Nine Hundred Down

Kage Baker, several hundred more signing sheets finished, periodic distraction from the Olympics, plums, hunting for mint at the grocery store and being told it’s “seasonal produce” (in what dimension?), back and forthing with the agent over a new anthology that wants a Kage Baker story, back and forthing with the critic who has just gotten the first known Uncorrected Proof Copy of Nell Gwynne II …

No writing. But those are my excuses, Dear Readers. So no one thinks I fell in a ditch!

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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14 Responses to Nine Hundred Down

  1. Jane says:

    Yay, Olympics! Super King on San Fernando has all kinds of fresh herbs, including mint. And I can imagine a nice cluster of your favorite mint near that new fence. I’m still chuckling at your description of crazy neighbor grimacing, and lava plug exploding (I lived under Mt Helen for years). Thanks for constantly making me giggle. My cats don’t appreciate my guffaws, but hey, everybody needs some stress in life!

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  2. Tom B. says:

    Go, Goodie, go!

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  3. Elaine says:

    Re: mint being seasonal: I wonder if the seasonality excuse is why I can never find packages of Kraft caramels in the stores around here (in Fresno) except at Halloween? I don’t like the Brachs caramels that they sell by the pound, because they’re always hard as a rock. Kraft’s caramels are always nice and soft, or if not holding it, still in the wrapper, in my hand for just a minute softens it right back up, unlike the others. This really frustrates me because, since I cannot eat chocolate, I have adopted caramels as my chocolate, and sometimes I just need some at times other than just before Halloween.

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  4. Jan Foley says:

    Ha! Seasonality, eh? Here in the UK it is nearly impossible to buy large dinner napkins (made of paper — they call them ‘serviettes’) at supermarkets except at “Christmas time.” They are not ‘stocked’ during the ordinary year. I was given this piece of information by a worker in one such place, when I asked where napkins were kept. It’s apparently OK to slobber down your front all during the year, except at the Christmas feast? (He could NOT have made that up!) No, I’m wrong. The British eat so neatly, they don’t EVER slobber, and the napkins are just for show. Maybe that’s why so many are printed with holly, etc.

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    • Kate says:

      Civilized people use cloth napkins, obviously – except at Christmas time, when you have to feed a lot of semi-strangers and objectionable relatives. That, at least, was the reasoning used by many of my older relatives when I was young.

      At Renaissance Faires, we watched the nobility carefully use cloth napkins – except when humourously wiping their hands on their servants – while Kage and I used my apron … Kage didn’t like wearing an apron (“Aprons are not cool.”) so she’d habitually wipe her hands on mine. Except when we were being totally horrid and pretending to blow our noses on one another’s sleeves …

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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      • Jan Foley says:

        Well, that’s an angle I’d not thought of! My uncivilised midwestern Yank roots are still showing (but I am acquiring British spellings.) Cheer up; I HAVE dumped my penchant for paper plates and plastic forks.

        We only used cloth napkins on state occasions when I was growing up in Michigan; we always used paper ones for everyday. Actually, I now use cloth dinner napkins for all my guests here in Scotland because it’s not always easy to get paper ones, and I’ve got limited room for stocking up the paper ones at Christmas, and very limited fondness for Father Christmas prints in mid-July.

        Having to iron those cotton/linen blends after every meal, though …grrrr….

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  5. Kate says:

    Jan – I am envious in that you can find cotton-linen blends easily, for any purpose. I adore linen, and it’s damned hard to find over here except as acrylic wannabes: which are just not the same. However, those faux linens do very well indeed as everyday cloth napkins! We go through an absurd amount of them on set at the Green Man Inn (nightly laundry and no time to iron), and the fake linen works best. It can be folded and rushed back to the table each morning with minimal fuss. Then you save the crisper, linen or linen-blend ones, for special occasions or beloved friends. And! If folded while warm from the dryer, the acrylic ones will hold their shape very nicely, especially if you put them in the linen closet (or giant Tupper you’re carrrying to Fair) under the weight of something else.

    Yes, I am your source for how the 19th-century housewife managed her kitchen and pantry problems … Roman soft drinks, Elizabethan faux venison, magic tricks with white wine and borage blossoms, Victorian tea sandwiches produced an entire loaf at a time …

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  6. Jan Foley says:

    So …you’re a fan of Mrs Beeton (as told to Mr Beeton) I reckon???

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  7. Kate says:

    Yep. Between various of us, my ladies and I have three editions of her incomparable cook book, as well her household one. But there are so many others … I’ve been researching how women of various eras over the 3,000 years or so ran their houses for over 30 years. Retro tech fascinates me.

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    • Jan Foley says:

      Well, this is cool. It seems we have a mutual interest. I have been accumulating books on social history for ages. I’m always fascinated by how people ‘back then’ went about their ordinary lives. So much written history is about kings, queens, battles, etc. But the everyday lives of people is what really interests me.

      May I recommend the following books to you, if you haven’t already read them:

      “Highland Folk Ways”, by I.F. Grant, first published in 1961 by Routledge and Kegan Paul, LTD. The edition I have is paperback, published 1995 by Birlinn Ltd, Canongate Venture, 5 New Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BH. Reprinted 1997. ISBN 1 874744 42 4. It contains many chapters, including The Homes of the People, Furnishings and Plenishings of Highland (Scottish) Houses, The People’s Daily Round and Common Tasks, Highland Fabrics, Food, Physic and Clothing, Seasons and Great Occasions. It’s a cracking book, and might be right up your alley, so to speak. Very detailed, with illustrations included.

      “The Way We Ate : Pacific Northwest Cooking 1843-1900” by Jacqueline B Williams. WSU Press, (Washington State University Press) 1996. ISBN 0-87422-136-6 (paperback) Contains chapters entitled: First homes, first kitchens, water: one unfailing luxury, we have a cook stove, flour: staple of subsistence, improvising in the kitchen, dried, preserved and pickled, the barnyard provides, in the midst of plenty, parties and special days. Again, like the previous book, it is incredibly detailed with many excerpts from primary sources, mainly women’s diaries.

      And then this recent offering: The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, by Ian Mortimer. Published by Vintage Books, 2009. ISBN 9781845950996. Chapter titles are: The Landscape, The People, The Medieval Character, Basic Essentials, What to Wear, Travelling, Where to Stay, What to Eat and Drink, Health and Hygiene, The Law, and What to Do. Again, like the previous two, it is incredibly detailed AND fun, as the author manages to place the reader smack into the setting. Great stuff.

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      • Kate says:

        Jan – books like those (and *those* books, all of which I have and cherish) are mainstays of the re-creator’s life. For every warrior in armour (most of which seem to be based on Frazetta covers) there are a hundred folks who have learned how to brew, make barrels, cook on an open fire, break flax, naalbind, roll a dove-tailed joint …

        Remember those PBS shows, *1800’s House*, *Prairie House*, etc? My ladies and I watched those and had laughing hysterics.

        Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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  8. Jan Foley says:

    Oh, that’s even MORE cool! Wow. You’ve already got all of these books!

    Yes, these kinds of books are my favourite reading material, and my house is full of them. (Especially ones covering the Victorian period, which is the period I know the most about.)

    And yes, I do remember seeing those TV shows as well, and …well, laughing isn’t really what I did at the time. I was so annoyed that those people had the opportunity to try re-enacting at this level, and wasted it by mumping and moaning and in-fighting, big-brother-style. (And I don’t mean 1984-big-brother style…) I also blame the producers of the shows, who so obviously wanted this kind of modern, existential conflict to happen. SO disappointing!

    Fortunately a series of TV shows has since appeared which DOES work re-enactment with spirit and interest. It’s the series called The Victorian Farm, The Edwardian Farm, and one other (I forgot the name, but it was something like The Green Valley, set in the 1600s in rural England.) The three presenters who re-enact the periods (for an entire year) are all historians, so they revel in the challenges and never mump and moan. It’s a joy to watch them. My only wee niggle is that the woman’s costume for The Victorian Farm is ALL WRONG. She’s dressed in 1850’s-60’s garb, and the series is supposed to be set in 1885-ish. However, she got her costumes right for the other two series, and the guys are fine.

    The food preparation parts of these series are particularly good. As are the holidays. Lots of farm stuff too.

    Okay, moving on …are you familiar with the Shardlake series of books (fiction), written by CJ Sansom? Set in the Tudor era?

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  9. Kate says:

    Alas, Jan, it’s been a quarter of a century since I have been able to face fiction set in the Tudor era – except for Shakespeare. I end of leaping around the room howling, threatening to set my hair on fire. (Kage once made a really very nice (but uninformed) fan SWEAR she would never use Kage’s own first novel as a source for re-creator work.) By now, I can’t even relax and enjoy that sort of thing as just stories. Other periods, yes; but Tudor England was my first love, and you always end up just a little insane over that.

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  10. Jan Foley says:

    Well, CJ Sansom is a historian himself, with a pedigree. His father was William Sansom, also a historian, who wrote one of my favourite books on Christmas customs around the world, entitled …”Christmas.”

    If you ever want to put your fiction toe back into Tudor-era waters, I can’t recommend the Shardlake series highly enough, and I am pretty certain you won’t end up immolating your hair over historical inaccuracies. The series begins during the period of the dissolution of the Catholic religious houses, and ends just after the death of Henry VIII.

    These books are ostensibly whodunnits (which I normally don’t like) but the main character, Matthew Shardlake (a middle-aged hunchback lawyer) is someone whom you will never forget, and, unlike other whodunnit historical heroes like Cadfael, actually develops as a character as the series progresses. The Matthew Shardlake in the final volume, “Heartstone”, is definitely a different man from the one you meet in “Dissolution.”

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