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Monday, May 5, 2014

Harlots, Hustlers, and More!

 How many of you know Krista D. Ball? She's an amazing author who writes very fun field guides for other authors (along with assorted fiction of course). These aren't the typical How To Write A Book books, these are well researched, in depth looks at things you never stopped to think about.

Like, what did Aragorn eat while he was chasing the hobbits to Isengard?

Or, how many layers of clothing would a Regency harlot wear?

Off hand, I don't know the answer. I doubt you know the answer. But Krista knows the answer. In fact she's famous for her historically accurate feasts (read her Twitter feed - it gets gruesome).

Krista's steampunk and regency guide HUSTLERS, HARLOTS, AND HEROES is out now. And for this week only, WHAT KINGS ATE AND WIZARDS DRANK, a fantasy lover's guide to food, is on sale for 99cents.

If you are an .epub or PDF reader you can buy the Amazon book and Krista will send you the correct file format when you email her the receipt. kristadball @ gmail


Fast Food

Early Roman streets were lined with food kiosks. Most Plebeian apartments didn’t have kitchens and cooking facilities, so the population relied heavily on street vendors. Sausages or cooked meats covered in garum (a fish entrails sauce) could be purchased from vendors while going about one’s business.[i] Over two thousand years later, Victorian factory workers had access to over three hundred food vendors along their routes to work.

Steampunk heroines would stop at a kiosk for a mug of coffee, tea, or chocolate, drinking it there before handing the cup back (can you imagine how dirty some of those mugs might have been!). The beverage might only cost them a penny, far cheaper than the cost of coal to get their stoves going in the morning, assuming they even possessed a stove in their apartment.

After downing a hot beverage—welcomed on a cold January morning—our heroine could pick up a slice of currant cake for half a penny (if she could afford it, she’d pick up another for later in the day). Or, perhaps she’d want a boiled egg, too, which would cost another penny.[ii]

A miner or a fisherman working away from home all day might bring a meat pocket with him to keep him going. These are like the ones recommended in Chapter 1 where a cooked packet of food would keep a hero going throughout the day. Don’t buy from a stingy stall; the hero needs to eat! Make sure those pockets are filled with lard, bacon, bone marrow, chopped kidneys, and egg yolks.[iii] A kitchen sink is too heavy to include, but everything else is fair game.

This is an excerpt from Krista D. Ball’s What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank. C 2012, published by Tyche Books.

[i] Dargie, Richard. (2005). Rich and Poor in Ancient Rome. London, UK: Smart Apple Media, p. 13
[ii] Broomfield, Andrea Food and Cooking in Victorian England. Westpost, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2007. p 25, 26
[iii] Hazlitt, W. Carew. (1902). Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine. London, p. 111

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