Why do I need Feasting Gear?
Most Feasts require you to bring your own feasting gear. this is so autocrats dont have to arrange place settings for everyone but also so you can customize your table setting to your persona. I personally have had two personae and both of them had very different place settings and manners. Ingridr was a norse warrior woman, had rough wooden and earthenware bowls, a selection of knives to eat with and very little else (Hey! knives and fingers work just fine!) my new persona Lisette is more refined. she is late period and very froofy, therefore she has dainty cutlery silver bowls and plates and as much lace and filligree as one can handle. but I digress. my point is that feasting gear helps you carry across a persona and create a medieval atmosphere.
What are the bare essentials I can get by with?
ok, you need at least one plate, bowl (or two different bowls) a knife, a fork, a spoon, a tankard or goblet, a tea towel, and a candle. lets go through these one by one.
Plates and bowls: these can be wooden, metal or earthen ware. NOT plastic! try to go for materials which were around then. within reason of course! if your plate is aluminum rather than silver no one is going to care as long as it doesn’t look modern. go for things that look medievalish. the wooden mix salad bows that they sell in safeway are fine for starting out!
Knifes and Forks: your standard butter knife wasn’t really around in early period – if you want to go earlier try getting a fixed bade knife (not folding) from the local army disposals store and pick up a fairly standard straight blade with a wooden handle. forks were generally two or three pronged. you can get a normal fork and remove two of the center tines to make a period fork if you are good with your hands or you can pick up something similar at an op shop.
Goblets and tankards: both are easy to come by in op shops and pawn shops. generally metal is best but I have seen earthenware and crude glass. many tankards have the bottom made of glass dont worry about that – it is really hard to get them without.
Tea Towel: you usually do your own washing up at feasts so unless you are like me and take dirty stuff home for the dishwasher you are going to want to take a tea towel to dry it with, detergent and stuff are supplied but unless you want a soggy towel that does more harm than good bring your own!
Candle: SCA feasts are not lit with electric lights – this would be poor for the mood! instead each person brings a candle stick and candle. some people bring full floor candlearbras some people take small trivet style candleholders. pillar candles are best and usually unscented although fragrances that are period are acceptable (lavender, rose etc..). metal candle holders are best and something relatively medieval looking if you can find it!
Some things you dont have to have but are useful are:
a bottle to disguise your coke or whatever and that you arent ashamed to have on the table. the more period looking the better, a blottle with a stopper and a leather band are the best kinds;
a basket to carry it all in looks much better than a plastic safeway bag! wicker baskets work well – you may have to shop around to find one big enough; a cushion because those seats get mighty hard – plus you can sit on them during court!
a cushion is also a good chance for you to show off your embroidery (if you are any good – I’m not!) and is yet another thing you can put your device on! speaking of devices you can also bring…
a banner showing your device to hang on the wall and show off to everyone!
Where can I get this stuff?
Most Feasting Gear can be found at Op-Shops for prices ranging from about 10 cents to a few dollars. I have found a set of goblets for $15 at an op-shop but they are silver and really nice – that would be the most expensive thing I have seen be prepared to dig around, op shops are often clumped together and it is a good idea to check them all out often all of their cutlery is chucked into a basket and you have to weed through it but you do get some gems that way! Pawn shops are also good although more expensive but you can also get very good quality stuff. Occasionally there will be SCA market days at events like festival and newcomers, these are good places to get handmade things that are very period but will often cost you still more. Market days will be listed on the Events page.
Ok, I’m convinced what more can I do?
Feasting gear can be as much or as little as you put into it. I have seen people with full table areas complete with tablecloths, cushions, vases, chairs (dont make it bigger than the B&Bs though otherwise you might have to swap!) everything. like everything in the sca you can put as much or as little effort into it and play to your strengths!