Monday, April 16, 2012

Ranger Moot, tons of fun!

Ranger Moot was this past weekend, and I had a real blast participating! It was a smaller event held in the nearby Shire of Vaca Del Mar, and I was given the pleasure and honor of being the assistant to the Feastcrat! It was a big roll for me, the first time I would step in and have a serious hand in the planning and preparation of a Feast. I was given a hand in and leeway with several of the dishes, helping the Feastcrat pick out side items or sauces to accompany other foods. 

I found that a lot of my prior experiences really paid off in the orchestration of the day. I found myself referring to my personal notebook many times because I had taken a note here or there, and my past mistakes or successes really helped me find the best way to cook/prep various dishes. I was actually able to give some pretty solid advice to the Feastcrat and the other helpers based on my notebook, which made me feel 100% justified in dragging that thing around with me wherever I go! Now to just get a larger bag to hold it in...

As an aside, having Rurik eat his words and compliment me on the pork I seasoned and cooked made me giggle inside ;)

Because this was the first feast I've really had the time to experience Start to Finish, I wanna break it down into the big things that worked and the big things that didn't for my own educational purposes. 

Big things that worked:

. The Feastcrat was very very smart in her choices of foods for the site. We lacked a proper modern kitchen, so everything had to be cooked over grills/propane stones. All the dishes either needed no cooking prep (such as the beet salad or breads and homemade butters) or could be cooked on the grills.

. Having 3 copies of the Feast plan, with everything broken down into steps as well as photo's of what the dish should look like, was amazing. Must remember this one.

. Dishes all day, omg wow. That was a brilliant idea, one I honestly haven't seen implemented as much as I think it should have been. Because we were cooking outside, doing dishes and sanitizing after every use really helped prevent flavor transfer and kept the risk of food born illness to the minimum. 

. Over-prep was a great idea. We may not needed to have to chop something till this time, but when you can chop and then seal in a Tupperware dish followed by putting it in a fridge...saved so much time. Doing as much as we can before its crunch time saved a lot of headaches when the crunch time did occur. 

Big Things that Did Not Work:

. Having other people purchase the food for you, big mistake. When we did the test prep of dishes, we had purchased one thing. The gentleman she sent to get her food for the event did not get the same foods, so we ran into issues unplanned for (like boned chicken instead of de-boned and thus making the chicken dish late due to it being frozen).

. Not testing every dish was a mistake as well, we ran into ingredient issues on the ones assumed to be simple enough to not prep. This is where my notebook came in real handy, when making the apple fritters I was able to refer to the ones Mistress Madhavi had made for the Royal Luncheon to help us see what was going wrong with the portable fryer and how we could make them even better.

. We didn't do a detailed stress test on some of the equipment in the area we would be cooking with, a whole side of the grill wouldn't vent properly for the charcoal so we were down one side when prepping the vegetables and chicken. If we had tested both sides over a longer period than less than an hour, we would have seen that issue in advance and been able to compensate at the event.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Ranger Moot was a great event, shooting arrows was fun and the blessed silence as food is served continues to be my favorite sound in the world.