Spice Cake: The Food of DRAGONSONG

You know, it's awfully hard to get a taste for the food in an SF novel. In Anne McCaffrey's DRAGONSONG*, set on the world of Pern, there's plenty of food mentioned alongside Menolly's story of escaping a harsh life by the sea for one filled with songs and dragons, but it's all made up. (By the way, I want my own fire-lizard. Pleeeeze?)

For foodstuffs, there's seabeachplums and marshberries and various sea weeds. There's a tough bird-type creature called a wherry (I have a feeling it tastes like chicken.) There are spidercrabs and all kinds of fish.

There are a few foods that more closely resemble our own: wine and stews and spice cakes -- but no mention of the ingredients or flavours.

As much as I like to imagine the bizarre foods of other worlds, I think I prefer the real foods of this world. Probably this is why I don't write strict SF, or read it very often.

SPICE CAKE

2 eggs 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 5 Tablespoons butter, melted 1 1/2 cups flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup dried pitted dates, chopped (or raisins, if you prefer) 1/2 cup cold water

Mix together eggs, sugar and butter until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add half to egg mixture and mix well. Add remaining flour, dates and water, and mix well. Pour into buttered 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

* I'm only just discovering Anne McCaffrey's work. Always late to the party, that's me.