Bacon Cheddar Cookies: A Total Victory Steampunk Dessert

Cheese, marvelous cheese!Bacon Cheddar Cookies: A Total Victory Steampunk Dessert

(From The Steampunk Cookbook.)

It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more we find ridiculous food is actually delicious.

-Alternative History Nikola Tesla

No, you didn’t get hit with a Confusion spell. These are savory cookies that can be eaten alone or crumbled over a salad. Either way, it’s a head trip you don’t want to miss!

You can always double down on the bacon, if you want.  Feel free to increase the number of bacon slices in this recipe.

Actually, you MIGHT have been hit with a Confusion spell.  But you might also simply have been drinking absinthe with Picasso and Tesla, and awakened with brilliant ideas for a mixture of flavours.  Enjoy it now, and don’t let Thomas Edison steal your great ideas!

Yield:35

Skill Level: 2

Ingredients:

4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped finely
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick softened butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Directions:

In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the chopped bacon until very crisp.  Drain on paper towel.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, cayenne pepper, butter, egg, egg yolk, and cream.  Mix until well combined.

Add the shredded cheese and crisp bacon to the work bowl and mix on low speed until combined.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board and roll into a log about 1 1/2″ around.  Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours up to overnight.

During the last half hour of chilling heat your oven to 350°F.

Once chilled slice into 1/4″ thick disks and place about 1/2″ apart on an un-greased cookie sheet (you could also cut it in half, roll each half flat and use your favorite cookie cutter).

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are just turning golden around the edges and the cookies are firm to the touch. 

Cool on a rack until they are slightly warm.

 

 

Building (Metaphorical) Steampunk Playgrounds

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
-Neil Gaiman

So I run events for a living. But I don’t call myself an event organizer; I call myself a Playground Builder. And here’s why:

My younger brother is developmentally disabled. He’s 35 now, but his mental age is somewhere in the 2-4ish range. (I can tell you: My brother was a 30-year-old My Little Pony fan way before it was cool.)

And Louis loves the things kids love. Trick or treating. Toy stores. Playgrounds. It was the playgrounds which taught me the best lesson, and I’d like to share it with you.

Louis is a kid. That’s how he acts, that’s how he sees himself. He’s not big for his age – something arrested his physical growth as well as his mental acuity – but he’s easily twice the size of the people he perceives as his “age”. And he really doesn’t speak as well as someone who is three or four; he’s got unusual verbal tics and mannerisms.

This is the thing:

The worst playground in the world is the one where kids turn away from him, won’t respond when he talks to him, or, hardest of all, laugh.

The best playground in the world is the one where a person, usually so small in comparison that they need to reach way way up to do it, takes him by the hand and leads him over to come and play.

In other words, the playground matters very little..,.compared to the players.

I don’t build physical playgrounds; I build events. And if you want to try to have a great event, I believe you should try to have events which encourage wonderful people. And don’t be afraid of seeming corny or silly – sure “wonderful people” sounds more like a description for a kid’s show than a kink event. I don’t care; the phrasing works. Praise kindness and model it in your own actions. Value respect. Fight for safety even when it’s very hard to know how to make a space “safe”. Discourage hateful people. Turn down their money; urge them to take their business elsewhere.

Let me give you, then, my big secret, the formula, the recipe for a great event:

1. Attract amazing people and try to treat them well.
2. That’s it.

-Jeff Mach
Jeff Mach Events

The New Year’s Steampunk

Vintage steampunk design background with airship, clocks, fireworks and steam engine elements. Grunge textured digital photo illustration. Orange and cyan tones.

The New Year’s Steampunk will be different from the Steampunk that came before it. And in fact, that is true of every year Steampunk has ever existed, and it is incredible.

Think about it. Steampunk has evolved and grown and changed every year. Yet it is still this familiar and magical thing that we love. We have kept our favorite performers and artists and creators with us, and we have also discovered new ones. We have sometimes kept and sometimes changed our personal styles, and either way, our fellow Steampunks have embraced us. We have continued to be a friendly, welcoming, joyous place!  How rare, how wonderful that is!

And it’s still because of this: nobody was born into some Royal family of Steampunk. Nobody is the ruler of Steampunk, or the person who tells everyone what to do. We have lots of people who create fashions, but nobody gets mad if you are fashion statement is brand-new or has been with you for eight years. Our musicians are constantly creating new arch, but no single band defines Steampunk. No person defines Steampunk. No event defines Steampunk.

The New Year’s Steampunk will be incredible, because we choose to make it that way. We choose to be welcoming. We choose to create. We choose to inspire and be inspired. We choose to make a world that welcomes the new and treasures the old.

Hello, New Year! I cannot wait to see what wonders are waiting for us, being unlocked every single day by the marvelous, spectacular culture of brass and steam which infuses our lives with the peculiar, the eccentric, the glorious, and the fantastic!

-Jeff Mach
Jeff Mach Events

My Steampunk New Year’s Resolutions

This is a picture of me - Jeff Mach - taken at The Steampunk World's Fair by Babs Who Takes Pictures. As usual, I am utterly confused by my surroundings.

This is a picture of me – Jeff Mach – taken at The Steampunk World’s Fair by Babs Who Takes Pictures. As usual, I am utterly confused by my surroundings.

As a Steampunk, a dreamer, and a generally weird individual, I hereby make the following resolutions for 2018:

I plan to go out there and be as strange as I want, and as normal as I want, and not to worry about which is which.  If other people want to call me weird, I will take it as a compliment.  If they don’t mean it that way, then that is their loss!

I am going to attempt to be creative and make new and unique things!  But I will also have days when all I want to do is stay in bed in my fuzzy gear-and-coc pajamas, and on those days, I’ll be proud just get the heck out of bed.  Because being called to be different is not always an easy thing, and it’s sometimes going to be difficult as hell.  But it’s also incredibly rewarding.  I will try to remember both of those.

I can be as silly as I want, as eccentric as I would like.  But I also know that Steampunk – and dreaming in general – is not a competition.  I don’t have to be “more” Steampunk or “more” eccentric than anyone else.  I just have to make myself happy and be good to those around me.

I will foster an indomitable spirit, because you need a strong spirit to keep dreams alive.  I will foster a sense of whimsy, because humor keeps the spirit whole.  And I will wear ridiculous hats if I want to!  There’s no particular reason for that.  I just like silly hats.

I will face the future and the imaginary past, and I will attempt to conquer them with happiness, good times, good friends, new ideas, and a rich, full life.  And if that fails, then I will resort to my fallback plan, which is conquering the world with my army of clockwork flying monkeys.

Yours in service to Dream,

Jeff Mach
Jeff Mach Events

 

Tea Party Recipe: Devilishly Villainous Egg Sandwiches

Steampunk deviled eggs!Devilishly Villainous Egg Sandwiches – from The Steampunk Cookbook

The Victorians were great believers in spiritualism—did you know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator/writer of “Sherlock Holmes”, helped perpetuate what is (to the modern mind) one of the most transparent photographic hoaxes in modern history, related to Faeries?

(Silly Sir Arthur!  True Faeries would never let themselves be photographed!)

The Victorians were deeply concerned with morality, and yet they had their deeply naughty side.  Devilled eggs were a 19th century flirtation with something unusual in Europe—the marriage of a common food (the egg) with spices from far-away.

For our Steampunk Universe, we simply realize two things:

-Devilled eggs aren’t from the devil; they’re from excellent chefs, and

-Every life deserves a little spice.

Yield: 24 servings

Skill Level: 1

5 hard-boiled eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1 teaspoon sriracha
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup softened cream cheese or butter
20 slices of your favorite bread

Directions:

Add the eggs, mayo, lime juice, sriracha, and salt into a food processor or blender and mix until incorporated.

Taste for seasoning, adding salt, lime, or mayo until you have a spreadable consistency to your liking.

Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter or cream cheese. Next, spread egg mixture over 10 of the bread slices and top with the other ten.

Remove crusts and slice each sandwich in half on a diagonal, and then on half again on the other diagonal to make quarters.

 

 

How To Kill Steampunk

Swordwoman ready for battle.

Steampunk’s been declared dead, or about to die, many times. Most often, it is when some aspect of the mainstream, whatever that is, picks up some pieces of Steampunk. Suddenly totally “unhip” people know the big secret, and you can get some Steampunk stuff in your shopping malls. And everyone thinks this is the end of the world. So I’ll let you in on the forbidden Lore, the knowledge of the Illuminated Masters, the hidden truth:

There is no Steampunk secret.

There is no Steampunk secret. Steampunk, as I discussed other places, has no hidden Masters; in fact, it has no Masters at all, just some people who do a lot of it and make interesting things.

“An Enlightened Master is ideal only if your goal is to become a Benighted Slave.”
~Robert Anton Wilson

Sure, you can find a wrong way to do anything – every time I hear a Reeses commercial that says there’s no way to eat their snacks, I get a perverse purge to attempt to absorb it into my body using my fingers for osmosis. But honestly, would even the Reese’s company consider that wrong? Especially if already paid for their damn candy bar. If that’s what I want to do, I may not actually ingest the thing, but I’m getting fair use out of it.

You could, I’m sure find some way to do Steampunk wrong; there infinitely creative ways for human beings to mess up if they really want to.  You could claim that your pet cat is a working 747 jet airplane, and I think most of us will generally agree that you are not correct. But if you work hard and your feline wants you to pick her up and run around your place making jet engine noises and claiming to be a passenger aircraft, then we will at least recognize you’re trying, and while we probably wouldn’t buy tickets for that flight, we would find it adorable.

Likewise, you can take a chicken burrito and claim that it is Steampunk and, if you really want to be proud of yourself, you can watch the rest of us try to figure out what the hell you mean. But that’s not really being wrong, that’s just intentionally messing with people’s heads. If you have some way to tie that burrito into the vast world of what Steampunk could be, then dammit, I see no reason why even that couldn’t be steampunk, given a bit of ingenuity and a sincere desire to create something that others would appreciate.

How do you kill Steampunk?  You can’t; it’s not something that “lives” or “dies”; it’s something that we create and keep creating.  That is its own special vitality, and it comes from all of us.

How can you do Steampunk wrong?  Only one way I know.  hose who tell you that their way is the only right way? Those are the only ones were definitely doing it wrong.

~Jeff Mach
Jeff Mach Events