Sunday, January 13, 2008

Making a Medieval Field Kitchen

A while back I came across the picture below, and of course it got me thinking. "Field kitchen? I could really use a proper medieval field kitchen."

Field Kitchen from "Il Cuoco Segreto Di Papa Pio V",
Bartolomeo Scappi, Venice, 1570

You see, every now and then (at least once a year - and it should be much more often) I go to a medieval camping thing. In the past I've avoided doing any serious cooking (kind of embarrassing to admit), which I usually attribute to lack of equipment and not wanting to cook over a fire on hot days. But seeing this picture has made me realize that the equipment needed for a proper medieval camp kitchen might not be all that hard to put together at a reasonable cost. I'd still have to be cooking over a fire on hot days, but I suppose I should just accept that as part of the whole medieval experience, eh?

So ... just what do I need for a properly working - and safe - kitchen?  In terms of furniture, I don't need an awful lot as long as I'm not trying to be too fancy.
  • two saw-horse tables
  • a roasting rack
  • a sun / rain awning
  • some shelves to keep stored items off the ground
  • boxes and baskets for food storage
That's pretty encouraging, especially since I already have the roasting rack - it doesn't even look too different from the one in the picture.  The list for kitchen equipment is quite a but longer though.
  • two or three earthenware pots
  • tripods / trivets
  • mortar and pestle
  • wooden spoons
  • a meat hook
  • a cauldron or large kettle
  • an S hook
  • a griddle
  • a wafer / waffle iron
  • pitchers
  • wooden bowls
  • serving platter
  • knives
  • hand towels
  • dish towels
  • tablecloths
I think I have about half of these, and some of the remaining could get pretty expensive (have you priced large wooden bowls lately?  The real ones, not the cheap salad things).  Then there's a list of things I need for the sake of food safety and cleanliness.
  • three wash tubs
  • dish soap
  • dish sanitizer
  • water dispenser for washing hands
  • bucket for waste water
That's a lot of stuff, but really it's not too bad.  Notice something though?  I didn't list any food, and I didn't list anything for keeping foods fresh.  That's a whole topic on its own, and I'll cover it in the next post.

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