Category Archives: The Annals and Recipes of Sally Frye

Costume, character and cooking concepts behind the character Cassandre Ceilhe Frye who appears annually at the Arizona Renaissance Faire as well as the vegan recipes of the genius behind the mask.

Finding the Shakespearean Sonnet Version of the Arizona Rennaissance Faire

One week-end left, this is a perfect itenerary for the hot Saturday we are expecting, and be aware that all of my itineraries are youth friendly, although “Taking Indiana Jones to the AZRF” itinerary is surely better without toddlers or small children.

Although I enjoy the comedies of Master Will, and cherish his tragedies, my favorite writings are his sonnets with their hidden treasures of love, laughter and musicality, but finding a winning performance of even one of them is challenging. The following itenerary will allow the novice and veteran AZRF attendee alike, to find and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Arizona Renaissance Faire, which like the sonnets have rare beauty but are often overlooked in the raucous mass of material available.

Again the best day at faire begins the day before with discount tickets purchased from Fry’s Food Store’s customer service desk, pre-hydration (drink some water at dinner and before bed and if you wake during the night to pee from all that water) and a good nights sleep. May I also recommend sunblock, hats and/or a parasol. Parasols not only help you blend in with the local color they provide movable shade and are available at Cost Plus World Market or AZRF vendors, the on-site ones cost more but become an annually useful souvenire.

Travel east on Interstate 60 past Gold Canyon to arrive early at the Faire grounds, say “9”ish. This not only improves the proximity of parking but means you can start taking photos with gorgeously costumed patrons and be front and center for royalty’s arrival and the front gate show.

When the canon sounds (and DO plug your ears, its a real canon and REAL loud)  head into the gate and bear to your right where lovely lads and lassies will willingly sell you tasty beverages, I recommend an iced Dirty Chai or if sweetly delicious is your thing there is this Princess caramel thing…ask your servers advice and tell them what you like and I promise you won’t be disappointed! Next door add a pastry (I personally am addicted to the canoles, being Italian and all, but I have yet to hear any complaints about anything bought there).

Take this continental breakfast and head on into the fray; to your left  just past the Royal Pavilion seat yourself up front at the Fairhaven Theater for Don Juan and Miguel’s  “Renaissance Man” at 10:15 AM, although the act itself is hardly a well kept secret, this show often is.  Drink your coffee with caution for the show is an intelligent (at times) laugh fest that one can enjoy alone or with the whole family, and coffee through the nose is painful.

After the show head  back towards the entrance and the little stage tucked in beside the lovely booth from which you first purchased coffee (The Cappuccino Inn). You will know you are close when you hear the fae-like fiddling of Neidfyre, or perhaps if one is not distracted by all the shiny shops, she will only be beginning and you will be able to draw close enough to watch her bow fly(her show starts at 11:00).

After Neidfyre, stay at Monk’s Park stage. At 11:30 Melangell (pronounced Melanith)  will take you back to the time of druids, sidhe and selkie  in Gaelic song and story  (in fact rumors are that the woman bard be one of these herself!). In sooth, many years ago, when I first heard her perform for the Queen before she even had her own stage, I was moved to tears at the quality of her singing voice, and her stories remain favorites of mine to this day.

Next head to the left,  seated on the green grassy oasis between the stage and Turkey Legs is a woman dressed in off- white surrounded by pigments and possibly children. She is the AZRF’s own Painted Lady and one can indulge their inner child and outer artist by requesting a story and illustrating her garment. Early painters have the cleanest canvas but there is no bad time to listen to her artful telling of imaginative stories.

After your inner painter has had their say, and the story has wound to its conclusion, head back into the lanes keeping the tantalizing food to your left. Part of your assignment today (if you choose to accept it), is to attend to the musicians tucked in all the green and grassy bits, there are extraordinary ones all about the grounds. One such Lady of lyrical light is to be found as you leave the story lady. After gifting your ears (and maybe your loved one by taking a musician or two home on a CD) head past the rest of the kitchen’s, the knife and the axe toss and take a break at the lovely non-period restrooms (usable flushies!)

Moisturizing wax (yes, I do have some and I do like it) will beckon as you continue back towards the Rialto stage, as will multiple other sights and smells. Enjoy the journey and take your time, although I do recommend buying some real hydration at this point if you haven’t yet. (I like Arnold Palmers, myself, a nice off-menu blend of brewed tea and lemonade available at any Pop Shop.) Destination is the 1:15 show of the Clan Tynker Family Circus.  None of these siblings had to run away to join a circus, instead they became one, the  acrobatic antics of these actual siblings could as comfortably fill a Big Top Arena as a Renaissance Faire Stage, and humorous moments included, they are poetry in motion.

After Clan Tynker it’s time for a bit of Dungeon’s and Dragon’s, so first to the  Dungeon. Heading back towards the beginning of the faire, passing and browsing the shops, you will notice the Dungeon Tour. All art requires its quotient of pain and sacrifice and this artful and kitschy attraction will require a dollar per person sacrifice and colorfully highlights many of the painful reasons I prefer visiting the century, not living in it.

Pick up a cold drink at the Crown Pub and continue for further instruction in how well we have it with our Super Targets  and modern fashion as you continue around the corner and visit the Croft and Local Yokel’s Village. The King and Queen and their courts are visiting Fairhaven this festival day, so the local peasants are working extra hard at spinning, baking and blacksmithing but love to pause and answer your questions.

There, by Local Yokels, in the lovely shade of the green, look for Lady Tess who at 2:30 will explain the lengths and layers we ladies and lords go to to be Renaissance fashion plates.  Now on to the Dragons I promised, continue around the curve to the Storybook Castle, again this walk through will require a mere dollar entrance fee but I promise the charm and creativity of its dioramas are worth much more, and there is a quite fierce dragon!

It is now the hottest part of the day so I am leading you to the coolest spot (and cleanest restrooms) on the site. Travel past the Farm and petting zoo, feel free to wander in a bit if petting wee sheep appeals, and then keeping in line with the shops head into the historically accurate narrow market path heading to the Mud Stage. If you are hot and hungry, on your left will be incredibly delicious Italian Gelato,  sandwiched in between the shops of enticing clothing, pottery and jewelry.  Arrive in time for the 3:45 Theatre in the Ground by the Wyld Men, a show reminiscent of Monty Python style humor where all parts are played by the core cast and improv is the result of a well known script. Not only is this show funny, but as I said earlier, this is the coolest temperature wise in the whole place and the adjacent restrooms are always clean and well stocked flushies with rarely a line.

After the show, grab a bottle of water or large iced drink at Lancer’s Pub and head on through the lane past musical instruments on your right and pirate booty on the left  (still narrow but not the way you came). Browse and fondle the shiny things, maybe even purchase a bobble or two, till you find on your right the entrance to the Falconer’s Heath. Nature is the purest poetry so this sonnet day will end with the 5:00 Bird’s of Prey Show. Arrive early to sit in the shade, (a burning reason to do the afternoon Heath shows) then relax and prepare to be entertained and amazed.

Now its off to the cars, and if ye have the dubloons remaining, can I recommend making the incredible sonnet like day complete with a cabriolet ride to your car. If you pass one without passenger, just speak to the drivers and negotiate a treat for your feet as you leave.

In conclusion, whether you use my itenerary or design your own all of the AZRF acts mentioned and not mentioned are as worthy of your time and tips, this is just an attempt to give direction to those overwhelmed by the options. Tomorrow is the AZRF Itinerary for your inner Indiana Jones.

How to have the most perfect day of comedic entertainment at the 2012Arizona Renaissance Faire

Only four more glorious week-ends are available to experience the pageantry and revels that are the Arizona Renaissance Festival and it truly takes at a minimum of two full faire days to just see the best. What follows is my suggestions to the inexperienced or overwhelmed newbie who wants to make the most of the humorous entertainment opportunities. Tomorrow I will offer my day 2 itinerary for the more musicale and classic minded, but in creating a “do”-able guide, also know I am forced to mention only a fraction of the faire’s tres amusant performers and many shows that I know and love.

To begin, the evening before your adventure, pop by a Fry’s grocery customer service desk and pick up discount tickets (and new sun block). This little maneuver will save you 2$ per person over purchasing at the box office as well as possible time in line once there (and day after sunburn). Tickets can also be purchased and printed from the website ( at a $1 per person savings. Drink lots of water to pre-hydrate and get a good nights sleep.

A perfect Renaissance day  starts early,  leave your home to arrive in Gold Canyon about 8:30 AM. Your first stop is the Gecko Espresso Cafe ( for a hot dirty chai or another form of delicious caffiene.  Just past Apache Junction on the Interstate 60, turn North at Superstition Mountain Drive; The Gecko is located in the same parking lot as Basha’s. Once AM energy is properly bolstered, head another few miles east on Route 60, arriving at the Renaissance Faire Grounds between 9 and 9:15 A.M.

There are many advantages to arriving early; the most prominent are advantageous parking and not sitting too long in traffic.  Arriving early also lets you sample some of the flavor of the faire during the formal pre-show and the less formal but equally enjoyable massing of costumed patrons. Grab a Program/Schedule of Events  and peruse the plethora of pleasing performance available inside while snapping a few photos of the morning rabble.

The canon goes off at 10 am, plug your ears as soon as you hear “Prepare for canon fire!”, because it is a real canon being fired and therefore makes a real bang! Have your ticket ready and bag open for inspection as you make your way through the gate and into FairHaven. Bear to your left as you enter the gate and say hello to the Motley Fools singing historically funny songs.

Continue to keep the buildings to your left, meander past the food, past the axe toss (here will be your first flushing toilet facilities inside the gate),  the Maze and Pirate’s Pub.  Feel free to briefly browse the dozens of bright and shiny shops and baubles that twinkle and sparkle and beg your attention. A tiny notebook and pencil noting shop name, item and price can help you persevere in actually finding the places you want to return to later on in the day. May I recommend a a hot bag of candied nuts  to nibble while ambling.

Don’t spend too much time shopping, because your goal is the Dancing Pig Pub by 10:50.  A Pop Shop and Pub are both conveniently available to purchase a beverage and still be seated by 11 AM.  Grab a good seat (I recommend the first two rows on the right, but all seats actually are good seats) and prepare to be enthralled by the Jamila Lotus Belly Dance Carnivale.  The seamless blending of ancient dance styles and artsy modern choreography complement the talented musicians and showcase both the dancers’ skills and personalities.  I promise you at least one good giggle and a definite “oooooooh!” and “aaaaah!” before they take a bow.

This show alone is worth the admission price, but your day of entertainment has only just begun. Following Jamila Lotus, head on into the Tournament Arena and enjoy the verbal sparring of the feminine royals followed by antics and tricks of talented horses and their skilled riders weilding large pointy sticks.  After more than a decade of attending, I still find the Queen’s Joust to be the coolest of the day, for many reasons including the weather.

More water, or perhaps an Arnold Palmer will be well placed now as you head back up the way you came. Stop in Twig’s Shop and say hello to Zinnia, the Mermaid and if you are really lucky maybe even Twig, and take pictures with the most magical friends any adult can make. Now continue back the way you came to just past the Pirates Pub; at the Boat Stage cross over  the road and continue to walk towards the front while gandering at a whole new selection of shops (including Lady Chamberlain’s Book Shop, the only place besides Tempe’s Changing Hand’s Book store I ever buy the printed page; her shop is well stocked with period patterns for clothing, books on HT for armaments, period cooking, etc. as well as lovely bits of fiction.)

Next show on the docket is “London Broil” at the FairHaven Theatre starting at 1:45 p.m, so there is plenty of  time to shoot a few pictures with the walking history on the streets; or to stop by the Painted Lady on the Green and add a picture to her dress and catch one of her wondrous stories; or (a personal favorite) visit the greyhounds. If you get to FairHaven really early your bonus is  catching shade as well as some of  “Barely Balanced”, a relatively new awesome addition to AZRF’s lineup.

Time for another drink, and I mean water or something equally hydrating although Tudor Rose Pub can provide both hydration and inebriation from their beverages.

Now take your laughter sore sides out around the corner, again bearing to your left and locate the Middleshire Stage where you won’t want to miss “Hey Nunny Nunny” at 2:45. (Just past their stage and still on the left is a great place to grab lunch before you head over and sit down. My meat eating friends recommend the Chicken and mashed potaotoes; I love the potatoes.)

Pull out your maps while your waiting for the sisters to start and locate the StoryBook Castle by the Merriment Stage.  It is your next destination and here is your “map warning”, if you  drew a line from Middleshire Stage to the StoryBook Castle, the proportions of everything to the right of the line is heavily distorted, so just get the general direction in mind. When Philomena starts her stuff,  put the map away and prepare to laugh, chuckle, and generally guffaw at the silliest sisters evar (no past Catholicism required to get the jokes)!

Spiritual counseling session over, head to the Storybook Castle, you can cut through the middle or go around past the Mud stage, either of them work but Mudd Stage is much longer. There is a small entrance fee to enter but to any one who has ever loved a fairy tale, or like me has an affection for “old-school ” roadside attractions the StoryBook Castle is a magic all its own. My favorite this year is Daphne, I look forward to hearing what was yours.

You have now seen at least four full shows for your 20$(and maybe parts of others), paid a pittance for one attraction and are about to discover the “historical” instead of “hysterical” side of Fairhaven. As you exit the StoryBook Castle turn to your right and follow the road around the corner past the Greentree Weavers (amazing wares!) to the Local Yokel Village and the Croft, both are worth a browse as they present how the working folk of this time lived. (Anyone with a bent for textiles will enjoy a  Stick Weaving Set or a Drop Spindle that can be purchased in the Croft for a very reasonable amount). Now a bit further on the left (and across the street from some truly delicious crepes that even a vegetarian can enjoy) is the Palace Theatre where at 4:15 “Don Juan and Miguel”  will present their “Weird Show,” where anything can happen and often does. In their 24th year, I believe these two whipper-snappers are truly a “MUST SEE”.

Ahhhhh. Now the day is almost done and its time to review your shopping notes and pick up some souvenirs of this most hilarious and entertaining day in the 16th century. I hope you enjoyed your trip back in time and will return again soon because this was, as they say, only the tip of the iceberg.

If this were Shakespeare this would be his “Much Ado About Nothing”, stay tuned for my next post, an alternate itinerary I would liken to the “sonnet” day at AZRF.



The Queen’s Citrus Curd

As always, please read the whole recipe before starting or suffer the catastrophic kitchen consequences.

1 Cup sugar or sugar substitute

6T unsalted organic butter

8 T fresh citrus juice

3 T citrus zest

1/4 tsp cardamom, ginger or mace (at festival it is either cardamom with lime or lemon; and occasionally ginger with lemon)


The following equipment is critical to create a perfect curd: a double boiler, a whisk, small grater, a juicer, and a 1 cup size wire mesh strainer, a second person to hold strainer while you whisk and pour. The recipe and process are simple, but like much simple science the timing, temperature and methods are very exact. The uncurling and binding of the protein chains of the white’s in the egg will occur to quickly in relation to the emulsion of the lemon and butter by the yolks and the consistency will not be pleasing nor the flavor correct if the eggs are not first whipped just till frothy and then poured through the strainer. Also fresh zest must be used as the pectin in the peel is another critical element of the consistency of curd, especially it artificial sugars such as Splenda or Truvia (the ones that say “good for baking” cup for cup only please) are used. Also butter must be unsalted; and organic is better in all ingredients but not necessary to make the recipe work.

Put water in the bottom and place double boiler on to begin heating. Measure out 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute and juice 8 T of fresh citrus juice-lime, lemon or orange or any combination of the three. Orange is too sweet for my palate if used alone, I find that orange does well halved with lemon juice.

Whisk 3 eggs in a pourable container just until a slightly frothy yellow color and whites  are thoroughly mixed.

Place 6 T (a bit less than one stick) of unsalted, organic butter in top of double boiler and let it begin melting.

Scrap just the colored portion of rind from either lemon, lime or orange to make 3 T (do not pack it down). (After many skinned knuckles I highly recommend Pampered Chef’s Microplane Adjustable Grater for all your grating needs) Add to pan once butter is almost melted along with juice, spice and sugar.

Stir until all sugar and spice is dissolved. Whisk briskly while pouring egg through strainer. Keep whisking until it starts to thicken and switch back to a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until you can make “roads” with the wooden spoon. Pour immediately into glass canning jars pre-heated to avoid shock. (to preheat a jar, fill with hot water and dump it all out just before filling). Add cap and let cool in fridge. Voila, perfect curd!


Velvet Vegetable Pottage (adapted from the writings of Hildegarde for moderne cooks)

This soup takes a day to complete and it requires a large (6 qt or greater) clay dutch oven; or an 11″ by 9″ by 2″ glass baking pan and a slow cooker. Rinse but do not peel any of the vegetables except the onion, buy and use organic for best nutrition and flavor, and cut into 1″ to 1.5″ chunks. Each vegetable should be approx 2-3 cups but the goal is proportionality of all but onion which is 1 cup or half the portion of other vegetables


5 Red Potatoes, a small bunch of kale (2-3 cups of cut), 2-3 small parsnips,  the outer 5 stalks and inner leafy portion of a celery bunch, 1 lb carrots, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 lb portabello mushrooms, 1 small onion.

Toss all vegetables in pan with 1/2 cup olive oil mixed with 3T spice mix. (I blend my own in a grinder spice jar that uses equally portioned dried Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme with a half portion of red crushed pepper), I recommend using Trader Joes “Italian Herbs” or Bragg’s Herb Blend if you do not wish to make your own.

Place glass pan in 425 degree (dutch oven in 450) oven and bake 25 minutes, until lightly roasted. As soon as they are out of the oven add 1 cup of Burgundy (or another fruit forward red wine) and then allow to cool. Place in fridge over night to allow flavors to develop. If using the slow cooker then four-six hours before serving place vegetables in cooker and add approx 6 cups of water otherwise just add the water to the Dutch Oven (cover all vegetables plus 1/2 inch) and 1 tsp sea salt and stir and set crockpot  to temp that will keep it simmering, or cover and place back in oven at 275. One hour before serving taste broth and add more salt and pepper to taste, then stir in a roux of 2T organic unsalted butter/ or for vegans coconut oil mixed with 3 T of flour (white rice or wheat is best). Recover and cook for at least one more hour and serve with hearty breads.