Ruminations & Alaska Surprise: Book Bites with Kameron Hurley

Book Bites is Cooking the Books‘ more easygoing cousin. Authors talk about their book and share a recipe, all in one tasty bite. 

Author Kameron Hurley’sFINAL-COVER-440x660 “We Have Always Fought” essay stormed the Internet in 2013, debuting on Aidan Moher’s award-winning blog “A Dribble of Ink“. However, the essay wasn’t a standalone shot over the bow of the SS. Patriarchy. Hurley’s essays and her fiction (as well as her mighty brain) are everywhere, and now many of the nonfiction bits are collected in a new book – The Geek Feminist RevolutionKameron’s joining us today to talk about the book and about a favorite power-food.

Kameron Hurley

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of stories about writing craft and the geek community, mixed with personal anecdotes from my own life. There’s a lot of ground covered here, from thoughts on the importance of persistence in life and writing to ruminations on the darker and brighter aspects of geek culture.

As one learns over the course of the book, I spent a good deal of my roaring 20’s traveling around the world and living in strange places. I drank too much and wrote too much and lived in a cockroach infested flat in Durban, South Africa, for awhile, which is not nearly as romantic as it sounds. I lived that crazy author-living-in-a-garret life. I learned to live on relatively little. I ate a lot of peri-peri rice.

When I was growing up, I looked down on cooking as a joyless drudgery of an activity, so I never learned how to cook, even though I had a French grandmother who excelled at it and would have been happy to teach me. It has taken me two years now to learn how to perfect her devilled eggs recipe, long after she has passed away.

It was in college that I learned that being able to cook is vital to living a good life on a budget. While I have since gone on to cook some very good stuff, my comfort food remains the first dish I tossed together myself in college. What broke college kid doesn’t have their favorite go-to dorm food?

Our dorm had a kitchen, which was great, so I spent my nights filling a big frying pan full of odds and ends, experimenting with what I had until I perfected something I liked. Once I had that down, I ate it pretty much every day. I’d cook it at night, eat some for dinner, and save the rest for lunch the next day. It was the perfect fuel for a life lived outside during cold Artic nights and long summer days. Back then I’d be at the gym two hours a day, or go on bike rides for four or six hours sometimes on the weekends. I biked or took the bus pretty much everywhere, and this fatty, salty, low carb, high protein mishmash did the trick of powering me through.

Of course, I’m sure being 20 also helped….

So here is my go-to recipe for what I have come to think of as “Alaska Surprise.”

Alaska Surprise

  • 1 cup instant brown rice, cooked
  • 2 hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages of any kind
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • ½ package of frozen peas
  • 1 small pack baby carrots, chopped or sliced
  • ½ sweet red pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • Chili flakes (as many as you can handle)
  • Garlic salt (to taste)
  • Black paper (to taste)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  1. Melt butter in large wok or frying pan and add bacon. Heat on medium-high until cooked through.
  2. Add chopped carrots and red pepper and sauté until tender.
  3. Add chopped sausage and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  4. Add brown rice and mix thoroughly.
  5. Cook another 10 minutes so the rice soaks up the flavors.
  6. Add frozen peas, chili flakes, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and black pepper.
  7. After a few minutes of additional cooking, taste the mixture and adjust seasoning. I’ll often continue cooking this for another 20 minutes or so because I like to get the rice nice and crispy on the bottom, but it’s up to you and your timetable.
  8. When cooked to your desired texture, serve in bowls and top with cilantro, tomato, a dollop of sour cream (an acquired taste, I know) and more parmesan if desired.
  9. Save the leftovers – it’s even better the next day.


Kameron Hurley is the author of the essay collection The Geek Feminist Revolution, as well as The Mirror EmpireEmpire Ascendant and the God’s War Trilogy. Hurley has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer; she has also been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, BFS Award, the Gemmell Morningstar Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Popular Science MagazineLightspeed MagazineYear’s Best SFThe Lowest Heaven, and Meeting Infinity. Her nonfiction has been featured in The Atlantic and Locus Magazine. A new space opera, The Stars Are Legion, will be out from Saga Press in January of 2017. She also writes regularly at

Visit the whole Book Bites larder… and the Cooking the Books pantry!

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