Note: Portions of this post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.
It’s time for one of my favorite annual columns – the new science fiction, fantasy and gaming related cookbooks I’ve found this past year.
I always like to start with a Star Wars cookbook and luckily there’s a new one just released: Star Wars: The Ultimate Cookbook: The Official Guide to Cooking Your Way Through the Galaxy Hardcover by Jenn Fujikawa and Marc Sumerak. As the book’s blurb states, this is meant to be quite a comprehensive culinary tour of the galaxy: “Featuring over 80 recipes from nearly every corner of the Star Wars galaxy, this cookbook includes dishes inspired by films, television shows, theme park attractions, novels, comics, video games, and beyond. Great for chefs of any skill level, these recipes offer an immersive experience for Star Wars fans who want to bring galactic adventures into their kitchen, making this book a true must-have.” The book presents the recipes as coming from the fictional Chef Strono ‘Cookie’ Tubbs, a Star Wars universe character.
From the gaming universe comes God of War: The Official Cookbook of the Nine Realms by Insight Editions, Victoria Rosenthal and Rick Barba. The 60 recipes from from the Norse realms of Midgard, Alfheim, Jötunheim and beyond, as described y Tyr, Norse god of war, are just the beginning of what this book offers. The game is from The Santa Monica Studio and the book shares lor about characters and events, plus never before seen artwork. The food ranges from quick snacks to dinner dishes and desserts.
Also from the world of gaming comes Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role by Liz Marsham, Critical Role, Jesse Szewczyk, Susan Vu, Amanda Yee, Quyen Tran (Foreword) and Sam Riegel (Foreword). Sixty dishes drawn from each continent in the game, backed up with photographs and bits of lore will take the traveler from breakfast to after dinner and include delicacies from “Percival de Rolo’s Revenge Pasta, stuffed with enough garlic to ward off even the strongest vampires, to Jester’s Sweet Feast, a platter of pastries made complete with a dash of cinnamon and a covert sprinkle of the Dust of Deliciousness.” Reviews were overall positive but did note the index was confusing and not all the recipes had a corresponding illustration.
If you’d rather have an official Dungeons & Dragons cookbook, there’s Heroes’ Feast Flavors of the Multiverse: An Official D&D Cookbook (Dungeons & Dragons) by Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Michael Witwer, Sam Witwer, and Official Dungeons & Dragons Licensed. Never adventure on an empty stomach is the wise advice these experts offer and a professional chef has created 76 recipes inspired by the regional settings in the game. Examples include “otherworldly appetizers such as Talyth and Goldenstars, savory main courses such as Steak of the Deep and Eldeen Banquet, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages such as Elverquist and Kaeth, and desserts such as Green Ice Rime and Vada’s Vanilla Bean Buns.”
The Unofficial Animal Crossing Cookbook by Tom Grimm has 50+ recipes inspired by the game, from Moon Cakes to Pad Krapow, as well as full color illustrations and facts and tidbits about the popular game itself. The book is for all skill levels.
If your videogame interests go all the way back to the 1980’s then The Video Game Chef: 76 Iconic Foods from Pac-Man to Elden Ring Hardcover by Cassandra Reeder might be for you. The author provides 76 recreated recipes from various gaming worlds, including The Legend of Zelda’s Red Potion, Streets of Rage 2’s Trash Can Chicken, Resident Evil’s Jill Sandwich, Final Fantasy XV’s Kenny’s Original Recipe and Genshin Impact’s Sticky Honey Roast. The food illustrations are presented in videogame style and there are recipe notes about the games as well.
The Witch’s Cookbook: Enchanting Recipes Inspired by Hocus Pocus, Bewitched, Harry Potter, Charmed, Wicked, Sabrina, and More! (Magical Cookbooks) by Deanna Huey is well reviewed and the clever chapter headings reveal the magic of the 75 recipes: “Cast your best Bewitching Breakfasts and Beginnings; invoke Snacks, Starters, and Séances; captivate your coven with Enticing Entrees and Enchantments; reveal Desserts, Delights, and Divinations with a flick of your wand; and pour potions with Beldam, Brews and Beverages.” Including such dishes as Piper’s Wheat Germ Pancakes, Aunt Hilda’s Truth Cake, Nose Twitch Coq a Vin and Poor Unfortunate Soul Octopus the reader can work culinary magic in their own kitchen.
The Disney corporation is celebrating 100 years of magical existence and of course there’s a cookbook filled with 80+ recipes inspired by the company’s animated films ranging from Steamboat Willie in 1937 to 2021’s Encanto. The book is Disney: Cooking With Magic: A Century of Recipes: Inspired by Decades of Disney’s Animated Films from Steamboat Willie to Wish by Brooke Vitale, Lisa Kingsley, and Jennifer Peterson. The recipes are divided into eras of animation and represent all skill levels, per the description. A few that caught my eye were Waltz of the Flowers Fairy Cake from Fantasia, Alponian Chowder with Extra Solaris Seed from Treasure Planet and Proposal Soup Dinner from Encanto. The book has full color photos of the completed dishes.
The Unofficial Stranger Things Cookbook by Tom Grimm offers 60+ recipes to take the reader from breakfast to dinner and beyond in 1980’s Hawkins, Indiana and the Upside Down. The dishes encompass everything from hearty home cooking to the type of fast food which might be found at the Starcourt Mall food court. Examples are Demogorgonzola, Stranger Wings, Upside Down Burger and Dr. Alexie’s Favorite Slushie.
If liquid refreshments are more on your mind at the moment, there’s Drinking with Wizards, Warriors and Dragons: 85 unofficial drink recipes inspired by The Lord of the Rings, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Stormlight Archive and other fantasy favorites by Thea James and Pamela Wiznitzer. There are mixolohy notes and illustrations by award winning artist Tim Foley. Each recipe includes a discussion of the drink’s origins and a brief discussion of the related book. Two drinks mentioned as examples are whisky-forward Essun’s Wrath and a gin concoction known as Nynaeve’s Secret.
Is your sweet tooth in need of satisfaction? Here’s An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Willy Wonka: Mouthwatering Chocolates, Desserts, and Candy Creations―75 Scrumptious Recipes! by Dahlia Clearwater. Just the names of the various recipes can bring on a sugar rush – “Lightning in a Chocolate Bar, Exploding Cinnamon Candy, Cayenne Crinkles with a Kick, Super Juicy Blueberry Pie, A Gobstopping Rainbow Cake and Pure Imagination Hot Chocolate” to name a few.
Too much sweet stuff? At the opposite end of the fantasy spectrum lies The Necromunchicon: Unspeakable Snacks & Terrifying Treats from the Lore of H. P. Lovecraft by Mike Slater. The book’s blurb invites readers to: ”Make scrumptious sacrifices to the Ancient Ones with these bloodcurdling bites for haunted housewarmings, inglorious game nights, and other grim gatherings. Returning to the slime-covered ruins of the city of R’lyeh and the tentacled deity who slumbers there would make anyone hungry.” Recipes include A-tacolypse, Carni-S’mores, and Hot Cthocolate to Maca-Runes, Necronomicorn, and There Cannoli Be One. The author notes the book “…has not been authorized, licensed, endorsed, or approved by Lovecraft Properties, LLC.”
This column wouldn’t be complete without recipes from the world of Harry Potter. This year’s offering is Harry Potter: Official Christmas Cookbook by Elena Craig and Jody Revenson. Fifty+ recipes, full color photographs and dishes such as Treacle Tart , Bubbling Cauldron Bites and Christmas Figgy Pudding will make every holiday gathering a wizarding success.
Coming later in November is Avatar The Official Cookbook of Pandora Hardcover by DK, with 50+ recipes based on the various biomes of James Cameron’s Pandora. The book’s blurb promises the reader will “Experience the Hallelujah Mountains‘ High Camp, the secret cave encampment of the Omatikaya, the reef atolls of the Metkayina clan and sacred sites such as the Tree of Souls in a new, mouthwatering way through carefully curated recipes inspired by the peaceful Na’vi lifestyle. Feast on everything from Pandoran pancakes and Sully family shakshuka, to delicious frittatas, fish dishes, soups, salads, and stews, topped off with Na’vi deserts, sunrise cocktails, and frozen mocktails.”
Dragonblade’s Historical Recipe Cookbook: Recipes from some of your favorite Historical Romance Authors by Various hasn’t been released yet (expected NOV 20) but here’s the blurb: “Welcome to a cookbook inspired by historical recipes. Every era, and every civilization, had their own recipes based on available ingredients, regional tastes, and more. At the dawn of time, food was meant for survival, but as the ages passed, food also became an artform… or a sign of wealth… or even a message of love. Because what winsome lass wouldn’t produce something warm and filling for the man she loves?”
Happy reading and happy holiday feasting!