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The Thirteenth Year

Midsummer Feast and Farrago -- Province of the Mists
May 13, 1978

From The Page (May, 1978):


As noted in the Editorial, the MF&F has been moved ahead a week, to May 13. Otherwise, it's still the same sumptuous banquet, with the same fine entertainment, for the same excellent cause (a Press for The PAGE). As previously noted, the cook will be Duchess Sumer REdmaene, the originator of the Midsummer Feast.

THE MENU, as planned: Vichyssoise Elegante, Whole Salmon with Herb and Butter Sauce, Various Beasts (Whole Roast Pig, if we have enough people; Roast Beaste; and probable other meats as well), Vegeterribles, Elizabethan Spinach Sallet, Fresh-baked Bread, Many Lovely Relishes and Preserves, Apple Juice, Vins (tba), and a Rich Confection for Dessert, plus Champagne.

Reservations should be sent in early, as attendance is limited to 150. Tickets are $12.50/person; $20.00/couple (i.e., $10/ticket for 2 or more tickets); and $.50/year of age for children 2-12. Checks should be made payable to ... and should be accompanied by a Reservation Form (page 3 of this issue). Serving wretches are needed, and will be admitted FREE (call The PAGE for details). Checks should be sent to ... Please incluse a stamped, self-addressed envelope, so we can send your tickets and a map. Without the envelope, we will have to hold your tickets at the door. (Non-"period" disposeable place settings (plate, bowl, glass, and tableware -- no sharp knives) will be available at $1/place setting. Please note this on your reservation form, should you wish one.

TIME AND PLACE: 6:30 PM (doors will open at 5:45) at the Parish Hall, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley, CA.

From The Page (July, 1978):

Being newly arrived from the decadent East, I had concluded that the warnings given me were true: no one in the West Kingdom could prepare a good medieval feast.

Lady Francesca the Bemused, on learning of this conclusion, took it as a challenge. "Come to the Second Midsummer Feast and Farrago," she proclaimed, "and learn what medieval feast should be."

The Feast was held at St. Mark's Parish Hall, in Berkeley. The evening's festivities began with ballads sung by Mistress Cynthia FitzColline (a contralto), and Eriod of Eire (a soprano). They informed the populace that it was a strain to mix their voices together, but I was too untrained in music to notice, and too pleased with their songs to care.

The meal began with the serving of "Vichyssoise Elegante". Following the lead of those around me, I mixed the soup with the sour cream and chives that were served, and tasted it. Like those around me, I smiled.

The next course was salmon smothered in a lucious herb and butter sauce, undoubtedly the best treatment this noble fish has ever received. Many took second servings, incredulously stating they had never tasted salmon so good.

With the feast well started and the wine poured, the great conjurer FfellyanDrac the Blind stood forth to amuse us. He dazzled us with his sleight of hand, and showed to us the wisdom inherent in the words, "Hello, Harvey!"

Then a Motley written by Mistress Dierdre Muldomhnaigh told of the people of tiny Offalot, near the village of Fallen-Upon-Adversity. I participated in the motley, playing the part of a brute. (One cannot escape type-casting.) As we gathered in the kitchen for rehearsal, I must say that we certainly looked a motley cast. Of the performance itself I will say only this -- I filled my cup and drained it before going onstage.

Once again food was upon us, as we partook of golden bread and butter, peas, roast chicken, and parsnips with oranges and marigolds. Suddenly a leg of lamb and a roast pork appeared before us, only to be met by a knife in the deft hand of Duke James Greyhelm. We celebrated his victory by gleefully consuming the fallen. There followed the serving of a spinach salad with oranges, olives, raisins, walnuts, onions, and nasturtiums. For dessert, the promised "rich confection" turned out to be Cake of Brittany, thickly covered with strawberries and sweet whipped cream.

Duchess Sumer Redmaene, who had prepared the evening's repast, then told us of when she had sat as Queen, and been served this cake by a gentleman of Brittany. She had fallen upon her knees, and begged for the recipe. If this seems a bit undignified for a reigning monarch, it was worth her humility, for she covered herself with glory by serving up the Brittany cake to us at the Midsummer Feast.

The cake was served with fitting musical accompaniment: a cannonade of popping champagne corks. With our flagons once again filled, we toasted all those who served that evening, and gave three cheers for Duchess Sumer (though thirty might have been more appropriate).

Thus the evening ended, with the feasters journeying home well stuffed and happy, and one insufferable Easterner admitting to Francesca that the feast had been as good as any East Kingdom Twelfth Night.

And perhaps even better.

     Kallun of Tyermonde, Serv

(Sound good? It was -- and Duchess Sumer has graciously consented to do it again. On November 4, the Autumn Feast and Farrago will be held, again for the PAGE Press Fund. Tickets will be the same price, too ... NOTE: The menu will be all new, all different -- but the cook is the same, so it will all be, once again, delicious.)

Description of this event, © Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.

Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).