Countdown to Nine Worlds Geekfest: Food Geekery

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014 is creeping up fast and to help you learn more about the various tracks we managed to talk to some of the track leads and get the latest news from them.  This time it is the team from the Food Geekery track with Ruth Ball.

At the press conference for Nine Worlds I happened to drop by the food geekery table and was really pleased to see some Lembas bread from Lord of the Rings and also some Soylent Green.. Yum Yum, whatever do they make that stuff with???

So you may think at first there there is not much you can do with food and a geek convention and then when you look at the schedule you see how wrong you are. In fact once you read all the details below you can see that actually there could be a convention just for geek food and people would still come from miles around. Also if you want to be part of the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014 cookbook then read below for more info.


What is Food Geekery?

“The food track is new this year and launching with a bang! We’ll be delving into the strangest and most exciting corners of the London food scene to bring some fascinating speakers and demonstrations to the convention,” said alchemist and track head, Ruth Ball. The Robin Collective will be giving an introduction to the world of experiential food, Kerstin Rogers will be telling you how to start your own home restaurant, and the Alchemist herself will be teaching liqueur blending with a tasting. Plus many more guests yet to be announced.


Discover another side to food: we’ll be talking experiential food, home restaurants, food as art, and more, with some of the UK’s most innovative food geeks. Learn about supper clubs and food history, experience edible stories, create your perfect liqueur blend, and look out for our feast of cheese (the edible kind) coupled with cheese (the writing kind.) We’ll also be talking about the roles of food in building fictional worlds, trying out edible knitting, and putting together a collaborative cookbook!


Ruth Ball is the Head Alchemist at Alchemist Dreams, a small London company producing custom handmade liqueurs. She has been creating weird and wonderful liqueurs, cocktails and jellies for three years and is a member of The Experimental Food Society where she has met so many of the most exciting and eccentric faces of food.



Geek Syndicate: A food track seems like an offbeat yet brilliant idea. How did it all come about?

Ruth Ball: In my day job I make handmade liqueurs as Alchemist Dreams and I’ve been a member of the Experimental Food Society for three years so I’m always talking about the exciting things going on in food. I think the Nine Worlds team are good at recognising that enthusiasm and getting it on board. If food was what I knew and was enthusiastic about then food was what I should bring to the party!

GS: Your events list seems as to cover a whole host of areas. Can you tell us a bit more about them?

RB: I’ve tried to just bring in anyone who is doing something interesting and unusual with food, and who can come in and talk about it with a real enthusiasm. I think that having an enthusiasm for something above what other people might expect is what geekery is about (and that’s a positivity thing) and I’ve tried to stay true to that spirit.

GS: Will you cross over with the other tracks and if so can you tell us how?

RB: I’ll be doing crossovers with two other tracks. With the knitting track I’ll be doing some edible knitting, making i-cord bracelets from strawberry laces. It’s a really nice way to get people look playfully at food and I’m also a knitter myself so it’ll be a great opportunity to show off. The other is less of a crossover and more of a rental. The All The Books track have kindly lent us eight of their top authors for a pair of panel discussions, Food in Fantasy and Food in Science fiction. We’ll be doing some serious talk about the cultural significance of food and how it can be used to help build worlds with real substance and resonance. We’ll also be asking silly questions about whether aliens would be freaked out because we’re made out of meat.

GS: Tell us about the guests you have attending?

RB: I’m not going to go into detail here, pretty much everything I would have to say about this can be found on our track page. But if you have any more specific questions after reading that just ask!

GS: Tell us about the Nine Worlds Cookbook?

RB: We’re going to be asking for contributions from all our attendees all weekend to put the Nine Worlds Cookbook together. We’re asking for fantasy recipes, which could be your recreation of a food from fantasy (like my lembas bread) or your fantasy of what food could be (a rainbow cake with popping-candy sprinkles? A cocktail which is served on fire and changes flavour as you drink?). We’ll be collecting the recipes on a big pinboard in our track room so people can also drop in an read what we’ve got so far, maybe finding some inspiration for their own entry! We’ll publish the whole thing as an e-book after the con and everyone who contributes will receive a copy, whether they make the cut or not.

GS: Why do you think Nine Worlds has become so popular in such a short space of time?

RB: I think this most important thing is the inclusivity. It’s a space where people who may have previously avoided cons can feel safe to come and get their geek on. But plenty of credit has to go to the organisers as well and their ability to get people excited and to find the right, enthusiastic people to get on board to run the tracks.

GS: Finally what are you looking forward to the most at Nine Worlds?

RB: CHEESE. After putting together a line up of so many wonderful people it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that my favourite event is just going to be the one where I turn up with 6.4kg of high quality cheese and then people get to eat it. The session is Thursday evening and it’s called cheese & cheese so we’re encouraging people to bring a novel which they are a little embarrassed about owning and read as extract to provide the second kind of cheese. It’s also been a great excuse to read some fun trash for “research purposes”.



Food Geekery- Schedule


Contribute to the Nine Worlds Cookbook
All Weekend
Room 32
The food track will be collecting fantasy recipes all weekend for the Nine Worlds 2014 Cookbook. Your fantasy recipes could be recreations of food from fiction like butterbeer, lembas bread, blue string pudding or soylent green (with faux people, please); or they can be your wildest food fantasies: giant jaffa cakes, cream eggs Benedict, exploding puddings, six legged roast goose.

Come post your recipes on the giant pinboard in the food track room and discover what others have posted. At the end of the weekend, the best recipes will be collated into a free digital cookbook which will be sent to every contributor (whether they made the final cut or not).

Cheese & Cheese! Eating, talking, and getting to know each other
Room 38
Ease yourself into the weekend, and get to know some new people, over two kinds of cheese: we’ll be providing some finest cheese (the food kind) for you to nibble on, while you regale your fellow attendees with cheese (the writing kind). If you can, we’d like you to bring a little extract from one of your most guilty pleasures to read out. At Nine Worlds, we don’t think that you should ever have to be embarrassed about what you like, but we all still have a book we wouldn’t openly read on the bus. Come and celebrate the cheap erotica, pulp scifi, TV spinoffs and unlikely crime stories which we still love: no matter what anyone else thinks. The food track head will be presenting extracts from the collection of Stephanie Plum novels that she keeps on the bottom-most shelf in her library, in the hope that no-one notices them. We promise not to judge you, whatever you bring.

Tales from The Underground Restaurant: how to run a supperclub, with Kerstin Rogers
Room 32
Kerstin Rodgers (aka, MsMarmitelover) launched the underground restaurant movement in the UK with her eponymous supper club, The Underground Restaurant. Since then, she’s been at the heart of the supper club movement: providing advice, publishing a book on how to start your own, and even running an underground farmers’ market in her own house and garden. Kerstin will be giving an introduction to supperclubs and talking about her themed evenings: including an all-black banquet, a hobbit feast, and a Doctor Who evening.

Food As Art: Caroline Hobkinson talks about and demonstrates her work
Room 32
Caroline Hobkinson curates dining experiences that force diners to reassess the way they eat. Her work looks at the world through food: its history, the rituals of how we eat, and the traditions involved in preparing it. She is fascinated by the spectacle of eating, and, more recently, by how we can modulate flavour by using different sound frequencies. Caroline’s work ranges from installations that use food as performance and social commentary, to scientific research on flavour enhancement with Oxford University. She’ll be giving a talk on some of her latest work, explaining the processes behind the performance and demonstrating a sound which actually makes things taste sweeter.

Anatomy of a Blend: A talk and tasting with Alchemist Dreams handmade liqueurs
Room 32
Alchemist Dreams produce custom handmade liqueurs from a kitchen in East London. Order from them, and you are invited to design your own unique flavour by combining the fruits, herbs and spices of your choice. But how to know what to choose? Head Alchemist (and Food Geekery track head) Ruth Ball will be giving a guided tasting, talking you through the process of creation and how to design your own perfect blend.

Food In Fantasy: A panel discussion with Esther Saxey, Ed Cox, Mark Newton and Gail Carriger
Room 32
So: you’ve made a world. You’ve designed people (or other beings) to inhabit it and you’ve given them art, culture and history, maybe even a language. But what about the food? Food is an central part of most cultures: societies are structured by the need to grow and distribute it, and families are structured by cooking and eating it. The rich feast on the extravagant and exotic, while the poor struggle to find enough of it. How will your food reflect the cultures which you have created? Our panel discuss the role of food in fantasy writing: both their own, and their favourites.

What Is Experiential Food?: Talk, demonstration and theatrics with the Robin Collective
Room 32
The Robin Collective are Elspeth Rae, Robin Fegen and Brandy Wright. Working at the cutting edge of experiential food, their projects have names like Extreme Garnishing, Marshmallow Apothecary, Creating Senses Orchard, and Cryptology Tours. They’ve created entire edible orchards, and bitters made with moisture from the walls of Churchill’s bunker. They’ll be telling you what experiential food is and why it’s important, as well as giving some live demonstrations which will go off with a (literal) bang.

Edible Knitting: knitting cord bracelets from strawberry laces
Room 32
Come and make your own edible bracelets! We will be teaching you to make an icord bracelet from delicious strawberry laces. The icord is a simple technique which you should be able to master very quickly. And while bracelets will probably be gone soon (om nom nom) but the skill will stay with you forever. Kid-friendly (recommended 8+) but also very suitable for adults.

Anatomy of a Blend: talk and tasting with Alchemist Dreams handmade liqueurs
Alchemist Dreams produce custom handmade liqueurs from a kitchen in East London. Order from them, and you are invited to design your own unique flavour by combining the fruits, herbs and spices of your choice. But how to know what to choose? Head Alchemist (and Food Geekery track head) Ruth Ball will be giving a guided tasting, talking you through the process of creation and how to design your own perfect blend.

Talking With Food, Not Words: Telling an edible story with Chloe Morris
Chloe Morris will be talking about her project, Edible Stories. This carefully curated and themed dining experience takes some of your favourite written stories and brings them to life: exclusively through the use of food. Coming into the experience, you are informed of the time and given directions to a secret location, but the title of the story is not revealed. Chloe will be taking us behind the curtain of this creative process.

Food in Science Fiction
How do aliens eat? What do they eat? Do they eat at all? Will they want to eat us? Food is essential to human survival and to the survival of most everything we normally think of as living, so in any journey to an alien world it can never be forgotten. Our panel discuss the different ways in which we might grow or construct food in the future, as well as the role food plays in science fiction of all kinds
Panel: Sarah McIntyre, Gareth L. Powell and Aliette de Bodard


SOURCE: Nine Worlds

GS Blogger: Montoya

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: