Sunday, 12 June 2016

Silverwolf 2016

I had a great time at Silverwolf. It was my first time ever attending this event, and I love the hall - the kitchen is spacious and very central, with a commercial oven and stove setup, large fridges, and ample counter space along with a proper dishwashing sink and sanitizer.

This time, I had the chance to work alongside the Borealis Culinary Guild as they prepared their German-themed carnival feast. It was very unusual, because the theory was that attendees would grab small bits of food and circulate, almost like a cocktail party.

Our job was to hand-make almost 300 pretzels. The recipe was very simple, but the labor involved was extreme! It's easy to underestimate how much time and effort something like this can take. We worked fairly solidly on the pretzels from around noon to 5:30.

I have been asked by Mistress Coryn to record what I liked and disliked about each feast I attend. I'm going to add notes on the kitchen and hall setup as well, since I think that's a big part of the success of any feast!

Mel showing that dough who's boss! 

Mel demonstrating the dough "window" that shows enough gluten has formed

Joe's cheese

Endless pretzels...

Mmm! Ready to eat! 


Positives:

- The entire Borealis Culinary Guild seems to work very well as a team, with lots of rapport and friendliness. I think it's great to have such a tight crew, since you can always count on everyone else to do their job and be supportive of your efforts.

- The food was excellent and almost universally well-received. Everyone got a whole lot of food and basically anyone who wanted to took leftovers home!

- The kitchen facilities themselves were nearly perfect for our needs. Everyone was able to spread out and have their own workspace without getting in anyone's way, and there was ample stove and oven space for everybody to cook at the same time. This made timing the dishes much easier than it had been at TUA.

- No need to plate! Things went out in large batches which were dished out by volunteers. That saved a whole lot of time and effort.

- So amazing working with Mel and Coryn. It makes any tough job so much more pleasant when you have good company working with you.

Other Comments:

- One of the Culinary Guild members was having a difficult day in terms of the execution of his dish. Since everyone is really very much independently responsible for their own dishes, it can be hard to help each other when things like that happen. If something bad happens, you have to save yourself; so, you either fail independently or succeed independently. Not that nobody helps each other - it's just ultimately up to each person to pull off their own dishes.

- Oh my goodness, was the water in this hall ever hot! It was dangerously hot in the kitchen, so much so that we had to be very careful.

- I'm not sure the intended vision of the feast came together all that well - it was much more like a regular feast served buffet-style than the casual, festival-style walk-and-socialize meal that I think was envisioned. There were a number of reasons for this - the weather was terrible, for starters, and the tables were set up just like a normal feast - but I do think that we could try again another time and it would work a bit better. A big improvement would be to separate the serving tables so that folks had to go visit one booth at a time.

- Some of the food went much, much faster than some of the other food. For example, we had tons more of the heathen pies than we had of the sausages. The sausages were all gone within about half an hour. Quantity management seems to be a really big part of feast prep.

Overall, I think this feast was above average and I was delighted to be allowed to help out.

4 comments:

  1. It's interesting and helpful to see the feast prep through your eyes, Allie! I agree with most of what you've said, and I really appreciate you recording all of this. As you gain more experience you'll develop some very useful lists: "Kitchens I enjoy working in", " Teams I enjoy working with", "Reliable recipes for big crowds", etc.

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    1. "Reliable recipes for big crowds" sounds particularly useful! You can sure test the stuffing out of them for eight people, but it suddenly all seems a bit terrifying when you have to scale up to 80 or 100 or 120...

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  2. As a participant on the other side of the tables.... I have suggestions on ways the "vision" could have better been accomplished. The food was delicious though.

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    1. I always love to hear everybody's thoughts on this stuff.

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