Food Storage

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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Gobae
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Food Storage

Postby Gobae » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:15 pm

Recently, I was going over old and new photos of our group's events and it seems as though our biggest anachronism is food containers.

How many people use only period food containers and storage when reenacting?

If so, what are your storage vessels of choice for hard to store things like: flour, honey, oil, and meats?

Finally do you bring all these items on site in period containers, or merely transfer the contents into them once there? It would seem like it would save space and hassle to bring them in their final container, but perhaps transporting them in clay or glass is too much of a pain?



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Fillionous
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Postby Fillionous » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:56 pm

Traveling with a young baby/child means that esspecally for hot summer events a modern coolbox and ice blocks is a must. The rest is a bit more negotable.

There is a point where modern 'soft' constitutions and a desire not to get fully authentic with the squits, means that I will transport in modern packaging / plastic / glass and then transfer to more authentic crocks, pots, bags and pouches. I also find that I will buy in bulk and then only take what I need on camp... I use little zip-lock baggies for things like flour, dried grains and pulses inside soft leather bags. May not be fully authentic, but it keeps the food good whilst giving the sembalance of authenticity if I leave a bag out on the table. Some things I transport in thier final container... I have my cooking oil and honey in period stoppered containers.

I supose we are all restricted by re-enactmentisums... we don't have large bagadge trains of preserved goods in barrels and sacks or the large / mess kitchens providing contontunuous food / bread for the troops... nor can we raid the local farm or go poaching for whatever the land provides.

Just thoughts,
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Bil
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Postby Bil » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:32 am

genarally we find that to use it's "proper" storage actually cuts down on stuff you need to bring (that way you dont need 2 containers fo one item.)

I have made lots of drawstring bags from calico or linin (as a cloth merchant our "lord" would have been able to get hold of supplies of cotton fabric and lets face it you wouldnt waste any scraps that were left over would you). We use the bags for grains, and dried foodstuffs as well as flour (and as an added bonous the flour bags wont split unlike paper ones, though you will need to use a very tightly woven material for flourbags).

As for "coldstuffs" we cheat! I made a coolbox out of a lidded wicker basket and lined it with 1inch polystryene sheets, then made a lining by covering it with alternating layers of newspaper stuck down with emulsion. When that had dried I was going to seal it with several layers of pva glue, but I never got that far (well c'mon it was 5 years ago!...I've been busy!). As it's wicker it blends in to the camp better than a bright plastic one and you can actuall leave it "on show, so when you need to get something from it you dont have to delve into the back of your tent or track muggy shoes about the place, and lets face it a plastic coolbox behind you tent isnt actually that well hidden is it :D
We find that it is actually better than several modern cool boxes we have had over the years, retaining its temperature far longer.

This said I have been wanting to "upgrade" to a better one probly a wooden "chest" rather than wicker and possibly even gas powered but I am limited by trailer space at the moment.

Other than that we , I suppose like most people, buy from farm shops prior to events so we can keep our food on display (well bread and vegies anyhoo) and so they are just part of the display, and again this saves having to hunt for them in your tent, Tho we have a very experienced/knowlegable gardener in our group and he often go's off foraging for firewood and comes back with herb/fungus/plants that he has found that are edible and if he'd could he'd hunt as well, so in a way we forage as well :P

Hope this helps

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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:28 pm

It might help to think seasonally as well, you wont have milk all year round, but will have cheese and butter (sometimes).

So your containers may not have to be that special.

For liquids like honey, talk to a historical potter about glazed pots, not much in the way of interior glazing was around according to at least one hist potter and one ceramic academic.

Puddings (sausages) are portable and a form of meat storage, some could be dried.

Smoked/cured meats.

Bread

dried stufff - peas and beans, grain (can be ported until ready to mill)

some veg are resilient to being out, onions, garlic

A lot of your food will not be prone to instant spoilage in any case, again depending if you are eating seasonally or not.

For much of the above, bags will do the trick, keep them out of the damp, off the floor and not in contact with tent walls etc


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Cat
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Postby Cat » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:28 am

I like the wicker coolbox idea. Nice one!
I'm not a huge L/H person, but this would enable me to transport a day's worth of food-to-cook to 'thentic from plastic and not have to blag tent-space to store it in. Hmmm. I guess I could stick dried rushes on top of the paper layer to simulate the whole lot being rush-stuffed too. Will have to work on this over the winter.


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