Friday is our day off. So, whilst we recharge our batteries ready for our exciting fun, FREE, family Getting Medieval! weekend we thought we’d bring you a blog about some of the other aspects of life at the dig. Today’s Friday special is written by Amy Gardener, a recent graduate of Cardiff University who runs the site kitchen, providing three meals a day for up to 20 people:
Right. Let’s get this straight. Kitchen duty is not a day off. Despite some people’s ideas you do actually have to work, not just sit and read. There’s the washing up and the oh so fun job of cleaning the toilets as well as cooking for 20. The shock on some faces when I’ve asked them to do something other than nothing has been frustrating at times, and some have been asked to do things more than once before they finally moved.
The sandwiches. A surprisingly arduous task when feeding 20+ people who require a number of increasingly random and highly varied combination of fillings. And after that comes dinner. Portioning enough for hungry archaeologists is difficult. Some days they eat much more than ‘normal’ humans need but others much less, especially when I’ve not portioned quite enough.
Everyday there are 2 students on duty and they have to cook and clean all day, except for in the evening when kind volunteers wash up. Of course I can’t resist getting involved and and kicking the odd student out of the kitchen so I can do something!
I’m reliably told that the food has been good. This is very good, as we only have 4 gas hobs to cook on and provide endless cups of tea. Simple but effective dishes like pasta, stew and Scott’s fantastic tagine have gone down really well and debates over favourites have been common.
Some students have shown a lot of talent in the kitchen, but the most surprising thing has been the number of them who can’t cook, or more specifically won’t cook. Most of the people on the dig have been a student for at least a year, yet what I think of as basic processes are lost on them. The boys especially seem to be having issues with breadknives, while rather stereotypically the girls have been much more kitchen aware.
But, all in all, they have all been fab – Diana and Madge did everything alone on their first day on duty while I nursed the hangover from hell and was barely able to sit and give my orders out, despite Diana also feeling the previous nights alcohol as well.