The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

If trapped aboard an airship, with only a tin of cinnamon, a pinch of yeast, and a bag of somewhat questionable flour, our heroine, author Beth Cato would unquestionably come up with delicious baked goods in time to destroy her enemies. We are certain of that.

Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome Beth on the day her book, The Clockwork Dagger, debuts!

(You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at Tor.com)

Beth joins us to talk about the research that went into the book, especially regarding food, politics, transport, medicine, and gremlins.

Thanks to Beth, you can score the very ARC written by Beth that was then gently read by us in preparation for this interview. This ARC is experienced, in good condition, and comes with your very own Cooking the Books Con Ribbon as a bookmark. (Yep, we’re making you read to the end for the entry terms. We were not born yesterday.)

So! Grab your goggles and your traveling-case, adventurers! And bring a good appetite, because Beth’s shared her recipe for maple fudge, as well as the story behind that fudge’s connection with The Clockwork Dagger.

Everyone armed with their weapon of choice?

The ingredients for podcast #004 – Cooking the Books with Beth Cato include:

  • 1 gremlin, not for eating
  • a large block of ice
  • several types of cheese
  • handfuls of hot pepper, dried and finely ground
  • a sack of powerful herbs, all sorts
  • surprises around every corner, heapings of derring-do
  • 100% very smart heroine, also not for eating
  • and a message from the Holy Taco Church

small-ctb-logo-with-text-copyStick around after the podcast for Beth’s Maple Fudge recipe and contest entry rules, below!

Our thanks this month to John DeNardo, Paul Weimer, and SF Signal for their support and ongoing sense of humor about the mess we’ve left in their kitchen. We’re sure the scorch marks will come out eventually.

Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or click play below:

Podcast #004: The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

 

Maple Ginger Fudge from Beth’s cooking blog, Bready or Not
Ingredients

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (small can)
  • 10 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavor
  • 7 oz marshmallow cream
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Prepare a pan: 9×9 if you want it thick, or 13×9 if you want it thin. Line pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick cooking spray. Measure out of the other ingredients so they are staged and ready to go.
  2. In a larger saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk. Cook at medium-high heat and stir until the butter and sugar melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils.
  3. Keep the candy at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for five minutes. (If you have a candy thermometer and want to use it, you will be cooking the candy to soft-ball stage, 240 degrees.)
  4. After five minutes, take the pot off the burner and immediately add the white chocolate chips. Stir until they are melted and smooth. Work fast so that everything stays hot.
  5. Quickly add the marshmallow cream, maple flavor, vanilla, ground ginger, salt, pecans, and chopped candied ginger, and stir. Once the marshmallow cream has melted and all of the ingredients are incorporated, pour the fudge into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top; an offset spatula works well.
  6. Allow the fudge to set at room temperature for several hours. Once set, lift it out of the pan using the foil as handles. Use a large, sharp knife to cut the fudge into small one-inch pieces.

About this recipe, Beth says: “OM NOM NOM.”

Clockwork Dagger Giveaway Rules

How to win a copy of The Clockwork Dagger Arc and a Cooking the Books ribbon – it’s mostly simple. We’ll get the hard bit out of the way first:

  • US or Canada only. (Hate this, but until Cooking the Books has a patron or its own airship, we’re pulling the mailing money from the car seats and can’t make international postage).
  • To win: Comment below with your favorite fudge flavor, then post this Cooking the Books tweet (told you it was mostly simple!): “Over at #cookingthebooks author @bethcato talks food and adventure! http://wp.me/p1mJnf-Hp”

A winner will be chosen at random at 3pm EST on Friday, September 19 and tweeted as well as named here. If we don’t hear back from you by Monday, we’ll post another winner.

***

Addenda: I still can’t bring to mind the ice book I mentioned in the interview. If you are the person who told me about it, I am interested in remembering! Meantime, here are several other items: A Brief History of Ice (on the Daily Kos). and Thomas Masters’ 1844 The Ice Book: Being a Compendious and Concise History of Everything Connected with Ice.

 


 

Author Beth Cato (Photo credit: Corey Ralston Photography)

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Beth’s short fiction can be found in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other magazines. The Clockwork Dagger is her first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Crown, will be released in 2015.

Follow her at www.BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

 

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Loncon3 Wrap-up and Picspam

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Kaffeeklatsch Achieved! Feat. Paul Weimer, Adam Christopher, Judy Newton, JW Alden, Pauline Wooley, Frances KR, Felicia, and more! (some offscreen!)

We’ve been home for almost a week and the planet’s still kind of spinning. I’m going to press on and try to capture a bit of Loncon3, filling in with shiny photos when I can’t find the words.

Loncon3 Panels – Everything was packed! I mean rooms filled with people, people standing, people of all ages, people asking questions and coming up to talk after. It was so packed, we had to resort to parkour to get Scott Lynch to his very small, very remote reading room. This was very exciting. I’m still convinced that some of the convention rooms (especially those on the third floor, back hallway) moved around like staircases at Hogwarts. The Excel Center is a strange place — more on that later.  (more…)

My London Worldcon (LonCon) Schedule

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Kaffeeklatsch

Thursday 14:00 – 15:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL) – Come talk short stories, novels, and cooking the books! I’ll have some shiny swag with me, including Cooking the Books ribbons, short story cards, and (hopefully) my growing map of London Literary stops. What are your favorite places?

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Friday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

The food in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is described in such detail that cookbooks have been published in response. What other genre works have focused heavily on food to develop the world and characters? What does food say about an invented society? Are stories that lack an exploration of the diet of their characters lacking something?  With: Shana Worthen (M), Aliette de Bodard, Gillian Polack, Jo Walton, Fran Wilde.

(more…)

That’s Craft with a ‘C': Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone’s fiction mixes modern economic theory with thaumaturgy, necromancy with bankruptcy laws, and his characters draw you into their world before you realize the dangers involved. Talking to Max is a bit similar – you never know where you’ll end up. Be well assured, it will be mindblowing. Max joined the Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate his new book in the Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, just out from Tor.

The ingredients for podcast #003 – Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone include:

  • 10% stone golems
  • 3 times the Recommended Daily Amount of artificial gods
  • The best street food money can’t buy
  • What to eat when you’re stuck at the office and still living
  • 2 Dragon Steaks
  • Island economics and class divides
  • One box of Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • Seasoned with Anime, Loncon, and the John W. Campbell awards
  • Plus Max’s new Tor.com story, The Angelus Guns

(more…)

Lessons from the Portuguese: Cooking the Books with J. Kathleen Cheney

Very excited to have author J. Kathleen Cheney join Cooking the Books today! She’s here to talk about Portuguese cooking and the Golden City, where magical beings have been banned for decades, though many live there in secret.

Kathleen, welcome! Tell us a little about The Golden City and The Seat of Magic — is there a close cultural analog in the world?

The Golden City and The Seat of Magic are set in an alternate Portugal, in what would be the city of Porto, although a somewhat altered version.

What kind of research did you do on that culture?

To research that culture, I did a lot of reading, not only of history, but also period fiction from Portugal (Eça de Queirós and Camões, for example), guide books, cookbooks. Among other things, I tried cooking several recipes from those Portuguese cookbooks. And then we visited the country, spending two weeks in Portugal back in 2012, which was absolutely wonderful. (more…)

Frankenpost: Four Great Short Stories Not By Me, On Reading, Workshops, & Things Upcoming

It’s been an exciting month around here – and a busy one. Over on Twitter, I experimented with lightning-round Cooking the Books book giveaways, and that went really well. We’ll be doing some more of those.

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Working with my editor and the team at Tor has been an amazing and awesome experience so far. Oh the brilliant and funny things that happen in the margins of books before they get published. Totally excellent conversations going on in there. Oh the gifs. So. Many. Gifs.

I know I’ll have more to say about the editing process soon, including some upcoming Book 1-related news — but I can’t talk about that yet, so I’m going to make you a bunch of links for this frankenpost (thank you, Natalie) and say:

Look! What’s that over there?!?

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Blue Goo in Space – Cooking the Books with Adam Christopher

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Adam joins Cooking the Books for our second podcast episode to discuss The Burning Dark as well as his novelette Brisk Money, coming to Tor.Com in July.

(UPDATE: there’s a giveaway going on through Monday – details in the comments!)

Want to know what you’re getting into before you press play? Here are the ingredients:

(more…)

Freshly Pressed, Novelocity, Drabblecast, SFWA Blog: Elsewhere

from over at the Tumblr

I’m working on a new Cooking the Books interview today with author Adam Christopher — it’s going to be so good, you guys. SO. Good.

Meantime, tons of things going on. Thank you so much to the folks at WordPress, who featured my essay on voice and competence on Freshly Pressed last week. I’ve met so many new people through that experience and am very grateful. The FP site is a great source of new insights and voices. I highly recommend it.

Over at Novelocity, authors are talking about their dream convention, including Ken Liu, Beth Cato, and me. What’s your dream convention?

New story out! My alien-invasion-foodie-restaurant-management-bad-bet-party story with menus — Local Delicacies — debuts at Drabblecast! The audio sounds amazing – thanks to Lauren Synger, Norm, and Bo Kaier for all their delicious work.

And the SFWA blog has reprinted Cooking the Books with Ann Leckie – I had so much fun doing this interview. Ann Leckie is an amazing author and a completely class act. Go check out the reprint and all the amazing resources for authors over at the SFWA.

Before the Mast and on The Deck of the World

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now. 

~ Henry David Thoreau

sunset

A couple weeks ago, I found myself at a place I consider more home than the house where I grew up. In that place, there is a rocky beach and access to a large swath of the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Believe me when I say that I know how lucky I am to have that place. I do not think I would be who I am without it. I doubt sincerely that I would be here at all.

When I first came to that place, I quickly earned the nickname “Mouse.” At eight, I was very small indeed. I did not speak much, and when I did, it was quietly. And I was afraid of everything.

A couple things happened over the course of many years to change Mouse into me. One of those was that someone showed me how to sail a small dinghy, called a sunfish. They did not *take* me sailing. I was not crew. After teaching me the basics on a larger boat, they put a tiller in my right hand and a mainsheet in my left and the sent me across the water on a calm summer day. (more…)