We cook over our firepit a lot and everything tastes extra good flavored with a bit of woodsmoke. Except eggplant. But that's another post.
There is no electricity at the feast. If it was cooked, it was cooked over a fire. Food was kept cold in coolers and off site in refrigerator trucks.
Here are just a few of the food vendors we saw at the Feast and some of the ways they were set up to cook the food there. [There were a lot more that I didn't get photos of. Too busy eating!]
Here's the setup used by the guys making buffalo stew. Notice that gorgeous cauldron. I want one. They run about $500. [Yes, five hundred.] That's cheap because it's not a really big one. Notice the knobs on the sides where you can rig it to chains to hang it over the fire.
These guys put their cauldrons on triangular iron frames stuck deep into the ground and then they build the fire underneath. The iron plates around the fire are used to control the temperature and block the wind. Very smart.
Here's a pic of the buffalo stew. They boil the vegetables for an hour and then put the meat in and cook it for another hour. They did a brisk business.
Then there's a hanging unit with the rack on the bottom to hold the pots. See how the hanger has knobs at different levels so you can raise and lower the rack to the height you want? Cool! The copper pot in the pic isn't on the rack, it's hanging from its own hook. There were a few blacksmiths at the show that made hooks of different lengths so you can have different options when you're cooking. Just move the pot from one hook to another as need be.
Notice the big cauldrons behind the copper pot set up! They're on tripods. Nice set up!
One of my favorite set ups was at the croquignolles booth. Croquignolles are fried bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, served hot with a French accent. They were very tasty!
I loved their set up.
They had a huge wooden frame with a long fire pit dug underneath and they hung their fry pots and coffee pots from chains wrapped around the frame.
Here's a closer view of the fry pots and fire pit. I ate one of those croquignolles. It was delicious.
I heart sauerkraut! I had mine on a venison brat, not in stew, but I had to show you this booth because it illustrated a great solution to the big question of How do you stir a big pot of something when it's cooking over an open fire?
You take a long narrow board, drill it full of holes, attach a long handle to it and give it to a kid. This little guy stirred and stirred and stirred, back and forth. Very practical!
The guy behind him has his board out of the stew and you can see the holes in it. The holes are gauged to let the stew through so that the unit doesn't slosh things around. They keep the pots full because they do a good business.
The last thing I want to show you is the difference in how the re-enactors set up their dining areas. Here is a pic of one of the voyageur camp set ups. They had a fire out back, but did all their eating on tables with china. No sitting around a campfire for these nobles.
This is another camp set up from a significantly less noble camp. They use the straw bales to sit on and protect the fire from wind.
Small, but effective. I love the hanging rack set up.