Andalusian Meatballs, Sinab = Honey-Mustard Sauce, Minted Fresh Cucumber Pickle, Tabouleh

Main Dishes:
Couscous, The Face of the Couscous, Seven Vegetable Tagine, White Tharidah of al-Rashid

Desserts:
K'ak Cookie Rings, Irnin Date Bars, Cinnamon Oranges, Koshaf Fruit Compote

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