Scolairi Notes

November AS XLII (2007)

Random Notes from the Seneschal

Chatelaine Report

Minister of Arts & Sciences

Da'ud Bob: As You Like It

Recipe Corner

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Random Notes from the Seneschal

Was great to see those who could attend at the shire's anniversary party last weekend. The costumes were great, the fire VERY warm, a good time was had by all.

We're slowly closing in our our mini scribal & cooking event December 1st. Please check with the autocrats for how you can best serve our guests at the event.

It's hard to believe at times that it's been 22 years since the shire was started. There have been a lot of changes over the years - some for good, some not for good. I'm still very worried about the waves of apathy that hit our shire at times, the lack of a strong heavy fighter core, and the various political splits that are harming our group and driving people away. We must do better; we can and will do better.

Take care, play safe, play nice.



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From the Chatelaine

This may not be a specifically “Chatelaine” topic, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

I know I have complained at times that we in the SCA just don’t seem to be practicing courtesy as much as we used to, helping carry large bulky items, holding doors open, helping set up camp, waiting patiently, etc. (Come on, ‘fess up, you’ve probably mentally cussed at somebody who could have helped you with that door when your hands were full!)

I just had an eye-opening conversation about courtesy with a friend of mine who pointed out several very good reasons why he has slacked recently in the courtesy department:

1) Not being thanked.
2) Being told “NO” rudely, rather than a polite “No thank you.”
3) Being repeatedly tracked down because he helped before.
4) Being imposed on and “volunteered” to do something even when he had other legitimate obligations.
5) Having someone “demand” his help because it was “expected” and “rude” to refuse.

I think that would make me more hesitant too! Now if he can make more of an effort to be courteous, I can give up the complaining, and make a greater effort to remember to show my appreciation to those who offer to help! It’s so easy to forget there are two sides to every story. I guess I’ll have to be the horrible warning yet again. Maybe some day I’ll be the shining example, but don’t hold your breath!

By the way, Thank YOU!




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MoAS Report

Greetings all,

I have scheduled the A & S meeting for November 15 at my house instead of the church. We have a lot of art catalogs to collate into registration packets for the event and there are just too many of them (and they’re HEAVY) to tote to the church. If anyone would like to help, please be at my house by 7:00pm.

The most recent Arts and Sciences quarterly report was due Nov. 1 and I submitted it on time. Remember, if you can’t get to a business meeting you can always submit your projects to me by sending me a list of accomplishments via e-mail to <> or <>. Remember to include both your mundane and SCA names.

Our event, “Pots and Pens,” scheduled for Dec. 1 at the Davis Lodge, is rapidly approaching. Be sure to sign up to help!


Sites of Interest

Hunterian Psalter; A selection of Images from the Glasgow University Library. MS Hunter 229 (U.3.2.)
Accessed 10/18/07

This site displays selected images from a 12th century English illuminated manuscript of over 200 vellum leaves. The display of this collection is part of the 2007 Hunterian Museum Bicentenary Exhibit at Glasgow University Library.

Takesaki Suenaga’s Scrolls of the Mongol Invasion of Japan.
Accessed 10/24/07

A Thirteenth century manuscript that has been carefully reconstructed from scattered remnants. It is possible to compare the original in its “restored” form, a 19th century copy with otherwise missing scenes and a modern reconstruction that erases later additions to the scrolls. A glossary is also provided. Be sure to use the arrows in the lower margin to move & view all of the scroll.

The World of Chaucer. Medieval Books and Manuscripts

Another exhibit of images at the University of Glasgow. This site covers Chaucer’s contemporaries, influence, medicine, magic, monks, leisure, law and learning. There is also an excellent bibliography.



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Da'ud Bob

You gotta love serendipity. I mean, there I was, sitting around on a Sunday afternoon, taking it easy, wondering if there was anything good on the television. Sitting in my La-Z-Bubba, feet up (boots off!), and started flipping through the channels. Nope. Nope. Nope. Definitely no. No. Hmm, maybe, if there’s nothing better. Nope. Nope. And then, all of a sudden, there it is, on HBO. One that I hadn’t even gotten an inkling was even in production, much less in distribution. (As it turns out, it had never appeared in the theaters, and wasn’t even scheduled for release on DVD for another month. Given the normal publishing lead time for these reviews, it’s probably available for you now. Go to and click on “Shop Now”, and then search for the title.) “Wow!” I thought to myself. I didn’t know about that one! And it was just starting. Serendipity strikes again! So I pulled out my notepad, made sure my pen was working, and watched. And so it is that this month, Da’ud Bob review Kenneth Branagh’s take on William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Starring many of Branagh’s usual players (though not the man himself, who only wrote the screenplay and directed this time around), along with some new additions: Brian Blessed in a dual role of both Dukes, Bryce Dallas Howard as Rosalind, Romola Garai as Celia, David Oyelowo as Orlando de Boys, Adrian Lester as Oliver de Boys, Richard Briers as Adam, Alfred Molina as the fool Touchstone, Kevin Kline (who’s last outing in Shakespeare was a great turn as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Jacques, and Janet McTeer as Audrey, this is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, and has many of the facets of some of his best comedies. Young lovers, separated by fate; multiple “young lovers” couples; women disguised as men; plots and counter-plots; and a happy ending. And, of course, no one dies. (It’s one of the main ways to tell a Shakespearean comedy from a Shakespearean tragedy. In a tragedy, there are bodies galore.)

Good points: Well, it’s Shakespeare! It’s Shakespeare by Branagh. The music (for the most part). The cinematography. It’s a much better version than the one done in 1936 which starred Laurence Olivier as Orlando.

Bad points: For some unknown reason, it’s set in Japan. Even though most of the actors are of European and African descent, and most do not wear Japanese clothing. Nor is most of the scenery notably Japanese. It seems to me that this would have worked just as well had the setting been in Italy (a la Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing) or someplace else in Europe. In any case, and for whatever reason, it’s set in Japan. People falling in love left and right. (It seemed that you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone who was in love with someone.) Were there lions in Japan? The shepherd had only two sheep.

Zero breasts. One-half gallon of blood. No dead bodies. Sumo wrestler fu. Fire fu. Lion fu. Flower fu. Sumo wrestler rolls. Rosalind rolls. Gratuitous poetry about Rosalind. Gratuitous tai chi chuan. (A Chinese discipline rather than a Japanese one, but why quibble about that, when so much else in the movie isn’t Japanese either?) Gratuitous goat. Gratuitous “Shakespeare Advisor” in the closing credits which, given Kenneth Branagh’s experience and expertise doing Shakespeare, begged the question, “Why?” Filmed in Sussex, and not in Japan. Academy Award nominations to Brian Blessed for doing both Dukes so well and differently; to Kevin Cline as Jacques the morose Frenchman for the “All the world’s a stage” and the “seven ages of man” speech; and to Bryce Dallas Howard as Rosalind/Ganymede for “And I for no woman!” A 73 on the Vomit Meter. Two stars. Da’ud Bob says “Check it out!”

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Recipe Corner

Frytor of Erbes (Fritter of Herbs)

The Forme of Cury – the online version at Cindy Renfrow’s web site Recipe XX.VII.XI

Take gode erbys (good herbs). grind them and meddle (mix) them with flour and water & a little zest and salt, and frye them in oyle. and eat them with clere hony. The spellings and abbreviations are a little different in the online version, but that’s the basic recipe.

Good herbs is a pretty non-specific ingredient. There are quite a few medieval herbs you could choose from, but I happened to have these on hand: Parsley, watercress, basil and oregano. I beat an egg until it was fairly frothy and added about half a cup (total) of the above four herbs. I just pulled the leaves from the stems & didn’t bother to cut them into little pieces. Then I added a sprinkle of salt and a squirt of lemon juice. I didn’t have a fresh lemon handy, so no zest. I then stirred in about a half cup of flour a bit at a time. It made a fairly sticky batter, a little thicker than pancake batter. I dropped it by tablespoonfuls into a skillet with hot olive oil. It made 5 good size fritters. I fried them on medium heat until they were golden brown, pulled them out and drizzled a bit of honey over the top. They were surprisingly delicious! The herbs cooked up very tender and gave the fritters an aromatic and savory flavor. Not as overpowering as I expected. The outside was crispy with the inside being lighter and fluffier than I expected as well. The honey made an excellent compliment to the flavor combination.

This one is definitely going on my list of good recipes to try again!

Mozzarella Cheese

My nephew, Bob, and I also tried our hands at cheese making. (See how an enthusiastic new person can keep you on your toes?) We tried mozzarella, since it sounded like a fairly quick and easy recipe. We started with a gallon of typical store-bought whole milk. (Pasteurized and Homogenized Vitamin D, yum!) Heated it up (about 180 degrees) and added 1 tsp. powdered citric acid, then 1/4 tablet rennet. Citric acid, like lemon juice, gets the curdling process started. Rennet is an enzyme that causes the milk to curdle even more thoroughly. A medieval source for rennet would have been the lining of a calf’s stomach, although there are also vegetable sources for rennet these days. Comes in handy little tablets or liquid. (If you’re interested, the Common Ground Grocery Store in downtown Bloomington sells rennet.) The warm milk started to set up into little curds right away. We pulled the first batch of curds out a little too quickly though. As they whey continued to cool, we looked back into the pot & noticed even more curds had set up. We strained the curds out of the whey with a colander and cheese cloth. Then we warmed the curds until they were almost too hot to handle, added 1/2 teaspoon salt and kneaded them. It was kind of like pulling taffy. The kneading gives the mozzarella its typical stringy, firm texture. We warmed the curds for about a minute in the microwave. The medieval process would be to keep the whey at almost scalding temperatures & dip the curds back into the whey to keep them warm while kneading. So we ended up with 2 batches of lovely mozarella.

We’ll have to let the rennet and milk sit for a bit longer next time to make sure the curds have formed completely before we start separating them from the whey. We had edible mozzarella cheese in about a half hour. I just love kitchen chemistry! The left-over whey still contains some protein, vitamins, and minerals, so I used it as the liquid in a couple batches of bread. Whey was sometimes drunk as a beverage in the middle ages. It can also be used to make Ricotta, Gjetost, and some other types of “whey” cheeses. We haven’t had a chance to try those yet.

- Ellen


Nutella S'mores

1 jar Nutella

1 bag mini marshmallows

1 box Graham Crackers

Take half a graham cracker sheet, spread on Nutella, sprinkle with marshmallows. You can eat it this way or torch it with a creme brulee torch. Make as many or as few as you'd like.

- Catalin


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This is the on-line version of The Scolairi Notes.  Scolairi Notes is the publication of the Shire of Baile na Scolairi, a branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.  Scolairi Notes is available from Renee LeVeque, 711 E Taylor, Bloomington, IL 61701, at no cost.  It is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and does not delineate SCA policies.  Opinions expressed herein are not those of  the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.  Webbed version created by Rory mac Feidhlimidh.