Mooneschadowe Kitchen Party
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So this one time in Mooneschadowe, at the very first Triumphe of the Eclipse, I was granted my wish to Steward a Feast. Or, as I typed too often back then, "Feaste", to Magdelena da Cadamosto's intense annoyance. :-)
I had a pretty good plan, a pretty good team, and a pretty good idea of how things go. I'd been the Second twice (once with Marke von Mainz and once with Maggie) and just a kitchen grunt once. I knew Gwennan was on site. I had this thing in the bag! I tailored the style to Duke Mahdi as our stepping down Guardian and champion of all things Mooneschadowe. So I included a lot of Moorish recipes, Southern Spain, Provencal - that kind of thing (all documentable!). And all of the recipes were a hit at the trial run.
The feast itself went well enough. I made some rookie over-reaching kinds of mistakes, but they didn't seem to affect anyone's ability to enjoy what made it to the tables. For example, I ran out of the favorite soup quickly after the first round (it made it partly through a second but not all the way). There were MANY requests for recipes afterwards!
Charles and I went to Court that night because that was the First Triumphe of the Eclipse, and our group was trying a new format, and we were participants in helping it happen. We received our Comets in that Court. That was the only time we've been called up together (and the fact that we got the same thing was even more awesome) thanks to TRMs Aaron and Britta.
After such a heady moment after such a hectic weekend (because you know running feast isn't limited to the Saturday when you present your fare), by the time I made it back to the kitchen I was pretty brittle. I looked around the kitchen and allowed myself a moment of panic - and conveniently, Charles was there.
First Kitchen Party
I didn't want to cramp anyone else's fun just because I was freaking out, so I positively resisted inviting people into my personal hell. But Charles told me to sit down on that stool over there, drink this cup of water, and wait for him. After a little more waffling on my part, I let him go do what he had to do. About 20 minutes later, Wookiee (Damon Xanthus) and Rikr came in and asked what needed to be done. Five minutes after them, another handful of people came by, including JP, Pete, Vlad, Charles, Isaac. (I don't remember if Dagr was there that first one but he was definitely at the second or third.)
And so it went for about a half-hour until all of a sudden, I was chillin' with a nice mixed drink and directing traffic (since I was the only one who knew what pieces belonged where) as a crowd of people were suddenly in the kitchen, cleaning things and having fun! And they were drinking and sangin' from the Redwulf Songbook (and maybe Oxlade's Wrong Book if it existed at that point), and soap suds were flying. It was the most natural thing in the world for the dish-pit guys to take off their shirts. No one wanted to mess up their nice Court Garb, after all! And everyone was moving around so much that as one person would leave the dish pit, another would take his place, so all the guys were shirtless within 10 minutes of the first one losing his.
The Mooneschadowe Kitchen Party started because Charles loves me and wants me to be happy. And we've revisited this party every Triumphe since because it went so well and continues to serve a purpose.
First: In the Kitchen Party every shirtless guy washing dishes is The Most Beautiful in the world. Accept it and respect it.
They are doing the Kitchen Staff a wonderful favor, AND they're making it fun.
Second: Everyone Works!
- From Triumphe I through VI, we limited women allowed in the Kitchen to those who worked in the Kitchen or at Waterbearing.
- As of Triumphe VII, the Kitchen Party has become popular enough to merit a new hard-line rule:
Third: Men's Work, No Women Allowed!
This used to be a soft-line item - women who had worked in the Kitchen or at Waterbearing were welcome to help the ambience and efficiency. Now, there's absolutely no room for more people! BUT! This doesn't mean that non-Kitchen Staff women can't participate at all. They're welcome to help clean the main hall and join the singing from the other side of the serving window. Of course, if the night is still young, there may not even be that work to do.
People keep asking if we can expand the party to other venues (Melee Games, Gulf War, even other groups' events), but the point isn't the party. The point is helping a frazzled Feast Steward get through the rest of their event and have a little bit of social interaction to boot!
Tasks at the Kitchen Party
If you run out of work, the party stops. So here's stuff to do!
Task List (in mostly chronological order):
- Go to Court! Sit still for a little while! Cheer for your friends!
- Scout the Feast area for dishes belonging to the kitchen.
- Collect and package Feast leftovers. They were tasty - I'd take a reasonable-sized bag home with me! :-)
- Wash all dishes.
- Dry all dishes.
- Put away all dishes.
- Oil trenchers after washing them.
- Let trenchers air dry for a little while before storing them.
- Wash laundry. (Phoebe and Charles know the magic trick if the machine fights you.)
- Sweep main hall, and mop if able.
- Wipe down all tables and benches.
- Move tables and chairs back into place in the hall.
- Wipe down all working surfaces.