Going to a feast is not the same as going to a restaurant. A feast is an experience. Part of getting into the atmosphere of the feast is trying to eat outside of your normal manners, to try something from a different culture. For this feast, I want you to eat with your fingers.
Eating with your fingers is a sensory experience. You don’t just taste your food, you feel it.
However, dirty fingers in shared bowls was a strict no-no. Washing your hands thoroughly before sitting down to eat is a must. If we get enough volunteer servers, we may have handwashing at the tables, but at such a small event it is unlikely. Since licking your fingers is also crude and unsanitary, please don’t forget your cloth napkins to wipe your fingers between courses.
Definitely bring a plate, a sharp table knife, and at least one bowl for soups and stews. Spoons are acceptable, but eating the solid foods out of your bowl and then lifting the bowl to drink the broth is also acceptable. Scooping wet foods into your mouth out with a piece of bread is encouraged. There will be several types of drinks available during the feast, some more exotic than others. I would suggest bringing two glasses- one for plain water and one for flavored drinks. The wealthy elite in 10th century Baghdad did drink wine made from grapes and other fruits, please feel free to add wine to your table if you like. Please also bring candles and candle-holders! This will be a “lights-out” feast. If you enjoy really seeing your food, bring candles for your table. Electric faux candles are lovely too!
A note about serving– please keep in mind that servers are volunteers who have probably been working and/or playing just as hard as you all day. There is often a shortage of adults volunteering to serve feast at smaller events. If this happens, then one person seated at each table will come up to the serving line at the beginning of each course to fetch the platters for each course.