Drop by the Steampunk Cookery website.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

Acorn Squash.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
In November I cooked for a great number of people; one group lucky enough to eat my food (if I may, somewhat egotistically, describe the experience thus,) was the Indian Village Women's Garden Club. Indian Village is an area of Detroit containing some of the oldest standing houses in the area, most of them what could be described as mansions—especially in the Victorian era, when many of them were built—and most of those still complete with butlers' pantries, kitchens wholly closed-off from the rest of the house, secret passages, back staircases, servants' quarters, and so on: the whole package of Victorian Opulence.

I was asked to prepare a meal for the ladies, and speak about the historical cooking techniques, theories, and styles that I have documented here. I took the chance to refine the speech I would ultimately give at Teslacon, as well as to debut the curry recipe I intended to cook at the con. I also wanted to take the opportunity to write some new recipes and try some new techniques for preparing them, which is represented in this recipe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I've been in a prohibition-era mood lately,
it would seem...
I've often declined to post things here because I don't find them to fit particularly with my little project, for one reason or another. The food doesn't feel "steampunk" enough, I didn't take good pictures, I don't feel like it represents the best cooking I can do, and so on and so forth.

There's no immediate solution to this. I could invent a multi-point criteria system for evaluating my recipes in terms of their quality, interest, and overall steampunk nature—but that would involve work, and for someone as sleep-loving as I am, I feel my time might be better spent napping. (Actually, I just don't know what all my criteria would be...)

I do, however, have some interesting things coming up this month that I'd like to tell you all about, and that will form the basis of the new content for this blog in the coming weeks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chicken Curry - From Leftovers

Photograph by Mark Staubitz, at Teslacon II
(The blue pot soon to hold chicken curry.)
Mrs. Beeton and many of her contemporary cookbook writers were very concerned with using leftover food. In an age lacking refrigeration or the ability to freeze leftover food, the remedy was to create recipes to use that cooked meat, like Chicken Croquettes, meat pies, and stews of cooked meat. These recipes highlight one of the main drives of cooking in the Victorian era, a desire—and indeed a need—for food utilization. Sausages, terrines, and pâtés all see their beginnings in this need to utilize all the parts of a meat animal, and recipes like the one below (and a hundred different variations on hashed meat) come from a need to make something of the very valuable food items left after a meal.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wintertime Trifle

One of the most quintessentially British of desserts, Trifles have allegedly existed since the end of the 16th century. In the Complete Traditional Recipe Book, Sarah Edington says,
Trifle is one of those dishes for which no one can agree on the correct recipe. Grown men remember with affection the trifle made by their mothers and grandmothers and come to blows over whether or not jelly and/or jam should be ingredients.
I won't make any claim to one version of a trifle that's any more correct than any other, but I will present you a short history of the Trifle as I can assemble it from some of the cookbooks in my collection.