Prof. Michael Fuller,, St. Louis Community College
SCA Michael of Safita
Barony of Three Rivers within the Kingdom of Calontir
Archaeology lectures at Pennsic, Summer 2006.

Cooking Tavce Gravce (Macedonian, Beans in a Pot)
The recipe and directions were provided by a native of Macedonia who is an expert in international education and tourism.


Raw Ingredients: 6 heaping handfuls of white beans (soaked overnight), 2 medium/large white onions, 4 cloves of garlic, olive oil, a handful of chopped parsley, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, salt, sweet paprika, and water.

The two onions were sliced into large pieces. The onion slices were kept in a pottery strainer made by Lynn McAdams (SCA Elaine Ladd from the Middle Kingdom) in October of 2005.

The chopped garlic was sauteed in olive oil. The pottery frying pan took approximately 10 minutes to absorb enough heat to begin to saute the garlic. The pan was briefly put on a metal grill over the direct flame and it "popped" creating a hairline crack. The frying pan was returned to the coals where it still functioned. The hairline crack was along the sidewall of the frying pan and did not diminish the integrity of the pan for this meal. The frying pan was wheelmade and fired by Lynn McAdams (SCA Elaine Ladd from the Middle Kingdom) in October of 2005. She used Studio Ovenware as the clay body for the frying pan. Maximum exterior rim diameter is 19.5 cm and height is 6 cm. It has a capacity of 0.75 liter (3.2 cups).

Leftovers from chopping the onions and garlic would have been perfect for a goat.

No goat in the camp so the leftovers were tossed in the fire. They were converted into heat and ash.

Coals were taken from an active fire and used in a pit to create the controlled heat for cooking.

Cooking pot on the coals. The Tavce Gravce is cooking in the foreground while a meat stew is cooking in the background. Lynn McAdams (SCA Elaine Ladd from the Middle Kingdom) sauteed the onions for the Tavce Gravce and was responible for cooking the meat stew. Lynn is an accomplished potter who cooked with potter vessels that she had created based upon archaeological examples.

Cookpot on the coals with its lid in place. The maximum exterior diameater of the rim is 17.5 cm. The cooking pot stands 17.5 cm in height. The capacity of the cooking pot is 3.8 liters. The cooking pot used in this experiment was purchased in the Republic of Macedonia from a vendor selling alongside the road between Skopje and Lake Ohrid.

Cookpot on the coals with foam appearing. Half of the contents began cooking at 6:30 PM and the remainder was added at 7:05 PM (after the second onion was sauteed). The foam began to appear at 7:30 PM.

Cookpot with foam on the surface.

Cookpot boiling. The lid was kept on the cookpot during 90 minutes of cooking. Boiling began at 7:45 PM. The Tavce Gravce was cooked until 9:00 PM when it was eaten. It was the main coarse but complemented by spiced red meat that had been sauteed in oil then stewed in water for 60 minutes. The Travce Gracve was very good by itself and even better with the meat side dish.

Cookpot, unwashed, on the day after the dinner. Half of the Tavce Gravce remained after the meal and was left covered in the pot overnight. Night temperature was approximately 45 degrees. The leftovers were kept cool during the day (on ice) and consumed as a cold side dish at dinner on the following day. Tavce Gravce is excellent cold as well as warm.

The unglazed interior of the Tavce Gravce cooking pot was washed in lukewarm water with soap, rinsed, dried, and left untouched for 2 days. Unglazed cooking wares are common in the Balkans and Middle East during the Medieval Period.

Lynn McAdams (SCA Elaine Ladd from the Middle Kingdom) observed that Medieval cooking practices may have kept pots in nearly constant use so the chance for mold was minimized.

Webpage created 20 August 2006 `

Revised 11 December 2008