King and Queen's Rapier Champions was the event that msmemory and I have both been prepping for for a couple of months now. On the one hand, she was running the dayboard; on the other, I had arranged something like half of court.
Dayboard first. Lunch pretty much illustrated what happens when you put a Pelican in charge of the meal. She's spent the past several weeks muttering "They're all going to starve to death" on a regular basis, and adding another dish to menu each time. So by the time actual prep began (last weekend), we were looking at a sideboard that many SCA branches would consider a pretty credible dinner feast.
For the carnivores there were roasted chicken legs and (store-bought but yummy) meatballs served with three sauces: "gauncile", which is a creamy garlic sauce; Lombard Mustard, which is a honey mustard with a vinegar back-kick; and a Sauce Verde (literally, "green") of sage and thyme. There were mushroom tarts (using a recipe from Old Marian), and an onion soup that I spent three hours Friday night caramelizing onions for. There was a homemade cheese that tpau prepared -- the texture wasn't quite what she was planning (came out kind of yogurty), but very tasty nonetheless -- along with the usual plain and honey butters to go on the bread. There were hardboiled eggs prepared by Yeliz and Fu, who also dealt with the chicken. There two kinds of pickles, two kinds of olives, and homemade pickled onions and mushrooms, so that the combatants would get their salt-and-vinegar fix. To drink, we had lemonade, fresh apple cider and mulled apple juice. And for dessert, we had homemade hais -- date-and-nut balls, rolled in sugar.
Suffice it to say, no one starved.
Saturday dawned bright and bloody early (well, by programmer standards) -- we had a lot of prep to do before lunch, so we got to the site a little after 9 and began unpacking both of our cars. (Mine full of kitchen gear, hers full of food.) The Brute Squad got sent out to help us, which made things go much more quickly. I spent the next hour or so in the car, going first to Costco for the cider, thence home again for the sugar to roll the hais in. By the time I got back, the kitchen was in full swing.
I spent the next hour or two rolling the hais. (tpau had started in on it, but was getting a bit overwhelmed by the sesame oil binder, which is rather pungeant in such quantity. I enjoy rolling them out, so I took over and played in the date goo for the rest of the morning.) Every now and then we would get reports from upstairs about the fact that the Royalty still hadn't arrived, so the tourney hadn't started. That had me more than a little nervous, since my plans for the afternoon hinged heavily on the timing. But more about the conspiracies later.
Lunch went generally quite smoothly. We had a capable staff upstairs serving it out, which was good, since it was a pretty complex sideboard. Unfortunately, we wound up with an enormous line for lunch. As far as I can tell, this is mostly because everyone is used to dayboards that "sell out" quickly, so if you don't get in early you don't eat. In this particular case, we'd made plenty, so the people who sat out until the line shortened got just as much of pretty much everything.
Court was supposed to happen at about 4pm. That was a bit stressier for me. I'd recommended a number of people for Stuff, and several of them were happening at this event; I'd been placed in charge of making sure the relevant people were present. Of course, the usual SCA fondness for surprise awards makes this rather trickier.
I'm afraid I made Adhemar, the Royal herald, slightly nuts over the course of the day. I knew that several of the recipients had evening commitments, and was very concerned about whether their awards would actually happen before they had to leave. Eventually, he firmly declared that Court was going to happen as promptly as possible, and would end before the theoretical end of the event, g'dammit; he was as good as his word, and got things done by 6pm, which was when folks really started to need to go.
Other than that, things mostly went smoothly. The only wrinkle came when word began to circulate at around quarter of 4 that keshwyn was planning on leaving shortly, rather than staying for court. This sent me and palegreyminion (who I'd recruited to make sure she was at the event) scurrying around to intercept her. Eventually we found her, and I decided that actually having her there was a lot more important than surprising her in court. So I tapped her on the shoulder, and Officially Asked that she stay for court. Being a clever apprentice, it only took her about two seconds to twig to the import of that request. She took a look at her garb, whispered "Oh, crap" and asked if she had time to dash home and change. I allowed as to how, if she skeddadled, she should be back in time.
It was good to see all of the awards happen. There were AoAs for Alessandra and Sioned, who have been capably running Fenmere for the past couple of years. There was a long-due one for keshwyn, followed shortly by one for my other apprentice Ciana. There was one for asdr83; laurion and shprintzah had arranged for her parents to be hidden in the back, up on the balcony, so they could see it. (Her mother was one of the original founders of the Barony, and while she gafiated many years ago, we knew that she would want to be there.) The very last business of court was a Manche for Orlando, which was very well-deserved -- he's done a wonderful job of taking the Carolingian Peasants' Guild from being an ancient joke to actually being a productive and interesting guild. And lots of other awards, all of them really good to see. (I'm not going to try to post a comprehensive report, because I'm sure I'll forget things.)
Not everything was a surprise, of course. Ciana, in particular, had noticed that Orlando and I had both freaked slightly when she changed her name a few weeks ago, and got suspicious from that. (Adhemar did manage to call her into court with her new name, but the scroll has the old one, having been finished before the name change.) Still, everyone did seem happy with it, and that's really the point.
Afterwards, we finished kitchen cleanup (which was blessedly quick, since folks had been working on dishes in the background all day), packed up and came home. msmemory and I are both a bit tired and achy, but it's very much a good ache. It's always gratifying when plans come together...