Soup, Scarves and SF

Strange New Worlds

So this thing here, it is existing.

What is this thing? I shall explain.

You know how superheroes are normal people by day and put on outlandish costumes and fight crime/perform elaborate interpretive dance choreography that sometimes knocks a fool in the head by night? Well, by day, I wear the outlandish costume of a fantasy and science fiction novelist, and by night, I cook things and knit things and behave mostly like a normal person. And when, in my sequins and mask, I post to Twitter about what I’m making for dinner, I am immediately pinged by 19 people asking when I am going to write a cookbook.

The thing is that writing a cookbook requires a publisher and a photographer and a great deal of investment from other humans. Thus, there is this thing instead.

Wait, I hear you say! Is this another cooking blog? Good grief! Isn’t the market already saturated with this sort of thing? Can’t we get any recipe we want from the giant aggregator sites? Do you, Cat, even know anyone in the foodie blogging community? Aren’t you the kind of cook that is more of a WHOLE BUNCH of this and EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE MUST GO INTO THE FRITTATA WORMHOLE than a follow the recipe girl? And knitting? Oh my, no one has ever blogged about that before! It’s called purling, you say?

And all that is true. I do not own a restaurant, I can point to five friends of mine who are higher-end foodies than I am, I can’t take super-exciting studio-perfect photos of the food I make, and my main qualification for any of this is that I spend most of my time writing very strange novels. (That have lots of food in them.)

But you know, we spend a lot of our lives cooking and eating. It’s important. I live in Maine, one of the most amazing places in the world for seafood and fresh produce, I like to experiment and I basically can’t do anything without throwing my own twist on it. And I kept being asked to write a cookbook. I didn’t want my main blog to become a long litany of recipes, so I created another space for it. And I like alliteration, and sometimes also want to write about knitting. So this thing comes together and I think: maybe it will be fun for people to read about the culinary messing about of a person who is not an expert in this field, but enthusiastic and fearless about it. (I’ll put ketchup right on mac and cheese, I don’t even care!) Someone who doesn’t make small plates of perfectly colored and tweezed tiny things but cooks to make herself happy with her noms. Ok, sometimes small plates of perfectly tweezed tiny things. I admit to having served Thanksgiving dinner with an amuse-bouche. DON’T JUDGE ME. In the end, maybe it will just be fun for you guys to play house with me.

So essentially, I will post recipes here. I’ll try to do pictures when I can. Sometimes I’ll post a pattern or thoughts about fiber. I’ll try to write a bit about each recipe because to me, the thing that differentiates one cookbook from another is the liner notes. And every once in awhile, there will be a little story about the food in question for you to read while the kettle boils. I hope this will be a homey, warm place where we can talk together about that everyday non-superhero stuff that we all do, and how to make it more delightful and meaningful.

You noticed that word “together,” didn’t you? Yes, see, this is the first off-social network site blog I’ve ever kept, and I am very conscious of how much I’ve benefited from the active comment culture of Livejournal. No one likes to talk into a vacuum. So the more you all comment and interact, the better this place will be. It’s like wishing for a new Fantasia, yo. The more you talk, the more beautiful the country will become. This is a new house for all of us to clutter up and drink tea/vodka on the staircase. Let’s burn some toast together.

Lastly, I want to have a little segment called Double Cat Dare. This is where you tell me what to cook and I do it and report back. Whatever you ask I will screw with and adjust to my heart’s content, but if you’ve been curious about making bread, or jam, or beef wellington, or some other odd dish, dare me to take it on and I’ll do a photo-heavy post of how I managed it–or entirely failed to manage it. Because cooking is iterative, and sometimes I will fail. It’s ok. I have two big dogs. There’s no such thing as fucking up dinner. There’s only happy puppy faces.

And that’s all. Welcome to Soup, Scarves, and SF. The future is delicious.



  1. “There’s no such thing as fucking up dinner. There’s only happy puppy faces.” I love that! I totally want that on a framed stitched sampler on my kitchen wall. It would probably shock the younger grandchildren, though. ~sigh~

  2. I, for one, welcome another cooking blog. I’m always looking for new ideas. You can find some of my recipes and experiments here:

    Double Cat Dare: JustBeast recently mentioned that you made a really yummy curry. I’d love to hear about your version of curry. It’s one of our favorite things Chez BFF and I would like to learn more styles of curry.

  3. Bifemmefatale: Don’t worry, I have a couple of different curries I make regularly and both will go up soon!

  4. This looks like brilliant fun, Cat! I’m in.

    Also, I Double Cat Dare you to try coq au vin!

  5. Yay with awesomesauce!

  6. Holy crap, ok! That’s serious shit there. *planz*

  7. I think it’s a fabulous plan.

    Actually, I have the same thing in reverse: the fiber arts and occasional food blog came well before the science and writing blog.

    I too have a garbage disposal in the form of a large dog, but he only gets things that don’t cause foul gaseous emissions later. *shudder*

  8. *glee* I’ve read on other food-oriented blogs that coq au vin is a rewarding dish to cook, but I’d love to hear from a friend I trust – also, I’d like to see what twist you put on it.

  9. No such thing as too many cooking blogs (especially since the aggregator I use is Google — when I want a recipe or idea, I search nearly everywhere for it).

    No Double Cat Dares yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing the posts.

  10. Yay! *does enthusiastic happy dance of food*

    As one of the people who is always asking, “will you make a cookcbook?” I’m so happy to see this.

  11. Well, I’ve been an SF writer for some time, it just never occurred to me that people cared what I cooked.

    Our dogs have intestines of steel. The golden is a vegetarian though, she loooooves veggies. Will shun meat sometimes, even bones.

  12. “I will put ketchup right on mac and cheese!”

    Rock on with your bad self!

    But seriously, this looks cool, I’m excited to see what happens. Also, I’m dying to try cooking seafood, so I’ll be paying close attention to any of those recipes that you care to share.

  13. Yaaaaaaay.

    I’ve said before, somewhere on the internet, that pretty much any time you post about something you are cooking, it makes me wish I was your friend and lived in Maine, because then I might get invited over for dinner. Next best thing, I suppose, is just to make the same dang stuff myself.

  14. I’ve been craving fish lately, so I imagine something will be coming up. My lobster bisque recipe is already set in stone and I do my wonderful blueberry balsamic sauce for dipping lobsters. All to come!

  15. “It’s ok. I have two big dogs. There’s no such thing as fucking up dinner. There’s only happy puppy faces.”

    Yes. This. =D

  16. Ah, reading this makes me hungry :) . Looking forward to reading about your culinary (etc.) adventures!

  17. Double Cat Dare: Limoncello (I just read your pickled peppers post and the bright red jars immediately made me think of yellow bottles of limoncello).

    I’m so looking forward to reading this! Every time I read about your culinary exploits on LJ, it’s a nice little bit of inspiration to spend a few extra minutes making something amazing and new, instead of the same old same old.

  18. Oooh, fun, I’ve always wanted to try that!

  19. Awesome! And I loved the Little House reference. I always feel like that when I get all bake-y and sew-y.

  20. What fun! I look forward to it.

    I would make a Double Cat Dare, but honestly, I think the things I come up with are, um, probably a bit extreme. Like Russian traditional aspic (which I forget the word for, and I took all my books to work for the cooks to use for research).

  21. I don’t mind extreme? But holodyetz, that aspic, is like the single thing I find grossest in all of Russian cuisine. D, however, loves it.

    I would love an extreme dare from you though!

  22. I remember one time probably more than a year ago you talked on LJ about some sort of pork with cherries and other stuff that sounded wonderful. My food loving ears perked up, and I’ve been hoping you would start posting actual recipes of the things you make ever since.

    Looking forward to it! And remember, no picture is a total waste if it has a cute cat in it – I’m sure October would make an excellent food model.

  23. Hm…I don’t recall what that was…

    the Dormouse

    Your writing is one of the few things that can still reliably make me smile, and how happy am I that you’re writing somewhere else on the internets? So happy that if I could force myself out of bed, I’d dance. :D

  25. Sounds like a fine idea to me! There can never be too may cooking blogs, as long as they’re GOOD cooking blogs.

    Also, “frittata wormhole” would be an excellent name for a band.

  26. I am SO looking forward to having your recipes to try as I embark on my own adventure of teaching myself to cook and feed myself well. I also love the idea of getting to know this other side of you better. :-)

  27. Caryle: I remember the pork with cherries too, which sounded heavenly, but I can’t find it now. Google is only turning up chipotle-cherry lobster bisque among other things, which, however awesome it sounds, is not quite what I had in mind. It does too sound awesome, though.

    Cat: Would you like a challenge, a Double Cat Dare? If so, I challenge you (in honor of the season and your location) to make a New England Boiled Dinner. Heck, I’ll go one better than a challenge — if you make a New England Boiled Dinner and blog about it, I’ll make one and blog about it too. (Because I’ve been meaning to…) And then we can compare notes, because competition is way overrated. :-)

  28. Huh! What could it be!

    I will definitely try a boiled dinner in the next few weeks–though I had to look it up!

  29. Muahahahahaha… For a Double Cat Dare may I suggest bigos? Mostly because I want to see how you decide to mess with it and adjust it and play with it. (I don’t think we’ve ever done two batches exactly the same way.) Also, I think you’ll like it. There is a wikipedia page if you need help getting started.

  30. Yay, cooking blog! I’m so looking forward to those curry recipes, too! <3

  31. I’m like you. Love to cook, love to play in the kitchen (and I’m a knitter!), but have many friends so much more foodie than me I look forward to your concoctions!

    A dare? Help me do something with all the celeriac I have from my last CSA box of the 2010 season. It keeps forever, but I need to use it.

  32. What is a New England boiled dinner?

  33. You can wiki it, but it’s brisket and cabbage and veggies in a soupy bowl.

  34. I’m really looking forward to your new blog.

    Have you made injera? If not, I propose it as a Double Cat Dare. Pair with any delicious Ethiopian dish and voila!

    Another suggestion is Banh Mi; not sure if you’ve baked many baguettes before but the particularly Vietnamese style of baguette is supremely yummy. It’s one cooking project I haven’t tackled myself yet but it’s on the list.

  35. Oh man, both those are interesting and cool. On the list!

  36. This is marvelous! Excited read future posts…

  37. Cat, re: boiled dinner: Awesome!

  38. I’m sh1mm3r in LJ, but also a baking blogger, cooking blogger, and gardening blogger. Welcome to the insanity, and I can’t wait to see what you make!


    I’m so glad you’re doing this! I’m interested in reading about your cooking adventures and random stories. Is there a way to subscribe to this blog so that updates go to my e-mail? I’m bad at remembering to check blogs not attached to livejournal, which has become an ingrained habit.

  40. My double cat dare isn’t something new – it’s just a request for some of the Russian recipes I’ve heard mentioned on your other blog!
    I thought getting a cookbook in Russia would help me out with that, but when they translated to English they left out a bunch of ingredients in some of the recipes and it never quite works out. . . I should have known better than being tempted by the fun taxidermy bear on the cover.

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  42. There’s an LJ feed at soupscarvesnsf and an RSS icon up in the corner.

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