Potluck Feast Helpful Hints

Complied by Josseline de la Cour, 2010

Potluck feast or events is where the populace brings a dish of food to share with others. It doesn’t have to be hard to take period food to a potluck event. You are able to source many food items premade at supermarkets or easily are prepared. Things to consider when thinking about ‘what do I bring’. I would suggest you look at these food groups – bread, meat, vegetables, cheeses, fruits and nuts. Served individually or together you will be able to bring a plate to share with your SCA friends.

Breads – look for plain round or lightly dusted with flour loaves – sliced thickly. Flat breads bread, bagels, baps and even buns plain or currant/dried fruit. Bread can also be decorative, knotted Breads . Breads can be served with stews, potted meat , or with flavored butter etc.

Meats - One of the most easy things to bring – roast chicken , it can be served hot or cold and is available from most supermarkets. Check out the deli for cold meats such as roast beef, ham, smoked meat but remember to stay away from the processed meats. Stews are easy and simple to prepare, medieval stews often had fruit and was thickened with almonds or breadcrumbs.

Vegetables – carrots, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, onions, zucchini, cucumber, celery, radishes, asparagus, turnips are great medieval vegetables just to name a few. There are many easy recipes using these food items. You can also prepare a great medieval salad using mixed lettuce, spinach and or herbs tossed with oil and vinegar. Just remember not to use new age vegetables like potatoes, corns, tomatoes, iceburg lettuce etc…

Cheese & Eggs – some cheeses you can bring such as Brie, Camembert, Cheddar (1st recorded use is in 1500), Cottage, Mozzarella, ricotta cheese and even soft or cream cheese flavored with herbs. Simply boiling eggs and serving them in shell or peeled with nutmeg is a simple medieval food dish or egg tarts etc

Fruit & nuts – pears, apples, apricots, quinces, peaches, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, red currants, melons, pomergrantes can be found in supermarkets, food markets or if you are lucky enough grown in your garden. Fruit also doesn’t have to be fresh it can be dried – these are great and keep well. Dates and prunes are used in many recipes to add sweetness to dishes.

Serving dried fruit & nuts is a great on the table before meal nibbles. Nuts such as acorns, almonds, chestnuts, Filberts, pine nuts, and Walnuts. These can be served by themselves, sugared or candied or even in dishes to enhance the flour. Peanuts are cheap but they are a modern world nut.

Medieval finger foods such as quiches, pastries, tartlets, small pies, dips (hummas), middle eastern finger food such as falafels that can be bought or made easily. There is so many things you can find that is quite medieval on the shelves of the supermarket that would help you provide a stressfree dish for a potluck event.

How much food do you bring? I normally say 1 plate that serves 4 to 6 people per adult or what the event steward has arranged. If you are a couple or family you can bring either 2 dishes serving 4 to 6 or 1 dish that serves 8 to 12 people. Up to you, you could always bring 1 savory and 1 sweet.

What don’t you bring - For a general idea of some foods that are post SCA period or not suitable would be any new world foods: potato, Beans, red beans, kidney beans, lima beans, cacao beans (chocolate), tomato, avocado, peppers (both bell and hot/chili types). corn (maize), quinoa, wild rice, banana, kiwi, mango, guava, papaya, starfruit, grapefruit, lime, passion fruit just to name a few.

Serving your dish - Serve your yummy food in wooden, metal or even a basket. You can serve in a ceramic or glass but it can get broken. You can bring your own serving utensils but make sure it’s clearly labeled with your name.

There are a few people who do have allergies – such as eggs, nuts, dairy, gluten etc so please label with the ingredients or your name so that people can ask you what is in it.

Sample Potluck Recipes

Daryols - PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: Forme of Cury | CLASS: Authentic - DESCRIPTION: A simple quiche


191. Daryols. Take creme of cowe mylke, oþer of almaundes; do þerto ayren with sugur, safroun and salt. Medle it yfere. Do it in a coffyn of ii yinche depe; bake it wel and serue it forth. - Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Take cream of cow milk, or of almonds; do there-to eggs with sugar, saffron and salt. Mix it fair. Do it in a pie shell of 2 inch deep; bake it well and serve it forth.


Cream - cow's cream, but the option is to use almond cream, which is the creamy white liquid obtained when grinding almonds, used for making almond milk.

Eggs Sugar Saffron Salt Nine-inch pie shell


Beat eggs; beat in cream, sugar, saffron, & salt. Place in pie shell. Bake until filling is done and the pastry has browned. Serve it forth!

Sallet - A salad of various lettuces & herbs, raisins, oranges, lemons, cucumbers, & walnuts, dressed with red wine vinegar, walnut oil, & sugar. Our modern recipe is an adaptation of the following two period receipts:

From Forme of Cury: Salat. Take persel, sawge, grene garlec, chibolles, letys, leek, spinoches, borage, myntes, prymos, violettes, porrettes, fenel, and toun cressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye; laue and waishe hem clene. Pike hem. Pluk hem small wiþ þyn honde, and myng hem wel with rawe oile; lay on vyneger and salt, and serue it forth.

Gode Cookery translation: Salad. Take parsley, sage, green garlic, scallions, lettuce, leek, spinach, borage, mints, primroses, violets, "porrettes" (green onions, scallions, & young leeks), fennel, and garden cress, rue, rosemary, purslane; rinse and wash them clean. Peel them. (Remove stems, etc.) Tear them into small pieces with your hands, and mix them well with raw oil; lay on vinegar and salt, and serve.

Modern recipe:

  • Various fresh lettuces, such as Romaine, Red Leaf, etc., but not “head” or “iceberg” lettuce, washed and torn by hand into bite-sized pieces

  • Fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and torn by hand into bite-sized pieces

  • Various fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, mint leaves (not peppermint), etc., torn by hand or chopped into small pieces

  • Green onions & scallions, chopped

  • 1 small red cabbage, thinly shredded

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced

  • Small quantity of raisins

  • Small quantity of chopped walnuts

  • 1 or 2 oranges and lemons

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Walnut oil

  • Sugar

Combine the torn lettuces, spinach, herbs, chopped onions, scallions, & shredded cabbage into a large salad bowl. Add cucumber, raisins, and chopped walnuts and toss until thoroughly mixed. Cut the oranges & lemons in half, then generously squeeze the juice over the salad; you may also place some of the pulp in the salad as well. Add red wine vinegar and oil, then sprinkle on a little sugar over all. Toss once more until all ingredients are combined. Serve.

Reference or helpful sites:

Gode Cookery - http://www.godecookery.com Heaps of recipes

Medieval life - http://www.medieval-life.net/food.htm

SCA potluck recipes – a basic site but has some easy recipes - http://www.autumnalwind.com/joan/potlucktoc.htm

Intro food class and talks about potluck - http://www.autumnalwind.com/joan/introfoodclass.pdf

If you are still looking at what to bring here is a simple list for you to choose from:

Hot/cold meats – roast chicken, beef, lamb or pork, ham, corn beef

Dried fruit & nuts


Bread & butter

Soups – vegetable, chicken, onion etc

Stews – beef, chicken, pork etc

Honey glazed root vegetables – carrots, turnips etc

Fried beans - oil & garlic

Fresh fruit

Quiches – different fillings

Pastries – sweet or savoury

Custard tart


Fried mushrooms

Boiled eggs

Ginger bread

Almond biscuits



Potted meat

Meatballs with sauce

Turkish delight

Fruit tarts - Apple, apricot or pear tarts


If you want to be a little more adventurous check out the medieval cooking books at the River Haven Hall library or search to the Internet . Gode Cookery - http://www.godecookery.com just to get you started.