Dayboard Prep: Syrup & Sekanjabin


Photo from January 2016 – The most kindly way to preserve plums, cherries, gooseberries, & c. – for Master Alesone’s Laurel Vigil.

So over the last year or so, I have completed a number of historical cookery projects, and I’ve done a decent job at photo-documenting them. However, that hasn’t ever translated into actually sharing the photos or my research and thoughts behind each dish, or the presented whole. While this post is very limited in terms of photos, future posts have may more, showing most (if not all) of the steps/parts of the process. In an effort to correct this general behavior of not sharing, I’m writing a significant chunk of these posts beforehand, adding in pictures and observations, and posting on a (hopefully) regular schedule. So, enjoy!

I have taken on the task of preparing the Day-board for Southern Region War Camp in the Barony of Carillion in the East Kingdom on June 11th, 2016. This is the first in a series of posts detailing some of the dishes and the processes behind them.

Thoughts and plans behind what I’m doing:

One of the easiest things to prep, that can also be made well ahead of time, are syrups to add to drinking water. SRWC is often very hot, and many participants are participating in various marshal activities, working hard to support aforesaid activities, and/or running about and being active. This means that hydration is going to be an essential element in what I’ll need to provide for those attending. Thankfully, the site has a decent water supply, but plain water isn’t ideal for everyone, nor does everyone have the same palate, which is where syrups come in to play.

*Since hydration is such an important element, especially at this event, it is the area I tend to focus more on ways to get people to consume more water than sticking to strictly period appropriate recipes for potables. In future posts you’ll generally see the opposite in terms of priorities.*

I looked over a list of the different drink additives I’ve made over the last year, and I’ve settled on the following plan for hydration – large drink coolers filled with ice (purchased) and water (on-site), with several ceramic pitchers on the table. Half the available pitchers will be cherry syrup (which I first had a year ago, made by Master Alesone), and half will be sekanjabin, to give some choice, but not overwhelm everyone with choices. As we get closer to the event, I’ll pay close attention to weather predictions, as well as my remaining budget, and may add cucumber water, and/or water with lemons sliced into it to the dayboard as additional options.

There won’t need to be just one set-up of syrups, however. We have people scattered thoughout a large site, so everything from food to water will need to be transported to several locations. For sites outside the main building, I have clear plastic bottles with bar-style pour tops, which will help keep insects out, as well as keep the mess to a minimum, while not sacrificing efficiency.

Recipes and Processes

The “cherry syrup” I’ll be using is actually taken from making preserved cherries found in Plat (article by Master Alesone can be found here). I’ve used this to make preserved cherries 3 or 4 times now, including juicing cherries myself (which is more fun than one would think and see picture above from January 2016), but budget is a major concern for this event and cherries have only just arrived in-season here in the Mid-Atlantic. So I’ve elected to get 100% cherry juice (thank you Trader Joe’s), which doesn’t have any additives at all, and boiling it down to thread stage 230-234 degrees farenheit (110-112 celcius). I usually do this by the quart – 4 cups of cherry juice with 4 cups of sugar – and the process lasts about 45 minutes from start to finish (slightly less when the pot is still warm from the last batch). There’s lots of stirring involved, so it’s a great idea to do this when you’ve got friends over to working on other projects as I did.

I personally prefer Cariadoc’s Sekanjabin recipe to the 13th Century Andulasian recipe (which does not include mint, although there is a recipe for mint syrup without vinegar in the same text), and it tends to be what I make for SCA events. Instead of using wine vinegar, I used white balsamic vinegar, since I had a substantial amount left over from a previous cooking gig, and my budget for this event is somewhat tight. In this case for each batch, I took 8 cups of sugar and 4-5 cups of water and brought it to a boil, then added 2 cups of vinegar and simmered it for a half hour. At the end I added a handful of fresh mint, removed the pot from the burner, and covered it to steep the mint until cooled.

What’s up next?

Later this week I’ll be doing a throw-back post to when I cooked a vigil last summer and how that has affected my planning for this dayboard. The post will likely also feature the pickled carrots and pickled champginons (mushrooms) that were made and are being made again here.

Next week I’ll be going over the major protein-components: from pickled eggs to Pyes de Pares (beef & pork pies with dates, currants, and spices).

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Words for the new King’s Bard

KB Scroll

Calligraphy and Illumination are by Lady Astrid Faelin


So it is somewhat of a tradition in the East Kingdom that out-going King’s and Queen’s Bards write the scroll text for their successors. I wrote mine, to the tune of “Gabriel fram Heven King/Angelus ad Virginem” a 13th/14th Century Carol. The scroll calligraphy and illumination were done by Lady Astrid Faelin.

In A.S. 12 in the East ruled Fernando then Frederick.

Alaric Bowbreaker First Bard made by the King’s own pick.
Since that fateful year have served,
Many a bard of fame deserved,
With story, song, and verse,
Through best times and worse,
The King’s Bard has served the East.
Ever since whenever called a Bard has served the King.
Inspiration, wisdom, and joy the Bard, they must bring,
To the people of the East,
Spreading word fame of the great and the least,
Telling our history, our battles, our pain and our revelries,
To preserve them in our mem’ries.
Grimm the Skald did pass the baldric to Martyn de Halliwell.
Kenric, Brennan, and Edward served he stands before us to tell,
Who shall follow and be named,
And rise up to great acclaim,
As the King’s Bard of the East Kingdom,
He calls him forth to us now.
Therefore on this day, do We, Edward Rex, third of that name and 94th King of the East do decree unto all that
Ysemay Sterlynge
is Our King’s Bard. Done this 31st Day of January at Our King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championship in Our incipient Shire of Nordenfjord, A.S. XLIX.
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Words for Samuel di Bianco’s Maunche

I was asked to write words for Samuel di Bianco’s Maunche given at 12th Night. An Elizabethan text was requested, so I started sorting through some of the letters of Elizabeth I. I settled on her Letter of Recall for those who had gone abroad without her license. While the text didn’t lend itself to the nature of this award, there’s some fantastic language and examples of 16th-century early-modern English spelling.

The scroll itself was etched by Cormac Mor, and turned out amazing.

The original text can be found HERE on page 48.

Here’s the completed text with a modernized version below:

By the Kinge. By the Queene.

                Unto our worthie seervant, Samuel di Bianco, we greete you well. Forasmuch as you ar of late far from our presence in this realme, in fair western fields of Hartshorn-dale, esteemed nobles of our court have carryed word to us and our Counsell, and made us privuey thereunto the many laybours and valuable research thou hast cast upon the good people of our realme, We let you, therfor witt, that our pleasr and express will is, that upon the allegeance and duety you owe unto us, make yowr presence known here today before us so that we myght induct you into oure moost esteemed Ordre of the Maunche. Letting you further to understand, that any who myghtn call this our decree into question, we shall procede against them, according to our lawes in that behalf provided. Geven under our signet at our 12th Night Celebracyon in our fair Barony of Carillion the xxij day of Januarie anno societatis 49.

Edward Rex. Thyra Regina.

And the modernized version:

By the King. By the Queen.

Unto our worthy servant, Samuel di Bianco, we greet you well. Forasmuch as you are of late far from our presence in this realm, in fair western fields of Hartshorn-dale, esteemed nobles of our court have carried word to us and our Council, and made us privey thereunto the many labors and valuable research thou hast cast upon the good people of our realm, We let you, therefore witt, that our pleasure and express will is, that upon the allegiance and duty you owe unto us, make your presence known here today before us so that we might induct you into our most esteemed Order of the Maunche. Letting you further to understand, that any who might call this our decree into question, we shall proceed against them, according to our laws in that behalf provided. Given under our signet at our 12th Night Celebration in our fair Barony of Carillion on the 17th Day of January Anno Societatis 49.

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Words for Philadelphia Brown’s Writ for Pelican

I was contacted to write words for a Writ for Baroness Philadelphia Brown to come to River Wars and answer TRM Brennan and Caoilfhionn as to whether she would join the Order of the Pelican. I can happily say that on 13 September 2014, Baroness Philadelphia did become Mistress Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has a late 16th-Century persona, and so I looked to some of the existing letters of Elizabeth I. Although Philly is probably most kind-hearted person you’ll ever have the honor of meeting, I used a Letter of Queen Elizabeth I to the Marquis of Winchester and the Earl of Sussex, Lieutenants of the County of Southampton, to Prepare Against Invasion. 

RIGHT trustie, and righte welbelovid cousines wee greete you well. Whereas heertofore upon the the advertismentes, from time to time and from sondrie places, of the great preparations of foren forces, made with a full intention to invade this our Realme and other our dominions, wee gave our direccions unto you for the preparinge of our Subjects within your Lievetennauncies to be in readines for defence againste any attempte, that mighte be made againste us and our Realme, whiche our directions we finde so well performed, that we cannot but receave great contentemente therbie, bothe in respecte of your careful procedinges therein, and allso of the greate willingenes of our people in generall, to the accomplishement of that whereunto they were requiered. Shewinge therbie their great love, and loyalltie towardes us, which as wee accept most thanckfullie at their handes, acknowledge ourselves infinitlie bounde to Almightie God, in that hit hathe pleased him to blesse us with so lovinge and dewtifull Subjectes: so wolde wee have you make hit knowen unto them on our behalfe, forasmuche as we finde the same intention not onlie of invadinge, but of makinge a conquest allso of this our Realme, nowe constantlie more and more detected, and confirmide as a matter fullie resolved on (an Armie beinge alreadie put to the Seas for that purposse which we doubte not but by godes goodnes, shall prove frustrate), wee have theerfore thoughte meete, to will, and requier you forthewith, with as muche convenient speede as you maie, to call togeather at some conveniente place or places the best sorte of gentelmen under your Lievetennancie, and to declare unto them that consideringe these great preparacions and arrogante threatninges nowe burst owte in action upon the Seas, tendinge to a conquest, whearin everie mans particular state is in the hiest degree to be towched, in respecte of Countrie, Libertie, Wiffe, Childeren, landes, life, and that which speciallie to be regarded, for the profession of the trewe and sincere Religion, of Christe; and layinge before them the infinite and unspeakeable miseries, that followe upon any suche accidente and change (which miseries ar evidentlie seene by the fruites of the harde and crewell governmente that is holden in Countries not farre distante, wheare suche chaunge dothe happen, whatsoever pretence is otherwise geven forthe for the cause of Religion) wee doe looke that the most parte of them shoulde have, upon this instante extraordinarie occasion a larger proportion of furniture, both for horsemen and footemen (but especiallie horsemen) then hathe bine certified, therbie to be in ther best strengthe against any attempte whate soever, and to be imployed bothe abowte our owne parson and otherwise, as they shall have knowledge geven unto them, the nomber of which larger proportion as sone as you shall knowe, wee requier you to signifie to our privie Counsell, heerunto as wee doubte not but by your good indevoures, they wilbe the rather conformable, So allso wee assure ourselves, that Almightie God will so blesse their loyall hartes boren towardes us their lovinge Soveraigne and their naturall Countrie, that all the attemptes of any ennymies whatesoever shalbe made voied and frustrate, to their confusion, your comfortes, and to Godes highe glorie. Given under our signet at our mannor of Greenewiche the xviijth. daie of June 1588, in the xxxth. yeere of our Raigne.

Adjust your eyes to 21st-century spelling for just a moment now… While the original text was meant as a call-to-arms to defend England, the text was easily adaptable into a polite Writ of Summons, as seen in the final submitted text, by simply using parts appropriate to this type of text and preserving the 16th-century spelling:

Praiseworthie and righte welbelovid Philadelphia Brown Wee greete you well. We have been blessed withe so manie lovinge and dewtifull subjects in thees Oure Eastern Landes. Often you have served Oure Realm welle and upon which the Sovraignes directions We finde so well performed, that We cannot but receave great contentment therbie, both in respect of your cafeful procedinges therein, and allso of the greate willingenes to serve and greete every challenge with strengthe and Grace. Whereas heertofore you have been recognized as a Baroness of the Court of Lucan VII & Jana IV and a member of Our Ordres of the Silver Crescent and Terpsichore and the Queen’s order of courtesy, We wish to attempte to meete you and send you on vigil to contemplate answering Our query – to wit, whether or not you shall take your rightful place as a Peer of Oure Realme and join Our esteemed Order of the Pelican. Wee your lovinge Soveraignes have theerfore thoughte to meete, to will, and requier you forthewithe, with as muche convenient speede as you maie, to call together withe Us at River Wars in Our Barony of Iron Bog on the 13th day of September, anno Societatis xlix.

After Our very hearty commendations, given at Our mannor in Ivyeinrust upon the occasion of Noisemakers, the xijth daie of Aprile, in the xlviijth yeare of our Societie.
Brennan Rex       Caoilfhionn Regina
The scroll was created by Lord Reijnier Verplanck and was given out by Their Excellencies of Bhakail, Mael Eoin & Ysmay at Noisemakers IX on 15 April 2014.


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Words for Alys Mackyntoich’s Writ for the Laurel

Alys Writ Scroll

Calligraphy by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng; Photo by Countess Caoilfhionn inghean Fhaolain

So I’m driving home from an event in Havre des Glaces (Quebec City, QC) to home (Bhakail, Philadelphia, PA), and I see an email requesting words for a scroll. I’m pretty sure I turned colorless and was both thrilled and terrified. The person who the scroll text was for, is someone I look up to in the SCA, and someone who is getting the award for precisely what I was being asked to create, in addition to her research on onomastics.

So, of course I took the gig, and planned to write words as soon as I finished my 11.5 hour drive home… instead I passed out and woke up the next morning, got to digging for sources, and within a few hours had written this and sent it off to the amazing scribe that penned the words:

The which day, regarding the articles proposed by our lord King and our lady Queen touching the dispatch of their herald named in the conduct sent by their Order of the Laurel, Peers of this Realm, to pass towards them to treat, commune, contract, and conclude upon the inclusion of Their Majesties’ herald into the aforesaid order, forevermore, and until the end of all times, and likewise to commune, treat, conclude, and contract upon induction of the said herald, and on behalf of their Majesties; the Peers of the articles, after they had heard their Majesty’s mind in that behalf, having consideration of the adversity of times bygone and of the dangerous appearance of vacancy at the present time and similarly to come, have concluded that one ample commission be made and sent with the aforesaid herald that is to appear at Their Majesties’ Bardic Championship for taking, treating, and concluding of inclusion into the Order of the Laurel, forevermore, and until the end of all times, and similarly another commission be made to the said herald to commune, treat, conclude, and contract the said induction with such restrictions and conditions as shall be given to her by Their Majesties, with the advice of the Peers to be chosen by Them thereto, and as they devise to produce the same again before the lords of articles, that they may consult thereupon, of which the tenor follows:

The instructions to the herald to be sent to the Order of the Laurel for contracting of inclusion and induction, be extended at large

In the first, the arrangement be made at length answering the Order of the Laurel’s writings, the writings of the other three estates of this realm, and all others in short and brief sent since then shall be devised.

Item, the commission for contracting the said induction being amply conceived and read to the Order of the Laurel or its commissioners, it is supposed they will desire certain points and security for keeping the said contract, to the which it shall be answered by the said herald and shall be desired by her for the part of the East as follows after:

And first, if it is asked on the King and Queen of the East’s behalf that their herald, Alys Mackyntoich, be delivered to them to be kept until the completing of the said induction, it is to be answered that it is a right high and right great inconvenience to the realm of the East to grant thereof for such reasons and causes as the herald has heard declared by the Crown of the East and as she can show particularly by herself, not believing that the Crown of the East’s majesty is of such high wisdom that she will never deface the same; therefore, it cannot be granted by reason, but that her nobility may remain and be kept in Their presence until such time as she may be able to complete induction.

Item, in case it shall happen that the said Order should become engrossed in their passion for the said inclusion and induction of the said herald, it shall be answered with the most noble and virtuous replies as to generously reflect on the wisdom, majesty, honor, and privilege of the Crown of the East.

Item, it is thought expedient that the induction be perpetually contracted between the Crown and the Order after the form of tradition to be taken with the proviso.

Edward Rex        Thyra Regina


Of course, I didn’t just create those words out of nothingness, not for someone who is being inducted into the Laurelate for her period wordsmithing. Nope, I needed to use one of her own sources to craft the text, because that’s some Herald-Class shenanigans to pull on a fellow herald. So, I went to the records of the Parliament of Scotland from the 16th Century, because that also happens to fit in with Alys’ persona, and be one of the sources I’ve seen her refer to most often in discussion about cool texts.

So I did some digging, somewhat at random, somewhat based on the fact that I wanted something from the Mary Queen of Scots time, and I settled on the 13 March 1543 Commission: Instructions to the Scottish Ambassadors with the English Concerning Peace and the Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots. Its a hefty text, so I won’t post it here, but I’ve put a link below, with more commentary from me to follow.

The Original Document from Scottish Parliament in Modern English

So, I had a fantastic skeleton in this document to work with, and I set about filling in the fleshy-bits. First things first, it had to be from the King & Queen of the East, and not a chancellor, and it had to concern Alys’ joining of the Laurelate. Easy-peasy. Fill-in King and Queen bits, and then come up with two different terms about making Alys a Laurel… because this document is dealing with creating peace AND the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots. So, I went with inclusion into the order and induction, referring to two separate things: A) Alys is not currently a member of the Laurel, and needs to figure out where she will fit in the Laurelate, there aren’t a lot of Heraldic Laurels out there to begin with, either, so this is an uncommon thing; B) Alys isn’t going to be “elevated” per-say, since she is already a Peer and has her Patent from her Pelican circa 15 years ago, so elevation didn’t sit right with me here, so I went with induction, because protocols are important, and Peerage ceremonies often have a level of planning beyond the norm, so I felt that would tie in with some of the bits about marriage.

That took care of the big introduction to the much shorter, more intense “Items” in the instruction list provided by Their Majesties. I decided on only three points, because 1) I was already being really mean to a scribe, it was Monday and this scroll was going out on Saturday 2) People throughout the Medieval and Renaissance Periods were obsessed with three’s, especially Catholics, and the Scots were definitely Catholics, and 3) I was given an amazing third point when I was having trouble finding one (note: crowd-sourcing is usually the answer on how to find inspiration, its occasionally also the answer you’re looking for).

So first, we discuss how people need to be brief, which is no way meant to be ironic in this scroll text at all. Nope, not at all.

Then we get to the items, the first is about how Alys isn’t required to go on Vigil, since she is already a Peer. I really liked this bit from the original text, and this was the only way I could see to modify it and keep it in, I unintendedly started up a dialogue about vigils for second Peerages, but really, it was just a way for me to keep some sweet 16th century text in this document.

The second item, was the last one created, it was crowd-sourced as, “Item: she can not run away screaming and must submit herself to the Laurel when we chant ‘one of us! one of us!'” Which was given entirely in jest, but provided the inspiration for both the second item:

Item, in case it shall happen that the said Order should become engrossed in their passion for the said inclusion and induction of the said herald, it shall be answered with the most noble and virtuous replies as to generously reflect on the wisdom, majesty, honor, and privilege of the Crown of the East.

Finally, a bit at the end taken from the original source and modified to state that these changes should be made permanent when they happen, and it even included a cool word: proviso which is a cool way of notating a condition attached to an agreement from the original text.

Finally, because I was rushing to get this text out, and because I was giggling quite a bit about it, I thought it would be fun to include a “translation” of the text, to be shown to Alys afterwards. Instead, my faithful carpool partner happened to be heralding, and happened to read the text that said, “Do not read.” It was hopefully well received and not too out of line. I’ve included it here, as it’s made its way out into the wide world:

Translation: King Edward & Queen Thyra have exchanged words with the Order of the Laurel. Both Their Majesties and the Order believe that Mistress Alys should be inducted into the Order of the Laurel. Their Majesties wish for Alys to come to Bardic Champions to address this issue. Their Majesties have carefully provided instructions for Their Herald:

Communicate effectively, thoroughly, and briefly.

Item, Alys is already a Peer, and therefore is not required to be sent on vigil at the event.

Item, Alys cannot run away screaming and should probably considering submitting herself to the Laurelate when they chant “One of us! One of us!”

Item, we should probably make this thing permanent.

In the end, I’m very thankful for the opportunity I was given to write this text for a friend who has taught me a lot about creating period-appropriate scroll texts, and is the largest inspiration behind how I create my scroll texts. It was an honor and a privilege in the truest sense of both words.

The only major regret I have about this text is not having the time to have translated it into 16th century Scots, or at least give it some quality 16th-century spelling, but time was of the essence.

Many thanks to both Eleanor and Caoilfhionn for sharing their arts to enhance my blog.

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Words for Wolfgang Gruenwald’s Award of the Burdened Tyger

Calligraphy & Illumination by Lady Astrid Faelin

Calligraphy & Illumination by Lady Astrid Faelin


I was asked by Lady Astrid Feilan to create words for Lord Wolfgang’s Award of the Burdened Tyger for his work on the Coronation feast of Brennan and Caoilfhionn. I used a format called Terza Rima which was first used in Dante’s Divine Comedy in the 14th Century, and was also used by Chaucer. It follows the form: ABA BCB CDC DED…. until such time as the poem ends. Here is what I created, following a brief introduction:



Unto all do We, Brennan and Caoilfhionn, Emperor and Empress of the East send greetings to Our Lord Wulfgang Gruenwald


The feast upon Our Coronation day,

Twas mighty to behold and filled with joy.

Tray after tray flew from the kitchen bay.
Armed with spoon and ladle he did employ,
An army to fill trays brought to tables,
All filled with dishes to delight, enjoy.
A feast fit for all to recall, fabled,

As grand feasts of a time long, long ago.

Burdened Tyger giv’n to chef most able.
Done by hour hands this 28th day of June, AS XLIX in Our Barony of Carillion at Our Southern Region War Camp.
The scroll was created by Lady Astrid Feilan and was given out at Southern Region Melee Extravaganza on XX June 2014.
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Words for Rowen Cloteworthy’s King’s Cypher from Kenric II

Mistress Kayleigh MacWhyte asked me to create words for a King’s Cypher being given out by HRM Kenric II to Master Rowen at the Coronation of Brennan & Caoilfhionn. I only had a short time, and decided to go with a 16th century poem format, in iambic pentameter even, with 16th Century spelling to boot.

I had originally intended to go with what’s called Rhyme Royal, used often by Chaucer with the form ABABBCC, but discovered the English Sestet, used by Shakespeare and others in the 16th Century, often in sonnets, following the form ABABCC.

These are the words I created:

Rex Orientalis am I, Kenric.
Oure loyal seervant Rowen has allways been,
Oure court heerault, managing time and shtick.
Oure King’s cypher for work both seen and unseen.
     He has made his trade into a fine arte.
     Because Rowen is, of course, wicked smart.
Given under Our signet in Our Barony of Settmour Swamp the vth daie of Aprile, in the xlviijth yeere of the Societie.
Kenric Rex
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