Book Bites: Eat the Magic with Greg Van Eekhout

Book Bites is Cooking the Books‘ more easygoing sibling. Authors talk about their book and share a recipe, all in one tasty bite. Today, the most excellent Greg Van Eekhout visits Book Bites in advance of the launch party for Dragon Coast, his latest novel. Read an Excerpt, and learn more about Dragon Coast, here!  

Better yet, come see Greg, and me, and Seanan McGuire in San Francisco at Borderlands Books on Tuesday, Sept. 15! With tacos and tecate to celebrate Dragon Coast! OR come see us in San Diego on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Mysterious Galaxy, 2pm! Greg and I will be reading and signing with Adam Rakunas!

Meantime, here’s Greg himself, with his delicious Book Bite:

Eat The Magic:

Eating is literally the most important thing in my Daniel Blackland trilogy, which begins with California Bones, continues in Pacific Fire, and concludes now with Dragon Coast. The books concern a tight band of thieves led by Daniel Blackland, an osteomancer, or wizard who gains magical powers by consuming the bones of extinct creatures such as dragons, griffins, and basilisks. The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles happens to be an especially rich source of these bones, so Los Angeles has become the center of conflict among other osteomancers. And the worst of them, the most voracious and powerful, eat more than just the bones of magical creatures. They also eat other osteomancers. Daniel’s own father, in fact, was eaten by the ruling osteomancer of the Southern California kingdom. Years later, Daniel plans to break into the wizard-king’s stronghold and steal his father’s last remaining bones.

It sounds pretty grisly, I know. My characters find it grisly, too, not to mention stressful. So, as people do, amid all the trauma and drama and action, they seek relief from stress, and they most often find it in banter and fast food. While my version of Los Angeles is an oddly transformed city with canals and elevated flumes replacing streets and freeways, and a physical wall separating Beverly Hills from riff-raff, and, you know, a wizard-king,Angelinos will recognize some canonical LA eats: Tito’s Tacos, where the chips literally come out of garbage cans. The famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Purveyors of chili, Original Tommy’s, Tomy’s, Big Tomy’s, and other variants across Southern California.Those small moments where the action gives way to chowing down with friends were some of my favorite to write,

And now I’ve made myself hungry. How about a taco recipe?

We have some fine, fine tacos in Southern California, and my favorite of all is the shrimp gobernador. Your best bet is to find it at a taco truck in some parking lot somewhere, but if you’re forced to, you can make it yourself.

I’m kinda winging it here, but it’s tacos, not neuro-rocketry.

  • Get some shrimp. You can buy it with the head and eyes and legs all attached, but eventually you’ll want all those parts removed. Also, devein them.
  • Sauté the shrimp with green and red bell peppers and garlic in butter.
  • Get some Oaxacan cheese and shred it up and apply heat to it in such a way that it gets melty. You can use mozzarella if you can’t find Oaxacan.
  • Put the shrimp and peppers and cheese inside a corn tortilla. Or, you know what? You can put the shrimp and peppers and unmelted cheese inside the tortilla and heat it up in a pan to melt the cheese. Then drizzle the innards with the garlicky butter.
  • Eat that magic.




Greg van Eekhout is the author of six novels and a few dozen short stories. His books include the novels for adults, Norse Code, California Bones, Pacific Fire, and Dragon Coast, and the middle-grade novels, Kid vs. Squid and The Boy at the End of the World. His work has been nominated for the Nebula, Andre Norton, and Locus awards. He lives with his wife and a couple of dogs in San Diego.  You can find him at and twitter.


One comment

  1. Tacos, YUM!

    and this is my favorite kind of recipe – no measurements, no specifics. just some ingredients and how to prepare them.

    Also? i am way behind in reading Eekhout, and must remedy this immediately.

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