Tagged Tea & Victorian Food

Gail Carriger Talks About The Food In Singapore

Posted by Gail Carriger

Meanwhile – in the USA we just gorged ourselves on turquay, Gentle Reader. So here’s my post all about food in Singapore! Yes yes yes (and one great big NO).

Singapore Food: The Bad

I’m an incredibly experimental eater. You can take a look at some of the wide ranging Things I Have Stuck in My Mouth on my Ate It Weird Pinterest board. If I can, I’ve likely tried it: ostrich, alligator, crocodile, frog, snail (both types), Morton Bay bug, guinea pigs, alpaca, haggis, horse, head cheese, sweetbreads and other offal, homemade chicha beer (yes, THAT), any fruit I can get my hands on (generally I know the Spanish word for it), and so much more.

My general philosophy is I will try anything 3 times (on the theory that the first two times it might have been ill prepared). Until Singapore I had only 2 exceptions to this rule:

  1. Raw sea urchin (or uni) and yes I am willing to try it cooked.
  2. Andouillette sausage, the traditional pig colon kind. Yes it tastes EXACTLY how you would expect.

And now:

3. Durian

Durian Ice Kacang = Disgusting

I am terribly sad to say I have added durian to the list of NEVER AGAIN. Look, yes it tastes a bit like custard apple (cherimoya) meets passion fruit (maracuya) and I LOVE both those fruits, but frankly, mostly, it tastes like baby poop mixed with gasoline. And I can’t imagine any circumstances where that will change.

No, not even Durian Baked Alaska

The worst part?

It repeats on you. Or it did me. It’s been weeks and I am still terrified to burp. A durian burp is like that scene from Thelma & Louise where they explode the gas station. With added vomit.

Singapore Food: The Good

Now that I have totally grossed you out, I’m going to wax poetical about all the actually amazingly yummy  food in Singapore.

First of all, there are fresh fruit juice stands everywhere and I learned real quick not to ever pass one up. Sometimes they frap it with ice, sometimes they whip it so there’s a fruit foam at the top, and sometimes it’s more like a single-fruit smoothie. Not matter what, yum!

Hotdog Juices

Okay, maybe not hotdog juice.

Secondly, lets talk kaya (coconut jam of deliciousness). I liked the green kind with pandan best. Why is this not a thing EVERYWHERE? Why? Watch Gail wail into the deep. I want to buy kaya at my local supermarket. And while we are at it, can we add Apple Banana Butter (as in from the Apple Banana, not a mix of apples and bananas) and Passion Fruit Curd to this list? Look, I’m telling you there is a wide world away from stupid old strawberry out there. (Not that I dislike strawberry jam but COME ON.)

Kaya Pau

Kaya Pau – the steamed sweet bun form of kaya

Finally, can we talk desert?

Oh, were we already? Okay but look, look at all the gelatinous deserts! I love them so.


Singapore Food: The Ugly

I was a wiggly delighted Gail the first morning in Singapore because after breakfast I got to proudly bop along and claim I’d stuck 6 things in my mouth and I’d no idea what they were. Still don’t. Came from an unlabeled pickled-things bar. I adore pickled things.

Anyway, the first place we stayed at offered this amazing breakfast buffet with All The Things.

Around the World Breakfast

Around the World in One Breakfast: Top, L-R: Italian marinated tomatoes, Indian upma, Korean pickled items, Scandinavian smoked salmon on American hash brown patty in the Jewish fashion, Chinese red bean paste pau, French cheese and bread, egg white omelet with Thai spices & chili sauce.

What a food looks like doesn’t bother me much. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to try Singapore’s fish head curry. At first I avoided it because it thought it’d be just like a normal Thai red or yellow curry. Turns out it traditionally comes with more tamarind in it than other curries and it has more Indian spices. After learning that, I tried hard to get hold of it, but I’d left it too late. So I have a good reason to return to Singapore.

Singapore Hawker Center Food stand

Singapore Hawker Center Food stand

I also never got to try the chili crab. I tried the local crab at a raw seafood bar, which tasted a bit like a mix of Snow and Dungeness. I’m a crab fan, but the chili crab I found to buy was always too expensive, I suspect I was there off season.

In Singapore Corn & Beans are a desert. So there.

In Singapore Corn & Beans are a desert. So there.

So what was the first hing I ate when I landed to remind me I was home? The first thing I always eat, Pinky, fish tacos nor cal style.

“It is hot — so hot! — but not stifling, and all the rich-flavored, colored fruits of the tropics are here — fruits whose generous juices are drawn from the moist and heated earth, and whose flavors are the imprisoned rays of the fierce sun of the tropics.”

~ The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither by Isabella Brid, 1883

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}


Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Les Modes Parisiennes Saturday, July 1, 1865 v. 45, plate 5

Les Modes Parisiennes Saturday, July 1, 1865 v. 45, plate 5

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Ruffles Chicken & Seawed

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Fashionable Coiffure: Rolls, Plaits, and Other Popular Hairstyles of 1863

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
~ Gustave Flaubert

Book News:

The Parasol Protectorate made this list of 16 Complete Urban Fantasy Series to Binge-read all the way through.

Quote of the Day:

“Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.”
~ Clifton Fadiman

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

Alexia’s London: Supper Oct. 9, 1876 (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Partridge Soup ~ bird on the bone stewed with ham, onion, celery, mutton, & peppercorns
  • Cold Roast Beef, Broiled ~ topped with fried potato skins that had been season with ketchup, salt & pepper (yes, the Victorians had ketchup & that’s what they called it)
  • Vegetables ~ boiled beets, carrots, & potatoes with a brown butter, sage, & rosemary sauce
  • Boiled Apple Dumpling ~ pudding made with apple, cinnamon, & butter, topped in a boiled crust

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Gail’s Favorite Recipes to Cook & Bake (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I consider myself an experimental eater and I love all food, so long as it is well prepared. So Gentle Reader, when this question came, I knew it had to have a whole blog post to answer.

Do you think a cook book might be in order down the trail?

I would love to write a cookbook, or help out with one. The food blog, Tentacle & Treacle was a hope to lean in that direction.

Unfortunately, the force behind the blog kind of disappeared onto other things, the blog is no more, and I don’t have the time to do it alone. (I won’t partner like that again, I’m now quite gun shy.) So it’s unlikely.

Some of the food in your books sounds quite yummy. Others, not so much.

That’s pretty much the story of Victorian cuisine, if you ask me.

Where did you find the interesting Victorian food examples in your books?

Mostly in my 1870s copy of Things a Lady Would Like to Know Concerning Domestic Management and Expenditure, Arranged for Daily Reference With Hints Regarding the Intellectual As Well As the Physical Life by Henry Southgate.

You can buy actually buy a physical copy. But it has been digitally cataloged and is in the public domain.


I’d love some of your favorite recipes or food/restaurant recommendations or reviews.

Restaurant recommendations:

I post restaurant reviews to my Yelp (you can find me as Gail C. “Retro Rack” since I review lots of clothing stores too). Since eating out is location specific, you are probably better off going there, to see if I’ve loved something in your area.

I try to update it after I’ve visited a city.

“Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but mouth-brothels. There is no point in going to them if one intends to keep one’s belt buckled.”

~ Frederic Raphael


Book related:



Some Perennial Favorites

The only thing you really need to know, my go to desert.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake (the original UK recipe)

I love this cake. LOVE IT!

The AB, who is the chocoholic in the family, is a tad sniffy about this cake, finding it almost too orangey, and preferring a more honest chocolate and nut with flour combination, like a brownie.

I, and my gluten intolerant friends, adore it.

Gail’s Favorite Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

  • 2 small thin-skinned oranges, c. 3/4lb total weight (or 1 large)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup heaped almond meal
  • 1 cup fine sugar, or slightly less
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • orange peel, for decoration


  1.  Put the whole oranges in pan + cold water, bring to the boil, cover, cook for 20 minutes until squishy to touch
  2. Drain, and when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove big pips + green ends.
  3. Pulp everything gently – pith, peel and all – in food processor.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Line bottom with wax paper then butter a 9 inch spring-form tin.
  5. Add eggs, baking powder, baking soda, almond, sugar, and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but slightly knobbly with the flecks of puréed orange.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 min, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty clean.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in tin, on cooling rack. When cake is cold, remove from tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if want, but is darkly beautiful in its plain, unadorned state.

This recipe is magic. It works for everything.

  • You can leave out the chocolate for an orange & almond cake.
  • You can substitute for the boiled oranges with any number of wet ingredients of a similar weight: we have made an apple spice version using applesauce & cinnamon, a lemon curd version, and a strawberries and cream version. Adjust sugar to compensate for sweetness of the wet ingredient (do not use fresh citrus juice or boiled lemons/limes).
  • It will also work for cupcakes, even mini ones. Use liners and lower cooking time. 18 for regular cupcakes, 15 for minis.
  • I have one friend who will make half the batter with chocolate the other half without and then swirl the two into beautiful patterns.

This is, as far as I am concerned, the only cake you need in life.

“My soul is dark with stormy riot,
Directly traceable to diet.”

~ Samuel Hoffenstein

{Gail’s monthly read along for April 2016 is To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Bon Ton Friday, June 1, 1860 Item ID-  v. 41, plate 29

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Those Tiny 1890s Waists & What Adorned Them

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
One Woman’s Stunning Collection: Lesbians of the past 150 years

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Adding Humor to Your Writing is as Easy as 1-2-3: The Rule of Three to Be Exact

Book News:
Tea & Manners: A Short Interview with Author Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:

“Soup and fish explain half the emotions of human life.”

~ Sydney Smith

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Girl Scout Cookie Tea Pairings from Gail Carriger (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


In an effort to bridge the great divide between the US and the UK, I present unto you my thoughts concerning pairing Girl Scout Cookies (the great annual American tradition that springs upon us in front of most chain grocery stores at this time of year) with the civilized long-standing UK tradition of afternoon tea.

Shall we begin?

Savannah Smiles

These crispy lemon cookies are dusted with powdered sugar, and thus are not ideal for dunking. (Although, frankly I’ve never been a proponent for dunking in general. You only end up with crummy tea.)

For pairing with the Savannah Smiles, I choose a tea with lots of bright notes to meld well to a citrus cookie: Earl Grey, or if you are feeling adventurous, Lady Grey. These teas will compliment the lemon, rather than trying to battle against it, and yet can can still be served with a little milk, to keep the vital humors under control.


These peanut butter and chocolate cookies are quintessentially American and as such I bet you think they’d be hard to match to a tea. Not so. Frankly, they are one of the easiest.

The rich salty flavor of a peanut butter cookie can go up against an equally bold tea… or should I say chai? I believe that the spices of cardamon, ginger, pepper, and cinnamon in a good chai match delightfully with this cookie. My favorite chai is a local wholesale brand called Chai Baba Chai. If you ever get the chance, drink this tea. The cookie, under such circumstances would become a mere afterthought, Chai Baba is THAT good.


This is the girl scout version of a shortbread cookie, and frankly, there are better more exciting shortbreads out there. But I’m sticking to a theme here. Since the only real flavor of even the best shortbread is a sugary butter, one must stay relatively safe and tame with the tea that won’t battle such subtlety.

English Breakfast Tea

Shortbread of this nature requires a light touch, nothing too aggressive or brisk. Malty tones are fine, thus I would drink a gentle English Breakfast or even a warm and mellow Yorkshire Gold with the Trefoil.

Thin Mints

By far my favorite of the GS cookie offerings, this little mint chocolate cookie dipped in chocolate is best enjoyed alone right out of the freezer, and is darn near impossible to pair with a black tea. (And I don’t hold with other types of tea.)

If you are opposed to mixing your own black with fresh mint in the Egyptian fashion there is still one alternative: The dubious concept of unsweetened Thai Tea. Now now, give it a chance. Thai tea is born to meld with spicy, herbaceous, and occasionally minty food of Thailand (and surrounding countries) and as such, it’s one of the few that can balance a mint cookie. You simply must be brave enough to make it without sweetener. Otherwise the whole experience is too sugary.


In the pantheon of sweet girl scout cookies, Samoas come in as the most candy-bar of the lot. These caramel and toasted coconut cookies are drizzled with chocolate and pack a full on sugar rush in a tiny ring of power.

They need a robust tea to challenge them without washing away the more subtle notes of toasted coconut. I’d go with my favorite, the 1706 Strong. A bold tea that never gets too brash and never steers me wrong. And, if you will excuse me, I am going to go partake of the combination right now.

{Gail’s monthly read along for February is Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper Book 1 by Tamora Pierce.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1860  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
My Country, ‘Tis of Tea – California

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016

Book News:
Epic Reads: Science Fiction and Fantasy Series You Can’t Put Down

Quick note, if you’d like to read me in another language, new foriegn language editions of my books have been uploaded for sale. They are signed and all proceeds go to charity.

Quote of the Day:
“Don’t forget that the flavors of wine and cheese depend upon the types of infecting microörganisms.”
~ Martin H. Fischer

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Pairing Gail Carriger Books with Tea & Nibbles (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Alright, Gentle Reader, this idea came a while ago from a conversation on the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group. One of the members was plotting gifting her family with books and chocolate. It occurred to me that gifting books + tea would make for a great blog post.

Reading this?

The Parasol Protectorate series
 Drink this:
Eat this:
Treacle tart


Reading this?

The Finishing School series

Drink this:

English Breakfast Tea

Eat this:

Scones and Homemade Clotted Cream


Reading this?

Drink this:


Eat this:

Madeira Cake

If you are reading The Sumage Solution then how about trying some Pu-erh?

And, of course, I do hope we all know not to take tea with Preshea at all. Right?

Other People’s Thoughts


{Gail’s monthly read along for January 2016 is The Raven’s Ring by Patricia Wrede. You do not have to have read any other Lyra books.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1845 Graham

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Dumbo Octopus in Action

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Harness’s Electric Corset

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Delete the Non-Compete

Book News:

Nalini Haynes of Dark Matter Zine says:

Manners & Mutiny is another of Gail Carriger’s highly successful adventure comedy romance steampunk fantasy novels, concluding the Finishing School series with a bang and an excellent roundup of what becomes of the survivors. One of Carriger’s many strengths is to conclude series and begin new series in the same world, keeping her stories fresh. The balance of tension, comedy and romance is fabulous. I’ve been hanging out for the next Custard Protocol book since I finished the last delicious snack; Carriger keeps me wanting more. I highly recommend all her novels.”

Quote of the Day:

“I once got engaged to his daughter Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rockbound coast.”

― P.G. Wodehouse

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

What’s Going on in Gail’s Life? Scarves, Glazes & Lamb Stew

Posted by Gail Carriger


What’s going on right now, Gentle Reader?

Look to your left, see in the left column of the blog? That’s a poll! Please take it. Thanks. (Not mobile friendly.)

Otherwise, here’s some insight into my brain and other organs…

Occupying My Ears: No Such Thing As A Fish Podcast. I love QI and I love this companion podcast, they are informative, funny, and quite British.

Occupying My Neck: This scarf: 32” Square Silk Multicolour Petal Rose. I’m pretty much living in it these days. Something about the color pallet just seems to go with everything I choose to wear right now.

Occupying My Nose: Giovanni Sugar Scrub, Hot Chocolate An old favorite of mine that always seems relevant in winter, partly because of dry skin, partly because of the delicious smell. I recommend this as a gift, it came into my life that way. I’ve sensitive skin and I worried I might have a reaction, but it’s always delivered smooth chocolaty goodness.

Occupying My Eyes: 5 TV Characters of the Year I haven’t watched any of these, not for lack of interest but for lack of time. Hoping I can carve out a bit of spare time over the holidays.

Currently Coveting Gadget: The Wurf Board. I can’t stop wanting this right now. I don’t know if it would help with all my hip and other writing-related issues, but I’d sure like to try it and see.

Occupying My Touch: Aloe Vera Gel I’m really into this stuff right now in my quest to minimize surgery scars. This one is organic and a little runny and it absorbs really fast.

Occupying My Pantry: TJ’s Balsamic Reduction Glaze (find at your local Trader Joe’s in the vinegar section) I usually make my own, but then I’m down a bottle of balsamic vinegar and the apartment smells like pickling for days. This is a lot easier and just as tasty. I use it in or on everything. To add depth to gravy or soup, on its own as a salad dressing, to drizzle over the goat cheese on a platter (here’s a crostini recipe). If you are on any kind of salt restriction diet this baby is a lifesaver.

Currently Coveting Clothing: Tie-neck Cotton Knit Dress from Eshakti


Come in Tomato & Crimson Red, Kelly Green, Purple, & Navy

Occupying My Mouth: By FB request, here’s a lamb stew recipe I made recently that caused me to be a mite tipsy on twitter (I drank the wine that did not go into the stew). It’s based off a recipe for rabbit stew from a Victorian cookbook that I unearthed somewhere (can remember were, bad scientist, not citing source). I am not the kind of cook who is precise, more slap dash, which suits Victorian recipes. I’ve tried to be careful about the recipe below, but it’s not always possible. You can certainly fiddle with the portions, adding more meat, more veg, omitting a veg, whatever. So if you are a baker who likes things JUST SO the following may not work for you…

Gail’s Victorian Stew

2lb of lamb/rabbit/pork/chicken thighs cubed into bite size pieces 1-1.5″, dried with paper towels
1 cup flour (gluten free is fine)
2 med onions chopped (can use pearl onions)
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups chopped carrots, parsnips, potatoes, or other firm root vegetables (I’ve also successfully used squash)
8 oz chopped mushrooms
2 cups chicken (or whatever you have to hand) stock
2 cups water
2 cups dry red wine (I like Chianti)
1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp) sometimes more
1 bay leaf (optional herbs: rosemary for lamb/rabbit, sage for pork, thyme for chicken)
salt & black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In large oven safe soup pot: Saute mushrooms in oil, remove, put aside.
  3. Saute onion & celery in butter, remove.
  4. Dredge dry meat pieces with flour. Brown in butter on all sides over med heat in batches, adding butter as needed, put aside. Do not overcrowd the pan. Do not skimp on butter. This is key, and time consuming, but it really helps the meat stay tender. Remove.
  5. Place more butter in pan plus remaining flour to create a rue. Do not burn, but do cook flour as you would for gravy.
  6. Add meat, onion & celery, seasoning, back in. Stir a bit.
  7. Add in bay leaf (dried herbs if using) and all liquids (gradually in batches).
  8. Cover and put in oven for 1.5 – 2 hours.
  9. Remove from oven, if broth is not thick enough can add in 1-3 tbsp starch (mixed with cold water into a paste, of course)
  10. Add in root veg and mushrooms (and fresh herbs if using).
  11. Return to oven and cook an additional hour.

Prep time: 1 hr. Cooking time: 3 hr.

It is time consuming and best made well ahead of time if you are hosting a dinner party. Cooking times are dependent on the size of your chunks of veg and meat, the bigger the chunks the longer it will take. Obviously, this recipe could be adapted to a slow cooker (switch to the crock pot after step 6). Can be kept warm on stove top for a party or made a day ahead of time. It freezes well.

It easily feeds 6, with large portions and a nice rosemary roll on the side.

Leftover stew also converts well to become shepherd’s pie or vindaloo if you did not use herbs. Summer variation can be made with white wine instead of red, chickpeas & kale instead of root veg.

Low Sodium Option: Omit added salt, use unsalted butter, and use home-made salt free stock. (Low sodium store-bought stock usually isn’t very.) Add a generous tablespoon or two of reduced balsamic vinegar, AKA balsamic glaze, along with the liquids.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, skinflint alternative is Ridiculous by D.L. Carter.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Magasin des Demoiselles Date-  Sunday, June 1, 1845

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Handmade Parasol

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
What The Octopus Can Teach Us

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
“Writing, I explained, was mainly an attempt to out-argue one’s past; to present events in such a light that battles lost in life were either won on paper or held to a draw.”
~ Jules Feifer


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Out now!
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Starting edits soon. Available for pre-order in the US.

Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny


The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Lesa’s Book Critique’s says: “Manners & Mutiny is a brilliant ending to this series. It’s a series that featured wit, courageous young women, fascinating supernaturals, stories of class systems overcome by love and strength, and fascinating plots. Bravo, Gail Carriger.”

Quote of the Day:
‘What does he think of it all?’
‘He’s absolutely rattled.’
‘Ripping! I’ll be toddling up, then. Toodle-oo, Bertie, old man. See you later.’
‘Pip-pip, Bicky, dear boy.’
~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Gifts for the Gail Carriger Uber Fan (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So, here are some gifts that I, in my limited expert experience on the subject, think that a Gail Carriger fan would really enjoy. Just getting into the spirit of the season.

Gifts for the Gail Carriger Fan

Sparkly fan! ($1.50) Silk Fan with Green Sequins for Dimity from Sophronia.

Parasol Straws ($3.50).

Octopus Cookie Cutter ($5).

Octopus necklace ($7) for any member of the OBO who doesn’t want to get a tattoo.

Fans of the Soulless manga series might like this adorable business card case featuring a parasol ($7).

Octopus Bottle Stopper ($12) for those who prefer wine over tea.

1800s Balloon Art Airship Stainless Steel ID or Cigarettes Case ($14). This is the airship design that the Flywaymen air dinghies are based off of in the Finishing School series.

Or if you’re buying for a big OBO Madame Lefoux fan, the same company makes versions of this case with octopus on the cover.

Lace overlay parasol (not good for rain) $16, come in range of colors.

Wonderful Ocean Octopus Nightlight ($18) that I might have to buy for my office. So cuts! Perhaps Rue had one of these while a child.

Mademoiselle Geraldine’s preferred Tea Cozy ($11). Let the tiny cakes fly!

Silver Octopus Tentacle Ear Cuff Wrap Earring

Tentacles Wall Decal Sticker ($30).

Lucky Ladybug Shaped Teapot ($18). For Primrose to serve tea aboard the Spotted Custard.

My favorite tea, Twinings 1706 Strong ($12).

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, skinflint alternative is Ridiculous by D.L. Carter.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Francisco Goya (Spanish artist, 1746-1828) The Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Millinery prints (1891 – 1896) by G. Gonin (France, active late 19th century)
Image and text courtesy LACMA. Costume and Textiles

Very Ivy.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Deep Sea Robots Livestream Ocean Floor Landscapes, Creatures

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A Literary History of Dot, Dot, Dot

Book News:
Sophie of So Many Books So Little Time says of Manners & Mutiny:
“This was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series and I’m glad I’ve got a whole other series of Carriger’s still to read.”

Quote of the Day:

Finishing School 12 Days of Christmas & 5 Things Gail Loves (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Bit of fun from the Finishing School Tumblr for you today, Gentle Reader.











Here are 5 other things I love right now:

1. Romance Novels for Feminists blog: Fun, insightful, engaging reviews and romance recommendations from a feminist stance. Not an attack, more an analysis, as the blog focuses on books she likes rather than all the ones that are getting things wrong. I’m not often interested in buying the books recommended, but I always enjoy reading the review.

2. Broaden the mind and be entertained, an oldie but a goodie, youtube music video of Bad Romance parody: Women’s Suffrage. Every time I watch it the end note makes me cry, in a good way.  Want more? International Woman Suffrage Timeline. I also enjoyed both Iron Jawed Angels and Suffragette.

3. Trader Joe’s Soup Dumplings. From the frozen food section. Yes they’ve got like half the day’s allotment of salt and they aren’t as good as the fresh ones from a restaurant, but they are pretty darn tasty, relatively low caloric, and ready in 3 minutes. In my world these are the PERFECT midwinter lunch with a little side salad or some greens. Best of all the AB doesn’t like them at all, so they are all mine! Eating the whole package feels decadent but really isn’t so bad. Win win.

4. & 5. These Two Cakes:

Both are naturally GF, which is to say the original recipe never called for flour. I’m not GF myself, but that doesn’t mean a good cake can’t be eggy and delicious.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, skinflint alternative is Ridiculous by D.L. Carter.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Renoir  Gentleman’s Essentials  tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

via steampunk-beauties tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Octopus Makes Own Quicksand to Build Burrow on Seabed

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Writing Dialogue: 4 Ways to Avoid Floating Head Syndrome

Book News:
Live the Dork Forest at Docs Lab in SF with Gail Carriger ~ $2

Quote of the Day:
“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

Steampunk Tea Party Fundraiser for Locus Foundation

Posted by Gail Carriger


Over the weekend, Gentle Reader, Borderlands hosted a steampunk tea party to raise money for the Locus Foundation with yours truly. “The Locus Science Fiction Foundation (LSFF) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.”

It was a really fun morning. 20 enthusiastic and devoted readers of my books attended, prepared to pepper me with questions, drink the tea carafe dry, and risk eternal damnation through the consumption of scotch eggs.

Nibbles included poached salmon, crab cakes, petite quiche, tea cakes, confectionery, biscuits, scones, crumpets and the most adorable cupcakes ever seen.

Rina of SF-in-SF did the bulk of the heavy lifting, and she was wonderful. Francesca, Graphics Editor at Locus attended to take photos and help, as well as other able assistants and volunteers. Borderlands was, as always, kind and gracious about allowing us to use their space. Since the cafe was open, the tea event took over the bookstore.

The goodie bags.


The grand prize basket & all the prizes waiting to be distributed.

Every attendee received a goody bag of Gail Carriger swag and then everyone also received a raffle prize with one grand prize winner. Everyone seemed please with their prizes. Rina and I had a wonderful time putting things together.

in which everyone is serious about tea

There was a good deal of civilized discourse and a great deal of raucous laughter. I told stories about the people behind my characters, revealed secrets about Imprudence, and I gave attendees a sneak peek at some upcoming cover art that has carefully not hit the internet yet.

It was meant to be a casual milling gathering but quickly became a sit down affair with everyone gathered around, like a large tea-orientated kaffeeklatsch. I’ve said before that kaffeeklatsches are my favorite thing to do at conventions so this was, as far as I am concerned, the best kind of event.

There might have been some animated gesticulating. I’ve blogged about my outfit over on Retro Rack.

It was great fun and we raised just about $900 for the foundation. I hope it is the kind of event that will be repeated again in the future. Everyone asked such insightful questions. As always, my readers proved themselves to be the most well dressed, creative, cheerful, and entertaining in all fandom.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, skinflint alternative is Ridiculous by D.L. Carter.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1890s Royal Group –  via antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

With the BFF

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
There’s A Life Form That Exclusively Lives Inside Cephalopods

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
The Horn Book says of Manners & Mutiny: “The Finishing School series goes out in style, with plenty of derring-do action, witty repartee, several surprising revelations, and satisfying romance. And, of course, some to-die-for accessories.”

Quote of the Day:
“Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

A Conflagration of Research: Victorians & Food, Etiquette, Photo Resources (Finishing School Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Today my dear Gentle Reader, I have a collection of stuff (all the stuff!) I thought might be of interest. Have fun!


Some stuff about the Victorians and Food!

Two of my most favorite subjects rolled together like a pig in a blanket.

“As, for the fashionable, dinner moved later, after-dinner tea was no longer necessary to bridge the gap until bedtime. Instead it moved forward, to fill in the longer period between luncheon (which in families without children was a light meal) and dinner, and to greet the office worker on his return home. This took time to be assimilated. In the 1850s the Carlyles still invited people to tea after dinner, at about seven o’clock: this was thriftier than having them for the meal itself, and made an evening entertainment.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

“It is well, while at table, to avoid any discussion of the demerits of the dishes. On the other hand, you may praise them as much as you please.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

“For a large company, a table with tea, coffee, and cakes, may be set in the ladies-room, women being in attendance to supply the guests with those refreshments before they go down.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

“Eliza Acton, in her cookery books at the beginning of the century, was the first person to write a recipe more or less as we would recognize today, by separating out the ingredients from the method, which no one that thought of doing before. No longer was a cook told to take ‘some flour’ or ‘enough milk’, but now quantities and measures were introduced.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Les Modes Parisiennes Date-  Thursday, March 1, 1855 Item ID-  v. 37, plate 52



Matters of Etiquette

“When you purchase an umbrella, desire that, before sending it home, your name be engraved on the little plate at the termination of the handle, or else on the slide. “To make assurance doubly sure,” you may get the name painted in full in small white or yellow letters on the inside of one of the gores of silk.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Robe à Transformation  1855  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Random Moments of What?

A bunch of fun Victorian Photo Resources:


On the classic Victorian concept of the sickly maiden or spinster:

“Illness was a way of putting achievement definitively out of reach. This is not a twentieth-, or twenty-first-century interpretation of nineteenth-century situation. Her brother Henry wrote later that ‘tragis health was, in a manner, the only solution for her of the practical problem of life’.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

“The English are “starved with cold”—Americans only starve with hunger.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Le Bon Ton Date-  Tuesday, July 1, 1856 Item ID-  v. 38, plate 65


And some fashion links!


Alfred Stevens (Belgian artist, 1828-1906) In the Country (with a parasol)


“Every lady should own a small light umbrella, or else a very large parasol, of extra size, covered with strong India silk that will not easily tear or fade, and that may be used, on occasion, for either sun or rain; and that will not be cumbrous to carry, though quite large enough to shelter one person.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1Columbian Magazine Date-  Monday, September 1, 1845

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Adorable Tea Bag Cookies

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Steampunk Your Pumpkin This Halloween

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance

Quote of the Day:

“But when the time comes that a man has had his dinner, then the true man comes to the surface.”

~ Mark Twain

Alternate Historical Names for Clothing in the Victorian Era (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


1811 ~ Alternate Historical Names for Clothing

  • Togs ~ Clothes
  • Articles or Inexpressibles ~ Underthings, sometimes Breeches
  • Farting crackers or Galligaskins ~ Breeches
  • Buntlings ~ Petticoats
  • Fallalls ~ Ornaments, chiefly woman’s, such as ribands, necklaces, etc.
  • India wipe ~ A silk handkerchief
  • Specked whiper ~ A coloured handkerchief
  • Knuckle-dabd, or knuckle-confounders ~ Ruffles
  • Brogue ~ A particular kind of shoe without a heel, worn in Ireland
  • Rum nab ~ A good hat
  • An old ewe, drest lamb fashion ~ an old woman, drest like a young girl
  • A well-rigged frigate ~ a well-dressed wench

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

“A button broke as we were fastening out collar – indeed, a button always does break when you are in a hurry and nobody to sew it on.”

~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

{Gail’s monthly read along for July is: Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Mosaics Snap! comparing ancient mosaics

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Macarons: Everything Old is New, but Different, Again.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A Tasting Menu of Female Representation

Book News:
Michael Senft of Zine on Prudence, “Fans of Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse and Connie Willis will love this irreverent adventure story…”

Quote of the Day:
“The suspicion started that she laced to tight.”
~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

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Weird Victorian Recipe Moment ~ Sweet Macaroni Pudding (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Just because, Gentle Reader.

And really, I am so going to try and make this at some point.

  • 2-1/2 oz. of macaroni
  • 2 pints of milk
  • rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • sugar to taste
  • grated nutmeg to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Put the macaroni, with a pint of the milk, into a saucepan with the lemon-peel, and let it simmer gently until the macaroni is tender; then put it into a pie-dish without the peel; mix the other pint of milk with the eggs; stir these together well, adding the sugar and brandy, and pour the mixture over the macaroni. Grate a little nutmeg over the top, and bake in a moderate oven for 1/2 hour. To make this pudding look nice, a paste should be laid round the edges of the dish, and, for variety, a layer of preserve or marmalade may be placed on the macaroni: in this case omit the brandy.

3/4 hour to simmer the macaroni; 1/2 hour to bake the pudding.
Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.
From Classic Recipes (Beeton, I think.)

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is June: Uprooted by Naomi Novik}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

arsenicinshell-tumblr Pride and Farewell by Bathoriya

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Twitter basics for authors

Book News:
The Penny Dreadfuls Review says of Prudence:

“Carriger has done a wonderful job of advancing the world of the Parasol Protectorate and crafting a whole new set of characters. Perhaps not completely new, but she has aged them with the perfection of a fine wine.“

Quote of the Day:

“Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.”

~ Honoré de Balzac

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