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February 2016



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Alexia in Shock

Aspic & Old Lace

The rabbit hole of research led me to investigate aspic the other day, Gentle Reader. What this article calls "Jelly covered piles of carved food are an excellent visual shorthand for absurdly poncey cuisine."

Despite the general pooh-pooh attitude, I would actually rather like to try aspic. I've managed to make it inadvertently out of fish once or twice. If memory serves I did the pink peppercorn Ancient Roman dish and . . . but that's another story.

Then, on the feed, this article from Time Travel Kitchen on the subject of tomato aspic turned up and I figured it was a sign.

Don't tell the AB, but I think I might have to try to make aspic soon. I do love strange and wiggly foods. I blame copious amounts of blancmange foisted upon me by my grandmother as an innocent child. Gelatinous just seems exciting. Plus it's an excellent word, gelatinous.

This may, or may not, explain the reoccurring presence of calf's foot jelly in my novels.


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Bacon & Egg Cupcakes

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Working rough draft. Release date Fall 2013.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 5, 2013. Working promo schemes.Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Third draft handed in to editor, awaiting edits.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless) Reviewing chapter by chapter, each drops on YenPlus by subscription. Print release tentatively Dec. 2012.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT on the Parasol Protectorate series! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

The Omnibus hardback editions are limited run through the SciFi Bookclub only.

The manga editions, Vol. available in print, Vol. 2 by subscription to YenPlus.

Most short stories available in ebook form world wide!

The first Finishing School book ~ Not yet Released

Book News:
Heartless reviews:
Quote of the Day:
Recent research on Wiki and I found this fascinating.
"In Scandinavia, there existed, for example, the famous race of she-werewolves known with a name of Maras. If a female at midnight stretches between four sticks the membrane which envelopes the foal when it is brought forth, and creeps through it, naked, she will bear children without pain; but all the boys will be shamans, and all the girls Maras. Women who took on the appearance of the night looking for huge monster half human and half wolf. The transformation was slow and suffered from screaming, hair and nails grow, the woman's face stretched into that of a hungry wolf meat and leaving room for animal instinct. In fact, the Maras were almost all women from peasant and plebeian classes. Let's just say a popular version of the Norse Valkyries." From Wikipedia on shapeshifting

Daisypath Wedding tickers


tinned ham in the uk is in aspic
it stops the meat coming in contact with the tin, it's that jelly stuff everyone cuts off
it might make it easier to find it, but a good tin of sandwich meat will have it
it's not unpleasant, it's like mildly bacon flavoured jelly
That article on the Maras is fascinating! Smells like a whole novel could be written around that.

(Congrats on starting the draft of Prudence's adventures. ^_^ )
I just had a conversation last week with a friend who was making jello shots how fruit jello evolved from aspic.

Then I watched an epsiode of Triple D with a chef showing how to make headcheese.
Someone simply must make aspic shots with bacon vodka. Who will take up the challenge?
I have both bacon vodka and bacon flavoring
So you're gonna do it, right??? :D
giving it some thought, I would have to go with plain gelatin for starts, unless they made a tomato jello and I could make Bloody Mary shots.
Gail posted this link above, but I think it is appropriate: http://timetravelkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/06/tomato-aspic-with-starbursts.html

...without the candies, please. Bloody Mary jello shots would be epic!
I also have tomato flavored vodka too.
I cannot hear about aspic without thinking of the King Crimson song 'Larks Tongues in Aspic'.
I don't like aspic, which I blame the poor quality of the stuff you get everywhere here (bleurgh), but blancmanges, sweet and fruit-flavoured jellies? I'M YOURS.

Also, how comes I didn't know about the Maras?! I'm living almost on their doorstep! (@Д@;;)
Aspic doesn't taste of much, to be honest...
I was served tomato aspic once by an old family friend, and I'm old enough to remember savory Jello salads with rice in them. I don't think you're missing anything; they're all really pretty gross.

Home-made gelatin desserts made with fruit juice and fresh fruit, on the other hand, are yummy.
I had a tomato-something aspic served to me by a chef who was trying to go through all of Julia Childs recipes (or was it The Joy of Cooking? can't remember). It was a little odd, but kind of like eating a plate of solid-yet-insubstantial salsa. I would prefer it to any of the scary Mormon Jello Salads I was confronted with in my childhood, I'd probably eat it again if served, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make it.

[A marathon on…] Mara

Ah, that old hag! :) The mara, that is… Or rather, "mare" in English.

'Mardröm' (nightmare in Swedish) is litteraly mare+dream. Funny my dreams never seem to be playing on old, horrifically freakish sexual fantasies of the protodead or spirits… I suppose it's only mildly arousing if you're a bored citydweller and not a 17th century farmer afraid of dead stuff & devilry poofing in from the keyhole.

Mares could shapeshift into anything though — depends on which way you follow the myth and how far back. At its root, it seems to be connected to the mother of all hags; Lîlî/(ardath lîlî) - succubi-ish thingamaspiritdemon from ancient Babylonian scribblings.

They were all mostly known to "ride" men in their sleep (female date-rapists before their time?), an act resulting in various sorts of ailments, further resulting in death, sometimes even a stint as undead. Festive. Untill the entire congregation of pitchfork-wielding peasants whacked you over the head and staked you – at which point you'd be experiencing a bit of a 'bummer moment'.

Way to go on the 2000-word mark!

I'm sorry, there's no way to look at that photo, "Ham in Aspic," and not share this:

The Gallery of Regrettable Food.
Oh, the time sink, the time sink!

Review Link


Thanks so much for the Link back! I have enjoyed all 5 books so far, and am looking forward to E&E when it's released!


Re: Review Link

Thanks for taking the time to review!