Rundown on An Tir – West War 2012.

We left a day early and slept a night in the Red Lion in Coos Bay. It was “ok.” Probably worth the $120. But breakfast wasn’t free and was pretty much continental, so call it $135. Maybe one of the other places would have been better. We left the hotel in the evening and visited Bastendorf Beach. It’s a county park on the beach, and it was a nice, wide, flat beach. The water was surprisingly warm. When we left the hotel, we went past Devil’s Kitchen and the water there was much colder. Both beaches had nice outcroppings of rocks, but the Devil’s Kitchen was more rocky. Both beaches had nice sand. Lots of interesting things to see.

We found ourselves at the site right at about noon and dumped out the car first thing. And raked hay – a lot of hay. Allergies were terrible. We were double dosing claritin, and then started combining claritin, zyrtec and chlor-trimeton. Eye drops and nose spray might have helped. The weather was very nice. It was high 60s during the day, with sunshine, but the mornings and evenings were cool with the wind from the ocean coming right up the valley. Maybe next year think about that- more layers.

One of my favorite things about this event now, now that I don’t fight, is the cooks’ playdate. I probably wouldn’t care if I wasn’t camping with Ref/Svava and Eulalia/Anne. But I fixed Chyches, Cauliflower boiled in milk and Ref’s Viking Tabouli. I maintain that the chyches were a bust, though lots of people said they were ok. I think they required more cooking and perhaps roasting the dry nuts was a bad idea. The flavor was ok though. The Cauliflower had mace and nutmeg and I thought it went well. Both of those were straight-from-the-recipe recipes, and you should be able to find them easily. The Viking Tabouli was basically bulgur, radishes, carrots, kale, olive oil and cider vinegar. I made subtleties of the radishes into toadstools 🙂 This dish had a lot of surprises- people really seemed to like it. And the cauliflower was -all- gone. Ariel liked it because I didn’t overcook the cauliflower and it had a delicate flavor.

Brookes doesn’t much like the playdate though, because the food is “weird.” On the first night I fixed her and Keigan canned stew in breadbowls and next time I’ll have to pack an extra can and some bowls- I shared it with a handful of friends. And we had a plague of locusts, lead by the insatiable Ivan. I also made her skewers which were terrible, and she ate crepes and chicken sandwiches.

I picked up some little samples of different sea salts and handed them out as little “thank yous” – Imported sea salts from Europe (including a black salt from the Mediterranean Sea) and a smoky flavored one, and candied fennel seeds.

On the last night Juana (not Duquessa Juana Isabella de Montoya y Ramirez) asked for a story and all of the “real bards” were in court. So I told about telling Keigan the story of how CuChullain got his name. Which got the expected response and a “she should have stuck with the three little pigs!” and she gave me a little treat bag with An Tir M&Ms. This piece may have meant as much to me as the whole cook play date thing, because someone asked for a story and I gave them one. Eulalia continues to pester me for a story and one of these days I’ll break down and tell her one. 😀

I also sat with Mistress Tangwystl and chatted about name pronounciations. She’s a legend. I sat with so many legends and heroes that I’m still overwhelmed.

Oh, speaking of legends and heroes, Atias came by for some food and Geoffery convinced him to try some pears with raspberry sauce. Then tried to get him to say they were the best things he’d ever eaten. In front of Atais, I told Geoffery that the bar was set very high, because once I’d seen Atais’s wife feed 300 people with a handful of noodles and a jar of peanut butter. Atias laughed, pointed at me and said, “You … are exaggerating. But I love that and I’m going to tell her that.”