The Kitchen

The Kitchen


Gardiner’s Company is developing a site to hold period events and educational activities. The vision is to have period buildings and structures that would further the group impression as a Trayned Band and our individual personal impressions.


Through the years, the Company cooks have produced amazing dishes cooking over a ground hearth.  The first project in this vision is a period free-standing kitchen structure as might be found on larger Tudor estates.  This will eventually connect to other structures, including an inn. 


Construction details

Company members designed and planned the kitchen to be built using Company labor and local professionals with modern materials.  

The rear portion of the kitchen is brick and serves as a smoke hood to funnel smoke up the chimney and away from the kitchen and the cooks.

The framing was done in the traditional manner, using period joinery, albeit cut with modern tools.

Without a fulltime caretaker, wattle and daub would break down quickly.  Instead, the frame infill is cement board which is covered with a lime plaster.   

The kitchen contains a raised hearth for open fires, and a wall oven for baking. 

To one side are charcoal braziers, and a cauldron for heating water. 

The interior is finished off with a brick floor.

To facilitate serving, a dresser – a kind of counter – was installed on one side.  Servers take finished dishes from the dresser to the tavern without having to enter the kitchen.

Final construction will include installing shutters and an oak door, building a table for food preparation and storage shelves.

The kitchen serves not only as the center of the Company’s period recreations, it will be used to conduct open workshops on period cooking, experimenting with new dishes and cooking methods. And of course, the occasional pizza party.

The Gardiner’s site is beautifully set in a wooded area, with area for camping, archery, lawn games, and many other activities.


The Kitchen — Another Sequel

Chapter 36 — I am set on fire

So the cauldron corner has a doorway for the placement of fire wood or charcoal (preferred). I managed to find a plain cast iron one that was *mostly* the right size.

that’s it, down there

Owing to some physical issues, when I constructed the cauldron corner, the angle iron at the top of the opening ended up less-than- level. This made the left side too narrow for the new door frame. Rather than try to cut cast iron, I opted for cutting the brick at the top of the opening. This went well, until I ran into the angle iron.

Normally, cutting angle iron is no big deal. Metal blade on the grinder works quickly, albeit with a dramatic shower of sparks. Of course, that’s standing at a flat work surface. Cutting angle iron already cemented to brick, on the underside of the top of an opening only 13″ off the floor, where you lying in a 24″ wide nook is not like that. Except for the shower of sparks.

Yes, I wore eye protection, a face mask, and ear protection. I did not, however, have sideburn protection. As a result, I got side-burned, that is to say, a cascade of sparks were shot at me as the iron surrendered to the grinder. The tiny, ~1,000 degree grains of burning metal mostly just landed on the left side of my face, left arm and chest area, some on the top of my head. Nothing I couldn’t stand for, oh, 10 seconds or so, after which I had to stop and put myself out.

Anyway, the door frame’s in. Yay. Pictures later, after the adhesive dries, the door is installed, and I am back to a normal temperature.

(Seriously, I WAS ON FIRE!)

(But I got better)


CHAPTER 12 – I am Eaten by Cement

Day Who-Cares after Slabbing

The brazier bases were mortared with a surface bond cement; this type of build doesn’t require mortar between the blocks, but is parged on the outside. It’s quite stable for block not subjected to lateral forces. It also dries to a white finish, eliminating the need to limewash it.

With the help of two stalwarts, the slab tops for the brazier were poured and installed. For those interested, we used a reverse mold with fast curing cement, ready to un-mold in an hour.

Two masked stalwarts

Two pieces for the cauldron corner, then the two long sections, one with the braziers.

No, it’s not a communal toilet. Jerks.

The iron was installed to keep the brick top from falling onto the cook’s toes, ruining both shoen and supper. A stove gasket was installed around the cauldron opening to keep smoke from seeping out into the cook’s faces, ruining coifs and moods. For the top I used paver bricks, as we have a couple of hundred of them and they have a nice period look. Once they were cut and fitted, they were mortared into place.

The slabs, which are cement grey, sit on top of the brazier base, which is pretty white, so the slab edges needed parging. I used the surface bond to match the color.

The cauldron corner also got a parge coat. Possible touch-ups will be done after it all cures a bit.

All that remains is to mount a door over the fire box under the cauldron to prevent smoke from seeping out and ruining…well, you know.

Next on the list is the demolition of the oven front, which cracked during the last muster. Once done with that, we’ll finish the walls of the oven and parge it white. It won’t stay that way, but that’s period, too.

If it’s okay for Hampton Court…

Lombardy Custard (A Baked Mete)

Today, the recipe for a Lombardy Custard.

picture by Andrea Ewing Callicutt, 2019

Custards (called “baked meats”), both sweet and savoury, were considered meat dishes, as the cream and eggs used in the recipe came from animals. Custards could be eaten during Lent and on “fish days”, when no meat (pork, beef, chicken, lamb/mutton) was permitted. This recipe is from the 15th Century, and serves 6.

You will need:

  • 9″ pastry round
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas), cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, diced
  • 2 dried figs, diced
  • 1 tsp ground mace (you can substitute allspice for mace)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 1 large pinch saffron strands for decorating

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line the base of a quiche dish with parchment paper. Lay pastry round in quiche dish, prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F. Remove from oven, set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350F.

Mix the dried fruit, then arrange it in the cooled pastry in one even layer. Mix remaining ingredients, except for the saffron strands, and pour into pastry over fruit. Sprinkle the saffron strands gently on top. Bake for 1 hour at 350F. The custard will still be a bit soft; let sit for 15-30 minutes to set, or allow to cool and refrigerate.

Custard can be served hot or cold (I think hot is tastier).

Kitchen – Raising the roof

Soon, we will be starting the process of raising the roof of our humble kitchen. Similar to the raising of the main part of the kitchen, the work will be done during work weekends, with a large raising at the end.

The rafters will be easier and harder than the lower structure. Easier, because there are less joints to cut and layout and the joinery is simpler in general. Harder because the precision needs to be more, well, precise.

I know that while working with Bob, I drove him (and others) a bit crazy because for some joints, my response when asked, “is this okay?” I’d say, sure, close enough. For other joints, however, the answer would be, “No, throw that one away and we’ll make another one”.

A timber-frame from the Tudor/Elizabethan era tended to be over done, both in required supporting pieces and in the size of the timbers themselves. The builders of the past didn’t have

New View

We have often seen images of London in the late 16th Century. A popular one is the Visscher Long View, done in 1616, a portion seen here:

While it’s a somewhat accurate representation of the crowded Bankside of our time period, it misses the bigger picture of how the Southwark our personas lived in actually looked to them.

Recently, I’ve found a very interesting view of our neighborhood. It’s an image, artist unknown, found in the Album Amicorum of Jacob Fetzer, painted sometime around 1618. An Album Amicorum was a kind of friendship book or autograph book. They were popular with German students, who used them to record images and notes on their trips abroad. The images in them were sometimes rough sketches, but were often detailed pictures, done to commemorate people and places the students visited, painted by friends or commissioned artists.

The image from Fetzer’s Album is of London from the south looking north (the copy isn’t the full picture, but one from the book):

In the distance, we can see the City, including St. Paul’s, and the Tower off to the right. Closer in south of the river, the Tower Gate, with its heads displayed, can be seen. We also see both St. Savior and St. Olave churches, and the Globe, the Swann with flags waving, and bear baiting arenas. The presence of these landmarks attests to the accuracy of the painting, and makes it a reasonably reliable source.

To me, the abrupt end of the buildings is revelatory. I knew there were gardens and pasture south of the town, and to the east and west of Southwarke Long Street. But the sudden transition from crowded town to open fields is stark and surprising. We are used to dense cities giving way to less-dense urban areas, then suburban sprawl before we get to rural areas. And even those have houses and barns on them. Even today, driving through the country-side of England, you go from field to town, with no increasingly populated areas to ease you into almost the center of town.

Fetzer’s image shows how quickly the tightly packed streets of Southwarke transitioned into the pastoral fields shown here. I find the image fascinating; it makes our inn surrounded by forest a more believable recreation.

Timeline 1596-1597

*For all to enjoy, and use as conversation starters at Muster:


A flush toilet is illustrated in an English pamphlet, The Metamorphosis of Ajax by John Harrington.

– The Swan Theater opens in Paris Gardens, Bankside.

– 1596 began a three year span of bad harvests that ended in 1598.

– Jan. 27 – Francis Drake dies.

– Feb. 14 – Archbishop  of Canterbury John Whitgift begins building his hospital and school at Croydon (completed in 1599).

– March 23 – Henry Unton, diplomat, dies.

April 9 – Siege of Calais, Spanish troops capture Calais.

– June 30-July 4 – – English troops commanded by Robert Essex sack Cadiz.

– July 23 Lord Hunsdon dies; Lord Cobham appointed Lord Chamberlain.

October 18 – “Second Armada”, a Spanish fleet sent to attack England in revenge to the raid on Cadiz, is wrecked in storms near Cape Finisterre, Spain.

– November – 34 residents of Blackfriars sign a petition asking the Privy Council to stop Burbage’s rebuilt Blackfriar’s theater from opening.

– November 21 – Bartholomew Steer attempts to launch a rebellion on Enslow Hill in Oxfordshire.

 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge is founded (classes begin in 1598).



– The Vagabonds Act 1597 in Parliament (39 Eliz. c. 4) introduces penal transportation as a punishment for the first time.

– Ben Jonson is arrested for staging The Isle of Dogs at the Swan Theater.

– Feb. 2 – James Burbage dies.

– (early) – First Quarto editions of Richard III, Richard II, and Romeo and Juliet published.

– March – Lord Cobham dies.

– probable first performance of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

April 23 – Probable first performance of Shakespeare ‘s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Conversation subjects for Muster (Humor)

Presenting to you today, selected excerpts from the newest edition of the pre-eminent 16th century bird-watcher’s manual that describes many of the birds to be found in Surrey, home of the Cat’s Perch Inn!  (I am told that all those within the Bandes have a keen eye for the birds.)



Part III – Sparrows

Known to alle, the most common sparrowe, passer domesticus.


Part V – Robins

The common Redbreasted Robin, erithacus rubecula (ordinarily seen in the company of other winged creatures).


Part VII – Owles and divers other raptors


The Breasted Owle, athene boobicans, is observed only at night, due to its solitary and wandering nature.  Usually seen in pairs.


Part IX – Flightless Birds

Rarely seen, and oft misunderstood, England’s only flightless bird, the Prickly Warbler, spinictus philosophicus.


Part XIV – Somewhat Naked Birds

The fortunately elusive Bird-Man of Putney.  Seen late at night, singing off-key. Pictured: We think it might be a mating display, we’re not sure.


Part XXIV – Inordinately Large Birds

The Common Sussex Widgeon, calamitus palumbus. Often seen sitting below trees.  Not flightless, it just needs a boarding pass.


Part CXXXIX – The Popinjay


Seen here without its customary head and neck plumage.


Thank you all, the book is not available for sale at this time.


“Now, in a new tune, new gesture, but old language”

I had occasion to perform in Ben Jonson’s 1610 play The Alchemist at Pennsic this year. In going over the script I found a number of words and phrases that Jonson used that I thought I’d share with the group. You can add these to those you put in your language worksheet in the Impression Workbook. Or just save them up for use whenever.

I’ve divided them up into single words (including insults) and phrases. I’ve also added some commentary.


gallants (rich or well-to-do men)

heart (used like “darling”)

pox (we know this one, but Jonson uses it a lot)

treat (verb, used as “deal” I’ll not treat with you)

gull (verb and noun referring to cheating or the cheat-ee)

spittal (short for “hospital”)

how (multi-purpose word, meaning “What?”, “No!”, “Are you f**king kidding me?”, etc.)


rogue (used a lot)

bawd (sexual insult)



puck-fist (a miser, or one who boasts)

polecat (not the skunk, but a kind of mink)


scurvy (adjective, often used with “yellow”)

One of my favorite lines from the play, “my scurvy, yellow, baboon don”.


hang me, hang yourself

day owls (I got nothing)

fine, young quodling (probably from “codling”, and likely refers to a young or immature man)

brain of a tailor (my fav, used as “holy shit” or the like)

sooty, smoky-bearded (nice alliteration)

hence, & away

flee, mischief (either one is a rude send off)

I fart at thee (my opening line)


Sweet Bag at the Met

Last month several of us visited the Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. They were very friendly and accommodating of our visit. Anyone can get an appointment to view textiles, but the items must be in their department – no costumes/clothing unfortunately and the items can not be on view in the Museum. We were allowed to take as many pictures as we wanted as well. Appointments were limited to 2 hours.

We were allowed 10 items and viewed both embroidery and lace items from the 16th and early 17th centuries. It was amazing to see these items in person. They were all laid out on a table with bright lights for easy viewing. We are not allowed to touch anything, but Isobel, our docent, was happy to flip the items over so we could see both sides.

I will gradually post about the items we saw and share my observations. I cannot share my images online but am happy to show them to anyone that is interested at a work weekend or event or if you want to come by for a visit. The images I have posted here are from the Met website. Unfortunately for the first item all they have is B&W, one of the reasons I choose this bag to see in person.

Bag, Silk and metal thread, British

The first item we saw was 29.23.21 a sweet bag. I was overwhelmed by how exquisitely delicate it is. Embroidered on white silk satin, the threads are incredibly delicate and fine; every stitch detailed.

The main motifs were different on each side of the bag. Something I haven’t seen before. The side not shown has a lovely pink/white tudor rose in middle, a blue borage in the upper right, a yellow and white pansy in the upper left, some blue leaf like thing in the lower left and a honeysuckle flower in the lower right corner.

The silk threads are a variety of soft whites, pinks, yellows, blues and more bold greens and blues used in a satin stitch for the motifs.  I am sure there is some fading with age, but I thought the piece in remarkably good condition. The motif on the lower left shown above has an underlying satin stitch fading from dark blue to light blue to white with gold silk threads couched on top to create a grid pattern. Then inside each grid is a tiny french knot.

The pailletes are incredibly tiny, about 2mm in diameter. Each one is secured with a tiny piece of purl. The coiling stems are pieces of couched purl (looks like rough purl – round gilt as opposed to flattened gilt) out-lined with a 3-ply twisted gold thread that is also couched down with a gold silk. The metal threads are a combination of tarnished silver and gold.

I briefly viewed the interior of the bag. The interior pink silk lining is quite pale and deteriorating. The purse string is the Green Dorge pattern I did for my sweet bag, 4 pink silk threads bordering two gold threads in the middle. Seems to be a popular pattern. It was easy to weave.

There are no tassels anywhere. The bead is woven similar to that described in Jacqui Carey’s book on Sweet Bags and that I used to make mine. There are turks head knots as well. The sides just look like they are sewn together and then lined with the 3 ply twisted gilt thread.

I enjoyed viewing this item in person, it was an incredible experience to see it, experience it and take the time to really look at it. Pictures just don’t do it justice.