Book Bites: Alex R. White and A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe

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

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes |Indiebound | Powells

I met Alex White a few years ago at World Fantasy, Columbus, when their fab agent Connor Goldsmith introduced us. Even then, they had the universe on their mind. This super-smart person contains multitudes, and a part of that — their new novel — is headed to bookshelves this week.

I’m so glad Alex is joining Book Bites to talk about A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (out from Orbit tomorrow)! Welcome Alex and happy book birthday soon!

I have a travel-heavy job, and I intend to eat my way from one side of the Earth to the other. So when I sold my first book to Solaris, I knew exactly what I was going to do with a substantial portion of my advance: eat at a Michelin 3-Star restaurant. I researched for ages, and eventually settled on Saison in San Francisco. I called up Gail Carriger, and she agreed to accompany me on the food adventure of a lifetime.

At the end of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, these two famous race car drivers go out for a celebratory meal, and I tried my best to capture what we experienced at the masterful hands of Chef Joshua Skenes.

Nilah Brio, the main character, is from a predominantly vegetarian world, so Saison’s beet dish was foremost on my mind. The beet was so tender, so perfectly bloody that I thought it was a steak. They’d smoked it for over a week.

The first course arrived: gabbar confit, with a Norlan crema sauce and sprinkled smoked sugar. The plates were tiny works of art, with the blood-red gabbar fruit swirling against the chartreuse crema. It was the perfect vegetarian cuisine, ideally suited to Nilah’s tastes, yet neither of them lifted a utensil.

My ultra-talented spouse, Renee White, created this delightful beet sous-vide/confit based upon my descriptions of the fictional gabbar fruit. It blew my mind, and you’ll love it, too!

A Beet Ship at the Edge of the Universe

by Renee White


  • Beets
  • Enough Olive Oil to cover beets in a saucepan
  • Honeycrisp Apples
  • 1 squirt Lemon juice
  • 1 Avocado
  • 3 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 TBS Sunflower butter
  • 1 TBS Marmite
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • ~ 2 TBS apple juice
  • Smoked Salt
  • Cardamom

Beet Prep

  1. Peel beets. Cook, submerged in oil between 160-180 degrees F for 1 hr 15 min.
  2. Remove and set aside to cool. Wipe off excess oil when cool enough to handle.

Avocado Cream

  1. With an electric mixer, beat together one avocado and 3 oz cream cheese, salt, and cardamom.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip up 1 cup heavy cream and a pinch of cardamom into medium peaks. Fold whipped cream into avocado mixture and transfer to a piping bag.

Savory sauce

  1. Mix together Sunflower butter, Marmite, brown sugar, soy sauce, apple juice. You can cook over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, or microwave it.
  2. Before serving, slice an apple in slices as thin as you can get without slicing your fingers off.
  3. Arrange in any way you see fit, fancy pants 🙂

Alex White was born and raised in the American south. They take photos, write music and spend hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. They value challenging and subversive writing, but they’ll settle for a good time.

In the shadow of rockets in Huntsville, Alabama, Alex lives and works as an experience designer with their spouse, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. Favored pastimes include Legos and racecars. They take their whiskey neat and their espresso black.

Alex is the author of THE SALVAGERS book series (Orbit, 2018), a magical space opera treasure hunt beginning with A BIG SHIP AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE; ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE (Titan, 2018) (yes, THAT Alien); and EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW (Solaris, 2016), a dystopian Southern American yarn.


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s