Why settle for a plain old non-magical meal? I’m not talking about a sous-vide egg here, although we can certainly help if you’re into that. I’m talking about home cooking like Bilbo used to make. If you’ve ever cracked a speculative page, then you know that food figures prominently in these kinds of books. Time to dig in like your favorite heroes with these sci-fi and fantasy cookbooks.
Alice in Matchaland: A Japanese Green Tea Cookbook and Adventure by Mosoko Miyatsuki and Manga University
The best part about this manga-ized Alice in Wonderland adaptation is the part where it straight up states that “Alice never was very good at the rabbit-chasing thing.” Too true! However, by the end of this book, she’ll be able to make a mean matcha tea, as well as a matcha cheesecake and a green tea blancmange. YES A BLANCMANGE, and you can completely pull it off.
Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook by Paul Yee and Judi Chan
Ideal for kids, this book will walk you though the basics of rice porridge and lettuce wraps while enchanting you with relevant stories. As a librarian, I can’t stop thinking of the educational potential here for parents, teachers and storytellers. What’s better than a story about buckwheat cakes? Listening while you eat actual buckwheat cakes.
Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel
OK: so Inara’s recipe for Shimmerwine includes…edible gold dust. But that’s Inara for you! Recipes from each crew member will bring you right into Serenity’s homey kitchen area. Plus, if you’ve never made bao, Zoe has a recipe that’s appropriately kickass. Incidentally, each contribution is written in the character’s authentic voice.
Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook: A Useful And Improving Almanack of Information Including Astonishing Recipes by Terry Pratchett
Nanny Ogg dishes out both life advice and something called Strawberry Wobbler in this Discworld grammery of food, as is appropriate and correct for respectable fantasy cookbooks. Many recipes, such as Rincewind’s Potato Cakes and The Librarian’s Recipe For Bananas, reference Discworld characters and events directly. (For non-simians, the librarian’s directions for his signature dish are simply “take one banana.”) However, others are simply emblematic of how Nanny Ogg conducts her life and business. The Dried Frog Pills are, thankfully, both frog-free and not pills.
Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders and Diana Gabaldon
Historically and culturally accurate, this book will tell you—finally, at last, and thank Cthulhu—tell you what to do with leeks other than put them in potato soup. You also get some relevant excerpts from the books, which is fun. After all, this is an official companion cookbook.
An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery by Chris-Rachael Oseland
Now for some maverick unofficial recipes! Hobbits love food, so they natch love cookbooks. This one outlines all of the hobbitish meals you can expect to enjoy and appropriate fare. (Elevenses should be breads and pastries. It’s just to tide you over until luncheon.) The likes of strawberry and cream bread, stewed rabbit, and homemade lamb broth reinforce the fact that Tolkien based hobbit fare on rural English staples. Plus, haven’t you always wanted to make rabbit stew?
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory—More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike by Dinah Bucholz
As fantasy cookbooks go, this one is extensive! It’s OK if you don’t have treacle—you can substitute molasses. That’s just one of the many legitimately helpful hints located in the front matter of this fun cookbook, which is kind of a bonus. Initially, this book caught my eye for pumpkin pasties, because I believe in the power of pumpkin for all problems, but underneath the gimmick it’s actually a solid cookbook appropriate for brave beginners.
The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson and Yunhee Kim
There’s so much to love about this. Deep in my most secret heart of hearts, I love survivalist stuff. This book feeds that interest right up front: before you get to food recipes, you’ll get a recipe for a bug-out bag and cache-making instructions. The recipes later in the book include the kind of stuff you might be forced to eat on the run, like Squirrel Piquante, Deer Jerky, and Foraged Berry Cobbler. As an added bonus—because you’re going to need a drink when the world ends—there’s a well-stocked cabinet of booze recipes near the end.