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The Challenge: To create a period dish under the conditions found at the PENNSIC WAR.

The Categories:

  1. Best Main Dish (Includes fish and shellfish)
  2. Best Vegetable
  3. Best Grain (Includes Bread)
  4. Best Dessert
  5. Grand Champion – to be awarded at the Judges’ discretion.

The Rules:

  1. The recipe must either be:
    1. Published between 650 and 1650 AD. (For the empirically inclined Apicius will be accepted.)
    2. Have all ingredients and cooking methods documented in period. *
  2. Recipes must be brought to the competition. Please bring at least 2 copies.
    (Do not label these with your name as this is blind-judging)
  3. Competitors must bring all ingredients to site and prepare the dish in situ. An ingredient requiring more than four hours preparation is acceptable ONLY if it is an ingredient and not the entire dish.**
  4. Dishes must be prepared under conditions as found at Pennsic.  No electric appliances.   Acceptable examples: Grill, Smoker, Dutch oven, battery-operated tools, or Spit over an open fire (assuming site permits ground fires). If you have questions, please ask.
  5. You must bring all cookers, pots, pans, utensils, dishes, etc. necessary to prepare your dish.
    (NOTE: Please mark all your utensils, dishes, etc., so that the orphans left behind can be    reunited with their loved ones.)
  6. Dish must be sufficient to serve 8 to 10 healthy adults. (No penalty for making more.)
  7. Each competitor may enter only one dish per category, but may enter as many categories as desired.
  8. All competitors must register by 3:00 pm on the day of the competition with the Registrar.
  9. The site will open at 9:00 a.m. for set up and registration.
  10. Preparation and cooking will begin at 12:00 noon.
    (Charcoal and wood fires may be lit at 11:45 am.)
  11. Dishes must be completed and ready to serve at 4:00 p.m.

The Judging:

Judges will be drawn from impartial Notables present. Judging will be blind and will use these criteria:

  1. Presence of and completeness of Documentation. ***
    (Again, do not place your name on your documentation)
  2. Taste
  3. Texture
  4. Presentation
  5. Bonus points based on the judges’ experience in the field of period cooking. For example: if a dish has been religiously copied from a period source despite complexity or cost or if a dish displays notable creativity within a recipe, etc.

Prizes will be awarded after the completion of the judging.

Please contact the Bright Hill’s Cooks Guild if you have questions or need an ingredient verified.  Please put “TRIAL by FIRE” in the subject heading.


Mistress Jeanne Tenneur de Bec-

Baroness Wynne ferch Rhodri-


* “Food” by Waverly Root will be used as the final arbiter for periodicity. There will be a copy on site.

** No advance preparation is permitted, UNLESS the recipe clearly states that the step requires more than four hours. Documentation is required.

*** Minimal documentation should include (1) the original recipe; (2) your redaction; and (3) your notes related to any changes made in the recipe and your reasons therefore, and any other pertinent information. Why did you do what you did?

Please do not label either the documentation or the recipes with your name to allow for blind judging.


Cost — 

Adult  – Full Price Site: $17.00 Feast: $0.00 Camping: $0.00 
Adult – Member Discount Site: $12.00 Feast: $0.00 Camping: $0.00 
Child (5-17) Site: $6.00 Feast: $0.00 Camping: $0.00 

*camping included in site fee
Make checks payable to: SCA, Inc. Barony of Bright Hills


Site — Graham Memorial Park, 10301 Harford Road, Glen Arm, MD 21057.
Site opens 5:00 pm Friday and closes at noon on Sunday.

Site Restrictions:  No alcohol on the archery field.  No ground fires outside of firepits.


From the DC/Virginia area:
Take Interstate 95 North to Baltimore.
Follow Rte 95 thru the Fort McHenry tunnel.
Stay on Rte 95 until you come to Rte 695.
Take Exit 64 towards Towson. (While on Rte 95 get in the right lane)
Follow Rte 695 about 2 miles. Look for Harford Rd, take exit 31B
Follow Harford Rd about 2 miles. Count 3 traffic lights.
When you get to the 2nd traffic light you are close. (North Wind Rd)
Follow Harford Road down the hill about 1/4 mile. Look for signs on the right
Turn right and follow road thru to the second gate.

From the north:
Take Interstate 95 South to Baltimore.
Follow Rte 95 to Rte 695. Take the ramp on the right towards Towson.
Follow Rte 695 about 2 miles. Take exit 31B, Harford Rd.
Follow Harford Rd about 2 ¼ miles.
Look for signs on the right
Turn right and follow road thru to the second gate

From Southern Maryland:
Take your best route to I-95.
Follow I-95 to I-895 until it merges with I-95.
Take Exit 64 (I-695) towards Towson to Harford Rd Exit 31B
Follow Harford Rd about 2 ¼ miles.
Look for signs on the right
Turn right and follow road thru to the second gate.

From the west:
Take I-70 to Baltimore
Take I-695 exit towards Towson to Harford Rd Exit 31B
Follow Harford Rd about 2 ¼ miles.
Look for signs on the right
Turn right and follow road thru to the second gate.


Feast — Feast will be a potluck dinner.  Just bring a dish large enough to feed at least 8.

Other — Lady Livia di Samuele is bringing her famous Sekunjabin Tavern to Trial by Fire/Lochmere Arrow.

There will be a fundraiser lunch sponsored by the Equestrians.

Merchanting Information —   “Merchants are welcome. Please contact Lady Livia di Samuele at Abramsonsm [AT] or 301-807-5476.”


Autocrats Information:  Deirdre O’Bardon (Debbie Eccles), 707 Hammershire Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117. Phone 410-455-9444.  E-mail: deirdre_obardon [AT]

Reservations: Llywelyn Blaidd coch (Jean Redfearn), 707 Hammershire Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117, Phone: (410) 356-0028, E-mail:
Please list the names of the people included in the reservation as well as whether each is an adult, a discounted adult member, or a child.