Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Any Ideas :D ?

What would constitute a steampunk or dieselpunk food?

It obviously has to have something from the respective era to make it retro

It also has to have something recent to make it futurist

And it has to have some weird element that is non-mainstream in order to make it punk.

Any thoughts? This could end up being an interesting topic. Hell, all the ideas here could even make for a profitable restaurant.

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WARNING: The first part of my comment here is fairly uncontroversial, but the other two themes are possibly more difficult. I hope I'm not about to start anything, but given my natural tendencies, who knows? Anyway here goes:

1. Dieselpunk food? I guess anything you might have found at an automat would qualify as inspiration here(pie especially). Coffee made in a percolator. Speakeasy food: Shrimp cocktail, Iceberg lettuce, Menus from old streamline diners might be enlightening. The thing about the early to mid 20th C. was that fresh produce was only available to most people for a small part of the year, so there was a lot of canned food. Commercial frozen food was far less common than it is now, and not as good because they didn't have the technology for flash freezing. But in an alternate world setting, who knows? My grandparents lived on farms, and grew and preserved a lot of their own food, but at Christmastime, they would buy a big bag of oranges, which were a luxury and treated like gold. All of the peelings were saved for marmalade. Which brings to mind that sugar and white flour were part of most meals. Dried beans and salt cured meats were popular then as well, as were the fats from whatever meat was used.

I'm mostly vegetarian, and tend to eat a lot of greens, pasta, barbecued tofu, sushi made with pickled radishes, and other things that many people even now consider weird. Very few vegetarians outside Asia in the 1920s-1940s were present except for devout Russian Orthodox Christians and members of esoteric occult lodges. So food obviously conforms to eras of history in some ways. That said, I agree with Tome: most people will eat without thinking about culture- its just food.

2.  To further elaborate on Tome's mention of futurist food: There is a fun book published in 1991 called The Futurist Cookbook, an annotated translation of La Cucina Futurista by Italian fascist artist and theorist F.T. Marinetti. (I'm sure I'm just pouring fuel on the fire for those who accuse Dieselpunk of being too fixated with fascism, but Marinetti was really a dilettante, and his nationalism was more performance art and posturing than anything else- he would never have been able to conform to the dictates of a fascist government, and ended up breaking with them-and also this is a book about food forgodsake!). It is filled with odd and improbable recipes and menus and descriptions for "dinners" that could never really be created. One caveat: This book is hard to find and considered collectible (and thus therefore very dearly priced at Amazon):


3. BUT LETS GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS. Wouldn't you really rather just have a drink? The Aviation Cocktail (with, or if necessary without) the violet liqueur. Is a favorite of mine, but I also like the occasional Manhattan made with rye. I've seen some moonshine stills that look pretty dieselpunk, and clear corn (liquor) is far superior to vodka for most applications in my opinion.


Vegetarians would seem to have had fewer options than today but there was one well known vegetarian:  https://www.google.com/search?q=hitler%27s+diet&ie=utf-8&oe...


I wonder if any significant number of Germans also became vegetarians at that time?  When I lived in Germany I only knew one vegetarian, Rudy, who constantly shared how difficult it was to be a vegetarian in Germany even around 1990.  He pretty much had to cook everything himself and carry his own food. 

Hitler abstained from meat for limited periods of time, but he was not, at least in any normal sense, a vegetarian. There are numerous photographs of him eating meat at various points after he took power. He was known to have a fondness for sausages. Hitler's diet was manipulated in many ways, including the incorporation of prescription and experimental drugs into it, by Hitler himself and by his doctors. Much of this was motivated by a pathological fear of flatulence. Apparently, he was worried that it would be considered a damning flaw. Hitler has been reported to have had a fondness for cocaine as well. A recent article in the Huffington Post quotes one of his official food tasters indicating that he ate a meat free diet while she was serving as a taster. This was for a very short period, near the end when there had been attempts on his life, and he had a fear of being poisoned.

A description of a 1906 riverboat Thanksgiving dinner to share: 

"Steamboating colleagues,
Sending you greetings on this Thanksgiving Day, 2014 in good health and spirits. In the past I've written a Thanksgiving 'story' from the letters, writings of Capt. Ellis Mace and other sources. In earlier times this day was observed but not with the big build-up to 'Black Friday's,' early Christmas shopping as we have today. On the river steamboats on the night boat runs between major cities and towns still were up and running with schedules to meet, freight, mail from the previous day and the next to be shipped in and out with the crews working, wharfboat offices open. Similar to planes, trains, buses, cars today, people were still on the move. The steam tows with barges ran their regular schedules with their own cooks laying on a meal somewhat better than normal--if they were lucky. Watches were stood all the day and night as usual. The L&C LINE did lay their boats up at either end in Louisville and Cincinnati to cool down and clean the boilers on a Saturday.

Capt. Ellis Mace, who had a long career on the rivers, managed the Big Sandy Wharfboat here in Cincinnati for the L&C LINE [Louisville & Cincinnati Packet Company] under the ownership, management of Commodore Fred Laidley. The observance of then Thanksgiving on/around the year 1906 was in many ways "Just another working day on the river for many." Passenger bookings were off somewhat. The L&C LINE, by custom, extended invitations to many of their leading shippers and friends from Cincinnati and Louisville to accept a trip for the night and day as guests along with the usual compliment of travelers with a number from the offices going along, salesmen called 'drummers' in those days. The head steward, cooks, cabin boys laid on a fine meal with all the trimmings featuring menu offerings out of the ordinary: turkey [Some smoked], chickens, beef, lamb, pork, fish, wild fowl, oysters from local markets, punches, 'ices,' desserts turned out by hard-working cooks and prep 'boys' in the cook house with hours of work using coal stoves, steam piped up from the boilers and no microwave or other temperature controlled devices or equipment. Refrigeration was known to some degree with clean ice purchased ashore an expensive item. Cabin tables laid with fine linen crisp and white, cutlery, china, flowers, melons cut in designs, nuts and berries scattered down the center. The big lines an exception with other smaller steamboats with lesser food offerings but no less well prepared. Other observers of the day down to the present stated at times, "Steamboat food just like in any boarding house ashore--some no better than slop doctored up with lard and sugar."

Thanksgiving dinner commenced with the ringing of the cabin bell by a steward summoning all at noon or at the latest 1:00 PM. Dinner went on for several hours often until 2:00 or 3:00 PM or later. Capt. Ellis Mace mentioned these holiday celebrations often in his writings. Americans were used to the long center cabin tables where everybody sat together elbow to elbow. Europeans--especially the British--took a dimmer view of "mixing with all levels of society at one time." And eat they did. Later in the evening following all of this, again a 'supper' steamboat style would again be laid out. Ellis Mace, long in the employ of Commodore Fred Laidley, admired him much claiming, in spite of what people thought or heard, "One of the finest men I ever worked for." Then a 'coda' to his account, "At times when things were not going well, Fred Laidley could treat his enemies better than his friends."

A happy, healthy Thanksgiving to you all from the main cabin of the steamboat CITY OF LOUISVILLE! Cheers!

R. Dale Flick
Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati Reply With Quote"


By most accounts Hitler was a vegetarian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler_and_vegetarianism  Admittedly there seem to have been a LOT of witnesses stepping forward to share their dining experiences with Hitler for various newspapers, possibly for money, which makes all of them just a little suspect.  If anything, his vice seems to have been sweets rather than meats.   http://www.uncoverdiscover.com/facts/things-you-didnt-know-about-ad...  

Ed Lacy said:

Hitler abstained from meat for limited periods of time, but he was not, at least in any normal sense, a vegetarian. There are numerous photographs of him eating meat at various points after he took power. He was known to have a fondness for sausages. Hitler's diet was manipulated in many ways, including the incorporation of prescription and experimental drugs into it, by Hitler himself and by his doctors. Much of this was motivated by a pathological fear of flatulence. Apparently, he was worried that it would be considered a damning flaw. Hitler has been reported to have had a fondness for cocaine as well. A recent article in the Huffington Post quotes one of his official food tasters indicating that he ate a meat free diet while she was serving as a taster. This was for a very short period, near the end when there had been attempts on his life, and he had a fear of being poisoned.

I like tea, but I don't really eat much cake... but just looking at those pictures is really making me crave those creamy delights!

Captain said:

Teas should include some savory sandwiches too.  ;-) 

According to my English friends, "tea" is just another meal, like dinner for us Americans.  One of my friends loved taking his turn to make tea for his family, though he only knew how to make one thing:  pork chops.

Damn, those are making my mouth. For my next birthday I'm gonna bake me all of those and have a proper tea party.

Captain said:

Teas should include some savory sandwiches too.  ;-) 

I am hearing that "tea" is just an in between meal in Britain too. 

Our local SteamPunk community has been growing a lot lately.  A dozen regulars is a lot when you live in a glacier locked community of 31k in the summer and no roads in or out.  The first "monthly tea" was a little over-the-top as far as food went.  It would have been a little over-the-top by SCA feast standards which was fine by me.  Lots of salmon but no one thought to take pictures....   Our next tea will probably not have as much food this coming Saturday.  

Anyone have any other tea sandwich recipes to share?  I would like to keep adding to my cache' of recipes and ideas.  This SP tea book is nice (good gift material) but a little overly sweet:

Just to show how much our tastes have changed this is a list of popular 1920s sandwiches:

Sardolive Sandwich
"Mix equal parts of sardines, chopped olives and hard-boiled egg yolks and season highly with lemon juice, salt and paprika." (p. 63)

Tutti Fruitti Sandwich
"1/4 cup dates, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup dry figs, 1/4 cup walnut meats, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 cup whipped cream, 1/4 cup sugar or more. Put fruits and nuts through food chopper. Mix with orange juice. Mix with whipped cream and sugar. Use between thin buttered slices of bread." (p. 144-145)

Cuban Sandwich
"Toast thin slices of bread on both sides. Put lettuce leaves and thin slices Roquefort cheese on toast, garnish with chopped nuts. Spread on a layer of cooked salad dressing and cover with another slice of toast. Crusts should be cut from bread before toasting. Eat with knife and fork." (p. 97)

Tiger Eyes
"Cut rounds of white bread with a cutter. Butter the bottom round and spread with seasoned cream cheese. Cut a small circle from center of top round. Place on bottom round and in the center hole fit half a suffed olive, cut crosswise. (p. 88)

Dixieland Sandwich
"Put through the food chopper half a pound of roasted peanuts, three slices of fried bacon and one can pimentos. Mix with salad dressing and use on any preferred kind of bread." (p. 118)

Tomato Soup Sandwich
"Spread rye bread with creamed butter and cover with a leaf of lettuce. Spread undiluted tomato soup, canned, on the lettuce, cover with another leaf and then with another slice of bread." (p. 133)

Five Course Sandwich
"Use alternate rounds of white and whole-wheat bread, diminishing in size as in the Russian Club Sandwich. Each round is buttered. The bottom round is of whole wheat and is spread with a mixture of cream cheese and jam; this is the dessert course. The next round (white bread) is the salad course, spread with tomato and water cress with a little mayonnaise. The meat course is a slice of chicken on a round of whole-wheat bread. The fish course is a round of white bread spread with anchovy paste. The little top round of bread is the canape and is spread with caviar and a little hard-boiled egg; or a slice of deviled egg may be used, or hard-boiled egg and pimento." (p. 189)

Honolulu Sandwich
"3/4 cup chopped pulled figs, 1 cup crushed pineapple, 1/3 cup sugar, Juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Cook figs and pineapple until smooth, add sugar and lemon juice and cook until thick. Remove from fire, add walnuts and cool. Spread on thin rounds of whole-wheat bread." (p. 149)

Crust butter sandwich
"Put the crusts from sandwiches through the food chopper as soon as trimmed. Mix with salad dressing and creamed butter and spread between other slices of bread, thereby avoiding waste. Any desired seasoning may be added." (p. 109)

Substantial sandwich
"Cut tomatoes in medium-thick slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika. Fry eggs until yolks are hard. Put egg and tomato between thin slices of buttered bread. Boiled or scrambled eggs can be used in the same way." (p. 54)

Beef Jelly Sandwich
"Cook together two medium-sized beef hearts, four pigs' feet and one medium beef tongue, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove meat from broth and cut in slices; remove the meat from the pigs' feet. Arrange in brick pan alternate layers of each, pour over the broth to cover, let cool and keep in ice box. The feet and tongue will make a jelly that will keep the loaf firm. Slices of this make good sandwiches. A little vinegar may be sprinkled over it if a pickled sandwich is preferred. This will keep indefinitely." (p. 30)

Turtle Sandwich
"Cut as many thin slices of brown and white bread as you desire sandwiches. Trim off crust and shape into three and one-half inch squares. Butter lightly and spread with any desired filling. Slice small cucumber pickles lengthwise and stick one piece in each corner of the sandwich for the feet of the turtle and a tiny one for the tail. Run a toothpick through a narrow, short piece of bread and stick it in the opposite end from the tail. On the end of the toothpick put a thin slice of a small carrot, cut crosswise. And there's your turtle." (p. 200)

Tree sandwich
"Cut white bread slices in the shape of a pointed pine tree. Spread the tree part with butter into which finely chopped parsley has been thickly mixed. Pour melted sweet chocolate over the trunk part." (p. 205)

Baked Bean Sandwich
"Baked beans 'as is' make an excellent sandwich, if mashed and spread smoothly on buttered bread, white or whole-wheat. Or mayonnaise or boiled dressing may be added to them. Adding chopped olives, onions, celery or sweet pickles results in a quite different but equally palatable sandwich." (p. 124)

Salmon Bite Sandwich
"Remove bones from red salmon and mix with grated horse-radish. Spread on white or rye bread." (p. 66)

Pigs-in-a-Blanket Sandwich
"Select as many oysters as you wish sandwiches. Cut an equal number of slices of bacon. Chop one green pepper fine. Place each oyster in a slice of bacon, sprinkle with the green pepper, then fold and fasten with a toothpick. Place in moderately hot frying pan. Have a platter in the warming oven and as each piece of bacon is fired a crisp brown, place on platter. Spread slices of bread lightly with mustard or any other mixture you prefer, then place the bacon between, removing toothpicks. Do not salt the oysters, as the bacon is salt enough." (p. 73-74)

Emergency Sandwich
"Put six sweet pickles though the food chopper, also five hard-boiled eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Cream two tablespoons of peanut butter and one of prepared mustard and add the pickle and eggs. A little paprika or a dash of vinegar may be added to thin to spreading consistency. Good on rye or whole-wheat bread." (p. 57)

Liverice Sandwich
"1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chopped cooked liver, 2 tablespoons butter, Parsley, mace, grated lemon rind. Boil the rice in plenty of hot water to which the salt, mace and a dash of grated lemon peel have been added. When tender, drain and add the chopped liver and butter. Pack in a glass jar and spread when cold on thin slices of bread." (p. 40)

Devildine Sandwich
"Remove bones and tails from a medium-sized can of sardines and thin to a pates with lemon juice. Add a small can of deviled ham (not potted ham), one hard-boiled egg, chopped fine, a chopped olive and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Trim slices of white bread, butter, lay on a lettuce leaf and spread with devildine." (p. 62-63)

Banana Sandwich
"A banana, just that and nothing else, mashed and spread on bread, makes an appetizing sandwich, particularly if made with dark breads. Use no butter." (p. 140)


I suppose that one of the reasons for so many fish and fruit sandwiches is that there were more practicing Catholics in the 1920s. 

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