August 30th, 2013

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Getting my Laurelish instincts all in a knot

One of the frustrations about being a Games specialist in the SCA is that I keep having to explain the difference between "a period game" and "a modern game that is set in period". Fealty may be a great game with a period setting (and admittedly, I've taught it in-camp at Pennsic), but that's not the same as being actually SCA-appropriate.

However, I think I've just found the closest I've ever come to the perfect blend of "totally modern game" and "seriously true to period", in Audatia, a new game currently running through IndieGogo. (Basically the same model as Kickstarter.) Audatia is a modern two-player turn-based card game -- but the game play is entirely based on Florio's 14th century manual of swordfighting techniques. The game was basically created (by a teacher of historical swordfighting) as a teaching tool to learn the moves and terminology: the two players have decks of cards representing all of the described moves (including an apparently-documented "kick in the nuts" card), and use moves from their hands to parry and thrust.

The campaign's long since blown past its main goals (apparently in part due to somebody giving a 25k donation to the project!), but I decided to pick up a set -- it sounds like the game is interesting and different, educational, and quite possibly fun to play. I can't really say it's appropriate to play at an event, but it's one heck of a lot better than most of what I usually see at the War. SCA folks who are into either gaming or swordplay may want to check it out...
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Extrapolation from prior examples for the win

A couple of months ago, I was wandering through Winchester Center (for no reason except that I had time to kill), and happened upon a farmer's market there. At that market, I encountered a delightful little tea-and-spice shop, and bought several of her wares, including a "spicy pork glaze" that sounded fun. The recipe was easy -- rub the pork with this rub, and then mop with melted apple jelly. I happened to *have* some excellent apple jelly looking for the right use (courtesy of asdr83), so I made it, and it was utterly nummy.

At which point, Kate suggested an experiment that I just tried: "why can't we do an Indian version of this?". Following her suggestion, I took some southern-style boneless ribs (always the most forgiving and tasty cut of pork for the grill), rubbed them heavily with curry powder, and grilled them, mopping with melted Major Grey's Chutney.

The result was pretty much as expected: a Raj-flavored grilled pork, quite tasty with a bit of extra Major Grey's on the side for dipping. Not quite perfect yet: we agreed that the flavor is a tad flat, so we figure that we have to punch up the curry powder with some more spices. But definitely good enough to be worth further experiments to refine the recipe. Recommended for those looking to play with the grill...