North Woods Story: My first feast, my first Twelfth Night

by THL Lucia Greenstone

My second event ever was Twelfth Night, during the first reign of His Dear Departed Majesty, the Great Sultan Jafar. I invited all my friends. It was held at the old Armory in Lansing. I was wearing an embroidered green gown I'd made of old bedsheets (made as Renaissance Festival garb) and I'd brought a vinyl floor covering to sit on because I'd been told the site was "damp". It was crowded, exciting, and bewildering. I met some nice folks who offered me something called "Strawberry Surprise", but as they warned me it might be hot, I declined.

During court, we stood in the back, unable to hear a word. All we could see was that nice Duke Sir Elijahu, who we'd met at the Renaissance Festival. He was dressed in a gorgeous black and silver tunic and hose, standing before the throne. King Jafar held up the biggest pair of scissors I'd ever seen and the court roared with laughter. Oh, dear, we thought. Was the king threatening to cut the Duke's hair? We three ladies agreed that would be a "most pitiable shame". Ah, he was swoonworthy! Fortunately a lady from the court threw herself on her knees and begged the king to have mercy, sparing us from having to do the same. Many years later, we found the Duke had been being offered the position of Royal Harem Guard, but there needed to be some.... alterations. Hence the scissors. Fortunately the Duke had a Get Out Of Eunich Free card! (I am sooo glad we didn't cry out for the king to have mercy, too!)

Later that evening I served at my first feast- the last feast cooked by the legendary Iron Dutchess, Mistress Cailin. There were cheese pies and apple pies and other pies and hams and chickens and sausages that looked like chickens and roasts and 3 different types of breads and vegetables and fruits and more dishes than I could possibly name. As a server, I was allowed to take home leftovers. Leftovers? Hah! Try, five sacks of groceries!!! We ate for months! She'd cooked for 300, enough food for 500, on a budget for 200. People groaned and begged to be fed no more by the last remove, and at the end, everyone was given a full sized, iced fruitcake to take home. Oddly, everything had raisins in it. Except for the raisins, I have always tried to emulate the Iron Dutchess in my feastocrating: feed them until they beg for mercy.