Invasive Cuisine: Cooking the Books with Chuck Wendig

Let’s face it. Chuck Wendig practically owns Cooking the Books (actually he’s been charging me for the knock knock jokes and I had to put the podcast in hock to pay for it, so he kind of does).  Sometimes he lets me play on his blog, Terribleminds, too. But as I’m still cleaning up from all the ants he sent over to celebrate the launch of Invasive – the companion novel to Zeroes, which I loved last year – we have to work out of the Cooking The Books kitchen today because ANTS.

This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #026: Invasive Cuisine – Cooking the Books with Chuck Wendig contains:

  • Ant colony optimization
  • maybe a few spiders
  • way too much laughing
  • hacking (code not loogies)
  • the many books of Chuck Wendig
  • rafts of ants
  • ant lollipops
  • a preying mantis named Buffy
  • also, more ants
  • … sometimes in pants
  • plus questions from Laura Anne Gilman, Alan, & Brian from Fireside Fiction (who is trapped in Chuck’s attic.)

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or on iTunes! Or click play below:
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Podcast #026: Invasive Cuisine – Cooking the Books with Chuck Wendig


And because we are truly lucky, Chuck’s brought us a fantastic recipe. Guess what it has in it. GUESS.

ANTS ON A TREE, aka, ma yi shang shu.

(Note, this does not contain real ants.)

(Though I guess you could add in real ants.)

Get yourself a package of dried bean thread noodles. Get them in a bowl with four cups of very hot water. They’ll go soft as your dreams of being an Olympic athlete. Let them sit for five minutes, then pull them out, rinse them, set them aside to think about what they’ve done.

In a skillet – I’m supposed to say, IN YOUR WOK, but I don’t have a wok, how dare you judge me – so in a skillet, let’s warm up a little oil, I like unprocessed coconut oil for the flavor, but you do whatever kind of oil you want. Canola, vegetable, suntan lotion, the unguent squeezed from mythical creatures, whatever.

Add in: ground pork. One pound.

Cook until browned.

Add in: three minced garlic cloves.

Add in: two minced shallots

Add in: four TBsp grated/minced ginger

Continue to cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Don’t burn the garlic because burned garlic makes the CULINARY GODS mad, and then they’ll send real ants to your house.

In a separate bowl, mix up:

  • 2 TBsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 TBsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of chicken stock




(yes, that’s a part of the recipe)

(buy INVASIVE or your food will taste like ash and sadness)

Ahem, anyway. Sorry. Put this mix into the skillet. Let it boil, which as a sidenote is a lesser-known and ill-regarded Christmas song. “Let it boil, let it boil, let it boil. Oh the water in the pot is frightful, put your hand inside to be spiteful—“

After a couple minutes, put in the noodles.

Cook until a lot of the liquid is absorbed.

And until the noodles are as glassy as the eyes of a stoned college student.

Add in: 2 TBsp sesame oil, and two scallions (sliced)

Stir in, and eat.

The end.


Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean SpiritsThe Cormorant, Blightborn (Heartland Book #2), Heartland Book #3, Dinocalypse Forever, Frack You, and The Hellsblood Bride. Also coming soon is his compilation book of writing advice from this very blog: The Kick-Ass Writer, coming from Writers Digest.

He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife,  dogs, and tiny human. You can find him on Twitter and at


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