Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere!

The title pretty much sums up the state of my brain.  I've had a lot going on in the past couple of weeks but not much of it shows on the surface, so I thought I'd make a note here about a couple of the more interesting things.

At Gen Con I talked with Shane Moore, author of the Abyss Walker books, and because of that I'm now working on a cookbook ... of sorts.  It's going to be an Orcish cookbook - a sort of fantasy thing filled with recipes for roast Elf and such.  The goal is to have all the recipes be workable (assuming some ingredient substitutions) and have the cuisine have its own distinct flavor.  We'll see how this goes.  If nothing else, it should be a fun project.

Yosinori Satoh of Kobe, Japan has just completed a Japanese translation of the 14th century French cookbook "Enseignements" (Bibl. Nationale Ms. Lat. 7131), based upon my English translation.  I've been corresponding with Yosi for a couple weeks now, clarifying and revising parts of my translation - which probably means my translation will need to be updated in the next month or so.

I'm starting up a writing circle with a couple of friends.  Hopefully this will encourage all of us to get more written, and help work out plot issues, etc.  The zombie story I'm currently working on is currently around 8000 words and starting to move.

I've got a small bunch of things by other researchers that I need to format properly and put up on the website - a couple of articles and recipes and the like.  I should also take some time to make sure I've got links to all of Kristen's recipes.

Recently I have been taking more of an interest in medieval European charms, amulets, and magical "cures".  I don't know how far I'll be going with it, but it's neat stuff.

Yesterday I received an email from Dr. Thomas Gloning.  He'd been contacted by Helmut Kluge who is working on a database of plants and their uses in German manuscripts.  Dr. Gloning thought I might be of some help for this project.  It took a bit for me to work out what the emails were about because my understanding of German is very limited (I can read medieval German recipes and comments in German database code with reasonable accuracy, but beyond that I'm lost).  It turns out that Helmut is well aware of my website (Hi Helmut!), and while there isn't much I can currently help him with, there is some potential for future collaboration.

There's more, of course, but a lot of it is silly stuff that I do for fun and is probably a waste of time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When the Party's Over

Once again, Gen Con has come and gone, and It'll probably take over a week for me to fully recover. This year was great. I had fun, I learned lots of stuff, and I talked with lots of cool people. The fact that Jean Rabe organizes the Writers' Symposium events for Gen Con every year shows that she's one of the most awesome people ever.

My two hour talk, titled Real Medieval Feasts seemed to go well. It wasn't as much fun to do as the Principles of Medieval Cooking one I've done a number of times, but people still seemed to enjoy it. Attendance seemed smaller than last year - there were only about 60 or so in the audience, and some empty seats. Still, the crowd was responsive and inquisitive.

I was really nervous for the cooking workshop. I'd never done this kind of thing, and the lack of proper cooking facilities made me worry even more. I was so nervous that I managed to burn my fingertips (slightly) while adjusting the element on the cooktop - I hadn't realized it got turned on while setting things up.

Still, I managed to get the food served and did my best to keep the guests entertained. I'd cooked most of the food ahead of time, and that's about the only way I could have done this at all. No one seemed to mind much, and in fact they said I could have charged significantly more (which I'll likely need to do if I try this again next year). Given the cost of dining anywhere near the convention (where a burger, fries, and drink can cost up to $20) I guess I'm not surprised.

One thing I did get a kick out of was that two of the guests were children. Both boys, one around eight years old and the other I'll guess was maybe six, and they were there with their mothers. The kids were very well behaved, tried everything (that I could see) and seemed to like it. These were my kind of kids! If either of the moms are reading this, thank you for raising such nice children.

For the Writers' Symposium panels I was on, I had a great time. I was a bit concerned about the panel on drinking, but it was really fun - and I got to have a nice chat with Linda Baker before and afterwards (Hi Linda!).

The panel on Dark Women worried me even more - it was mis-scheduled in the Gen Con computer, so very few people were there at the start, and I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to contribute (I'm a guy, after all). I think we managed to do pretty well, and we even extended it an extra hour to accommodate the (large!) crowd who showed up for the scheduled time. Paul Genesse had the brilliant idea to draft one of the audience members from the first hour into the panel for the second hour. Susan Carhart (I hope I remembered her name right) was a really neat person to be on a panel with - smart, charming, and all-around fun.

That's about it for now. There are several potential projects that might develop from the convention, but we'll have to wait and see. I'll post some details on what I served at the cooking workshop a bit later this week.