Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France), with assistance from Lady Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne, autocrat, reported on the College of Three Ravens.
For the 37th year, Thescorre celebrated its annual winter schola with 180 gentles attending despite the worst efforts of the still-roaring Ice Dragon.
The classes were the star of the day!
Hosted in the Avian Barony on February 21 at the Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, NY, the College of Three Ravens boasted 25 instructors teaching 37 classes, organized by class chancellor Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona.
A Little History and Lots of A&S
Originally dubbed UWEKAT (The University of the Western East Kingdom at Thescorre) in 1979, the event was renamed in 1999 soon after AEthelmearc stepped away from the East to became a kingdom in its own right. The College fetes Thescorre’s three ravens: Huginn (Norse symbol of thought), Muninn (Norse symbol of memory) and Bob (“Bob Reaf!” which is “Fear Bob!’ backwards); the birds are featured on the Baronial heraldry in their avian splendor.
Instruction at the College this year included classes on stained glass, needlework and fiber arts, literary arts, bardic arts, woodworking, cooking, card games, scribal arts, and many other wonderful branches of the Arts & Sciences.
“The classes were the star of the day!” His Royal Highness, Timothy of Arindale, remarked while enjoying the day.
“A boggart is what we fear most,” Mistress Alicia Langland explained at the beginning of her class, “Too Terrified to Teach? Riddikulus!” using an example from the popular Harry Potter series.
“We need to take whatever scares us most and defeat it with laughter,” as she coaxed attendees to list whatever prevented them from attempting to teach, some of which included fears of teaching whole classrooms as opposed to one-on-one instruction, preferring advanced “301 level” classes to “101” style intro courses, overly enthusiastic students who “take over” the class, not knowing how to answer questions they didn’t know, or just totally screwing up and doing something wrong.
After nonjudgmental discussion of each fear, Alicia walked each student through suggestions and strategies for preventing, preparing to deal with, or resolutions for their concerns. Hearing that the attendees found this very helpful, she plans to teach this new workshop again at future scholas.
Wood, Fire & Iron
“How we cook and what we cook is really affected by the atmosphere in which we cook and the tools available to us,” Baron Janos Meszaros summarized at the beginning of his overview of food technology throughout history, joking he would cover “10,000 years in 50 minutes!”
He visually walked listeners from firepit cooking to hearths and stoves and from wood & clay pots to metal pans. Once humans progressed from hunter-gatherers foraging for food to settled villagers pursuing agriculture, he noted, this allowed potterers to make ceramic pots, which allowed for food to be stored, which led to the development of cuisine, which led to more food being grown, which led to larger populations, which led to the growth of cities… and so on.
Court and Yummy Food
This was the last College to be hosted by the current Avian Excellencies, Baron Aquila and Baroness Bronwyn, since they are stepping down in June.
Our Baroness-Elect, Mistress Sadira Bint Wassouf, was inducted into the barony arts order, the Broche, during their Baronial Court. (Her Excellency and her husband, the late Baron Saleem, were Thescorre’s second baron & baroness two decades ago.) She also planned and coordinated the delicious lunch, which offered a delightful range of period German dishes (cheese flouden) juxtaposed with period Arabic dishes (red lentil soup, meat pies).
“I decided to highlight my two cultures,” Her Excellency explained. “I’m half Syrian and half German, and I’ve done several feasts focusing on recipes from either one, but this time I wanted to do them together. The flouden – very thinly rolled bread dough filled with slices of Swiss cheese – were incredibly popular throughout the lunch hour. The amazing shortbread cookies, flavored with lavender Her Excellency grows at her home, were another high point of the delicious lunch!
‘It’s very important to me that food taste good and that people get enough to eat,” she smiled while watching gentles gobble up seconds and thirds.
The head cook, Baroness Nuzha bint Saleem, was inducted into the Millrind during Regency Court for her years of cooking (often with her mother, Sadira), teaching, retaining, and many other forms of service.
Her Excellency had an intriguing theme for the evening’s meal, “A Tour across Europe,” which sold out at 96 seats. Having started helping in SCA kitchens when she was six and served as head cook when she was only 15, Nuzha found that in 20 years of cooking single-themed feasts there were individual recipes that she really liked and wanted to do again, or just never had gotten to make because they didn’t fit into a past feast.
Plus, her two great friends and assistant cooks, Lord Andrew of Thescorre and Lady Elzbieta Triadenyte “chose ones that they had always wanted to try or loved as well. I figured that they shouldn’t have to wait 20 years to get to do the things they’d always wanted to do. And we found that even doing a feast where we could make ‘anything we wanted,’ there were still many things that we ended up NOT making. Which was odd!”
So, the dishes ranged from Portuguese to French to English to Roman and finally to German. While all dishes were warmly received and inhaled, Her Excellency said she was most happy with the custard tart included in the dessert selections. “It is one of my personal recipes that I make for people at my home and I was very happy that everyone seemed to enjoy it.”
In addition to the normal challenges head cooks face, Her Excellency spent the last week attempting to buy ingredients and prep this feast while closing on her new house and packing to move!
Despite repeated near-blizzards that pummeled the area throughout the week, industrious gentles drove to her house several times to help, including Baroness Bronwyn and her daughter, Lady Venetia. “Your help those days made the feast happen. Without you both, I would not have completed my prep. I was certain I would have to cut items out of the meal. Your help allowed me to ADD the pork roast (to the menu). Thank you!”
Although both cooks have always offered recipe books with past meals, their recent busyness understandably prevented them from having such available at the event. They expect to post the recipes soon to the Barony webpage or social media.
While diners enjoyed the sumptuous meal, Mistress Daedez and Lady Elen Woderose entertained them with tales and songs.
In additional court news, Lady Elzbieta was inducted into the barony’s martial order, the Black Talon, while in Regency Court, Lady Vistalia joined the Keystone, and Duchess Ilish O’Donovan took Baroness Clarice Roan as her apprentice.
Lastly, Lord Simon Peregrine offered a gratis portrait session all day in the sanctuary for event attendees, the photos from which he has posted to his Facebook account for all to enjoy. He hopes to procure a space to offer another photography studio at Ice Dragon.