Fantastic Food & Fiction: Cooking the Books with Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel

kgbbarOn the third Wednesday of every month, Manhattan’s eclectic KGB Bar hosts KGB Fantastic Fiction. The SFF reading series has been going since the 1990s, featuring writers including Joyce Carol Oates, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, Scott Westerfeld, Kelly Link, China Miéville, Nancy Kress, Jack McDevitt, Stewart O’Nan, James Patrick Kelly, Barry N. Marlzberg, Samuel (Chip) Delany, Holly Black, Michael Swanwick, Kit Reed, Peter Straub, Andy Duncan, Richard Bowes, Catherynne Valente, Ellen Kushner, Jeff VanderMeer, Naomi Novik, Elizabeth Bear and a smörgåsbord of other talented authors.

Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel host the lively evening, and today, they’re joining us on Cooking the Books to talk about KGB, upcoming events, anthologies, novels, fantastic fiction, and great places to eat in NYC (as well as their favorite recipes).  This is quite a feast.

** Cooking the Books Patreon Supporters also get an extra – for the first time ever, a brief outtakes clip from this episode. **

As well, Ellen’s garlic chicken recipe is in the podcast along with Matt’s horror story of rice-based flour incidents. Matt’s recipe is, as tradition goes, below. They also talk about their wonderful recent and upcoming publications including Matthew’s Worldmender trilogy (including 2015’s King of Shards), and Ellen’s Nightmares (Tachyon, Fall 2016), Children of Lovecraft (Dark Horse, September 2016),  and The Best Horror of the Year, volume 8 (NSB, June 2016)

kos_front-cover_low-res nightmares datlow lovecraft datlow

So pull up a bar stool, dim the lights, and enjoy the latest episode of Cooking the Books.

The ingredients for podcast #21: Fantastic Food and Fiction with Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel include:

  • an angry giraffe-god (you have to catch it first)
  • Decades of rich sff literary history that includes hosts and techies Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Terry Bisson, Gordon Linzner, Rajan Khanna, and numerous readers and attendees.
  • the occasional rock band on the fire escape
  • pirogies, szechwan, & dim sum
  • how to know when your favorite NY eatery has jumped the shark

With thanks as always to the wonderful John DeNardo, Paul Weimer, Kristin Centorcelli and everyone at SFSignal for picking up the bar tab…

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or on iTunes! Or click play below:
(and consider supporting us on Patreon, hmm?)

Podcast #021: Fantastic Food & Fiction with Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel


My recipe is pretty simple. I made this often when I lived alone:

  • Start with two small cans of organic tomato paste in a large pot. Add water till it’s about 75% full. (Don’t overfill otherwise it will spill when you add pasta.)
  • Heat the pot on high and stir the tomato paste until it dissolves in the water. Before the water boils, add seasoning. For me, it’s usually garlic, oregano, salt, a dash of curry to give it a zing, and a few red pepper flakes. You can add shaved parmesan or pecorino romano too.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and add pasta. I usually use penne rigate. If you are making a meat sauce, I also cook the chopped meat directly in the sauce. And I would add the meat before the pasta, as the meat takes longer to cook.
  • Make sure that the pot has enough water so that it never gets too dry. Add more water if necessary. The cooking time of the pasta varies, but what’s great about this dish is that the pasta absorbs all the flavors of the meat and sauce.
  • Cook to taste. While it’s cooking, you can add more cheese. It tastes even better the next day, as the flavors really enhance after a night in the fridge.

headshot-800Matthew Kressel is a multiple Nebula Award and World Fantasy Award finalist. His first novel King of Shards, was hailed as “Majestic, resonant, reality-twisting madness” from NPR Books. The second book in the Worldmender Trilogy, Queen of Static, will appear in Fall of 2016. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Clarkesworld, Lightspeed,, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, Interzone, the anthologies Naked City, People of the Book, After, and the forthcoming Cyber World. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in Manhattan alongside Ellen Datlow, is a long-time member of Altered Fluid, a Manhattan-based writing group, and is an amateur student of Yiddish. He can recite Blade Runner in its entirety from memory. Find him online at and @mattkressel.

Photo on 12-31-14 at 12.20 AM #3Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years. She currently acquires short fiction for In addition, she has edited more than fifty science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the series The Best Horror of the Year, Lovecraft’s Monsters, Fearful Symmetries, Nightmare Carnival, The Doll Collection, and The Monstrous.

She’s won multiple World Fantasy Awards, Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, Shirley Jackson Awards, and the 2012 Il Posto Nero Black Spot Award for Excellence as Best Foreign Editor. Datlow was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for “outstanding contribution to the genre” was honored with the Life Achievement Award given by the Horror Writers Association, in acknowledgment of superior achievement over an entire career, and the Life Achievement Award by the World Fantasy Convention.

Ellen lives in New York and co-hosts the monthly Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar. More information can be found at, on Facebook, and on twitter as @EllenDatlow.

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