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Pleyn Delit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sabre   
Monday, 03 September 2012 20:56

I used to see this book in the Chivalry Sports catalog all the time when I first started LARPing and since I was in a group that liked to attempt to make a period(ish) feast, this seemed like a book we would need.  As far as I know, it’s not a book that any of our members ever had.  I eventually ended up in a group that didn’t really feel any concern for the ‘feel’ of the feast and stopped looking at such references.  Recently, I came across it on Amazon and thought I’d pick it up and make some food to take with us to the local Renaissance faire.  I ended up reading the book cover to cover (as one might read a novel) and in the end, just purchased food on site as always.

The authors state in the introduction that the book is intended for a North American audience.  Beyond that, it’s a bit difficult to know who the book is written for.  Based on the subject matter, it seems that the ideal target would be the LARP or re-enactor communities (especially as a ‘starter’ book for a household or guild cooking library) but it doesn’t really suit the needs of these groups because of it’s set up, assumptions about the user and has gaps in the information provided.

Pleyn Delit is a little different than most cookbooks in that you get what appears to be a medieval version of the recipe followed by the the authors’ interpretation of it (which generally consists of an ingredients list and a paragraph about preparation).  For example, almond milk is a common ingredient in recipes throughout the book but you have to read the recipe to find you need it and then you have to refer to the introduction section to pull the recipe for almond milk so you can make it (which can take a few hours to overnight) and no ‘acceptable substitute’ is provided for those who may not wish to use it due to allergy or safety concerns.

If you purchase the book as a LARPer or re-enactor, the need for a modern kitchen with gadgets like food processors, coffee grinders and blenders may limit whether or not this will be a useful resource for you.  Depending on where your group’s event’s are held, you may find you don’t have the recommended gear to prepare feast at your camp or for the rest of the club (which is pretty sad for something that is supposed to be a medieval cookbook).  If you test your recipes ahead of time, you can probably come up with a suitable workaround for at least some of their recommended preparations (perhaps grinding the loaves of bread into breadcrumbs at home) but others (like using a blender for soups) may prove a bit more challenging.

The most frustrating part of the book are the gaps in the information that you (or someone else) will have to research to make this a useful period resource.  As stated above, the book is intended for a North American audience but written about recipes from medieval Europe and depending on how new to the group you are (and/or how interested you are in food history) you may not know if the recipes are for summer or winter dining, an everyday or special occasion food or only something that a wealthy merchant or aristocrat may have been able to serve at his table.  The authors mention in passing things they think are important (no ‘New World’ veggies/spices/fruit on the medieval table for example) but don’t give any further information (like a list of common ones to avoid or acceptable substitutes).  They also state in the introduction of the book that most recipes feed four to six and are a bit vague on scaling up which means experimentation on the part of the feastocrat who wants to make dinner for 80 to 100 attendees (though again, you are on your own when it comes to what courses make the feast up because while they give some sample menus in the introduction, they don’t go into how a medieval menu is created).

The book could be an interesting starting point if you have the time to put in the extra work needed to make it a viable period resource or if you want to get ideas for creating your own fantasy dishes with a period feel - just try to get your copy on sale or used.

Escape Pod/Pod Castle review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sabre   
Friday, 04 July 2008 00:00

I first got hooked up with Escape Pod thanks to my favorite podcast author Scott Sigler. One of his short stories Hero was featured on the weekly sci-fi podcast and I was anxious to check it out. It was a bit odd to hear someone other than my Future Dark Overlord (yes, I'm an Original Junkie) read his story but it was well done so I decided to subscribe and see what else came down the feed. In all honesty, it's been a 'hit or miss' ordeal.

Mr. Eley, the host and main narrator for the feed, has stated numerous times in his weekly intros that Escape Pod's purpose is to expose people to science fiction. While I think this is great and I like the fact that the feed is listener supported and pays for the stories they run, there are just as many stories that are read in the weekly show that aren't really what most fans would call sci-fi. Perhaps this is a function of Escape Pod getting what they can afford to read each week or it may be intended to reach those who aren't 'in' to sci-fi yet but Mr. Eley is sensitive to being questioned on his selections and will not discuss the criteria he uses to select the stories (he has stated before that he knows it when he sees it and the 'kiss my ass if you don't like it' is implied in his tone). While I understand his not wanting to defend his every story selection, I think it also makes it hard for people to know what to expect and to know if what they are hearing in the first cast is the norm for the genre and the show.

I am also less than thrilled about the 'Geek Dad Intro' that rears up from time to time. Mr. Eley is a newish father and goes on about his young son rather than giving the upcoming story a proper introduction. For me, it's a two fold turn off as he gives the impression of never having been around a small child before and since he doesn't blog about the personal stuff in his life (though it does occasionally pop up from time to time) it's hard to care what his son's been up to. I suspect the father aspect is in part why from time to time, they run children's stories (which they thankfully started warning those of us who do not want to hear a children's story so that we can skip the episode).

Pod Castle, the new fantasy story podcast by the same folks who work on Escape Pod, ran its first installment thru the Escape Pod feed in an attempt to lure subscribers to the new feed. For me, it seems to repeat the same flaw of its sci-fi brother of not defining what will be considered 'fantasy' and that has me thinking that I will likely be in the same boat if I subscribe - it'll be worth listening to but only about half the time.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 September 2011 18:15
Aurelia's Regalia PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sabre   
Sunday, 15 January 2012 14:28

I was looking for costuming ideas when I came upon a site called Aurelia's Regalia.  Their offerings looked interesting and I found I kept going back and looking at what they had.  I decided to order a Huntress tunic for faire season in brown and green and placed my order on 12/10/10.  When I did not get a confirmation or any word from them at all after two weeks, I sent an email to make sure my order had been received and that no additional information was needed.  I found out fabric in the colors I selected was on back order and that they would start work as soon as the fabric was received.

When my order was not received by the first week of February, I decided to place an order for a set thru Painted Lady Clothier (see review on our sister site Sabre’s Squirrel) in the event that the tunic did not make it to me in time for opening day at the faire.  When my tunic arrived, it did not fit properly even though I had ordered the size their website indicated I needed based on my measurements .  It was quickly altered to get me thru faire season and is in need of more permanent alterations to make long term wear reasonable.

The tunic looks nice and seems to be put together well but the lack of good communication and the fact that my order could not be worn with out alterations means I cannot recommend this vendor.

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