cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:15pm on 02/05/2009 under ,
At 3:45 exactly, I returned to the Beef Deployment Zone, to learn about salting Brazilian beef and provide other help with the next stage--the grilling.

Unfortunately, at 3:45 the grill was still heating up to the correct temperature--as it would be doing for the next hour-and-a-half or so. Grilling had been scheduled to start at 4 o'clock (and the fen had been told to expect meat soon after.)

We started out short of person-power to do everything other than the salting of the beef itself. The idea is to place the beef in trays, with a layer of rock salt above and below, for about 15 minutes before actually grilling it. This way, the salt softens the meat, and the excess salt either falls off or can be knocked off right before grilling.

But even after putting out successful emergency calls for volunteers, we still found ourselves way behind. Why? Well, unlike last year, we had only one grill available. Last year, we'd had two. Big, big difference. Everyone thought that the meat cutting, which took place while the grilling was going on, had been the bottleneck and reason for the delays.

Maybe it was then, but this year, we had the meat cut in advance. The problem we had was the grilling. Even as I type, people are still waiting for beef--and [ profile] esrblog is still grilling.

I, sadly, had to leave at 6:30 to help judge the Masquerade. That seems to have been a roaring success. We got 18 entries (and 5 entries in the "Conjure up a costume" speed round)--possibly a Penguicon record. The room was packed with spectators, and the Dr. Horrible sing-along was quite entertaining and much enjoyed (verdict: acting, good; singing, inconsistent, but fun nonetheless).

So I've spent about 7 hours of my day on beef alone. [ profile] esrblog will have spent more by the time he's done. There may have been panels, but I can't swear to it--the only program item I've made other than the Masquerade was Opening Ceremonies.

Still, it's been a good con so far--even if serving fen is more difficult than I'd realized.
Mood:: 'drained' drained
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 02:33pm on 02/05/2009 under ,
No, not in that sense, dammit. But I have spent the last four hours cutting 12-pound chunks of beef into strips, to feed hundreds of carnivorous fen....

Maybe I'd better explain myself. I am at Penguicon, the world's first combination Linux conference and science-fiction convention, which is being held this year in Romulus, Michigan, at a hotel less than two miles from the Detroit Metro airport.

Penguicon is known for having events and activities that cater to a broad range of interests--some of which have no obvious connection either to Linux or to science fiction. One of those interests is food. Food tastings and panels about food and food preparation have been on the schedule for several years.

More recently, one local fan volunteered to cook some beef, Brazilian style, from the terrace outside the con suite. That led to a mass feast, the following year, in which nearly 400 pounds of beef were cut, grilled, and consumed, all by eager fans.

When this year's convention was in the planning stages, one of the con committee members expressed doubt that we could do the Brazilian beef again. It had been a logistical nightmare, the fan who had spearheaded it would be unable to help, we just couldn't do it this year....

A number of us spoke out on the con's mailing list in protest, and volunteered to help with the actual production. [ profile] esrblog and I were two of them. He had worked the grill for about an hour and a half last year, and really enjoyed it. And I thought that the beef I had eaten last year was yummy. I didn't want to see the tradition die for lack of a few pairs of hands, when I could dedicate at least one pair to the cause.

So this morning, [ profile] esrblog and I showed up outside the consuite, along with four to six other fen, to help cut beef. Now, as I type, the last few chunks are being cut and bagged for refrigeration until late afternoon, when they will be coated in salt crystals and, ultimately, grilled. (I'll be back, of course, for the salting.)

In that sense, we are "serving" fen--helping to bring a tasty communal beef feast to the con. Fen, fortunately, are not on the menu. But the pun was irresistible, and after I'd voiced it, I knew I had to write this post.

There will be a Penguicon review later, after I get home.
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished


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