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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cods Have Tongues?!? and Other WTFery From Krista D Ball

Please welcome author Krista D Ball to the Nook today. I've known Krista for several years; she was one of the first authors I worked with when I started blogging and reviewing. We chat on twitter occasionally and I've read most of her published works. While she usually writes speculative fiction, she recently put her history degree, and her intense dislike of historical inaccuracies, to work in her new, non-fiction, book "What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover's Guide to Food".


In 2011, I was asked to write an unique kind of writer's guide: one that helps writers, appeals to readers, and is historically-based. It was a tall order, as how can a writer's guide appeal to people who never have any interest in writing? What came from those initial thoughts was my current non-fiction book, "What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Lover's Guide to Food."

"What Kings Ate" is written for writers, but chats away at readers who love historical romance, historical fiction, steampunk, and epic fantasy. In the pages, we learn how our favourite heroines would feed herself while on the run, and what food gifts a hero could give his poor lady friend. 

Of course, no historical book about food would be complete without recipes, and I included over thirty recipes for people to enjoy from different periods of history. Some are pretty standard: the original pound cake. Whereas, others are, well, more like the below.

There is a typical reaction to this dish, so let’s get it out of the way: Ewwwwwwwwwwww. This is followed by: cods have tongues? (I second both of these reactions ~ Bea)

Now that is out of the way, let’s discuss this interesting dish. To answer the common question, yes, cod fish do in fact have tongues. They resemble skinned and deboned chicken thighs in size and colour, though they are thinner (about the size of three coins stacked). (Why is it that every unusual or exotic food resembles chicken? ~ Bea)

Fried cod tongues is a common Newfoundland dish, cooked both at home and in restaurants. You can sometimes even find them served up at the local “chip truck”, a battered old delivery van converted into a mobile restaurant where burgers, French fries, and other fatty goodness is served.

Cod tongues are (obviously) the tongue of a cod fish, pan fried. You can also do the same with cod cheeks (yes, cods have cheeks). I prefer tongues as I find cheeks are a little too rubbery for my tastes. Cod tongues are chewy, but have a delicate flavour.

For obvious reasons, this is a dish that only those living in coastal regions are going to have regular access to in a pre-refrigeration society. In fact, even in the modern world, this isn’t a common dish beyond the cod fish waters of the North Atlantic. I’ve rarely seen cod tongues elsewhere, including at specialty seafood shops, since leaving Newfoundland. However, if you can get a few shipped in, cook up a “feed” (lots of food) and enjoy a new food.

1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp pepper
½ pound salt pork
Cod tongues

Wash enough fresh cod tongues for your meal (the usual serving is eight tongues per person). Dry them on a cloth or paper towel.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper and mix together. Set aside.

Cut up salt pork and fry it up until golden brown. Remove the pork cubes for another use (or you can even use them as a topping if you need an extra-hardy meal).

Coat the tongues in the flour mixture one by one. Fry them in the hot pork fat until golden brown on both sides. Place them on a warm plate with a cloth or paper towel to soak up any excess fat.  Serve immediately, or place in a warm oven (or, a cooling bread oven) if needed.

A well-organized cook would ensure that the pan drippings from a previous meal needing salt pork (not the actual fat pieces) would be saved so that it would be available as a frying fat later in the week. 

Publisher: Tyche Books
Release date: November 1, 2012
Format: ebook (out now), print (soon)
Buying Links: Amazon   Smashwords   Tyche Books   Kobo

Book Blurb (from author):
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.

Canadian author Krista D. Ball combines her love of the fantastical, an obsession with pottage, and a history degree from Mount Allison University to bring fantasy writers and food lovers a new and unique reference guide.


  1. I love fish but cannot eat it with it's eye looking at me on the plate..let alone it's tongue ..eek!

  2. Kimba - In one of the first drafts for the cover, there was a fish giving the stinkeye to everyone. *grin*

    1. Really? I like this cover MUCH netter. I'm with Kimba, I don't want my food looking at me.

  3. I have a want now.:-) But, this is the kind of book I prefer having in print. I cannot find it in print in any of the usual haunts even if the publishers page claims it to be published as of november 28. Have I misunderstood the publishing date?

    I like the look of the cover a lot by the way but I am curious about the stink eye fish now.

    1. Varg, you can order a print copy directly from Krista's site, which is what I did. Let me find the link. Ok, here it is:


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Let's talk!