Medieval Banquet

dsc_0953medfeast

We did it.  After almost twelve weeks of preparation and work, and feeling like we would simply never be ready, the day of the banquet arrived.  It went well, really well.  The children did their presentations and answered our guest’s questions fairly intelligently.  The food was remarkably good, considering we used authentic medieval recipes and everyone played their part perfectly.  We couldn’t have had better guests.  Thanks Andy and Nik for all your encouragement and your enthusiasm and for joining in with such aplomb!

We had spent most of the day preparing food and laying the table.  I have to admit to more extravagant plans concerning the décor, but the illness which has been making the rounds in our home has been a particularly virulent one and to be honest all of those recovering lacked the energy to carry it off, whilst those currently suffering just wanted to be in bed.  A mantra oft heard in the last week or so by every member of this family is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.  Stupid is a disallowed word in our family, so the children kept giggling each time it was said, but it had an important effect.  In order to pull off the feast and to feel like we had done the last twelve weeks justice, we really did need to keep it simple.

So we ignored the artistic pleadings off our hearts to recreate an indoor medieval castle and focused instead on a beautiful table, spread to the brim with L11’s tasty food.

The table was laid with white table cloths, trenchers, wooden spoons, goblets, candles and greenery from the garden:

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L11 picked the greenery from our garden, whilst C12 poured out the ginger ale, which we used in place of beer.
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A selection of bread rolls in a basket provided us with some carbohydrates, which felt lacking due to potatoes not having been discovered yet
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L10 made her own herb butter by mixing some of her brother’s herbs in with some fresh butter and remodelling it into a barrel shape

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Once the table was done and the food was all merrily cooking away, everyone turned their attention to their costumes, with older ones helping younger ones:

DSC_0287quet

DSC_0281quet

The three older ones look a little nervous as their presentation time approaches
The three older ones look a little nervous as their presentation time approaches
Here they all are, killing some times awaiting their guests
Here they all are, killing some time before their presentations

And sure enough the guests began to arrive, all dressed in their own version of medieval costume.  I was so grateful to Nik for taking the whole thing so seriously.  As her boys are adopted she has requested no photos are put up of her sons, so I have done my best with the photos I have which were just of the adults or my family.

Lovely Nik with B3 and A5
Lovely Nik with B3 and A5

It had been decided that L11 would give her presentation just before the feasting began, outlining medieval banqueting etiquette and expressing what would be expected from our guests:

DSC_0297quet

DSC_0298quet

She did a great job and at the end of her speech/presentation she led her guests to the banqueting table to be seated.

Once seated, the servants (AKA Gary and I) began to bring out the food:

Gary offered the rolls
Gary offered the rolls..
...whilst I put out the duck into one of the serving dishes L11 had previously decorated
…whilst I put out the goose into one of the serving dishes L11 had previously decorated, piling in the vegetables around it
And brought it to the table
And brought it to the table

 

Gary attacked it with his carving knife.
Gary attacked it with his carving knife.

None of us had tasted Goose before, and it was gorgeous.  Although the bird had been 8 kg, a large percentage of that was fat, so there really wasn’t a huge amount of meat.  Next time I would get an even bigger goose.

Whilst Gary was carving the goose, the banquetors were washing their hands in some prepared apple blossom water:

C11, washing her hands.  She really doesn't look well does she?
C11, washing her hands. She really doesn’t look well does she?

In addition to the goose, there were many different types of vegetables, a pork and sultana pie (home-made by L11 and absolutely delicious) and a lamb pie, which was going to be a lamb stew.  This was less popular.  Trenchers were filled with all the feasting foods available and gravy poured over:

A3 with her trencher
A3 with her trencher

The trenchers were the biggest surprise of the evening.  The children were concerned in case they went soggy with the gravy and were badgering me to put plates underneath.  As we were attempting as much authenticity as possible I declined.  These medieval people knew what they were doing though, as there was absolutely no sign of the trenchers going soggy, and they were as hard at the end of the meal as they had been at the start:

A trencher filled with food
A trencher filled with food

L11, in her presentation, had invited the guests to give toasts whenever the fancy took them.  Nik did so with alacrity!

Nik proposing a toast
Nik proposing a toast

 

And the response
And the response

DSC_0320banAfter the main course was completed, everyone was invited to move away from the table, into the living room, to watch C11 and her presentation on medieval fashions.  I was so proud of her, because she really wasn’t well and probably should have been in bed.  She did a grand job in between sniffles and coughs:

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C11 had decided to be one of the fasion house (which probably didn't exist -  a bit of artistic license was called for here)  Her presentation was basically about advertising her dresses.
C11 had decided to be the proprietor of a medieval fashion house (which probably didn’t exist – a bit of artistic license was called for here) Her presentation was basically an advertisement of her dresses.

 

Then she swapped over sides to advertise her ladies wear
First she addressed the peasants of the audience (basically me), encouraging me to ‘look no further for the latest peasant fashions!’, then she moved onto the ladies of the audience, persuading them that her fashion house was THE place to be.

Afterwards she passed her dolls around and answered questions Nik had for her.

Whilst she was finishing answering questions, Gary and I were re-laying the table with the desserts course.  L11 had talked about the subtleties and these were brought out as well:

Cherry pottage, swan subtleties, apple strudel and apple pie
Cherry pottage, swan subtleties, apple strudel and apple pie
Whites swans with red coulis to represent the red and white roses of the two sides of the war of the roses
Whites swans with red coulis to represent the red and white roses of the two sides of the war of the roses
Ginger ale (in lieu of beer), cherry pottage and pine nut candy
Ginger ale (in lieu of beer), cherry pottage and pine nut candy
A photo showing all the deserts including the pear in red wine sauce
A photo showing all the desserts including the pears in red wine sauce

After the dessert course it was T12’s turn to present the War of the Roses.  T12 had been a little nervous about this.  He had pretty much done all the work himself and thus had invested a big part of himself into his play and film.

 

He used the map of Britain we made last year to show the positions of each battle fought during the war of the roses, illustrating which side won
He used the map of Britain we made last year to show the positions of each battle fought during the war of the roses, illustrating which side won

As you can see (above), he used PowerPoint for his presentation, bringing it up on our TV screen.  He also showed his film using our TV:

A clip of his film
A clip of his film

If anyone knows how to put a film up on a blog, I’d be happy to share it.  I just don’t have the requisite skills to do so.  He had done an amazing job pasting the various scenes together to create a fairly seamless film.  He also had title music and credits music, which played as the credits rolled:

Credits rolling
Credits rolling

I was very proud of my three older children and I realised yet again, that next time I needed to include A5.  She is so ready to do her own presentation.

New term begins tomorrow, with new projects, new goals and new ideas for presentations.  It is always pretty exciting to finish a topic, but even more exciting to start a new one!

Home school is kind of cool, don’t you think?

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years  Homegrown Learners photo 50ee37ee-4f60-43f2-83eb-bb7deb75fd49_zpsbacda61d.pngAll Things Beautiful

41 comments

  1. Home school – especially your home school – is indeed very cool! I loved every bit of this – how everyone rose to the occasion in the face of illness, how you and Gary waited on everyone, the costumes, the food, how your guests joined in, your lovely photos… Such attention to detail! I hope everyone’s better now, ready for another great term.
    I’d love to see the video. If you have a YouTube account you can upload it there – there’s an option to only make it available to people who have the url. You can then share the url here. (There’s also a WordPress plugin to have the video embedded on your blog but I don’t know whether it’s available on your version of WordPress.) Feel free to email if I haven’t made that very clear!

  2. I’m so impressed with how much effort, time and detail you all put into this! Really, really wonderful! We are just starting Medieval times and I’m pretty sure I have the energy for a peasant feast (is there such a thing?!).

    1. LOL! Yes, maybe we should have plumped for the peasant feast and then it wouldn’t have taken so long to recover from the one we did host!

  3. Oh so impressive! I wish I could have been a guest 🙂 The girls are beautiful ladies, and the feast looks incredible! Such an incredible array of food at the feast – and none of those dishes are simple..I’m at a loss for words at the feast – goose, subtleties, lamb, wine soaked pears – to name but a few (!!). L may have her calling as a chef at the finest restaurants. I hope everyone is feeling better, and looking forward to the new term!

    1. Thank you Marie. We are gradually getting over the infection – it has been a particularly nasty one with Gary needing to get an inhaler to help with his breathing! (he’s not asthmatic at all). Everyone still sounds like they are full of gunk, but we started back at school last week.

  4. You always impress me with your attention to detail. I can’t believe how much you all got done despite illness, and yes, your dear C11 does not look well. The costumes are wonderful. The decorations are gorgeous and the food is incredible. I am running out of appropriate adjectives to apply to this wonderful event you all have created. Oh, to be schooled by you…what an experience. Thank you for sharing all your gifts and efforts with us.

    1. Thank you Kris. I’m glad we did it but I am so glad we have had a couple of weeks off to recuperate – I think I might be getting too old for all of this!!

  5. I love it! Now you’ve got me dreaming about our own version……

    Like was said up above, you can upload it to youtube to share a video, which would be so cool if you can. If you need help let me know, and I’ll try to show you how in a step by step somehow.

  6. Claire!!! This is MAGNIFICENT!!! Honestly I wish Keilee and I could have attended. This is such an amazing learning experience that your kids will never, ever forget!!! LOVE IT!! And yes Homeschool is VERY Cool!!

  7. What a great example of project based learning! It all came together so well and what a wonderful memory.

  8. Oh, Claire, I am not sure where to begin. Everything is just fantastic. Love the costumes. The food looks absolutely, amazingly delicious. It looks like everyone was well prepared for their presentations. I, too, wish I could have been there. Maybe you will be able to get a video up for us to see.

    So sorry C wasn’t feeling well, but it looks like she did an awesome job. It is neat that even Gary was involved, even though he was a servant eating scraps;)

    Looks like your guests had a marvelous time and what fun to have them participate with costumes and toasts.

    You all should be very pleased with the outcome. I’d say it was well worth the effort. Congratulations.

    I hope you have enjoyed a much deserved rest. I’m excited to see what is next.

    1. Thank you Donna! Don’t feel too sorry for Gary – he had a feast too!
      We did enjoy the rest, thank you. And we have been back at school for the past week. I thought I’d give myself another week off blogging as Gary was unwell with the infection and actually took time off work (which is very rare).
      Enjoy your weekend, Donna!

  9. The detail and amount of work put into this feast is amazing. Your homeschool is definitely the place to be. Everything was impressive. from the array of authentic food to the lovely costumes. We will be studying medieval times next year with my daughter and I’ve been snatching small ideas from you to attempt. Thank you for showing us your wonderful projects.

  10. Claire, have you thought of having T upload video to youtube? It seems with all his computer experience this past term, he could figure it out in a jiffy 🙂

    1. I had a look myself, but couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t thought to let T have a go!! I’ll certainly do that and see if he has a bit more luck than his hapless mother!

  11. Oh my goodness! I am so totally beyond impressed! You all did such a beautiful job! Everything looks so authentic and lovely! I can’t believe how hard you all worked on this incredible presentation, especially while also feeling under the weather! I wish we could have come!

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