Note: Portions of this post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.
It’s that time of the year for me to share my latest finds in cookbooks associated with science fiction, fantasy and paranormal worlds. I love doing this annual post, although it always makes me hungry and in the mood to bake.
We’ll start with The Unofficial Witcher Cookbook: Daringly Delicious Recipes for Fans of the Fantasy Classic by Trey Guillory (Contributor), Editors of Ulysses Press (Contributor), Nevyana Dimitrova (Contributor). Featuring fifty recipes “ranging from humble meals and tavern stews to bountiful feasts fit for a king, including: Prized Potato Soup, Blacksmith Dumplings, Feast of Ham and Nightshade, House Specialty Soup and Honey Cakes for a Coin”, a clever cook can recreate the mood of the books, graphic novels, TV shows and video games featuring the Witcher.”
Marvel’s Black Panther The Official Wakanda Cookbook by Nyanyika Banda with a foreward by, Jesse J. Holland. As the blurb states: “Create meals fit for a king with this cookbook featuring over seventy delicious recipes from Wakanda and the African continent. Whether you’re welcoming Wakandan envoys, or simply hosting a watch party with friends, the 70+ African cuisine-inspired recipes in Marvel’s Black Panther: The Official Wakanda Cookbook make it a must-have volume for any kitchen. Eat like King T’Challa himself: Featuring classic cuisine such as Roasted Chambo, Braised Oxtail and Dumplings, and Glazed Road Runner Wings, this cookbook is a tribute to culinary traditions from all over the African continent.”
Unfortunately this next book won’t be released until December 6 but who can resist The Princess Bride: The Official Cookbook by Jenn Fujikawa? The blurb promises more than 50 recipes with intriguing names. Here are a few: Buttercup Buttermilk Scones, Hash You Wish, Chips of Insanity, Fezzik’s Stew and Inigo Montoya’s Taste of Revenge. Keep an eye out for this one.
As a huge fan of wonderful animated Studio Ghibli movies, I’m intrigued by Studio Ghibli Cookbook: Unofficial Recipes Inspired by Spirited Away, Ponyo, and More! by Minh-Tri Vo, translated by Lisa Molle-Troyer. As the book’s blurb states in part: “Whether they offer a moment of family bonding, comfort in difficult situations, or pesky temptations, the kitchen scenes are always of central importance in Studio Ghibli films. Now, with Studio Ghibli: The Unofficial Cookbook, you can recreate more than twenty of these movie-inspired recipes in your own home! Featuring recipes such as the sumptuous bento from My Neighbor Totoro, the herring and pumpkin pie from Kiki’s Delivery Service, the red bean buns from Spirited Away, and more…”
Fan of theme park food? How about The Unofficial Universal Theme Parks Cookbook: From Moose Juice to Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches, 75+ Delicious Universal-Inspired Recipes by Ashley Craft? With an assortment of dishes and drinks such as The Big Pink from Lard Lad Donuts, Fish and Chips from The Three Broomsticks, Minion Banana Taffy from Super Silly Stuff and Unicorn Cupcakes from Minion Café you can have a fun meal at home and wash it down with Pumpkin Juice from Hog’s Head.
We mustn’t forget the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and here’s Recipes from the World of Tolkien: Inspired by the Legends by Robert Tuesley Anderson. Although the book is not sanctioned by the Tolkien estate or HarperCollins Publishers, the reviews seem glowing for the most part and the illustrations in the book come in for much praise. Inspired by the novels, the recipes in the book are divided into the six mealtimes Tolkien mentioned, including of course Second Breakfast. There were a few mixed reviews – some people found the recipes challenging and others had no problem. Your mileage may vary as they say.
Going further into the Middle Earth, there’s An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery by Chris-Rachael Oseland. Reviews of this book were mostly favorable although some recipes in the first edition apparently contained a few errors. (This is the second edition so hopefully those have been corrected.) The book devotes a chapter to each of the Hobbit meals and in an unusual feature includes 11 Paleo/Primal friendly recipes, 19 Gluten Free friendly recipes, 20 Vegan friendly recipes (which happen to be kosher and halal) and 40 Vegetarian friendly recipes (including the vegan ones).
This post is never complete without s Star Wars-themed cook book and this year we have Star Wars Everyday: A Year of Activities, Recipes, and Crafts from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Ashley Eckstein, Kelly Knox Recipes) and Elena Craig (Crafts). Ms. Eckstein voices Ahsoka Tano on “Star Wars: Clone Wars” so she’s immersed in this scifi world. The book isn’t a straightforward cookbook but also provides a year’s worth of party planning and craft ideas.
For more Disney, there’s the Disney Enchanted Recipes Cookbook by Thibaud Villanova, with 40+ recipes inspired by favorite movies, such as Dishes such as Princess Tiana’s Gumbo, Kronk’s Spinach Puffs, and Jack-Jack Cookies. Great photographs and a mix of main courses and desserts.
Superheroes have to eat and fortunately there’s Avengers Campus: The Official Cookbook: Recipes from Pym’s Test Kitchen and Beyond by Jenn Fujikawa and Marc Sumerak. From the blurb: “Cassie and Scott Lang (better known as Ant-Man) sought to use the shrinking and growing technology of Pym Particles to solve global hunger. At Pym’s Test Kitchen, guests can try a sampling of the Langs’ experiments, such as a massive Quantum Pretzel, and the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich. Now, Cassie shares the recipes for these dishes, as well as the cuisine of Avengers Campus at large, in this in-universe cookbook! 60+ RECIPES: This cookbook assembles food from the park, such as chicken shawarma wraps and Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired Cosmic Cream Orbs, as well as a variety of recipes inspired by the wider world of the Avengers. Featuring recipes for appetizers, main courses, desserts, and drinks, this cookbook is the ultimate guide for Marvel foodies. ”
If you’re a more horror minded cook, here’s Death for Dinner Cookbook: 60 Gorey-Good, Plant-Based Drinks, Meals, and Munchies Inspired by Your Favorite Horror Films by Zach Neil. I hasten to add that looking at a few recipes listed in the blurb, we’re not talking stomach churning horror here. From the description: “Crystal Lake BBQ Sliders, inspired by Friday the 13th – The only thing better than warm sunshine, campfires, and working up an appetite after escaping the clutches of Jason Vorhees are these pulled mushroom sliders. The Hills Have Fries, inspired by The Hills Have Eyes – This hill of hand-cut french fries smothered in a béchamel and chili sauce and topped with fresh scallions, red onion, fakon, and cilantro and lime sour cream will have everyone watching you. Blood Orange Cheesecake Trifle, inspired by Dexter – Complete with blood orange, vegan cream cheese, and hints of lemon, this dessert is the right amount of sweet and airy—no gloves or plastic wrap are required to make. Never Sleep Again, inspired by Nightmare on Elm Street – Stay awake (and alive!) with this alternative take on an old-fashioned cocktail made with a shot of espresso.”
Jurassic World – The Official Cookbook written by Dayton Ward, recipes by Elena Craig needs no further description but here’s part of the blurb: “Lunch finds a way with this deluxe cookbook inspired by the epic Jurassic World franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, including blockbuster films, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Designed to look like an in-world souvenir sold at the park, this colorful cookbook features approachable at-home recipes for treats and dishes that celebrate the different regions of the iconic park and the miraculous dinosaurs that live there. Cook up some Fossilized Flora Pastry Puffs from the Triceratops territory or enjoy a Raptor’s Claw Scone from the Junior Paleontologist’s Menu. Nosh on some Shrimp à La Isla Nublar, inspired by the Mosasaurus Feeding Show in the Jurassic World Lagoon. And for those whose appetites run to the truly gargantuan, try the King of Steaks, a massive grilled sensation worthy of T. rex herself – be sure to bring your whole appetite for this one!”
I like to include the gaming world in this annual roundup of cookbook titles so here come the Sims, with The Unofficial Sims Cookbook: From Baked Alaska to Silly Gummy Bear Pancakes, 85+ Recipes to Satisfy the Hunger Need by Taylor O’Halloran. The book suggests you can master the same cooking skills in real life (IRL) as you might have achieved in the game and has a wide range of classic dishes to choose from for your IRL adventures.
Another gaming-based title for the kitchen is My Pokémon Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Inspired by Pikachu and Friends by Victoria Rosenthal. There are 45+ recipes for everything from snacks to epic meals for after the battles are done. Dishes are inspired by various characters and regions which feature in the game’s world.
This one seems like pure fun to me – Ghostbusters: The Official Cookbook by Jenn Fujikawa and Erik Burnham. The 50+ recipes are inspired by the original movie and the sequel and run the gamut from Muncher’s Cookies, Dana’s Demon Eggs and more all the way to Keymaster’s Peanut Butter Parallel. The full color photographs definitely make me want to taste the snacks and desserts for sure.
I’m going to stretch a point and add Brother Cadfael’s Herb Garden: An Illustrated Companion to Medieval Plants and Their Uses by Robin Whiteman and Rob Talbot. Although the Brother Cadfael mystery series by the late Ellis Peters doesn’t include fantasy or paranormal elements, the novels are one of my all-time favorite series in any genre. (There was also a TV series based on the books.) It was one of the first books which really gave me a “you are there” feeling about the time and the place. There was no blurb for this herb book, which was published in 1997 (new to me though), but the reviews are quite glowing about the level of detail included on what herbs there were in the 12th century and what their medicinal and culinary uses would have been. Apparently there are wonderful photographs and a wealth of additional detail about various aspects of life in 12th century England. Apparently the book is only available ‘Used”.
Can you believe it? On a whim I looked up the Mummy (which is one of my favorite movies, the one starring Brendan Fraser of course) and found this cookbook! THE MUMMY: TASTING THROUGH THE PYRAMIDS: MEALS TO RESURRECT THE DEAD by Jill Hill. Here’s the blurb: “We are sure everybody that watched the Mummy for the first time had the same emotional reaction. They cringed, screamed, and had this eerie feeling crawling up their legs. But decades later, we watched it again and saw the intrigue, action, and a beautifully narrated rendition of what Mummies could do or not. Any life is so delicious that the dead want to come back and enjoy some more. We cannot guarantee that, but these 30 Egyptian recipes are bound to make your mouth water and wish you were in the lands of the pyramids.”
I checked the Look Inside and while I’m not a chef or an expert on Egyptian recipes, the instructions seemed thorough…with titles like “Beni’s Baklava” and “Evelyn’s Koshari” seems like the theme carries through. The author has written quite a few ‘unofficial’ cookbooks with ties to TV shows and movies.
Star Trek has an updated version of the cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and here’s the new blurb: “With all-new recipes right beside timeless classics, food stylist and New York Times bestselling author Chelsea Monroe-Cassel’s reimagining of The Star Trek Cookbook presents a visual feast along with complete guides on favorite foods from across Star Trek, adapted for easy use in 21st-century kitchens. Themed as a Starfleet-sponsored collection of recipes from across multiple quadrants and cultures, and intended to foster better understanding of different species from a human perspective with its Earth-centric ingredients, this must-have cookbook embraces the best of Star Trek and its core message of hope, acceptance, and exploration in the spirit of gastrodiplomacy.”
And no post of this type is quite complete without a Harry Potter-themed entry. I picked THE OFFICIAL HARRY POTTER BAKING BOOK : 40+ RECIPES INSPIRED BY THE FILMS by Joanna Farrow. Here’s part of the blurb: “Packed with over 40 recipes and gorgeous, eye-catching photography, this baking cookbook is a must-have for every Harry Potter fan. Delight in 43 tasty recipes inspired by the Harry Potter films! From Pumpkin Patch Pies to Owl Muffins, Luna’s Spectrespecs Cookies to Hogwarts Gingerbread, The Official Harry Potter Baking Cookbook is packed with mouthwatering recipes that will, dare we say, … ensnare the senses. Host a Great Hall-inspired feast for your friends or delight in a portion for one. Includes recipes for all kinds of delicious baked goods, as well as nutritional and dietary information. This baking cookbook is great for everyone and includes gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan recipes as well!”
Wishing you many hours of happy reading, happy baking and happy eating!