We?re back from Blacktown Medieval Fair and would like to say thank you to all the lovely people who came over to say hello. The event was great fun in a beautiful location and the Blacktown Council crew were as amazing as ever.
It’s a terrible feeling?when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.
Ceramics are a great tool for use in campfire cooking. Cheap to make, there’s a reason that pottery fragments are the most common find in any archeological dig. Ceramics, particulary for use over a campfire are a lot less common now. Company of the Staple provided some great tips which they’ve kindly allowed us to reshare for everyone to spread the word about ceramic cooking.
Lady Rosalind and Lady Safiya did an excellent job at Midwinter AS51 and were kind enough to provide their receipes, scaled down to a normal portion serving. Here it is for everyone to enjoy the delicious receipes. The original source has been provided and then a modern redaction of how it was made, making it clear and easy to understand.
We’ve been offering Beeswax linen covers for pots, cups and jugs for a while now. With the heat of your hand, they can be gently pressed around the container, keeping the inside protected and making it easier for storage and transportation.
Were these extremely handy items a part of medieval life though, or just a ‘re-enactorism’ – one of those things everyone feels is very medieval, without any actual evidence?
We pride ourselves on offering only items which enhance the quality of your re-enactment portrayal and reflect the latest historical research. With no detailed resources available from our supplier, we’ve set out to document waxed linen covers for our readers.
Here are the documented resources that we have so far been able to track down which show what we believe to be linen beeswax covers over the jugs. Any other sources found will be added to this list so that future people don’t need to go nuts trying to track down original extant sources.
Most of us no longer use unlaquered brassware around the home, so cleaning brass is no longer a weekly task; many people have never cleaned brass! Using Brasso or brass cleaning cloths is a perfectly functional modern technique for cleaning and maintaining your reproduction brass; seriously, just follow the instructions.
However, if you have very old brass (100+ years), or prefer not to use modern chemicals, there are other alternatives. Many have been used since the medieval period right through to the 20th century. They do take more elbow grease yet the result can be as every bit as good and with the satisfaction of being envirnomentally friendly. Even more, it is a direct link with our ancestors, when cleaning brass and silvers was not just a weekly chore – it was an opportunity to gather, gossip and a little friendly competition.
Cleaning small brass pieces;
Wash the brass piece in warm soapy water to remove the worst of the accumulated grime – use an old toothbrush to assist if there are intricate patterns and undercuts;
dry thoroughly with a soft cloth – and at this point you can check to see if the piece has been laquered. Look for a yellow tinge and/or scratches which you can widen with your fingernails. If it is, skip to the section at the end;
if the brass piece is small immerse in an diluted vinegar bath (so ~ 5% acid)
leave for ~ 60 mins;
gently agitate every now and then. Don’t leave it too long as the acid can leach some elements of the brass and cause pitting;
remove the piece from the bath;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth;
Too large for a vinegar bath? 2 period options;
as above wash the brass piece in warm soapy water to remove the worst of the accumulated grime – use an old toothbrush to assist if there are intricate patterns and undercuts;
dry thoroughly with a soft cloth – and at this point you can check to see if the piece has been laquered. If it is, skip to the section at the end;
cut a lemon in half and rub the cut end into salt;
apply this salted lemon surface FIRMLY onto the surface of the brass – it will clean off the oxidation with a bit of elbow grease;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth, buffing the shine as you go;
make a paste from equal parts of white vinegar, salt, and white flour and use cloths and/or an old toothbrush to thoroughly cover the brass surface with the paste;
leave the paste for roughly an hour – before it dries out as that will make it very hard to remove the paste;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry and buff to as high a shine as you like with a soft cloth using small circular motions;
Removing laquer from old antique brass;
Gently pour hot water directly over the brass to soften the lacquer;
peel the laquer away from the edges or wherever it has started to fail – you can often see a yellow tinge to the colour of metal between the laquered and non laquered;
If hot water fails, rub the brass with denatured alcohol or acetone in a well ventilated area with a soft cloth on a part of the brass that is not seen. Stop immeadiately and rinse with water if there are any unexpected changes.
Rowany Festival in Mittagong is only one week away! For those able to attend, we will be setting up our shingle in the kitchen hall on the Saturday market day, from 9.00am to 12.00pm. Pre-orders can be picked up from our stall during this time.
Do come and say hello and check out the latest arrivals we will have available for sale. These include the most recent Compleat Anachronists, the ?B? pendant from Steve Millingham, bejeweled ring brooches and the debut of the Queen of Hungary water 2017 vintage and Gentleman?s beard pomade from Medieval?Still Room.
Easter falling within this month, we suspend our study into appropriate medieval Saints. There is no doubt that this was and remains one of the greater holidays in the Christian world, even if there is a lot more chocolate in the modern world.
This month in the medieval world we celebrate not a saint ? but the principle Marian (Cult of Mary) event; Solemnity of the Annunciation or ?Festum incarnationis? (feast of the incarnation). It is held on the 25th of March and documentation across the medieval and renaissance world show that it has been celebrated on this date from the 4th Century.
Our sincere apologies – January slipped past and February is here. We have been busy rebuilding stocks, placing orders and researching new and interesting products from local Artisans. This year we hope to expand our library of instructional pdfs, as well as book and product reviews and more events.
Feast Day for February
This month in the medieval calendar one of the many martyrs celebrated is St Valentine on February 14th. Yet mystery still abounds; which St Valentine? There were no less than 3 Valentines martyred and celebrated for their heroic love to their fellow man and all three were celebrated on this date.Nor was the exchange of gifts between couples actually a part of the St Valentines celebration. From literary sources such as Chaucer and the Paston letters, we learn that showing love and affection on this particular date was almost co-incidental, and secular in nature. A common belief held in England and France throughout the period was that birds of every kind, began to pair on February 14th. Thus it was seen as an auspicious day for people to celebrate and show their love.Today we celebrate St Valentine?s day with cards, chocolates and flowers. Flowers and letters of affection also figured largely during the medieval period along with small tokens such as pewter badges depicting hearts, flowers and other symbols of earthly as well as divine love.
A Medieval Token of Affection for the Feast of St Valentine
Should you wish to show your loved one a lasting token of your affection with something a little different, may we suggest our range of replica medieval pewter pins and badges? Order before Feb 7th and?these tokens will arrive beautifully presented in elegant white packaging, ready for the big day.
Until next time, we bid you good reading!
–Loreena, Roxy, Paul and Elden
Image:?Birds from De Artes Venandi Cum Avibus, Pal. lat. 1071?21v (Sicily, 1240’s) -?http://digi.vatlib.it/view/bav_pal_lat_1071/ Copyright Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana