cooking the books

SUPERFOOD: Cooking the Books with Michael Damian Thomas & Shira Lipkin

In a Speed-Round Interview, Michael Damian Thomas and Shira Lipkin, editors of Flying Higher, an Anthology of Superhero Poetry have joined Cooking the Books to talk about SUPERFOOD!

Shira Lipkin: I admit that I haven’t thought much about what superheroes eat… Except that obviously Lex Luthor is super into cake.

Michael Damian Thomas: Clearly they *all* eat meatballs, as our press is called Meatball Trouble Productions.

And Based on nearly *every* comic I read in the 1980s, superheroes eat Hostess Fruit Pies. Pie theft was a MAJOR issue in the Marvel Universe!

Shira: The 1980s were one long Hostess Fruit Pie theft epidemic. And we know that the cartoon versions of the Teen Titans are super into pizza.


Food is Personal; Food is Political: Cooking the Books with Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig comes to Cooking the Books with six published novels under his belt, including Blackbirds (Angry Robot, 2012), Mockingbird (Angry Robot, 2012), and, most recently, The Blue Blazes (Angry Robot, 2013).

He has plenty more words [some safe for work, some really, really not] where those came from, with new novels on the horizon, and his wildly popular blog

Chuck is an absolute delight to have as a guest, even when he’s looking like he might destroy some charcuterie with very big hammers, Gallagher-style. Ok, so maybe he’s the delightful guest that sometimes leaves a bit of a mess behind. The kind that you need to hire special cleaners to remove.  Curious as to what he might bring to Cooking the Books? We’re so glad you asked! It’s meat, folks. Lots and lots of meat. And a few controversial words about … bacon.


Sensory Overload: Cooking the Books with Walter Jon Williams

Picture, if you will, Walter Jon Williams standing at a stove, stirring a pot. He catches sight of you and waves you closer. The smells coming from the pot are amazing.  You are somewhat surprised; what you know of Walter Jon Williams is that he is a ninja-writer, capable of navigating between the worlds of his twenty seven novels and three story collections with flair.

To find him in the Cooking the Books kitchen, wearing a bold Hawaiian shirt and offering you a taste of gazpacho, is a touch breathtaking. But it shouldn’t be. Walter Jon Williams has been making his readers hungry for as long as he’s been writing. And if you look closely, you’ll see that he uses food to connect his characters, to share details about his worlds in subtle ways, and to draw demarcation lines between things real and things virtual.

So pull up a chair at the kitchen table.  Walter Jon Williams has some things to say, and they are as nutritious as they are delicious.


The My Little Jhereg & Lunch of Locke Lamora Bartender’s Guide


In the worlds of Steven Brust’s My Little Jhereg and Scott Lynch’s Lunch of Locke Lamora, it’s always five o’clock somewhere. To help you keep your own cabinet stocked, Lynch and Brust, along with able assistant Jennifer Melchert, have teamed with Cooking the Books to unearth a very rare copy of: The My Little Jhereg and Lunch of Locke Lamora Bartender’s Guide.

Only one copy exists, and it is of no use trying to bribe any of us for access. None whatsoever.

To whet your appetite, enjoy these ten complementary beverages, on the house.



Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Strange Horizons readers’ poll!  The results are in and there are many winners – from fiction to poetry, from columns to reviews, and articles.  Readers voted the notorious Cooking the Books Roundtable the third most popular article last year – which is pretty amazing.  Thanks again to the authors who participated, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Frost, Nalo Hopkinson, and Scott Lynch; the great editorial team at Strange Horizons, and most especially, everyone who read and liked the roundtable.


Their Words, Her Test Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, with friend Sariann Lerher, taught herself to cook in order to make the dishes in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. Before long, they were posting their progress online, at The Inn at the Crossroads, and found themselves with a cookbook deal, and a forward by GRRM himself.

Chelsea’s branched out since then, with Food Through the Pages.  There, she recreates fictional food from many authors, including Saladin Ahmed, Scott Lynch, Steven Brust, Suzanne Collins, and J.R.R Tolkien.

Chelsea dropped by Cooking the Books, bearing tasty treats and answers to our many questions.

What Heroes Eat: Cooking the Books with Saladin Ahmed

throne-mmpb1While fighting and magic are central to the action in many of Saladin Ahmed’s stories, he never makes the mistake of letting his characters go to battle on empty stomachs. Whether the 2013 Nebula Nominee is describing a tavern’s spiked beer or the mess caused by thousand-layer pastries, food is an important part of Ahmed’s worlds, as seen in the collection Engraved on the Eye and in his first novel Throne of the Crescent Moon.

Fresh from a recent NPR column on worldbuilding and fantasy, and the paperback and UK launches of his first novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, Ahmed agreed to visit Cooking the Books to discuss his characters’ views on food, how food defines their societies, and six-foot tall warrior rabbit women. (more…)

SF Squeecast talks about food and fiction (and Cooking the Books!)

This week, the fantastic crew at sfsqueecast talked about food and fiction. They mention several blogs including the amazing Inn at the Crossroads, Food through the Pages, Fictional Food, author Lawrence Schoen’s Eating Authors and my mostly monthly Cooking the Books column.

(I’ve had to go through this post eleventy hundred times removing exclamation points. Dying of squee here. I’m a huge squeecast fan.)

If you’re coming from squeecast, there’s a list to the right – recent interviews include Aliette de Bodard, Steven Brust, and Elizabeth Bear, mentioned on the podcast, as well as the amazing (and somewhat gross) Strange Horizons roundtable.  And stay tuned!  January’s interview is Saladin Ahmed, and Scott Lynch is scheduled for February.

If you’re a regular Cooking the Books reader, get on over to the squeecast. They’re fantastic and great listening each and every broadcast.

Food that Takes You Home: Cooking the Books with Aliette de Bodard

ObsidianBlood-144dpiWhether author Aliette de Bodard is writing about space stations or Aztec monsters, her attention to detail with regards to food (and everything else) is exquisite. Two cases in point: the short story “Immersion,” (Clarkesworld, June 20, 2012)* and her omnibus Obsidian and Blood (Angry Robot, 2012).

A resident of Paris, France, she regularly blogs her adventures in French and Vietnamese cooking on her website.

Aliette de Bodard visits Cooking the Books to discuss cooking and writing about food within and across diverse cultures, as well as what Aztec monsters eat.


For your post-Thanksgiving* food coma

 ” I think this is going to be the food-related roundtable that destroys food for thousands of readers. This is what’s going to usher in the science fictional future of tasteless food pills as a self-defense mechanism.” – Scott Lynch

I’m very pleased to announce that the first-ever Cooking the Books Roundtable, with Elizabeth Bear, Nalo Hopkinson, Scott Lynch, and Gregory Frost, is up at Strange Horizons!

This interview was enormously fun to do, and working with the SH staff was wonderful.

Hope you enjoy it!

*or post-weekend, if you are sick of hearing folks in the US talking about turkey and stuffing.