Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Hey everyone! Today on the blog I have someone a little different. While researching for Let's Get Steamy, I ran across the most interesting blog...Of all the different aspects of the steampunk genre, I never once sat down and considered the food. Which is crazy...I love food so very much...which is why I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Aaron Egan to the blog...a Steampunk Chef! Let's hear  more about him and his work shall we??
Hi! I'm Aaron Egan, sometimes called the First Chef of Steam, and I run the blog Steampunk Cookery, over at. I am, among other things, the Steampunk Chef, but you might also recognize me from my work with the Imperial Anti-Piracy Squadron as Graf Georg Wilhelm Heinrich August von Ziger, aka Ziggy. I've presented at several Steampunk conventions, including Teslacon I and II, and the World Steam Expo, and I've appeared at several other Cons in the midwest area.

I'm from Detroit, born and raised a few minutes from the center of the city, and have a Bachelor's in history from the University of Michigan,  as well as an Associate's in Culinary Arts from Oakland Community College. I work in the Detroit area as a chef, both in a restaurant and as a personal chef—on top of making appearances whenever I can with steampunk food for steampunk events. I've cooked since I was a little kid, but after I graduated from U of M I decided that, although I love researching and reading and studying history, the world of academia was not for me, so before I even got my diploma, I had an application in to take classes at the culinary school. What followed was the best two years of education that I've had; I made some wonderful new friends, discovered an aptitude for cooking that I hadn't really realized before, even though I'd been cooking with my parents since I was little, and found a new passion in life.

In October 2010, my friends and I got together and had a steampunk dinner for Shabbes, the Jewish Sabbath. Though I hadn't started my blog yet, I did keep in mind the idea of creating what would somewhat resemble a Victorian shabbes meal—taking my inspiration from history, but working with a modern sensibility. Working with one of my other Jewish friends, we put together 5 courses, including classic Chicken Noodle Soup and roast meat. We worked with some older ideas, but it was more steampunk because of the people who were there than the food, in large part. We came together again in December for a Hanukkah meal, and this time I wrote a menu more inspired by classical Victorian cuisine: Six courses, including a poultry course and a red meat course, and I went to historical cook books for my recipes (or at least, the basic ones from which I adapted the food.) That dinner is documented starting here. (http://cookingsteampunk.blogspot.com/2010/12/steampunk-hanukkah-dinner.html)

You might, at this point, be asking, "What is Steampunk food, exactly?" I've been working since I started my blog to come up with a good definition. Initially, I took an intuitive approach: does it feel steampunk? After all, we define Steampunk by its participants, not by a proscribed set of rules. If I served old-fashioned food to a bunch of steampunks, with the idea of creating a steampunk meal, that was enough. Shortly thereafter, though, I started taking a more academic approach—working from primary source cookbooks and synthesizing a cuisine from a mixture of historical recipes, modern techniques, culturally relevant items (tea, for one example,) and bits and pieces of the Victorian mindset that line up with Steampunk. There's a lot there, but basically what it comes down to is creating a cuisine from international, intertwined, creative, slightly old-fashioned items, with an eye towards scratch cooking and complete use of products: if I get a chicken, I use the meat for a dish, and the bones for stock. Steak sauce is made from scratch, not out of a bottle. That sort of thing.

Steampunk is a wonderful genre, a wonderful fandom, and a great deal of fun. I have a very DIY mindset, so in addition to cooking steampunk food, I also work on steampunk costumes and props, and enjoy showing off and seeing all the things that I and others create. I've never felt more at home at a convention than at the steampunk cons I've been to, and I've never seen so inclusive and friendly a group in any other fandom. Even those of us with differences of opinion seem to get along pretty well. I write for my blog when I can, though my work as a restaurant cook is a little taxing on my time, and although my posts are somewhat sporadic, they're almost always recipes, so there's often something new to try every time you visit. I hope you will!

Thanks Aaron! I had no idea there was even such thing as Steampunk cookery! I will have to try some of your recipes sometime! I'll be at World Steam Expo this year so hopefully I will see you there! So what do you guys think about Steampunk food? Does it look like something you would like to give a try? I know I REALLY want some of that Earl Grey Pudding :)


  1. OMG! Food! My favorite subject on the planet! I'd never considered steampunk food either, so thanks for this insight Aaron. The whole steampunk element is fascinating and fun to admire.

  2. Steampunk and food?! Together. Perfection. :D

  3. Great synopsis on what Aaron does! I followed over from his blog :)