Jan. 19th, 2011

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In addition to being a new mom and now being back at work I've got some other projects I've still been working on.

The big one is the Culinary Symposium. Elizabeth had graciously volunteered to be this year's Chairperson, but has since been made the head of one of the largest and longest standing groups in our historical society- and as a result is naturally rather busy (HUGE understatement). I'm taking up the torch and going from being just the class coordinator to being the chairperson and trying to make sure we're all on track and on the same page. I've emailed all the teachers, done a couple of site visits to the new location and now need to figure out where the rest of the team currently stands. I'm really excited about this year's line up and really hope I get to  take some of the classes, especially those from Alys Katherine who's coming all the way from the Middle. There are other classes I want to take too, and I hope this isn't the last time we have her for teaching, but I'd hate to miss out. I'm even contemplating possibly submitting a paper to the lecture track to be later published in the proceedings. I'll post here later with specific details for people to send out to any of the places and individuals I may have missed who might be interested.

I've still been researching reproduction and childbirth in Renaissance Italy and feel like I've got enough information in my head for at least 5 papers. Since I've got to start somewhere and narrow the focus I'm bringing it back to my first research passion- food. I haven't decided on a title yet, perhap "Food and Fertility in Renaissance Italy? Now I just have to create an abstract and write up all of the information. I've already got a rough outline and chunks of the information in my head, it's just now down to getting them to flow together and do all the citations correctly. Chemicallace suggestion endnote, and I'm planning on giving it a try to help.
Rough outline: 
Getting pregnant & gender
1a- humoral theory (underlying medical theory for whole paper)
1b- what & when, the importance of timing
Prenatal care
2a- food groups divided by humoral nature
2b- beverages, spices, and other oddities
2c- food and beverage as supplements(potential experiment, water with iron extinguished into it)
During delivery
3a- fasting and food recommendation
3b?- potentially food products used as salves and medicine during delivery (positions, ect. another paper)
Edit to add: 
Food recommendations for wet nurses/ breast feeding
4a- what was proscribed and prescribed.
Ritual foods presented to mother after birth- any celebratory foods
5a-  valuable food related gifts (cups, spoons, forks)
5b- cakes, cookies, etc. given often inside gift cups.  

Working my way through the Anon. Venetian manuscript again. I finally have the exotic meats that were holding things up, now forever in my mind as "the dammed boar".  I'm planning on heading up north after work the Friday of Ursulmas and experimenting with Fiamma for the three roasts/ sauces that were holding things up for lack of appropriate ingredients. I'll be taking lots of pictures and posting again here, as well as my blog dedicated to my Italian historical research: http://allvenicechannel.dreamwidth.org/  I still have to make some choices on the ingredients that arn't clear, i.e. what type of bread to make into bread crumbs after toasting, what kind of vinegar, etc. before I bring up all the supplies and actually make them all.

After at least 5 different drafts I'm finally happy with a pattern for a working class Italian outfit from the late 1500's. For the first working test I'm using what I had in my stash which is waaaaay less that what I usually use for just the skirt alone. I'm having to re-think the pleating as even with bulking up the pleats with blanket weight wool there still isn't enough to do cartridge pleats, so I may have to do box or knife pleats. Still, I'm hopeful that I can finish this in time for Ursulmas so I can have a casual breast feeding friendly outfit.

On a mostly non-historical related note, regarding instead the charity I've been working with the last several years, It's My Bag- http://www.itsmybag.info/. We had been doing photos previously as one of the other board members has a hearse and a coffin. However, going to local horror conventions and other local markets and fairs doing "photos in a coffin" hasn't been bringing in as much as we would like in funds. At our last board meeting I suggested that we look into the possibility of doing photos at SCA events as a fundraiser, and brain stormed what events might work best for this, like 12th night, Ursulmas, June Faire?, and possibly some feasts like Yule where people are wearing their best court clothing and might like a formal portrait taken. We were at 12th night and had by far the most successful fundraiser we've had in at least the last year! I wasn't able to help much with the actual running of the booth, but the other board members who ran it (Michael & Karen) were delighted with how things went. We're now lined up to also have a booth at Ursulmas http://aquaterra.antir.sca.org/Ursulmas/ and have been asked to come to several other events. If you happen to see us at an event, please consider getting a photo taken- all proceeds go to help foster kids and other at-risk and underprivileged kids.
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I've posted this to the steps, and the other local lists I'm on but please feel free to share this far and wide. I'd really like to reach as many people as possible in all corners of AnTir and beyond. I hope that everyone who was interested in teaching felt welcomed to do so!

We're ramping up for this year's Culinary Symposium and while I've talked the ear off of every foodie I've personally run across I know there are likely more of you out there I haven't had a chance to meet yet. If you're interested in learning, cooking, teaching or eating we'd love to have you!!
The Culinary Symposium will be April 15-17th at Camp Sheppard in Enumclaw, WA. Weekend site fee includes a bunk in a heated cabin and there is an optional food plan for either the weekend or Saturday only so those traveling won't have to worry about bringing food and can focus on classes. I will be posting further information once the website and class re-registration system is up and running, so please stay tuned and let me know if you have any questions
Some classes we already have lined up are:
Cheese Making in 1500-1600s Europe
Spices: Tracing the Spice Routes
Fermentation in theory and practice
Bread without commercial yeast
Visit to Classes by Ivan Day
Vicarious tour of the Hampton Court kitchens,
Sugar Paste Exhibit in York (and More) on Ivan Day and Peter Behr
(Not sure who the last two people are?  Look at Ivan's web site (historicfood.com) and for Peter, take a look at an article about him at *http://tinyurl.com/24ha8eo ).
16th c. Persian polaws/rice dishes
Dining with the Sultan: Cooking 15th & 16th c. Ottoman Food (hands on)
Dining with the Sultan: History of 15th & 16th c. Ottoman Cuisine (lecture)
Tourney cooking with Maitress Anne Marie (hands on)
16th century German cooking/technology class with featured recipes
Cooking in pottery
Medieval English Street Food (survey/lecture)
And a whole track on historical food research papers to be later printed in symposium proceedings, like they do for Oxford and other academic conferences. This is being organized by Master Eduardo who has presented at both Oxford's food symposium and the Renaissance Society of America.
We are currently working on the website and a class pre-registration system so we're tying to get all the class information in place. If you have offered a class please get the me the needed details listed below. If you've been contemplating giving a class, or have offered serveral and haven't yet decided, consider this a gentle, friendly and happy nudge. :) Please send the information to me directly at raphaellad@yahoo.com, or the dedicated planning address foodiejoy@gmail.com.

In joyous service,
Raffaella di Contino
Class Coordinator,
Culinary Symposium April 15-17, 2011 


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