This idea came as a culmination of events and
experiments that were long in the making, but once we dove in and just
tried it – were amazed at the simplicity and positive results.
Despite the growing number of fine vendors selling
a variety of foods at large events, such as Pennsic, Potrero, Gulf Wars,
and Estrella, such dining can get expensive over a period of time, and
can leave one feeling anemic, vitamin depleted, and even bored. By the
end of a two week span of eating nothing but Pennsic food – we found
ourselves craving veggies desperately. Our wallets were also depleted
and craving greens also.
Cooking for ourselves was the obvious solution –
and we had tried that for a period of time. We hauled various forms of
charcoal grills, wood grills, propane grills, dug various configurations
of fire pits and built field-style bread ovens…
We brought sundry pots, pans, griddles, heavy
cooking utensils and the like…
Keeping raw chicken, beef, sausages, and
practically anything else is an effort under field conditions. Food can
go bad in rapid time, and the LAST thing you want to deal with while
wearing a corseted chemise or a pair of period hakama is food poisoning.
For some reason, the grand majority of long
war-like events the SCA holds seem to me to be during the height of the
hot season, or through the middle of the nasty rainy season…and getting
cooking fires going after fighting all day, or battling the rain storms,
or slogging through ankle deep mud is often just not fun.
had to be another solution that did not involve bringing in an entire
field-kitchen, setting it up and maintaining it for two weeks, and
tearing it down to haul back to the homelands, yet one that provided the
home cooked variety and flavor, as well as affording the savings usually
associated with home-cooked meals as opposed to dining out.
Enter the Vaccuu-suck concept…an idea
that has revolutionized not only our camping styles and made our
pseudo-medieval lives a billion times better, but the camping lives of
There are machines from various
manufacturers that suck the air out of a bag full of nice food – thereby
prolonging its lifespan. The trick we have discovered is to prepare
meals at home in all their grand gourmet style glory, freeze them in
single serving sized containers, vaccuu-suck the bejeebers out of them –
and deep freeze the lot.
In the coolers, even if the food starts to thaw
after a period of time, the vaccuu-sucked meals will stay safe for
consumption till you can cook them.
To cook, all you need is a large pot
that you can boil water in, a Coleman type stove and propane bottles, a
lighter, tongs for pulling out the cooking bags, and whatever serving
gear you like to eat from.
In the field we like to have sturdy,
easily washable wooden trenchers, heavy forks, knives and the like. We
save the fine feast gear for the fine feast halls! A few minutes in
boiling water, and your pre-cooked, home-frozen meals thaw out and steam
to perfection in very short order…Hot and tasty
Here are some ideas that we have tried.
Nearly any recipe can be used, so don’t feel compelled to use ours
specifically. We will offer tips, though, to make your experience
better. We have made some mistakes in the past, ones you do not need to
make. Most, actually involved OVER-COOKING in the home-kitchen stage.
One learns to slightly under-cook veggies, so they stay crisp in their
steaming bags. Noodles should be cooked slightly firm or al-dente.
Breakfasts are quick and easy. Remember
– all foods are cooked first at home…properly. Don’t throw raw sausage
in a vaccuu-suck bag, and freeze it, expecting to cook it in boiling
FBV&F Means: Freeze – Bag – Vac – deepfreeze.
The common method for this
adventure! Some items are best even double bagged.