A lot of folks have been curious about the Chinese stuff that’s popped up constantly on the site. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a book on U.S. navy food recipes. Out of all the things we’ve done, this one is about the furthest from Pacific proper. Specifically, because the book is entirely historical in nature, the shipgirls only show up as decorative elements like the chibi above.
Its purpose, however, is significantly more serious than it appears. Sune sometimes joke that Pacific is spreading American influence. I don’t know how true it is, but well, the Pacific “franchise” is definitely a work of love centered around the United States. If Pacific books communicate American values and a lot of the site covers American history (well, in the context of the alternative ones, but I know for a fact that people look up how the actual events went), then the navy foods book is an important part of American culture.
Everyone likes to eat something. Everyone enjoys food. The trick is doing the right kind of research because primary references are fairly scant, and the only thing that is easily accessible is the U.S. Navy Cookbook, which HYPERWAR has a very good text form of.
However, the actual book’s creation is a little more than just translating recipes. I frequently provide personal commentary – I cook about most of my meals anyways, and there are some tricks that work well when you’re dealing with certain dishes. Furthermore, for the actual print, many of the navy recipes have to be adapted for our East Asian audience. For one thing, the portions are far too large. For another, East Asian households don’t have baking ovens as a common feature. Instead, their primary method of cooking is open range-top fire, which means that I need to adjust certain recipes accordingly.
What was particularly striking was that there are certain things that are hard to get. Creamer is a little rarer than I had thought. Also, certain vegetables (such as cranberries) have local variants, while other common goods like pepperoni can be found only at expat stores.
Still, Zero seems to have good success with the recipes. He’s already tried the beets and the hand-made ice cream. Wonder what he’s going to do next.
Okay, now for the other portion of this particular post. How else do I do research for this book?
For starters, we have many folks in universities with university library access. A cursory stroll on JSTOR will yield plenty of useful information. For additional inspiration, I cite the Michigan State University’s American Cookbooks collection. There’s a lot of very good material there, though not all are good practices or even, well, tasty by our modern day palette.
Other than that, I have access to some private collections, messages sent in from curious readers (thanks for the CV-6 ginger cookie recipe!), and family members who served. The end result is that book you see on the site today. I’ll probably post some of the more interesting ones here. After all, Thanksgiving Turkey is pretty common, but I bet you haven’t had the SOS. xD
See you next time. 🙂