End of summer

I was doing a pretty good job of posting for a while, but then summer happened and with it every good intention went out the window. Juan and I talked a lot on the drive home from Academy of Grace and Valor on Sunday – what our expectation were and what we actually ended up doing, what we wanted for this summer and what we want for the coming months.

It was a good summer. Seven events between Memorial Day and Halloween – three and four “work” and “play” events for me, two and five for Juan (I was working in the kitchen at Crown Tournament; he was watching the fighting), which felt like a good balance.  Four camping events – but three of those in the span of five weeks, after two full months right through June and July with one daytrip and no camping. That was a pretty hard month, and it’s clear we need to do some more polishing on the camping organizational plan, and probably buy a trailer so that the bulk of the gear doesn’t need to be unloaded and reloaded, if we’re going to continue to play at that level.

Grace and Valor itself was also an odd mix of success and frustration. I had a good, solid, simple menu; good crew lined up in advance; and a lot of pre-cooking/pre-prep. That was good, because EVERYTHING ELSE went wrong: communication problems meant I was unprepared for some of the things I was actually responsible for; work schedules meant that we couldn’t leave until early Friday morning, with shopping still to do, so we got on site at noon for a 7pm dinner; inconsistent weather meant very inconsistent attendance; and there were massive, nearly disastrous problems with the kitchen. (The oven door fell off. FELL. OFF.)

If I hadn’t been as prepared as I was, if the menu weren’t as tight as it was, if I hadn’t had a great crew, the job simply would not have gotten done. (And the fact that I had those resources in place in advance was my competence at work, not dumb luck – a hard-learned lesson.) But it was, and it did, and people spoke positively about it afterwards, and I learned a lot, and that’s really all that matters.

The final menu as served:

Friday (German, mostly from Rumpoldt and Welserin)
Smoked bratwurst, smoked pork loin, Mortadella Stolichnaya
Brown bread & mustard, Hard baked eggs with mint
Compote of spiced beets, Green field salad

Roast chicken with apples, pears, and onions
Schweinebraten (Roast Pork)
Fried spinach with bacon, Fried root vegetables

Almond tart
Cherries Stewed in wine

Saturday (Lombard Italian, from Scappi)

Cucumber salad, toasted cheese bread
Cappacola, red wine salami, Genoa salami

Lemon chicken with pepper sauce, beef with onions
Tortellini of herbs in the Lombard style, mushrooms in butter
Salad of herbs and greens

Nectarines in sugar, Capi di latte (clotted cream), crepes

I’m going to be spending a lot more time with these cuisines over the coming months, as Corazon IV is on a mid-1500s Habsburg theme.

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