This is a follow-up post about how female geeks are making comic conventions their own in different ways. Obviously SDCC has been over for awhile, but there are still plenty of other conventions coming up this year (NYCC!) and these women can serve as inspirations for what can be done within geek and pop culture by individuals. In this post I talk with Jenn from justJENN Designs & Recipes. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting her table at SDCC or don’t follow her on twitter, you should!… but in the meantime the links to her websites are listed below.
Jenn has been blogging about her family’s adventures in Los Angeles for 10 years, creating unique family dinners and geeky baking for her food blog www.justjennrecipes.com. She recently launched www.homegeekonomics.com where she features crafters and creators, bringing the best of geek to home and everyday life. She was Her Universe’s fangirl of the day and her award winning recipes have been featured on StarWars.com, LATimes online, The Today Show blog and most recently the cover of Food Network Magazine.
A contributor for Geek Mom, King’s Hawaiian and First5LA, she also has been a guest panelist at San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon and Geek Girl Con.
1) First thing’s first, tell me about JustJenn Designs and JustJenn Recipes and your career in the geek world.
I started justJENN designs on the side when I was working at an architecture firm. I was working 60-80 hour weeks and while it was killing me I still wanted something that was all my own. So I thought an online business was a good idea because then I could just fill orders from home.Years later I had my kids and I was suddenly compelled to make sure they only ate healthy food and I wanted to make everything from scratch. I started creating recipes and putting them online so that I could access them at all times without dragging recipes with me or having to turn my computer on. Smart phones and my own website made keeping track of my recipes much easier.
2) The combination of foodies and geek culture makes perfect sense and you do an amazing job combining the two. I love your Ultimate Star Wars party! Where did get your initial inspiration to combine the two?
Food and geek recipes came together again, because of my kids. As they grew up they started having fandom fascinations with things that I loved as well. Everything old was new again…to them! So Star Wars, Transformers all the things I grew up with and loved they were taking an interest in and I love the idea of encouraging fandom in kids. I think it opens them up to creative thinking. I decided to incorporate that into our meals just for fun. When I posted the party and recipes I didn’t think anything of it until I started getting a lot of adults saying how great it was and then I realized it wasn’t just me that loved all that geek culture reinterpreted, everyone wanted to recreate their childhood fandom in an updated way!
3) When was your first SDCC? Can you tell me a bit about your history with the convention (ie did you start off in Small Press or as an attendee, etc)?
My first SDCC was a long time ago as an attendee. I can’t even remember the year but I can tell you I got into Hall H easily if that means anything. Years later when I had the online stationery biz I thought, ‘how great would it be to be here as a fan, but also sell my creations to people as well?’ Small Press seemed like a good first step and I honestly haven’t moved from there in the past 6 years.
4) This year you were able to participate in the first major panel for foodies at SDCC, “A Feast For Your Eyes: Creativity In Comics and Cuisine.” What was that panel like? What were some of the highlights?
I was very excited to participate in the ‘food and comics’ panel since they are two things that I love and incorporate into my art as well. It was great to see a whole room filled with people who love those things too. Food and comics are very connected and we talked a lot about our inspiration and how we came into fields that we made uniquely our own through food.
The highlight of the panel for me was the other panelists! Everyone had unique food stories. I am a big fan of Food TV and watched both Brian Malarkey (@BrianMalarkey) and Justin Warner (@eatfellowhumans) on their shows. I have been ‘twitter friends’ with C.B. Cebulski for a long time and his posts about food and travels always make my day. I learned a lot from Amy Chu (@AmyChu) and Nacho Cervantes (@pizzaportbeer) about their inspirations. And I felt like Rosanna Pansino (@RosannaPansino) had a real geek girl connection, which is always cool when you meet someone who had the same interests as you and is a great person.
5) Do you think this panel signals the growth of foodie-related geekdom at SDCC? Other than the panel, what were some other geeky food-related fun stuff that you saw at SDCC this year (including your own activities)?
I think food and geekdom go hand in hand, both can be creative and inspirational. There is definitely a growth in this field, you can see it in the new food centric graphic novels that are coming out, but honestly it’s been around for a long time. As a kid I always felt connected to the comics I read that featured families cooking, or food somewhere in the comic. It made it relative and made me happy. I think that’s why food tv and food graphic novels are so popular now, because people like that familiar connection that food gives them.
6) I know you recently published a Mochi cookbook. I just got my copy and I’m really excited to try making some! What are some future projects you have coming up?
The mochi cookbook was fun because it updated old traditional recipes that didn’t think it was possible to modernize. My comic cookbook that I drew about my Grandma’s family recipes is still popular and I would like to do another one of those and delve into more of our family recipes, with humor of course.
7) Finally, silly question. I know you’re a huge Wolverine fan. If you had unlimited resources and were hired to throw a surprise party for Wolvie himself, what would some of the dishes be?
If could throw a Wolverine party I would make a lot of things on skewers and probably incorporate Canadian Bacon and Maple syrup to give props to his homeland. Basically whatever you ate would make you live forever, obvs.
Official Press Release
“Gamer Wine” Brings Wine to Noobs and 1337 Alike
Tired of energy drinks and beer (if that’s even possible), three Seattle-based gamers created a wine label
to class-up their regular gaming sessions and sweet LAN parties. Gamer Wine currently carries a full
Merlot named “n00b,” a smooth red blend named “Stunlock,” and a crisp Pinot Grigio named “Gamer
Widow.” The wines pair well with traditional gamer fare (Stunlock’s suggested pairings include Hot
Pockets® and pizza rolls), and the wines are well-balanced enough to satisfy the tastebuds of both
newcomers and seasoned wine lovers alike.
All wines are sourced from the best vineyards in the state of Washington, with a focus on the Walla
Walla and Prosser regions. The creators of Gamer Wine are industry veterans who use their experience
and knowledge to create wines with a focus on quality. “We wanted a wine that you could
send to your friend as a way of saying ‘you suck, nub, lolz0rz!!!’, but that your friend wouldn’t mind
drinking. This isn’t crappy display-shelf wine with a funny label – it’s really good.” The future of the
company includes creation of more varieties with an emphasis on crowd-sourcing names and ideas from
fellow gamers. After that? “World peace quickly followed by world domination.”
You guessed it.. the magical answer is: Alcohol. Winter is great, right? Family, friends, presents, holidays, freezing cold, being snowed in, lack of daylight.. Okay, you caught me.. I hate winter time. But in this post, we’ll go over ways to make it, and any nagging, visiting in-laws, more bearable.
The “Happy Get-Together with Family and Friends” drink: Hot Apple Cider
This one is awesome. It’s easy, so very very tasty, nice and warm for when it’s cold outside, makes your entire house smell amazing, and magically makes your Great Aunt Ruth’s stories about growing up on the farm approximately 83% more interesting.
Here’s how it goes down. Get all these things:
- 8 cups apple cider
- ½ cup real maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole allspice berries
- 1 orange peel, cut into strips
- 1 lemon peel, cut into strips
- A big ol’ bottle of Black Strap Rum (brand of your choice)
Now.. obtain a crock pot. If you don’t have one, shame on you. They’re the easiest, laziest way to cook a hot meal ever. Pour in the apple cider and maple syrup, crank that bad boy up to high. Take everything else, put it in a cheese cloth, wrap it up into a pouch, and tie off the top with kitchen string/twine – and toss it in the cider. Let that steep for about 15 minutes, and serve. Grab some mugs, fill them a 1/3 of the way up with rum, the rest of the way with cider, and bust out the Christmas Carols. Feel free to top it off with a stick of cinnamon in the mug, or finely chopped apple right in there.
The “It’s Just Cold Enough to Make Me Mostly Anti-Social” drink: Spiked Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Plenty of Kapali/Kahlua
Pour the milk, cream, and sugar together in a saucepan over med-high heat, and let it get just barely to boiling. Add the chocolate, and whisk over heat until melted (but NOT boiling). Same with the cider, fill your mug about 1/3 of the way with liquor, and the rest with hot chocolate. And yes, you can totally top this off with those tiny little marshmallows. Especially if you find the ones that are shaped like little hearts and unicorns and other br00tal stuff. That makes it 3 times more badass.
The “That’s It. I’m Sick of You People” drink: Egg Nog and Maker’s
This particular drink (and photo) comes from our favorite Jacob, who definitely knows a thing or two about combining misanthropy and alcohol. This is for when you want to put on A Christmas Story, throw an elf hat on your cat, and pretend you’re being festive and social. Now.. honestly, if you’re at this point, it’s probably best not to over-exert yourself, and just use Jacob’s method: buy pre-made egg nog, a bottle of Maker’s, and go to town.
However, for you over-achievers.. here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself:
- 1 cup Maker’s Mark
- 2 tablespoon sugar syrup
- ½ tablespoon vanilla essence [yes. essence.]
- 2 cups of whole milk
- a pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup whipped cream
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon powder
Now’s when you start regretting being an over-achiever: Beat eggs, sugar syrup and salt till the ingredients are mixed properly. Now, add milk slowly while whisking so that it forms a smooth mixture. Heat a pan and add the contents, stirring it continuously on a low flame, till the mixture become thick. Allow the mixture to cool for a while. Take a sieve and drain the mixture to remove unwanted pieces. Pour it into a large container and add vanilla essence, add PLENTY of Maker’s and cover it with a plastic or foil. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Before serving, mix the egg custard and cream, whip, til it becomes frothy. Sprinkle nutmeg powder, and serve chilled. I sure hope you had fun with that one. If not.. that just means you’re ready for drink number four.
The “I Have No Interest In Winter Or Anything It Has To Offer” drink: Sangria
This is when you start realizing all your friends are sending you texts like “man, SCREW this weather! An icicle totally tried to attack my face today!” every day. So what do you do? Invite them all over.. have everyone bring an ingredient for fajitas, throw on some Mariachi music, and make some delicious Sangria. Have each person bring something from this list:
- 1 Bottle of red wine (any red wine will do, really. I used Fish Eye Merlot, and it turned out awesome)
- 1 Lemon cut into wedges
- 1 Orange cut into wedges
- 1 Lime cut into wedges
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- Splash of orange juice or lemonade
- 2 Shots of triple sec (optional)
- 1 bag of frozen mixed berries (strawberries and raspberries mostly)
- 1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
- 4 Cups ginger ale
Now, you can do this one of two ways. If you have the time and resources, combine everything Except the ginger ale and the berries into a large pitcher. For the citrus fruit, squeeze the wedges into the mixture, and toss in the full wedge. Let it marinade over night and really soak in those flavors. Right before you serve it, add the ginger ale, berries, and serve over ice. If everyone’s contributing, you’ll have to do this on the fly when they all get there. In which case, throw everything together, and serve over a LOT of ice. The first method tastes better. FYI. That should be common sense, but you never know.
Now.. turn up the heat, bust out the maracas, and let’s pretend that whole ‘snow’ thing was just a bad dream.
And lastly…. .
The “When All Else Fails” drink: Totally Self-Explanatory
Mr Doc and I went out to a couple of really awesome haunted houses last night(I will post a review of those later). On the way home we stopped at the only Denny’s within 100 miles of where we live, and I discovered something amazing. A Fried Cheese Melt. Basically it’s a Grilled Cheese sandwich with Cheese Sticks in the middle. They give you marinara to dip it in. It was delicious but I swear I FELT my arteries clogging as I ate it.
Ahhh, what better way to kick off October Wednesdays than with new Mythubusters? That’s right, there really is no other way. Forget the last hour of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ with that adorable Gordon Ramsey, he can’t measure up to 5 of the coolest people with jobs that we all dream of. I am of course talking about Jaime Hyneman, Adam Savage, Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci.
So what were our mythbusting heros up to tonight? Dogs. This episode went to the dogs, again. Adam and Jamie went back to see if they could find new ways to try and fool the bloodhound into losing their scent, while they tried to escape from prison. Last time Adam tried spreading his scent everywhere, running through water, and spreading pepper to mask his scent, but none of it worked. This time though it was Jamie’s turn to try, and Adam was going to be hunting him down.
With a rousing, slightly edited, speech from ‘The Fugitive’ from Adam, Jamie was off! His first counter-measure? Red herring. Cans of it to be specific. He dumped a pile of fish in the middle of his trail then took off again, hoping that the scent of the fish would distract Morgan, the same bloodhound from the first attempt. It did, for a minute. Morgan had a nice snack before he was off again, although looking slightly confused. They passed by Jamie twice before Morgan finally picked up his scent in a tree.
Next on the list was for Jamie to don a ‘no-scent-suit.’ What is this you ask? Well he bathes, rinses and sprays, putting on different clothes that have any other kind of scent on it than his own. Did this work? No, not at all. Morgan found him rather easily. For his third attempt to stay out of the slammer Jamie decides to run through some water. Now anyone who remembers the original episode, from three years ago, knows that Adam attempted to lose the pup by running through water. But as our intrepid hosts tell us, the fans weren’t happy with the puddles that Adam was jumping through. This time Jamie was going to be running through a river.
Jamie set off, running through some rather deep and sucking mud. Seemed they’d be able to follow him without the dog. Then he went into the water, sometimes coming up to his waist, zig-zaging back and forth, crossing to one shore of the river and then back over to the other. Then he ran up and hid under some brush. It seemed like this might work, before testing it, as they thoguht that moving water would take the scent with it and make things harder. But good ole Morgan, he jumped right in and followed that trail! Even catching Jamie mid stream in the river. Adam’s thoughts?
“At first when I saw Jamie’s trail in the mud I was like, Hehn hehn hhen hehn. Then when I got to the river I was like, Awwwww. Then when Morgan found Jamie, I was like Woooooo!”
Next Sherrif Adam decided that it was time to find Jamie’s accomplice, cleverly disguised as so called volunteers. They had the five guys take the same path out into the field, only separating at the end to go to their designated trees. A path filled with five different scents? Surely this would work! Well, actually, it almost did. The first time it seemed that Morgan was confused, he went to the right person the first time, but he and his handler were getting mixed responses and they checked out the other four. So they repeated it with a different set of thugs, erm, volunteers. Once again, Morgan picked out the right person the first time, but had to double-check the others just to be sure. Can nothing stop this dog?
One last test to be certain. A test to the extreme. Jamie bathed in a tub with plastic laid out, then put on a special, fresh, white plastic suit. He then went to another tent where three experts were needed to complete a 15 step process that included a breathing mask, two other suits, and many many other different chemicals and washes to get off any Jamie smell that might be lingering. They then took ‘eau du Jamie’ and put it in a spray pack. Jamie took his head start and started to spray his scent all over the field, trying to confuse poor Morgan, then took of running, fairly confident that he was going to win this one. He was wrong. The blood hound barely paused at the discarded spray pack and found Jamie easily lying on the ground in a ditch, out of sight. It seems that the blood-hound cannot be fooled, and Jamie gets to go back to his jail cell that has missed him so.
Our other three sidekicks were testing their own ways to beat a different kind of dog. A sniffer dog, like the ones that go through your luggage at the airport, or the ones that police use to sniff out drugs. Five different dogs were brought in to sniff out “the contraband”, of which we the viewer were not allowed to know what is was, but were assured that it was legal. They tested their first dog by hiding the envelope above the wheels of a smelly horse trailer, surrounded by shipping crates and large trucks. There was no hesitation and they now knew what they were up against.
Here was their first plan of action.
Find something smellier than “the contraband” to hide it in. Where did they go? The Prop Co-op. over 30,000 pieces of props for just about everything in one building, and they all created a scent that ever our hosts could smell from the doorway. To make even more of a challenge they put “The contraband” into containers with five od the smelliest items; coffee, peanut butter, perfume, bleach, and citronella.
The coffee went behind some old phones, but the sniffer dog found it within five minutes time. The peanut butter went into a drawer of a filing cabinent, and that darn dog, well he found it even then. These dogs were good, they weren’t distracted by the fake scent leads that our hosts were leaving around the different aisles to cover up their dirty work. Even the bleach and perfume gave him no problems! But what about the citronella? Nah, he found it, not as easily, but confidently.
It was time to switch tactics. Bring in a crowd of over 200 people, a rather loud car stero thumping away, and a fast food taco truck. One person in the crowd would be holding the bag with “The contraband” in it. The first ‘average joe’ also carried a device that worked as a sound repellant for dogs. Every time the dog would come close to our hidden man he would press the button to try and drive the dog away. But it was no use, the dog was so well trained that it hardly deterred him from finding his goal!
Next was an age old tactic, confuse him with pleasure. A female dog in heat was brought in to stand next to our new offender, and this really seemed to throw the sniffer dog for a loop. That’s when the law stepped in and pointed out that in normal situations any dog would be removed, so she was removed, and it was no contest, the perp was caught.
Lastly, our sidekicks went for the luggage. Hiding “the contraband” under a false bottom, then filing it with clothes, and some stinky cheese, and salami, and other foods. The real test this time, though? To fool the handler. Maybe he would see the food and think that that was what his faithful sniffer had realyl smelled, and move on. They even went to a luggage store to make things harder. No go, Joe. The handler took everything out and went right for the false bottom. Next on the list? The most horrifying thing of all.
Hiding the contraband with some baby stuff, provided from the new mother herself, Kari. But that’s not the worst part. They pu “the contraband” in with a baf dirty diapers, wrapping it up in a week old, stinking, diaper. If I was the handler, I would have just burned the bag, “contraband” and all. But our faithful sniffer found the bag, and our brave handler wasted no time in digging the bag. His face told the story of the smell and his want to go searching, but there was no hesitation when he pulled out the dirty diaper.
The moral of our story tonight, boys and girls? Don’t do anything illegal, or try to break out from prison, for man’s best friend will also be man’s worst enemy. Also, they’ll send out the dogs if you try any of their stunts and experiments at home.
Some people give the Mythbusters some flack for not being truly scientific, for not running enough control tests, for not running enough variable tests, which often leads to re-visits of myths. But I say, ‘Who cares!’ THey put in the time, and the math, so the rest of us don’t have to. If they did everything like the others in white coats in pristine labs, the show would not be as entertaining. And who doesn’t like to see Adam wearing costumes and trying to win one over on Jamie? I know I do.
Next week, the Mythbusters meet up with the Storm Chasers to test out some tornado myths, that include jet engines. Who’s up for that?! Me, me, me!
<(-_-<)<(-_-)>(>-_-)> Megara Noelle <(-_-<)<(-_-)>(>-_-)>
Have you ever seen Arrested Development? Well.. I was watching it the other day, and naturally.. got a hankering for a Bluth Frozen Banana.. Unfortunately for me, there is no banana stand at the corner of my street.. Soooo… Macgyvering it was the next best option.
Here’s how to make yourself a tasty, frozen summer snack.. with what you probably have laying around the kitchen. The night before, I took three bananas, unpeeled them, wrapped them like cigars in wax paper, and stuck them in the freezer.
Here’s what you’ll need: your frozen bananas, chocolate chips, something microwaveable to melt the chocolate in, peanuts, and a plate/tray for your peanuts.
As for the peanuts.. suuuure, you can get crushed peanuts. And suuuure, even if you have whole peanuts, you can crush them with a culinary mullet or whatever.. but screw that. I felt like using a REAL hammer.. so while the chocolate is melting, crush your peanuts the badass way: put them in a ziploc bag, and BEAT them with a hammer. Have fun. Then pour them into your peanut tray/plate.
LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE ALL READY TO GO…
One banana at a time… first dip it in the chocolate: