Many people forget how much of our communication is non-verbal. This can lead to an author feeling hurt or confused, when the person posting the criticism had no intent to be mean-spirited.
Witty banter in a comment may be intended to be fun and casual, but the subject of the criticism may take it as belittling mockery. When you are critiquing someone's work, remember:
- They may never have written seriously before; in fact they may be a young teen just spreading their wings. Many of these fledgling authors don't realize that the ideas that they have just encountered (and been inspired by) are actually quite trite and clichéd. They haven't grown tired of world-conquering demons, mighty swords and malevolent necromancers.
- The author may not appreciate or understand their work's weaknesses. My first attempts at writing were very flawed, because I didn't know better. I was fortunate that the writing standards in gaming materials were much lower then; if I had been criticised as coldly as I have seen others torn apart, I doubt that I would have continued past that stage. Go to Comment
Question on the etiquette of criticism: Many times, I come across a submission that is pretty good, but also serves as the springboard for new and different ideas in my mind. In some cases, the new thoghts are pretty far from the original author's intent. I'm uncertain whether it is appropriate to add these thoughts or ideas to the posting's comments, or to instead generate a new post with references to the original idea.
For example, "Nightwitch" comes up with an idea for a barbaric clan of vicious ogres with an irrational fear of small folk.
That's nice, I think to myself, but in terms of implementing this, a single halfling could put a halt to the entire adventure. What if, instead of small folk, the fear was of something even smaller; such as mice? Direct confrontation would leave the PCs heavily outmatched; the true challenge could be to discover the ogres' weakness before their plans to ransack a nearby town can be carried out. You know what? Forget the ogres; let's have the adversary be a single creature, like maybe a great dragon who hides an irrational fear of mice. He goes to great lengths to avoid the chance of contact with mice; building himself a lair up in the clouds themselves.
As you can see, the new thought is quite different from the intent of the original concept.
Would something like this be appropriate to still put into the comments, or should it go under a new post with a blurb saying where the original idea came from?
My apologies if this has been answered elsewhere; after going around and around on the advice posts, I couldn't find anything on this. Go to Comment
Tak cheryes & do out the stones & grynde hem wel & draw hem thorw a streynour & do it in a pot. & do therto whit gres or swete botere & myed wastel bred, & cast therto good wyn & sugre, & salte it & stere it wel togedere, & dresse it in disches; and set theryn clowe gilofre, & strewe sugre aboue.
The Modern Version:
2 lbs ripe red cherries
1 1/2 cups white wine
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup breadcrumbs
pinch of salt
flower heads of clove pinks (optional)
sugar, preferably raw sugar if available
Wash the cherries and remove the stems and stones. Puree the fruit in a blender with 1/2 cup of the wine and half the sugar. Add a little more wine as needed to get a smooth puree. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the fruit puree, breadcrumbs, remaining wine, remaining sugar, and salt. Simmer, stirring often, until the puree is very thick. Pour into a serving bowl, cover, and let cool. The cherry pottage should be the consistency of a thick apple sauce. Refridgerate until served. Before serving, decorate the edge of the bowl with the clove pinks, if desired. Sprinkle the sugar over the dish.Go to Comment
A Recipe for Clay-Roasted Suckling Damn-Beast
by John Ringo Author of A Hymn before Battle
This submission may contain language objectionable to some readers.
The following is a recipe for Clay-Roasted Suckling Damn-Beast, a delicacy of the planet Marduk. We would like to thank Sergeant Adib Julian for his helpful suggestions and tips on preparing this appetizing dish. And this is just one of the hundreds of useful recipes in Interplanetary Fannys New Book: Intergalactic Cooking for the Mom on the Go! (Elease March 3428 AD, JB5Clone Publishing Enterprises).
Follow these steps for a delightful meal!
Step One: Get it
Since these are fiercely guarded by one or the other of the mated pair of damn-beasts, this is, naturally, the hardest part. The second hardest part is finding a damn-beast den. The dens are commonly found in rocky upland areas, but are occasionally found in holes beneath mature faux-teak trees. Whether they are beneath faux-teak or in rocky outcroppings, mature dens will only be found on or near hilltops that are out of reach of Marduk's notorious floods. The openings are relatively small for such a large carnivore, but the damn-beast can flatten itself oblately - and so must the damn-beast hunter.
Placing a group of guards outside the den, a single person, after removing his or her battle armor, can normally worm his or her way into the entrance. It requires a person who is not overlarge or heavyset and fundamentally unafraid of confined spaces.
Remember that the damn-beast is heavily armored in the frontal quarters. Since this is the only part our intrepid hunter is going to see, it is imperative that a high quality weapon be toted into the burrow. Although one might prefer a plasma rifle, there are countervailing arguments (you can't fit it in the burrow, it will kill and torch the kits you're planning on eating, the blast will probably bring down the roof and even if it doesn't the back-blast in that confined space will surely kill you). It is recommended that you use a bead pistol with armor piercing rounds. If such a weapon or ammunition is unavailable, the traditional Mardukan weapon of choice is an assegai, a short spear. However, uhmmm, Mardukans generally don't fit in the burrows so it's not so much traditional as what they would use - if they were stupid enough to try it and could fit in the burrow.
Burrow tunnels are normally 20-30 meters in length, about a meter and a half wide and a half meter high. They will have two to three twists in them and at least one "gooseneck" to catch runoff from Marduk's notorious rains. Note that the gooseneck will often contain standing water, but the intrepid hunter should be able to duck through it and get to air on the other side.
These burrows exist because the damn-beast is a natural prey of the HOLY-SHIT! beast. All items relating to preparation of Roast Suckling Damn-Beast can be used for Roast Suckling HOLY-SHIT! beast. However, the hunter is reminded that the HOLY-SHIT! beast is seven times the size of the damn-beast. Dress appropriately
Passing through these obstacles our hunter should shortly thereafter encounter the defending parent damn-beast. Remember, the damn-beast has no vulnerabilities on the front end. If using an automatic weapon, long, wildly uncontrolled bursts are the way to go. You won't have much time, so putting as many armor piercing rounds as possible on target is the only way to be around to write your own article. Care and decorum are not keynote words for the few seconds between Whats that smell? and Oh, THANK GOD thats over!
If you're using an assegai...drop me a note afterwards, will you? Not before, though. I'm required by Imperial Law to report suicide attempts.
Having dispatched the defending parent you will have to make your way past the carcass. Since it will more or less block the opening to the den, I leave the method up to the discretion of the hunter. (In my case, let me say two words: Big. Knife.).
After this you will have reached the horrible little bastards you are after. By this time they will be feeding on their deceased parent, snapping at you and generally making a real pain-in-the-ass of themselves. You can't kill the little bastards, (though if you ever try this, and succeed, you will understand my lack of kindness towards these horrible little snapping-turtle m*&^%$#@$%^&g bastards) because the cook wants them "as fresh as possible". (The stupid m*&^%$#@%^&r. See him trying this?)
Proceed to pick them up and put them in the sack you brought... Look, if you just brought these instructions with you and didn't read it in advance it's not my fault you didn't bring a sack! Proceed to...oh, I already said that. And I suppose you forgot really thick, leather or synth-armor gloves, right? Well, if you did, you're in trouble. These little c*&^%$#@%rs can BITE.
Once you have them in the sack, you are more or less done. Well, except for turning around (I did mention this requires a small person, right? Right?) and crawling back through the, you know, the debris. Dragging a sack. Full of screaming, clawing little m*&^%$#@cking demons. But you're more or less done. With step one.
Step two: Kill the little c*&^%$#@%rs.
The cook will probably want to do this him (or her) self until he (or she) tries it with one. And he (or she) will go on and on about not disturbing them and proper bleeding, etc.
Grab your gloves. Take a big cleaver...
Step Three: Skin the little c*&^%$#@%rs.
Let the cook skin them. The scum gets all over your hands and stinks to high heaven. You already took a couple of showers and a bath to get momma off of you and you don't need to take a couple of more.
Step Four: Prep the little c*&^%$#@%rs.
Stuff with barley rice and Mardukan taters. If the barley rice is seasoned with jcsauce, it adds piquancy. (Piquancy here refers to the fact that jcsauce is slightly hotter than pure capsicum.)
Step Five Cook:
Wrap in leaves (fire-tree leaves if available) and cover with a thick coating of wet clay. Cook in hot fire and maintain fire while cooking. Serve whole on a bed of barley rice surrounded by sliced kangoes.
Tastes like frog-legs.
Sgt. Adib Julian
Bronze Battalion (Prince Roger's Elite)
Empire of Man Go to Comment
This is basic pub grub in all the Known World (Arth). It is simple, basic, and easy to make. And it has individual servings, though it is made "en mass". These are the names these go by in Antioch, since they have such a flare for names. Some SCA fighter companies make this recipe at events, orignally inspired by its existance in my games.
Beef n' Brew
Warm the large Pot/ Kettle
Add a half Keg of Beer, Dark and flavorful prefered. Can be stilled. (Enough Beer to fill your large pot about 2/3s full)
Set the Beer in the large pot over heat, bring to roiling boil. Now you have time.
Two stones (4 lbs) worth of any red meat. Common beef is mostly used, Beef Tongue is a great meat to add, venison, elk or wild cattle (buffalo) also work. Horse, if properly pounded, works. White meats like Chicken, Pork, Gator/ Dragon, do not work as well (but can be added if added late in the cooking and mostly red meat is used). Meat needs to be cubed into joint sized pieces (about 1CC or .5" cubes) Put aside.
Put a pile of chopped bones, connective tissues, and fat in cheesecloth. Put aside as well.
Cut a handfull of root vegetables (carrots and onions) to a fine dice.
Put a Big Frypan on the fire.
Two to Five Potatoes (depends on size of pot), cubed to half the size of the meat. Add to Beer and Cheesecloth bundle. Bring Beer to a boil, then to a high simmer.
In a now hot large skillet brown a handful of meats at a time until it is all cooked. Set aside product.
Add a touch of flour to meat grease, cook flour through. Add result to pot with vegetables. Bring back to boil, then reduce to a hard simmer.
When beer reduces to 1/4 original amount, add beef. Continue to simmer until reaches a thick stew like consistancy. Remove bundle. Reduce heat to keep warm. Serve with a thick crusty bread. Serves very nicely in hollowed out bread rounds.
Crisps n' Goo for one
Wash, clean and slice one potato. The slices should be thick wafers, not parchement. Dry slices.
Take some meat grease, enough to coat your entire pan, heat in pan. When good and hot, put potato slices in.
Remove when golden. Put in low bowl. Cover with cheese put in oven. and wait for customer.
A good option is to cook thick bacon to generate the hot grease. Pull it out, dry it, chop roughly. Follow steps. Add to cheese.
Finely diced shallots can garnish. Any onion product can be garnish, though root parts must be cooked golden.
2) In a cheesecloth bundle put (sage, rosemary, and tyme and half the remining bodies of the fruit used). In another bundle put select critter bones, concentrating on ribs bones.
2) In a broad pan (small roasting pan) add bundles and add on meat on top. To pan pour in a half a bottle potato alcohol (Vodka), two cups of water, the juice of two average citrus fruits (four lemons, two oranges, or one grapefruit). Add potato alcohol so the level of liquid should just cover the meat.
Let meat sit in a cool dark place for a good antioch hour (2 hours), though some say only for half said hour (one hour) or just a few marks (15 minutes)
Get a good fire going in the oven (300). Put pan into the oven. Liquid will bubble and reduce slowly (reduce heat if reducing too quickly). Frequently check critter bits and baste exposed beast with sause and fats - once every two marks (10 to 15 minutes). Eventually liquid will turn to sauce, critter will braise (thicken with a cooked rue if needed, but it should cook down nicely). It should take about an antioch hour (2 hours to an hour and a half).
Critter is served on noodles (or rice) with "sauce" over it. Makes good sandwitch stuffing as well.
Chicken or Turkey can be substituted for Dragonling. RedMeat fish can be used as well, but use a fraction of the soaking time and half the cooking time. This is a tested recipeGo to Comment
Humans make flat bread on Arth. Every non Elventi culture makes it as well. Here is one family's recipe.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
1-1/2 cups blue corn masa harina
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour or mesquite flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1) In a medium mixing bowl using your hands or a wooden spoon combine the unbleached flour, the blue cornmeal, the whole wheat and amaranth flours, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until crumbly, using a fork or pastry blender if making by hand. Gradually add the hot water to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dough sticks together, clears the sides of the bowl, and a soft firm ball is formed, adding a tablespoon of water at a time if the dough seems too dry. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 45 minutes.
2) To shape the bread, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll the dough pieces into a ball. Flour a table slab and a large pan. Smash a ball of dough into a flat form. It should be generally round. If you want it completely round, place a personal bowl (4") of the right size over the smashed dough and either use the bowl as a cutter OR cut the dough around.
Another round of flattening is often needed to get the right thickness. Rolling pin can be used.
3) Place flats on a greased baking stone (or similar surface) and cover them with a gently wet towel, for up to 6 marks (30 minutes).
4) To bake the bread, heat a large ungreased heavy cast-iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat until a drop of water dances across the surface. Place the bread flats, one at a time, in the pan, and bake for about 2-1/2 minutes. When the dough looks dry and brown spots are formed, turn over to the other side and bake till done (about 2 to 3 minutes). Keep flipping back and forth until the bread is soft, not crisp; it will puff up to l/2 inch thick. It is very easy to overbake, so pay close attention to the timing. Remove each bread to a clean towel (preferably heated). Fold towel over and cover until serving.
This is Street Bread, the kind carters make and use. It is simplier and faster to make than any bread a goodwife or bakery would make. It is normally made larger than normal Human Breads, so that more filling can be wrapped inside of it. These larger breads are called wraps or stuffs.
Servings 12 or 6 wraps
4 cups Unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Salt
4 teaspoons Baking powder
2 tablespoons Vegetable shortening or lard
1 1/2 cups Warm water or more if needed
1) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. With your hands or a fork, gradually work in the lard or shortening until it is all incorporated. Add enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
2) Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes.
3) Divide the dough into 12, 8, or 6 portions. Form them into balls.
Roll each ball into a flat round about 4, 6, or 8 inches in diameter and 1/4 inches thick. (Smashing can be used, depending on cooks temperment)
4) On a floured surface, with a floured pan bottom, smash flats flatter. Store in a sealed clay jar kept cool with a moist towel between. Balls can be stored for longer in similar arrangements. Either way, keep them for no longer than an hour (2 terran hours).
5) Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Place the breads one at a time into the dry hot skillet; cook until earning some brown spots and a bit of color on one side, then turn and brown the other side. Keep flipping the bread until it puffs some.
Remove from the skillet and keep warm in cloth towel. Serve as soon as possible.
Meatn'Beer Pie Who says Caravan Food has to be bad?
2 lb Garan or Gip Buffalo is the best substitute
-meat, cut into 1 inch
2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Freshly ground pepper
1 ts Sage
1/3 c Flour
1/4 c Oil
1 lg Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Stalk celery, diced
1 lg Potato, cubed
2 c Beef broth
1/4 c Tomato puree
1 c Beer - any kind
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Bay leaf
3 Sprigs parsley
1 Whole clove
1/2 ts Thyme
Bunch -pastry dough for a single crust Standard (9 Inch) pie
Season the meat cubes with salt, pepper, and sage, and dredge in 1/4 cup of the flour. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the meat on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a heavy Dutch oven. In the remaining oil in the skillet, saute onion, carrot, celery, and potatoe until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, add vegetables to meat in Dutch oven. Sprinkle remaining flour over drippings in skillet and cook stirring, until lightly browned. Stir in the broth, tomato puree, beer, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, clove, and thyme. Pour over meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Pour into a deep 9 inch pie dish and let cool. When meat is cool, roll out pastry and cover dish. Cut steam vents in crust and bake in preheated 425F oven for 30-35 minutes, until pastry is browned. Makes 6 servings.
Where is the beer? It is the traditional drink when eating said pie.
2 three or four foot good diameter serpents Rattlesnake is a good substitute, but any strong snake will do.
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash of white pepper
dash of oregano
dash of rosemary
salt to taste
1) Skin, clean and rinse serpent well.
2) Cover with whole milk and garlic juice in a plastic mixing bowl and keep in a cool place overnight (refrigeration best).
3) Pat dry, season with paprika, onion powder, cayenne, black pepper, and desired amount of salt.
4) Add white pepper, oregano, and rosemary to the flour.
5) Heat shortening in a skillet.
6) Lightly flour the serpent and fry until golden brown.
Every 2 1/2 to 3 stones (pounds) of Karnan meat will feed four people, so make sure to have plenty of friends around if you have a whole Karnan or be prepared to make smoked Karnan or alternate uses.
Per 2 1/2 to 3 stones (pounds) Karnan meat you will need
flour for dredging
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup onion, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Rinse Karnan pieces and pat dry with towel. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown pieces on all sides - about 10 minutes for each 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. Reduce heat to low. Drain off oil. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and continue to cook for about 45 minutes or until tender.
Note: The popular bardic tale of killing and directly cooking Karnan in their "shell" is false. First, it is not really a shell, but just super thick layer of hide. While a Karnan is quite large and the "shell" quite thick, the shell must be properly prepared before it is used to cook. First it must be dried in the sun for one to three days. Drying it over a low fire or in a bread kiln will work if one is careful. The shell must then be polished with sand inside and out. Then it needs to be sealed with a simple wax on the outside. Do not worry, the wax will be absorbed by the "shell" and not be burned off. The new shell kettle needs to be "seasoned", so cooking a great deal of fat over a low heat for a while will prepare the shell for use as a cooking impliment.
The Lid, from the chest ridges, needs to be equally treated and wooden blocks to block the limb and head exits. It is not as durrable, so often it is mounted onto a thin wooden lid for strength.
This is practically a secret of The Order. The members carry this trail food while on patrol. Despite the legends, this is made at order houses and waystations, not in the field.
The Order, for those that don't know it, protects the Great Oak Forests from encroachment, marching armies (any direction), and from Hellspawned creatures that come from the occasional Hellpit. There are a hundred and twenty rangers protecting Humanity from the Forrest and the Forest from Humanity.
I have bought a great deal of grog for several members and finally have the correct recipe. Soon I will have their travel biscuits.
A good bit of Venison (or Bison if desired and you are on the planes)
1/3 cup dry sherry or sack
1/2 cup soy sauce or fermented bean paste
1/3 cup chicken stock (Squicken will do)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1) Remove all fat meat.
2) If winter, Wrap meat in oiled cheese cloths and place in snow until almost frozen solid, about 2 hours. This step makes the meat easier to slice.
3) Remove and cut with the grain into neat 1/8 inch thick slices. Arrange meat in a shallow dish.
4) Mix sherry, soy sauce, stock, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and pepper together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
5) Let cool and pour over sliced meat. Marinated overnight in the cool place, stirring once or twice.
6) Pat meat dry with towels.
7) Arrange meat in a single layer on a rack and place in a low heat oven or kiln (250°F oven). Let heat fall to a mere warm (140°F) and allow meat to dry slowly for 8 hours or so. Meat should be still bendable.
8) Store in an airtight container. Traditionally, it is a waxed leather pouch sealed with wax.
The Wild Folk of the Northern Woods (who are actually fairly civilized, if you ignore the fact that they find permament buildings to be an offense to nature) hunt and eat Bear. To be honest, the Bears also hunt and eat them, so it is fair in their eyes. This is how they cook Bear or BugBear
4 Bear steaks, 1 1/2" thick
2 Wild onions, sliced
1 c Indian vinegar
1 c Water
1/2 c Maple syrup
2 tb Spice bush powder
1 tb Salt
1 tb Bear fat, rendered
Salt and pepper
Get a bear just before hibernation, as they are usually fat and rich at this time. All fat should be trimmed off the meat, which is very easy as bear meat is not marbled like beef. Marinating the meat makes it taste better and makes the meat tender and juicy.
In a large pottery bowl mix the onions, Indian vinegar, wataer, maple syrup, spice bush powder and salt. Let stand for a couple of hours, then ppupt in the bear steaks. Put in a cool place for about 24 hours, turning the steaks every once in a while.
Remove the steaks from the marinade, let them drain and pat them dry. Heat a heavy cast iron frying pan (one of the few things of civilization they delight in) and rub the pan with the rendered bear fat. Place the steaks in the pan and sear on both sides. Lower the heat and finish cooking, adding more fat to prevent sticking. Remove steaks from the frying pan. Add a little flour and water to thicken the gravy. Pour gravy over the individual steaks on the serving dish.
Serve with potatoes. For those that do not know, these are odd brown root plants that the natives cultivate. I wonder if they will grow in civilized lands. Go to Comment
Rabbit Trail Stew
1 Rabbit, dressed
4 Carrots, peeled and sliced
4 Potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 1/2 c Hot water
2 cups Onion broth
Cut rabbit into serving pieces and wash well. Blanch rabbit by putting it into a dutch oven (or similar cast iron cooking pot). Cover with water and bring to a boil. Put rabbit water in onion broth, bring to boil and reduce by half. Cover rabbit with the carrots and potatoes. Pour Onion broth over rabbit and vegetables. Cover and bake in a fire (at 350 F) for 2 hours.
Touch of fat
4 Onions chopped or cut
salt, pepper, and any other spices to taste.
8 cups water
In Dutch Oven (or similar arrangement) put some fat and heat to sizzle. Put in onions and carmalize lightly. Add water. Bring to boil. Reduce to low simmer. Cook open for two hours or until liquid is reduce to 1/4th. Go to Comment