Feeding the Multitude (Part 1)Mature

Early that morning Grand-Fayther Jesus knocked upon Sarah and Jason’s tent pole. Sarah snuggled into Jason’s warmth.

“Can’t we sleep a little longer?” Her body might have adjusted to constant early mornings, but her mind hadn’t.

Jason kissed her forehead before slipping out of bed and throwing on his japon. “No rest for the best.” He grinned.

Sarah rolled her eyes and got up too. If she was to be the Madame for the ceremonies today it meant a lot of kitchen work. Cooking to feed this crowd would be interesting, especially if she had to rely on what they brought. Grand-Moyther Magdalene was already up and she smiled when Sarah entered the make shift Pairents house. Lady Miriam smiled hesitantly at her from one corner.

“I’ll go see who else will help,” the Grand-Moyther left the two alone.

Puttering about Sarah took stock what she had. It was mostly canvas pots, standard scout issue for cooking stews. The oddest part was going to be working in the dark. Well it wasn’t completely dark, as the fires lit the space somewhat. Sarah wished they could have used the other side, where the large cooking fireplace was, rather than these two smaller ones, but the floor over there was unsafe. Half of it had already fallen into the root cellar beneath.

No sooner had she assessed everything and set Lady Miriam to tending the fires, then Moyther Magdalene returned with others. Katherine handed the care of baby Brian over to Miriam. Following the Grand-Moyther and Katherine outside Sarah saw men trying to dig a fire pit in the frozen ground. With a smile Moyther Magdalene lead Sarah, Kathereine and some other women down to the ruined village.

There the women worked up a sweat, digging in the frozen ground for potatoes and other root vegetables that outlasted the town. It was hard work, but they managed to dig up a bucket full. A chorus of cheers made them all look up. Sarah smiled as Jason waved, leading a group of men, who’d captured a cow and calf.

“Who wants to go milking?” Sarah asked.

“I will.” Katherine shouldered her shovel and followed the men.

By mid morning, Sarah’s group returned to the camp. Two buckets of fresh milk had been collected and set beside the Pairents House. The men had butchered the cow and placed it on a spit over the outside fire pit. They were still working on carving up the calf.

“Smith!” Sarah smiled at Reed who was turning the spit. “I was told you were in charge," he continued as she walked to him, "so I volunteered for this job.” He grinned at her. “Hoping you could give me more tips, to” his eyes flicked about and he lowered his voice, “impress Rebecca.”

Sarah chuckled. “Just keep turning that beast every so often.” She looked to his leg that was stretched out before him. “Will you be able to tend the fire too?”

“Sure,” Reed grinned, “I managed to get over here from the wounded wagons.”

“Good, then you can work out a routine of turning the spit and feeding the fire, so that the flames just barely touch the meat.”

Leaving Reed to his task, Sarah moved back to the Pairents House. Inside the women were scrubbing the potatoes with warm water. It was hard to make anything with any sort of flavor without having dried herbs, but Sarah made due. Instead of using the calf meat for the stew as they’d intended she make jerky from it instead. Jerky that would replace the jerky the Scout Troops had brought with them. That jerky, which had some spices in it, she used for the stew. The cow, roasting on its spit would have to do as it was.

It seemed that just as things were finished cooking, except for the cow, that people came to line up to be served.

“Just a little in each bowl,” Mistress Laura told them, as she joined the kitchen staff.

The End

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