Getting Dressed in the 18th Century, Lady


Mushroom Ketchup

The 1950s cupboards had anchovy paste, many Japanese cupboards have soy sauce. Thai kitchens use fish paste, and the 18th century had mushroom ketchup. Whatever the name, it’s savor on a plate, that thing that goes by the term “umami” because people seem incapable of using “savor” for the name of the fifth flavor (when the first four are salt, sweet, bitter, and sour. Whatever.)

We Attack The Mayor With Hummus

You will need:
A food processor
Canned garbanzo beans
Tahini paste*
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Water, salt, and pepper

*If you do not have tahini paste, substitute peanut butter. Real peanut butter, the kind where the ingredients list consists of peanuts, and possibly salt. Thin it with a little sesame or olive oil and the taste will be virtually identical to the tahini paste. It will, however, set off nut allergies where tahini will not. This is VERY important.

In the food processor, combine one can of drained garbanzo beans, about two tablespoons of tahini paste, minced or powdered garlic as desired, and a couple of droozles of olive oil. Blend until smooth, at which point you will be able to determine how much water to add to give it a proper consistency. Add in lemon juice and then gradually add salt and pepper to taste.

If you like, consider adding roasted red pepper or black olives to the mix, or separate your blend into sections and do all three types.

Eat with pita chips, which are also quite easy to make.

You will need:
Baking sheets
Pitas in abundance
Olive oil, preferably in a spray bottle or squirt bottle
“Italian seasoning” spice
Kosher salt

Cut the pitas into wedges, and separate the sides. With the insides up, lightly coat with olive oil, then sprinkle spices and salt on top. Bake at 300º for ten minutes or less, when chips are golden brown. Experience tells me that a darker brown is still tasty but rougher on the teeth.

How Effed Are You?

We’re going to play a game, and I apologize for the language. It really doesn’t work well without the full-on f-word. The game goes like this: Take a fantasy or science fiction universe, and think how badly-off you’d be if you were dropped into it. To make things fairer than “sorry, you just die,” assume that you speak the language, are dressed appropriately, and your immune system is set to target all the common diseases that everybody else there is exposed to. (This does not protect you from plagues, of course, but it does mean you don’t fall over dead from being exposed to a dozen new colds at once.) On the other hand, you don’t suddenly acquire a bunch of new and amazing skills, and you don’t have a family and support group. So here we go with a selection; feel free to add on.

  • Isaac Asimov, Foundation
    Not really, because Hari Seldon already accounted for you.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, the Vorkosigan saga
    If you can get anyone to believe you, you’re going to be a subject of great interest to a number of folk. Which ones get to you first indicate how badly-off you are. Try for Cordelia. If Cetaganda gets you, well, you’re probably not going to be hurt, but you’re not going to be free ever again.
  • C.J. Cherryh, Chanur cycle
    Do you run into Pyanfar? Then not. Otherwise, you totally are.
  • David Eddings, The Belgariad
    Not likely. You’re certainly going to fall in with some interesting people, though.
  • Harlan Ellison, anything
    Are you kidding? Even the characters are so fucked, you think you’ll get off any easier?
  • Barbara Hambly, any of her portal fantasies
    Yep. They don’t like strangers much.
  • Mercedes Lackey, Valdemar series
    Not only are you not screwed, you may even end up with a magical talking pony with big blue eyes and shiny silver hooves.
  • Scott Lynch, Gentlemen Bastards
    You’re fucked. Unless you’re friends with Locke Lamora, in which case you are fucked by the gods.
  • George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire
    You’re fucked, and then you die. And then it gets worse.
  • Seanan McGuire, InCryptid
    How do you know you aren’t already in that world?
  • Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn
    You’re in the background. Watch out for koloss.
  • Connie Willis, Oxford Time Travel
    They’re going to figure out that you’re not from around there. Chances are that they’ll think you’re from the future, though, not an alternate past. Bonus: really good vaccinations.

Danish Puff Coffee Cake

You will need:
1 cup flour
1 cube butter or margarine
2 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 cup water
1 cube butter or margarine
1 tsp. almond flavoring
1 cup flour
3 eggs

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp. almond flavoring

Bottom: Cut butter into 1 cup flour and baking powder until well blended. Sprinkle with water; mix with fork (or pastry blender.) Divide in half; pat dough into two long strips, 3×12 inches, on ungreased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.

Top: Combine water and butter; bring to a boil. Add flavoring and remove from heat. Quickly beat in the flour with an electric mixer. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously after each.

Cover your pastry strips with this mixture, spreading over the sides and ends. Bake about 60 minutes at 375º until crisp and golden brown.

Glaze: Mix it; spread on the coffee cakes while they are warm. Sprinkle with chopped almonds if so desired.

The Gate To Hell

The eunuch priests likely made their sacrifices in only the morning or evening hours, when the concentration of the gas was highest, Pfanz says. Sacrificial animals were not tall enough to keep their heads fully clear of the CO2 lake, and as they became dizzy, their heads would have dropped even lower, exposing them to higher CO2 concentrations and leading to death by asphyxiation. The priests, however, were tall enough to keep their heads above the dangerous gasses, and may have even stood on stones to add to their height. “They … knew that the deadly breath of [the mythical hellhound] Kerberos only reached a certain maximum height,” Pfanz says.

This Roman ‘gate to hell’ killed its victims with a cloud of deadly carbon dioxide