It’s Hard to Fish from an Airship: Cooking the Books with Rajan Khanna

Falling Sky_cover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Powells | Goodreads

A year ago, Rajan Khanna and I read together at a New York Review of Science Fiction reading, curated by Amy Goldshlager.

Rajan read from Falling Sky, and the passage I heard was amazing. Earlier this month, Rajan joined Cooking the Books for a podcast answering all sorts of questions about post-apocalyptic cuisine.

To hear Rajan yourself, hurry to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC, where he’ll be reading on Thursday, November 6 from 2:30-3pm, or head to the December KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading in Manhattan, where he and author Steven Gould will join forces for an evening of … fantastic fiction.

You can read an excerpt from Falling Sky at

Or, should you desire, you can hear him talk about Falling Sky right now, on the latest installment of the Cooking the Books podcast.

Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or click play below.

The ingredients for this month’s podcast include:

  • 10% twinkies
  • pigeon sausage
  • 1 airsickness bag
  • a dash of cannibalism (you knew we were going there someday, right?)
  • sky-high beer brewing equipment
  • one large-sounding cat (not for eating)
  • the apocalypse
  • and all of your foraging skills

Podcast #005: It’s Hard To Fish From An Airship: Cooking the Books with Rajan Khanna

Our thanks this month to John DeNardo, Paul Weimer, and SF Signal for their support and ongoing sense of humor about the recent food poisoning incident. We promise never to try to cook *that* particular item again.

Our guest Rajan Khanna has helpfully provided this at-your-own-risk, highly annotated, we-hope-fictional recipe. Note the footnotes. Bon appetite!)

Roasted Pigeon Skewers (from Gentle Jim’s Guide to Eating in The Sick)


  • Pigeon (also acceptable – chicken, turkey, rat, dog, cat, pig, cow, goat, groundhog, raccoon, squirrel, gopher, beaver, snake, lizard, turtle, fish, cicada, cockroach or anything else you might be able to catch and eat)
  • A stick (or stick-like object)


  1. Obtain the pigeon* (This can be done using any method you like although keep in mind that if you use a gun, small caliber ammunition is much less messy and retains the most meat).
  2. Remove the feathers** (This is a long and tedious process, especially if you’re hungry, but trust me, it makes for much better eating***).
  3. Remove the guts (Some prefer to eat the insides****, but if so, remove them first before cooking – running a skewer through them will make things nasty).
  4. 4. Position the skewer (I use sharpened wooden sticks and ram them through the cavity of the bird. If using metal or other substances, make sure they are thoroughly cleaned, or as clean as possible given your current tools and level of hunger*****).
  5. Roast over an open flame (or use whichever method you prefer to cook the bird through. I feel like an open flame imparts the most flavor, but hot coals also work and I once saw someone cook pigeon over an old car engine – of course skin crispiness will vary******).
  6. (Optional) Baste the meat with the hooch of your choice*******.
  7. When the bird is cooked to your preference, remove and devour.
  8. Survive.

* or other animal (see ingredients).

** if not using a feathered bird then remove whatever outer covering it has – i.e. fur, hair, scales, shell, exoskeleton, etc.

*** some have asked if the feathers can be used for barter and if they’re worth saving. It depends on what you do with them and your skill in craftsmanship. Since my skills are culinary in nature, I’ll leave that to more learned people to decide.

**** note that you do so at your own risk – while you aren’t likely to get the Bug from such bits, you may get a bug.

***** if using a larger animal, I recommend cutting the meat into manageable chunks and fitting these to your skewers. Otherwise you’ll need a very big skewer and a very big rig to hold it and I’m sure you’re already hungry without having to build yourself a whole complicated rig to cook on.

****** this refers to the crispiness of the bird’s skin (or other animal as specified above), not your own. Unless, of course, you happen to fall into the fire.

******* obviously using whatever hooch you have at your disposal is a matter of personal choice when it could so easily go down your gullet. But it will help to tenderize the meat and bring out its flavor. Just be careful that if using while imbibing, you don’t drink too much and fall into the fire (see skin crispiness above).

Rajan Khanna is a fiction writer, blogger, reviewer and narrator. His first novel, Falling Sky, a post-apocalyptic adventure with airships, is due to be released in October 2014. His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and several anthologies. His articles and reviews have appeared at and and his podcast narrations can be heard at Podcastle, Escape Pod, PseudoPod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Lightspeed Magazine.

Rajan lives in New York where he’s a member of the Altered Fluid writing group. His personal website is and he tweets, @rajanyk.

Rajan’s cat is not as large as it sounds on the podcast. He swears.


  1. Thank you… Fran and Rajan… for this new recipe… (let me finish this last bite, it is not nice to talk while eating). All right now, I wonder if you could recommend an accompanying drink for this recipe? Also, what can we have for desert?
    I wonder if Andrew Zimmern is interested in these cooking recipes, with appropriate locations, for his next “Bizarre Foods” show? 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s