The third article in our series of Gazette editor interviews.

KatjaMeleeMadness2Name: Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina
Editor Area/Title: Food & Cooking

What made you want to join the Gazette staff?
First, I was thrilled to be asked to interview gentles about feasts and food research around the kingdom and to encourage gentles to contribute articles on such to the Gazette. Chatting with and learning from other cooks is absolutely one of my favorite, favorite things to do. I love it! Second, I was a newspaper reporter and then editor for a decade before moving into book publishing in mundane life, and I have a lot of fond memories of interviewing and writing back then (before I got tired of the long hours and low pay). So, I jumped at the opportunity to do some writing and interviewing again. Third, my dream is to move into food history publishing in some manner, and having some recent “clips” could be useful toward that goal. If it isn’t, I’ll still thoroughly enjoy interviewing gentles and nudging them to write articles.

What do you like most about being on the Gazette staff?
It’s a fantastic group of knowledgeable, excellent writers and techie folks. I love how we each take turns “manning the daily desk” so that we can all balance this work with our regular responsibilities. Having been a local chronicler and editor of the Pennsic book in the past, I find this a far more collaborative environment — staff members share story ideas and can switch daily editor duties when Life gets in the way, so it’s far more flexible and less arduous than being an individual running a whole publication. Having been in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing for the past 30 years, the ability of online publishing to quickly post stories individually and edit/update on the fly is a delightful eye opener to me. It’s so current and fresh.

How has the Gazette been received in your area?
Quite well, I think. Gazette articles are frequently mentioned at Thescorre meetings and are shared on the Barony’s Facebook group.

What kinds of articles would you like to encourage people to submit?
Anything on medieval food, of course! Seriously, some things I’d love to see are cooks sharing their thoughts and experience on what’s involved in being an effective head cook, how to research period recipes without spending a fortune, how to redact period recipes, how to plan a menu that will meet your group’s budget and please your diners, how to adjust your menu to your site and type of event, different ways to run an effective lunch, how to cook safely in a firepit…

The Gazette has published some excellent articles that introduce and explore a topic (such as the bardic arts) or offer step-by-step instructions on how to get involved in something (like building inexpensive archery targets).

Being a research geek, I completely and eagerly encourage gentles to share their advanced exploration of and research on a food topic or recipe — I’d love to see explanations of the humoral theory, redactions of recipes, diaries of building that elaborate subtlety — but I also want to see a variety of introductory, hands-on, practical articles on effective food preparation to encourage MORE gentles to cook delicious period food.

What are some of the articles you’ve done so far?
I interviewed Mistress Alicia and Baroness Bronwyn, the autocrat and head cook, before AEthelmearc Twelfth Night in Abhainn Ciach Ghlais about their special dining format and how it would work at that event. I chatted with Baroness Nuzha at College of Three Ravens about her feast of favorite dishes (and ones she had wanted to do but couldn’t fit into a previous meal) from her 20 years of SCA cooking. I am currently talking to Baron Janos about the Food Lab — so far, I’ve been focusing on talking to cooks about how and why they’re choosing their meal formats and menus, but I have several thoughts for future articles.

By Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina (Chris Adler-France)

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