Of Mangoes and Radium: Cooking the Books with Brooke Bolander

Macmillan | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Brooke Bolander first captured our attention with the gorgeous short story “Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring” (2012, Lightspeed) and she hasn’t let it go since. Now with vivid stories like And You Shall Know Her By Her Trail of Dead, Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, and Sundogs (to name a few) under her belt, Brooke’s novella, “The Only Harmless Great Thing” has arrived in glowing fashion. It’s a stunningly mesmerizing work and we’re so pleased to have Brooke with us to talk about elephants, radium girls, Coney Island, alternate histories, and dreamscapes.

It’s all  for Cooking the Books this month, both here and at the extension kitchen over at The Booksmugglers! (check out Bo’s Booksmugglers Bonus answers!).

This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #034: Of Mangoes and Radium – Cooking the Books with Brooke Bolander contains:

  • An elephant hotel
  • The effects of radium poisoning
  • Coney Island and Luna Park attractions
  • The Truth About Edison
  • How words feel in the mouth
  • sushi, especially uni
  • Something bittersweet, to go with the book, and maybe a little bit green


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

And visit additional Cooking the Books content over on the The Booksmugglers!

(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer who helps clean up the CtB kitchen after we destroy it…)

Podcast #034: Of Mangoes and Radium – Cooking the Books with Brooke Bolander


For those Cooking the Books fans over 21, Brooke has created a beverage recipe that’s highly relevant to our discussion: 

COCKTAIL RECIPETOPSY’S ADIEU 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz Saler’s Apertif
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-lime curd (recipe below)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup/rich syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and dry shake (without ice) vigorously until combined. Add ice and shake some more until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and enjoy!

Lime-ginger curd:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, unsalted

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a saucepan until combined. Add the lime juice and ginger juice and stir until they’re combined as well.

Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly (if you don’t, the eggs in the mixture will cook and you’ll have some super-funky dessert scramble) until the mixture thickens to a custardy consistency.

Trust me, it is way, way simpler than it sounds. Custard is the easiest thing in the world to make, so long as you don’t stop whisking.

Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.

Pass through a fine mesh strainer; you’re probably gonna have a bit of cooked egg white in there no matter what you do and this will take care of that.

Transfer to a jar and let cool before using in the cocktail or just eating by the spoonful; this is a no-judgment zone.

Even if you’re not a drinker, you’re probably gonna enjoy this stuff if you in any way dig tart sugary things.

Thanks again for having me on! ~ Bo


Brooke Bolander writes weird things of indeterminate genre, most of them leaning rather heavily towards fantasy or general all-around weirdness. She attended the University of Leicester 2004-2007 studying History and Archaeology and is an alum of the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. Her stories have been featured in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, UncannyTor.com, and various other fine purveyors of the fantastic. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards, much to her unending bafflement. She can be reached at her website (brookebolander.com) or on Twitter @BBolander.


Cooking the Books is a mostly-monthly podcast hosted by Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard.

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