Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 - Symbolism in the Feast - The Power of Five

Note: Four is an unlucky number-   it is generally avoided because the word for four is shi (四/し)  closely resembles the word for death shi (死/し)--avoid serving in groups of 4-only serve 1, 2, 3.

Note: Fourth Course* (sweets) will be referred to as what it is "Anmitsu" --traditionally sweets are not served as a separate course but eaten with tea or served as part of the meal.

The Power of Five
- The number five is considered important in Japanese culture, and this extends to its food traditions as well. They form the basis of concepts that have been in place for centuries.

Five Colors - The prevalence of the five colors – white, black, red, green and yellow – has been a tradition since Buddhism arrived from China in the 6th century.

White 白 shiro - includes rice, tofu and soy milk, mild-flavored, delicate white-fleshed fish (shiromi-zakana) and “white meat” pork. White is the traditional color of mourning. It also represents purity and truth.

Black 黒 kuro - includes very dark foods such as nori laver, eggplant skins, shiitake mushrooms, and black sesame seeds. Black is symbolic of the night, unknown, mystery or anger. It also represents masculinity, knowledge and prosperity.

Red 赤 aka - includes fruits, vegetables, meat and some dried beans. Red is symbolic of blood, self sacrifice and passion. During the Japanese civil wars (1467-1568), red was loved by the samurai and worn as a symbol of strength and power in battle.

Green 青 ao - The word for blue, 青 (ao), actually refers to both blue and green. The word for green came into usage during the Heian period (794 – 1185). This category includes leafy vegetables and herbs and oily fish (mackerel, smelt, sardines). The color green is symbolic of energy, eternity, vitality, growth and fertility.

Yellow 黄 ki - includes fruits, vegetables and eggs. It is symbolic of courage, nobility, beauty and cheerfulness.

The Five Tastes

Salt (鹹 kan)
Sweet (甘 kan)
Sour (酸 san)
Bitter (苦 ku)
Spicy (辛 shin)

Umami (うま味) --Umami comes from the Japanese word umai - meaning delicious & savory-literally translates to "delicious"

Five Ways to Prepare Food - raw (aemaze, water chestnuts) simmered (o-zoni, kabocha), fried (smelt), steamed (fish) and roasted or grilled (fish, possibly eggplant).


*Corrected--removed "remove" and replaced with "course".

For more information please see the following: Serve it Forth: A Periodical Column of Historical Cooks-"Of Course its "Course" or Remove 'Remove'" By Elise Fleming.  You will see it on the left side of the page.

If you have not visited "Serve it Forth" please do--it is a wealth of information for anyone interested in historic cooking. 

Crown Tourney 10/19/2019 Feast Symbolism - Marimo Balls


Marimo balls will be part of the table decorations at feast.  With Luck, the tables will have a zen garden, with a light feature containing a netted candle holder that will resemble a Japanese float, a flameless candle, and as a water feature, a small aquarium containing marimo balls. 

Marimo Balls - Marimo balls symbolize love, luck and prosperity. The story begins as a tale of star-crossed lovers, Senato, the daughter of the Ainu Tribal Chief and her lover Manibe, a commoner.

Senato, daughter of the chieftain of the Ainu tribe, had long wavy black hair down to her shoulders and was tall and strong. She was the jewel of the Ainu tribe. Beautiful as she was she wouldn't have her days sitting around so she went out foraging with the tribal women. She went to fish for salmon one day with a small group of women, when out of nowhere a herd of galloping deer crash into the waters scaring away all the fish and splashing the women.

The deer were frightened at the sight of the ladies and had turned around on themselves stumbling about as the men riding horses galloped in behind them. The men all with shoulder length dark colored hair, musky growly beards, and dressed in elk skins were wielding strong bows. They shot forceful arrows at the deer and with swift clanks the six deer dropped to the ground.

The princess Senato looked up from her now empty fish basket at the gloating men and her eyes meet with the soft somber eyes of Manibe the only man without glee on his face. The men jumped down to retrieve the deer as Senato and the other women look around fumbling in the river waters for the fish that remained.

As Senato was reaching over to gather a lost salmon from the waters Manibe appeared behind her and tapped her shoulder. She jerked up startled. Manibe looked down at his hands sheepishly. Senato followed his gaze to find some fish bundled up, it appeared he grabbed them from downstream as the other men tied the deer to the horses. She looked down at the fish bundle and smiled.

Months continued on and similar gift exchanges of minor accounts occurred. Princess Senato gave him gloves for his hands, embroidery patches, and leather bindings while Manibe gifted a small bone dagger, many elaborate flower arrangements, and a circular stone pebble necklace pendant. The gifts were given and cherished in secret. The two enduring souls kept their tale a secret for Manibe was but a simple commoner. With great secrecy came great grief about lying to the tribe. It slowly took a toll on Senato. So much so to the point, she asked Manibe to confront her father with her about their love.

Together the two told the chief of their love for one another. Princess Senato gushed and continued on not crossing the stern look off the chief's face the slightest. He did not give blessings for the two to be together. Senato was escorted to her room and Manibe was told not to continue on with Senato sternly by the chief and his advisors.

The two met up in secret two days later and decided if the tribe would not have them they would leave. They ran off into the desolate woods along the lake near Mount Meakan where they lived out their lives. The Ainu are animist. Animist believe everything in nature holds a kamuy, a spirit or god, on the inside. Meaning from the trees to the water and the grass walked upon everything natural held a kamuy spirit within. Decades after the crossed lovers ran off into the mystical dark woods the mysterious moss balls appeared in the lake. Rumors have spread that in time Senato and Manibes spirits metamorphosed into the Marimo Moss Balls in Lake Akan and the rest of the region.

Some believe it may have had to do with the mythical beings the two lived with amongst the dark misunderstood woods. The green balls flourished and ever since then, Marimo Moss Balls have been given as symbolic gifts to partners who wish to spend the rest of their days together. With love, luck, and prosperity Senato and Manibes enchanting tale of cross love will endure through time and tales morphed.

The star-crossed love story of Minabe and Senato has come to symbolize Japanese Marimo moss balls as a token of everlasting love. The endurance of the moss balls, that can live for hundreds of years, is a poetic representation of a love that can endure the weathers of time and tribulations.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Battle of Five Armies Feast 9/12/2015

Blast from the Past--after the event was held I attempted to get all of the recipes compiled, but was unsuccessful.

Sep 11, 2015 at 6 PM – Sep 13, 2015 at 12 PM
Indian Hills 4-H Camp

Come join the Barony of Flaming Gryphon as the forces of the Baronies of Flaming Gryphon, Middle Marches, Brendoken, and Red Spears battle to protect their lands from the forces of Duke Edmund of Lozengia. The Duke claims to possess a document granting him sovereignty over lands currently held in fief from the Crown by the Barons. This disagreement over points of law will be settled, and bragging rights awarded, during this very special Battle of Five Armies at Harvest Days. All comers can enjoy heavy and rapier combat, archery competitions, a populace choice A&S competition, classes, youth activities, and a feast cooked outdoors. And, yes, the Tavern Brawl is on!

First - Lozengia -On the table: Bread, cheese, butter.

Hors d'oeuvres: Tarts of Coneys in Sauce, Loseyns (Cheese Lasagna), fresh cherries and berries

Second- Middle Marches

Ragout of Pork, chestnuts and apples, Leek and Mushroom Tarts, Wilted greens

Third - Red Spears

Roasted leg of goat, Arroz con Caldo de Carne-rice cooked in meat broth, Apicius flower Drink - sharbat

Fourth -Bendoken

Lamb Pasties and Chicken Pasties, Honeyed Carrots

Fifth  -Barony Flaming Gryphon

Elizabethan Banqueting Course consisting of, dry suckets of candied plum, melon, pear, fig, beets, carrots, parsnips, ginger, orange and lemon peel, Comfits of anise, caraway and fennel, Fruit Paste of quince and rosewater, peach, strawberry, raspberry and honey, Shellbread, Fine Cakes, Marzipan, Gingerbread, Mint muscadines, Callishones and Manus Christi with violets and dianthus