Food in Fantasy

I love to eat. And one of the cruelest things authors do in their books in describe the meals that their characters are eating. And I say cruel because the food described usually sounds so good that I get terribly jealous when I can’t eat it myself! I certainly don’t have the cooking skills to make up the recipes on my own. Fortunately, other readers who do have cooking skills have come to my rescue.

The first series that comes to mind for me when talking about fictional food is George R. R. Martin’s epic series Song of Ice and Fire. Martin minutely describes what his characters are eating and this could range from peacock and seagull during high feasts to biscuits and bacon on a riverboat. A well known blog called Inn at the Crossroads has taken it upon themselves to cook through the books. They have organized the recipes according to location and the recipes have mouthwatering photos to accompany them. They sometimes include medieval and modern recipes when able. Pictured at left is their Mereen breakfast with a hard boiled duck egg, lamb sausage (a substitute for the dog sausage in the book), sweetened wine and fruit. The most amazing thing about this blog is their dedication to the food as it is in the books. Hence, Honey Spiced Locusts, Grilled Snake, and Pigeon Pie. I’ve started small (Iced Milk sweetened with Honey-delicious and refreshing, and perfect for a summer morning beverage!) but hope to try some of the more difficult recipes soon.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has also inspired devoted foodies. Tolkien might not focus on food like Martin does, but having a race known for their love of eating as the central characters- well, it’s bound to come up. And so- Middle Earth Recipes. Most of these recipes are more inspired by the books than actually taking food named in the books, however there is a recipe for Lembas (which looks encouragingly easy, although I might have a hard time getting my hands on some Mallorn leaves…). No photos here unfortunately, but there is another blog that has gone through the recipes and posted pictures and tips. Called The Middle-Earth Foodie, she sometimes even posts her own recipes. Seen above are Gondorian Griddle Cookies.

I have not read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques (yet), which is terrible since everything I hear is that they are fantastic books. However, they apparently have enough food mentions in them to warrant their own cookbook and website! The Redwall Cookbook is meant for children, however, that just means the recipes will be easier to follow! The website is called The Redwall Kitchen and provides recipes for a great number of items (no pictures though). They seem to be easy to make and look they could be quite delicious, despite some odd sounding names (Mossflower Wedge? Seaweed Grog?). These recipes will definitely be going onto my “to make” list. The Redwall Cookbook should be available at a nearby library, if that is more appealing.

Lastly, the Hunger Games. I am perhaps the only person in the country who has not read this series yet, although I do own the first book thanks to a kind family member. I’ll get to it eventually. I have heard a good deal about it, especially with the movie coming out soon. From what I know it seems interesting that recipes would have been made from it, but I guess if there is a  Hunger Games nail polish line, recipes are not too far a stretch. There are a small selection of recipes here at the Fictional Food website, which includes recipes for items like Peeta’s Burnt Nut and Raison Bread and Lamb Stew with Dried Plums. I’m guessing that more recipes will be added soon.

So I’m guessing that I will have plenty of recipes to try in the upcoming months. I will be keeping my eye on Fictional Food, as well, since they also have recipes from Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and The Sandman comics.

Happy Eating!

Faerie Tale Theatre

Well, Christmas is over, but I found this and loved it.

Anyways.

Growing up, my sister and I used to watch Faerie Tale Theatre hosted by Shelley Duvall. Faerie Tale Theatre was an occasional hour long program that ran for six seasons between 1982 and 1985. There were 26 episodes total and most of the well-known and popular fairy tales were covered. They were released on DVD and complete collections are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Full episodes are also online through imdb and Hulu. Or check your library. They most likely have copies of the DVDs too.

The best thing about this series was that it was well done. Appropriate for children, yet entertaining for adults, the episodes included many well known actors.

Here are some of my favorite episodes. (Links to the episodes on Hulu will be at the bottom of each description.)

Rapunzel

Shelley Duvall is Rapunzel and Jeff Bridges is the Prince. This is the only thing that has ever made me mildly interested in eating radishes. And Jeff Bridges was so handsome as the Prince. Bridges and Duvall also double as Rapunzel’s parents.

Rapunzel

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

I loved this version. The fort that Goldilocks had to play in, the entire set really, fascinated me. Goldilocks was played by Tatum O’Neal with John Lithgow as her father. I particularly liked the Ranger played by Hoyt Axton, probably because he seemed very silly to me and therefore likeable to my childish tastes.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

 

 

The Princess and the Pea

My first introduction to Liza Minnelli (as the Princess). Again, I remember the scenery better than anything else. So crazily black and white with small hints of red. And the prince (Tom Conti) and princess were so strange and eccentric. By far, my favorite of the series.

The Princess and the Pea

Thumbelina

Carrie Fisher as Thumbelina. Really cool costumes and, again, sets. Also, pretty good special effects. I think my main fascination with this one was that everything had to be miniature and I loved the idea of living like that.

Thumbelina

 

 

 

 

The Snow Queen

I have always loved this story. It’s such a beautiful tale and so beautifully made.

The Snow Queen

 

Some other episodes to watch: “Beauty and the Beast” with Susan Sarandon as Beauty, “The Three Little Pigs” with Billy Crystal as one of the pigs, and “The Little Mermaid” which was far more faithful to the original story than the Disney version.

It’s Here!

After weeks of frenzied anticipation, the trailer was finally released last night!

It looks amazing. This is of course only for the first part of the movie; part 2, There and Back Again, won’t be released until 2013. Of course, An Unexpected Journey itself won’t be released for another year but I have every intention of remaining in a fever-pitch of excitement until then.

There’s old Bilbo (Ian Holm) and young Bilbo (Martin Freeman), the smallest glimpse of Frodo (Elijah Wood), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and Bag End. The Dwarves are introduced: Fili (Dean O’Gorman), Kili (Aidan Turner), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton- they really made him look like Gimli!), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Balin (Ken Stott), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), and- finally- Thorin (Richard Armitage) with the Hero Shot.

We hear the dwarves sing, we get a taste of the comedy and the seriousness of their journey, plus hints aplenty of what this will mean for Bilbo in particular. It will be interesting to see how they show Bilbo finding the ring since we have seen that already in Fellowship of the Ring, but I got chills when I first heard Gollum speak. Also- Sting!

It seems pretty clear that they have cut the movie off right before they enter Mirkwood. Probably a good decision. I can’t wait to see Beorn and the Great Goblin for the first time and so excited to see Galadriel and Elrond again.

I realize this is just the trailer and that trailer music might or might not make it in to the movie but it sounds fantastic so far. Can’t wait for the whole soundtrack to be released, especially since the soundtracks to the Lord of the Rings movies were so amazing.

I am also fairly certain that a roomful of Thorin posters is in my very near future. Richard Armitage is gorgeous, but Richard Armitage as the handsome bearded Thorin? *swoon* Who knew dwarves could bring out my inner fangirl?

AnachroCon 2012

I personally find the steampunk sub-genre very interesting. Not being very machine minded myself, I’m not sure I have much to offer to it but I do love history and especially the Victorian time period. Apparently this genre has been around since the late 80’s, although I feel like I’ve just started hearing about it in the past few years or so.

There are all kinds of materials out there about steampunk.

There are the books…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s the jewelry…

 

There are the fashion choices overall…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is even a fun dress up game to play online.

And, of course, there is a convention that caters to all things steampunk. Well, there are plenty all around the country I am sure, but this one in particular is close to me. They say it better than I can on their website:

AnachroCon is a celebration of history both real and imagined. It is a place where those who have a love for yesterday’s future mix and mingle with those who chronicle the past and present.

AnachroCon is a home for Steampunks, Neo-Victorians, Retro-Futurists, Historical Re-enactors, Time Travelers, and general students of history, as well as those wishing to explore these areas.

We are dedicated to the principle of providing a safe social environment for the free exchange of ideas. We gather to interact, share, dance, and explore the possibilities of all things historical, alternately historical and fictional. We also strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards of decorum and education.

AnachroCon is, and shall remain, a convention at which the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Held on February 24th-26th, 2012, AnachroCon has speakers, authors, artists, impersonators, and a vendor’s room. Only $50 until January 31st and $60 at the door, the convention will be held at the Holiday Inn Select Perimeter. I’m not sure if I will be able to go (money’s a bit tight), but it certainly looks like fun!

All the info can be found at their website.

 

Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer

Yes. So excited. If Season 2 turns out to be as good as Season 1, April is going to be a really great month. Maybe. Not having HBO myself, that could be a potential problem…

Casting news has already been let out as I wrote about here. So this is a short trailer, but it gives some hints about what’s coming. That’s Stannis speaking and boy is his voice perfect. Often described as harsh and gravelly in the books, Stephen Dillane sounds exactly as he should.

There’s on article here about the new season.

HBO’s website for Game of Thrones also has a lot of extra material including some production diaries.

Season 2 starts in April and Season 1 comes out on DVD in March. It’s a shame the DVD couldn’t have been released in time for Christmas, but oh well!

Ender’s Game: The Movie

While wandering through the internet today I stumbled on this article: Harrison Ford’s Sci-Fi Roots Are Showing: Star to Play ‘Ender’s Game’. Here’s what the article says about the news:

Regardless of how you feel about the adaptation of Ender’s Game that is currently in the works (Gavin Hood, who directed the fiercely experimental “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” is attached), there’s only a very slim chance that you’ll be bothered by the news that Harrison Ford is joining the cast as Colonel Graff. This is great news for sci-fi fans — the only thing better would be a guaranteed R rating, so we can show these PG-13 “Hunger Games” wimps what fully militarized children are really capable of.

I feel like I heard somewhere that a movie version would be happening. I did not realize that casting decisions were already being made. This is kind of exciting.

I love the book by Orson Scott Card. Actually, I have really enjoyed all the books by Card that I have read. His alternate fantasies are really good (Pastwatch, the Alvin Maker series) and he even has some fairy tale retellings in there (Enchantment). Ender’s Game and its sequels/companion novels are well worth reading.

I am a bit nervous about that director though. I really wanted to like the Wolverine movie. I truly did. But I couldn’t. It was bad (however “fiercely experiemental” it might have been). There’s no trailer yet, so no telling about how the finished Ender’s Game might look. And I suppose if it’s bad, it will just end in the same garbage pile as other beloved books absolutely destroyed in their film adaptations (see: The Golden Compass, The Seeker. Ugh.)

There’s a full article here on Yahoo! Movies that goes a little more in depth into the news.

Lord of the Rings: Part 2

I resisted reading Lord of the Rings for a long time. Despite the fact that I was a fantasy lover from the beginning, for some reason I never was interested in reading it. Perhaps it was the crazy covers from the paperback copies we had, but I’m pretty sure it was because I had the misfortune to see the 1977 cartoon version of The Hobbit. Or at least part of it.

My sister had to read The Hobbit for high school. Normally I would read anything my sister read because I was (and am) always looking for the things to read. The Hobbit I had not read. One day she was downstairs watching our videotape copy of the cartoon, which I had frequently noticed sitting amongst our collection of tapes but had never any desire to watch, mainly because of its age. So I wandered downstairs bored while she watched the cartoon walk in on this:

I watched for a few minutes with my mouth hanging open and then walked back upstairs thinking “this? This is what everyone has been telling me I need to read? Absolutely not!” So fast forward a few years to 2001.  I’m in high school. Watching TV, I start to see trailers and commercials for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. It looks gorgeous. It looks exciting. It looks like something I might enjoy.

So I wandered over to the bookcase and pulled out the battered Ballantine paperback boxset that we have from 1965. I started to read and I was hooked. By the time I made it to the theater a few weeks later to actually see the movie, I was already halfway through The Two Towers.

How thankful I am to Peter Jackson that he loved the books enough to make movies to do the story justice. And to the studio for allowing him to actually make a trilogy and not two movies as was originally planned. I suppose I should also be grateful for the introduction to New Zealand as well. It is now on my list of places I must visit.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read the books; but I’ve had to retire the old paperbacks and buy a new boxset- hardback, this time. The covers, which I love so much now, are ripped and torn. The Fellowship of the Ring is actually held on with duct tape. The Two Towers has clear packing tape along the binding to keep it together. Terrible for the books I’m sure, but necessary for my sentimentality. Even the DVDS I’ve bought are showing signs of wear. I don’t watch the theatrical versions anymore; why would anyone when you could watch the extended editions? As we say at the library where I work, their condition could best be described as “well-loved”.

Well-loved indeed.