I’m tied up in a lot of things right now and I’m not getting a lot of writing done. At times life is hard. Year end day is almost here, but life will go on.
One way of writing Steampunk is to take what is happening today and imagine what it would be like if it happened in the past.
Example, the Japanese celebrate Christmas. They get extravagant. Being Shinto or Buddhist doesn’t even slow them down.
Now set your story on the west coast. There is friction (lynching and the usual mayhem between the Chinese laborers and the immigrant locals, i.e. anyone not Chinese and not an Amerindian (indigenous sounds so demeaning)).
Next have a fad hit. Everyone is excited by the engraving from the 1850 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book showing a family (a doctored image of the British royal family) celebrating around a Bohemian Christmas tree.
The local Rail Road Magnet then sets up a tree outside his mansion. It’s too big to go inside and he wants to show off and rub every ones nose in it.
Then have the town people get together and pool their funds and set up an even bigger tree in the town square.
The Chinese see everyone having fun and set a smaller tree. There are fireworks. What’s Christmas without firecrackers.
In a saloon two old miners are arguing. One claims that the Christmas tree is a Tannenbaum. The other claims that Tannenbaum means fir tree and that a Christmas tree is a Weihnachtsbaum, and I should know by grandmother was from the old country Holland.
A fight breaks out. Do miners need a reason to fight, no. The Christmas trees get damaged. Everyone gets thrown in jail.
The children are bummed out and get together and set up their own Christmas tree.
The usual plug. Buy my book; The Daemon Boat https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1576517423&sr=8-1
Christmas Cookie Recipe
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Just add a little white and red frosting (in a Christmas design) to the top of the cookie and you have Christmas cookies.
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened*
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (plus a little bit)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (regular oats (rolled) not instant)
1 cup nuts (Walnuts or Pecans) (OK, so I like a lot of nuts)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Electric mixer with large bowl
Measuring spoons set
Measuring cups; 1 and 1/2 cup sizes
Spatula with wooden handle*
3 Cookie sheets (make sure they fit in oven)
Gallon size plastic food bags
Dry Measuring cups
Pre-soften* the butter, take the sticks out of the ice box at least an hour before starting. You can let the butter sit on the table over night.**
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (Before turning oven on check inside of oven for baked potato or other odds and ends from last night. Check oven temperature, the knob marking are often way off.)
Line a medium bowl with a one gallon plastic food bag. Place flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bag. Close and secure top of bag leaving large air space at top of bag. Message and shake bag to mix ingredients. Set bag aside. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer in large mixing bowl. That’s cook speak for beating the butter until air is mixed in and then slowly adding the sugar. Add eggs one at a time without getting any egg shells in the mix.
Add vanilla; beat well.
Add flour mixture, slowly and gently or flour will be billowing everywhere* and mix well. Remove mixing bowl from electric mixer. Using spatula stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips; mix until there are nuts and chips in very spoon full.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet. That means scoop up a spoon full and turn the spoon over and dough falls onto the cookie sheet, most of the time the stuff acts like it is part super glue. Use spatula to scrape dough off spoon and try dipping teaspoon in cold water after each drop to keep dough from sticking.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, measured with timer not smoke alarm, until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove cookies to paper plate.
Makes about 4 dozen.
- Soften means late butter warm up till a finger pressed in middle of bar will easily leave a dent.
**Long distance backpackers carry butter for days without refrigeration.
***Old cook book term. Butter will turn a lighter color and be fluffy. 3 to 5 minutes in mixer.
****pour carefully, making flour angels on the kitchen floor is not cool. If added to quickly the electric mixer will blow flour all over kitchen.
*****banging metal handle of spatula to knock stuff off on the rim of a glass bowl will break the bowl.
******Use dry measuring cup and using the flat back of butter knife strike off (run the knife across the top of the cup scraping the excess flour back into the flour container) the top of the cup. Do not pack the flour in the cup, keep it lose and fluffy.
To make one huge cookie, press dough into bottom of un-greased 9×13-inch metal baking pan. Or make huge cookie shape on baking pan. Make cookie shape one half inch thick. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Stay strong, write on, and bake well.
Professor Hyram Voltage