cooking the books

Beneath Ceaseless Pies: Cooking the Books with Editor Scott H. Andrews


Beneath Ceaseless Skies Best of Year Five

Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine began in 2008, when Scott H. Andrews noticed a need for more venues that celebrated secondary world short fiction. (And we’re very glad he did!) When you visit their website (repeatedly,) you’ll learn: “Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online magazine of “literary adventure fantasy”:  fantasy set in secondary-world or historical settings, with a literary focus on the characters.  BCS […] was named Runner-Up for the Million Writers Award for Best New Online Magazine of the year, and in six years has published over 335 stories and 140 audio fiction podcasts.  BCS has been a finalist for two Hugo Awards, one British Science Fiction Association Award, two Parsec podasting awards, two Aurealis Awards, and four World Fantasy Awards, and stories from BCS have won the Aurealis Award and the World Fantasy Award.”

This month, Scott H. Andrews joins us to talk about pie — from lemon and bourbon pies to chocolate tofu pie –, editing, his favorite food and beverage pairings with BCS stories, and much more. (more…)

The Infamous Lasagna Scene: Cooking the Books with Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg

Welcome to Nene Ormes, Cooking the Books International Correspondent! 

Hello dear listeners!

This is the first Cooking the Books out of Sweden and I, your constantly curious gourmonaut, had the opportunity to travel to Stockholm to visit with Sara B Elfgren and Mats Strandberg. Together they not only served me tea and a proper tray of seven cookies for fika, they have also written the Engelsfors-triology and that in turn have swept over the world. We spent a lovely half hour chatting about how teenage witches deal with normal school life, family and food when they’re not trying to stop the end of the world. We stumble along in English and hope that you all have patience with us. So pour yourself a cup of something nice and welcome to take fika with us!


A manifeasto from Nene Ormes, new Cooking the Books Correspondent

This summer, Malmo, Sweden-based author and foodie Nene Ormes and I were talking about food (as one does) and fiction (ditto). I mentioned to her my desire to widen the table at Cooking the Books. Her response was brilliant and delicious, as you might expect. I’m so pleased to share with you the news that Nene will be joining Cooking the Books, bringing tasty literary treats from Scandanavia now and then.

we are very excited.

Without further ado, I would like to introduce the wonderful Nene Ormes by letting her tell you a little about herself.

Cooking the Books goes to Scandinavia, or a Manifeasto

By Nene Ormes (twitter / blog)

When asked about Swedish food culture I immediately reach for the old things, the festive things, the feast of old. We see a lot of it represented in books and movies, in fairytale and myth. (more…)

Magic Wants to Be Fed: Cooking the Books with Robin Hobb

This summer, I met Robin Hobb at Loncon3. We were both on a great food politics panel and she is as lovely and charming in person as you can imagine. When I asked her later if she’d join Cooking the Books for an interview, I knew my chances were slim, given that she’s hard at work on the new book – but she said yes. Everyone wins!

Robin is the bestselling author of short stories, books, and fantasy series including the Farseer trilogy, The Liveship Traders trilogy, and The Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Knowing that Robin has many loyal fans, I offered the lovely folks at reddit/fantasy a chance to join me in interviewing her. What follows are her fantastic answers to the questions we put together — please join me in welcoming Robin Hobb to the November Cooking the Books!

CTB: From the start of the Farseer Trilogy, Fitz’s status changes seem marked by where he eats (or is left to await food) – was this something you plotted out or something that happened naturally? Fitz’s observation ‘that food served in the kitchen was warmer than that served in the hall’ is quite wonderful – was that a reflection on the burdens of status?


It’s Hard to Fish from an Airship: Cooking the Books with Rajan Khanna

A year ago, Rajan Khanna and I read together at a New York Review of Science Fiction reading, curated by Amy Goldshlager.

Rajan read from Falling Sky, and the passage I heard was amazing. Earlier this month, Rajan joined Cooking the Books for a podcast answering all sorts of questions about post-apocalyptic cuisine.

To hear Rajan yourself, hurry to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC, where he’ll be reading on Thursday, November 6 from 2:30-3pm, or head to the December KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading in Manhattan, where he and author Steven Gould will join forces for an evening of … fantastic fiction.

You can read an excerpt from Falling Sky at

Or, should you desire, you can hear him talk about Falling Sky right now, on the latest installment of the Cooking the Books podcast. (more…)

How to Cook a Shimmer: Cooking the Books with E. Catherine Tobler

This month, Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome guest cook E. Catherine Tobler. A Sturgeon Award finalist and a cupcake connoisseur, Tobler has Senior Editor at Shimmer Magazine.  Elise asked if we would like to know how a Shimmer is made, and we, of course, said yes.  (previous Cooking the Books collaborations with SF/F magazines include A. C. Wise presenting How To Brew a Bugzine.)

Shimmer Badgers hard at work.

Shimmer Badgers hard at work.

It is a well known fact that Shimmer cannot be found in the wild and does not grow on trees. Shimmer is only brought to fruition through a careful nurturing and monitoring process, which involves practices we are revealing here for the first time. Just as last year we bravely exposed the horrors of slush-reading badgers, we are now opening the door upon Shimmer’s very own badgers, and how they cook Shimmer.

(Please note that all badgers are supervised and wear hair nets while in the Shimmer kitchens. Their paws are washed in fresh spring waters after their hourly romps in the clover meadows. They are never unsupervised while stoking the Shimmer Ovens of Industry. Except that one time, which this article is not exploring.) (more…)

The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

If trapped aboard an airship, with only a tin of cinnamon, a pinch of yeast, and a bag of somewhat questionable flour, our heroine, author Beth Cato would unquestionably come up with delicious baked goods in time to destroy her enemies. We are certain of that.

Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome Beth on the day her book, The Clockwork Dagger, debuts!

(You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at

Beth joins us to talk about the research that went into the book, especially regarding food, politics, transport, medicine, and gremlins.

Thanks to Beth, you can score the very ARC written by Beth that was then gently read by us in preparation for this interview. This ARC is experienced, in good condition, and comes with your very own Cooking the Books Con Ribbon as a bookmark. (Yep, we’re making you read to the end for the entry terms. We were not born yesterday.)

So! Grab your goggles and your traveling-case, adventurers! And bring a good appetite, because Beth’s shared her recipe for maple fudge, as well as the story behind that fudge’s connection with The Clockwork Dagger.

Everyone armed with their weapon of choice? (more…)

That’s Craft with a ‘C': Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone’s fiction mixes modern economic theory with thaumaturgy, necromancy with bankruptcy laws, and his characters draw you into their world before you realize the dangers involved. Talking to Max is a bit similar – you never know where you’ll end up. Be well assured, it will be mindblowing. Max joined the Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate his new book in the Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, just out from Tor.

The ingredients for podcast #003 – Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone include:

  • 10% stone golems
  • 3 times the Recommended Daily Amount of artificial gods
  • The best street food money can’t buy
  • What to eat when you’re stuck at the office and still living
  • 2 Dragon Steaks
  • Island economics and class divides
  • One box of Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • Seasoned with Anime, Loncon, and the John W. Campbell awards
  • Plus Max’s new story, The Angelus Guns


Lessons from the Portuguese: Cooking the Books with J. Kathleen Cheney

Very excited to have author J. Kathleen Cheney join Cooking the Books today! She’s here to talk about Portuguese cooking and the Golden City, where magical beings have been banned for decades, though many live there in secret.

Kathleen, welcome! Tell us a little about The Golden City and The Seat of Magic — is there a close cultural analog in the world?

The Golden City and The Seat of Magic are set in an alternate Portugal, in what would be the city of Porto, although a somewhat altered version.

What kind of research did you do on that culture?

To research that culture, I did a lot of reading, not only of history, but also period fiction from Portugal (Eça de Queirós and Camões, for example), guide books, cookbooks. Among other things, I tried cooking several recipes from those Portuguese cookbooks. And then we visited the country, spending two weeks in Portugal back in 2012, which was absolutely wonderful. (more…)

Blue Goo in Space – Cooking the Books with Adam Christopher

Is Adam Christopher as charming as he is prolific? Today, you have the opportunity to find out! Born in New Zealand, now living in England, Adam is the author of Empire State (Angry Robot, 2012), Hang Wire (Angry Robot, 2012), Seven Wonders (Angry Robot, 2012), The Age Atomic (Angry Robot, 2013), and most recently, The Burning Dark (Tor, 2014). He has a number of books upcoming as well, including the LA Trilogy, and The Burning Dark‘s sequel: The Machine Awakes (Tor, 2015)

Adam joins Cooking the Books for our second podcast episode to discuss The Burning Dark as well as his novelette Brisk Money, coming to Tor.Com in July.

(UPDATE: there’s a giveaway going on through Monday – details in the comments!)

Want to know what you’re getting into before you press play? Here are the ingredients: