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The Fannish Life: Fannish Food

Fans may bond over many things, but everyone bonds over food

What could be better to bring people together than fannish food?

OK, giving away huge sums of money might be better but that’s not in the realm of possibility for most of us. Let’s stick with food.

Some fannish food is much better in theory than practice, such as the purple potato salad someone brought to one of my science-fiction club’s meetings. It was just plain scary. Not only was the color off-putting, but the amount of food coloring needed to make the potato salad purple gave it a funky taste.

When the meeting was over and the guests had gone home, the potato salad was still there. I foolishly moved it to the fridge. It hadn’t started moving when I finally gave up and decided nobody was ever going to eat it but it had begun to remind me of Robert Heinlein’s short story “Hyperpilosity.” Hair is good on humans and other mammals but not so much on food.

A somewhat more successful treat was brought to a club meeting that fell near Halloween by my longtime friend and oft mistaken for my brother, Ken Hillyard*. He brought white rat’s butts. These were simply marshmallows with the stems from maraschino cherries stuck in them. They made everyone laugh and you could eat the marshmallows. The cherry stems did no harm to the taste.

*Aside: Ken is nearly as blonde as I am and for years when I first got into local fandom, people would come up to me at cons and say, “I just saw your brother.” I knew this could not be true since I have no brother but a couple of years later, when I met Ken, I totally understood. We’ve been fan-siblings ever since.

There have been quite a few fannish cookbooks published, some even by professional publishers. Most come into being to raise money for charity. I’ve contributed recipes to several of these. “Big Damn Chefs,” a cookbook for Browncoats (“Firefly and “Serenity” fans for those few of you who might not already know) raised money for Freedom from Hunger. “Serve It Forth: Cooking with Anne McCaffrey” benefited the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s medical fund. The Orlando Area Science Fiction Society made a little money for their Andre Norton scholarship fund with the “Oasis Cookbook.”

The “Big Damn Chefs” book is just about impossible to find now and I don’t know if the “Oasis” cookbook is available through the club or not, but you can get “Serve It Forth: Cooking with Anne McCaffrey” from and its marketplace sellers. It has recipes from many well-known authors and friends. I submitted mine on behalf of fellow Airlock Alpha columnist and professional author Richard Lee Byers.

As it’s the holiday season and gifts of food are always in good taste I’d like to give some to you. Since I can’t go around to each of your homes leaving shiny gifts of fannish food, I’ve devised another way to share with you right here. Yes, right here.

You may not have thought you’d ever see recipes on Airlock Alpha but now’s the time. Here are my recipes that appeared in the “Big Damn Chefs” cookbook.

About 2 lbs. or 1 kg fresh, cleaned, sliced carrots
2 tablespoons or 30 ml margarine or butter
2 tablespoons or 30 ml white sugar
2 teaspoons or 10 ml powdered ginger root

1. Boil carrots till they are just slightly crisp. Drain and remove from pot.
2. Melt the margarine or butter over medium heat and then add the carrots back to the pot.
3. Mix in sugar and ginger till carrots are well coated. Serve warm.

These are a biscuit-like roll. You can make them in a short amount of time when you can’t spend the time yeast rolls take.

Ingredients: Dough

2 cups or 500 ml all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon or 15 ml double acting baking powder
¾ teaspoon or 4 ml salt
5 tablespoons or 75 ml white sugar
1 stick or ½ cup or 250 ml softened butter or margarine
1 egg
1/3 cup or 100 ml milk
Additional softened butter or margarine

Ingredients: Cinnamon Sugar Mix

1 teaspoon of 5 ml cinnamon powder
½ cup or 250 ml sugar
Stir these two ingredients together till well combined.

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celsius

2. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in 1 stick, ½ cup or 250 ml softened margarine or butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Beat together egg and milk and add to dry mixture. Stir together till a soft dough forms. When you have gotten as much of the flour mixed in as can, dump the contents of the bowl onto a heavily floured surface and knead the dough about 10 times. You can use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle but I just use my hands to shape it. Press the dough into shape, making it about ½ inch or 1.27 centimeters thick.

3. Spread additional softened butter or margarine over the dough and then cover with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Roll up the dough, jelly roll style (roll from long side) and pinch ends together. Cut into 1 inch or 2.54 cm slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet or shallow pan 1 inch or 2.54 cm apart. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celsius for 10 to 12 minutes or till rolls are very slightly brown.

4. After removing from oven, spread some softened butter or margarine on tops of rolls.

5. You can make this ahead. Make the roll and wrap it in aluminum foil. This will keep in the fridge for one week or in the freezer for several months.

Have happy winter holidays and a very merry New Year!

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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