BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde A cozy space for talking about books.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Review of What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank by Krista D. Ball

Publisher: Tyche Books
Format Read: epub and PDF
Release Date: November 1, 2012
Buying Links:  Amazon   Tyche Press   Barnes & Noble

Book Blurb (from goodreads):
A Fantasy Lover's Food Guide
Equal parts writer’s guide, comedy, and historical cookbook, fantasy author Krista D. Ball takes readers on a journey into the depths of epic fantasy’s obsession with rabbit stew and teaches them how to catch the blasted creatures, how to move armies across enemy territories without anyone starving to death, and what a medieval pantry should look like when your heroine is seducing the hero.

Learn how long to cook a salted cow tongue, how best to serve salt fish, what a “brewis” is (hint: it isn’t beer), how an airship captain would make breakfast, how to preserve just about anything, and why those dairy maids all have ample hips.

What Kings Ate will give writers of historical and fantastical genres the tools to create new conflicts in their stories, as well as add authenticity to their worlds, all the while giving food history lovers a taste of the past with original recipes and historical notes.
 
Quote:
If time is of the essence, your hero will not have time to field dress a dear, locate water (unless he's following an uncontaminated stream or river), fish, or club a baby seal and make a fur coat. Yet, how many of us have read fantasy books where the heroes have done all this and still had enough time to seduce the assassin traveling with them?

My eighty-three-year old father has been hunting most of his life and he offers this advice to the hero wanting to hunt rabbits while being chased by orcs: go hungry.
Reviewed By: Bea

Bea's Thoughts:

Ball has a wicked sense of humor and it shines through in this book. This is not a formal textbook or treatise but a conversational look at common myths and mistakes in historical and fantasy books concerning food and eating. She points out common errors but doesn’t cite books or authors, letting them stay anonymous. She limits her scope to Northern Europe in the early Middle Ages, and freely admits that her bachelor’s degree in history doesn’t make her an expert. She did a lot of research for the book and it shows. I enjoyed it tremendously and will be looking with a closer eye now when I’m reading historical books or fantasies.
 
In societies where wood stoves were used, apples could be sliced and hung on strings over the stove, the warmest and dries part of the house. Mushrooms, likewise, can be threaded with a needle and twine, and hung over the hearth or stove. (You won’t want to do this in a Steampunk story or  any urban-based story with coal. Coal stoves eventually coat everything in black soot that tastes really foul. Follow the advice of Mrs. Beeton (a Victorian cookery guru) and put the drying goodies in the wooden cupboards near the stove, where spices and salt were stored. Still warm, but less soot.) These small details can be twisted and massaged into making a lovely setting.

My one gripe about the book and the reason it’s four stars instead of five is the copy editing. There are numerous errors, all of them sloppy. It hasn’t been a problem with her other books so I assume the publisher is responsible for not catching and fixing them.
 
…the hot desert sun was prefect for laying fish out on the roofs of houses to dry.
Smoking and salting is the most common methods…
If potatoes were not in the diet, than bread and beer would…
I quickly became aware that it was so more complex than dealing with…
Never in my life have I felt more in line with the Romans, the original Borg from Star Trek,…

Apart from the numerous proofreading and copy editing errors, I found the book to be fun, enjoyable, useful and easy to use. I recommend it for anyone who writes historical books or fantasies or to readers who are curious. Just be sure to have your red pen ready.
 
I received the Epub and PDF from the author. I’ve also ordered the print copy.

This review first appeared at BookTrib

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun book, and perfect for someone who enjoys cooking and history! Awesome review :) You always find the coolest books.

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