Despite the fact that the 10am court did not happen until nearly
1:30pm - our part of things went well. We got permission from the autocrat
to set up in the lounge near where folks entered a hallway to go towards
the display rooms. We set up two tables of food and had the wonderful little
cards that Arwen designed as handouts in front of each dish. Folks
started browsing as soon was the food went out - but we told them we would
be open for tasting "later" when everything was out. I got some excellent
photos of everything before the hordes descended - and quite a few people
came and looked and smelled and took cards even without eating.
Once we did open, folks were reasonably good about the fact that it
was NOT lunch - it was a tasting table. I think we need a sign that says
something like "This is a TASTING table - to satisfy the palate not the
All of the Excellent Small Cakes, Cheese and Mushroom Tarts, Pies of
Paris, painted Shortbread, Pickled Beets, and Stuffed Eggs went. There
wasn't a crumb left. Almost all of the quail eggs with mustard sauce (WONDERFUL
sauce!) went and we managed to take home a few meatballs. Not sure
if there was leftover Pickled Beef. I'm sure there was leftover Salmon
What to do better next time? A container of toothpicks for the meatballs
- that way people would have "tasted" without having to get a plate. Spoons
and tiny cups for the soup - maybe like the ones they use for samples in
grocery stores? Master Kay said the soup was absolutely wonderful but totally
inaccessible with only plates and forks. He refrained from licking his
plate only through his mother's years of rigorous training.
All in all, a very good "tasting". Let's do it again!
The other problem was that in order to keep the caudle and
vinegar beef hot, they were plugged in at an outlet a small distance away.
My lord and I have a made a note to ourselves that a heavy-duty, long extension
cord, suitable for crock pots and such, would be a good investment for
future tasting tables.
But yes, on the whole, I'd say the reception was good, and the feedback
I have heard has been positive. Lots of people told us how good everything
tasted. Many people took recipe cards, and a few took information cards.
Lots of people thought we were one of the Arts and Sciences competition
entries. I decided it was easiest to explain that this was a display, not
an entry. A few thought we were the donation lunch. They were politely
redirected upstairs (after being encouraged to have a bite or two to tide
them over, of course). I think bigger signs would have helped this -- the
ones Mistress Tatiana put together were wonderful, but rather hard to see
through the crowds. :)
And we did have crowds. Even Their Majesties stopped by and sampled
a bit -- Her Majesty seemed to enjoy the meatballs, in particular. Moreover,
there were a lot of people who came for the food, but stuck around to chat
afterward and actually learned a little about period food. Many people
expressed surprise that stuffed eggs were period, and several were enlightened
regarding the difference between "small cakes" and "cookies". I am
told that Master Robin Vinehall waxed effusive in his compliments over