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The Final Culinary Frontier: The Star Trek Cook Book by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

28 Sep


I have at times been disappointed by some cookbooks based on popular TV shows, books, or movies due to not having food that actually feels like it comes from that world, but instead just having food items with cleverly titled names, but no connection to the franchise itself.  The Star Trek Cook Book by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, however, truly feels immersive.  Dishes are listed by the alien species whose planet originated the dish and it is explained that the earth ingredients are substitutions for hard to find off planet ones.  Dishes included resemble those from a variety of earth cuisines and have a sprinkling of molecular gastronomy type techniques that give the dishes a futuristic feel like the Porakan Cloud Eggs which have you separating chicken eggs, beating the whites, and then combining them again when baked for a dish that “replicates the unique properties” of the Porakan variety.  Large full color illustrations are included with each dish. 

I’m planning to have a cocktail party with some of my Star Trek loving friends featuring Ferengi Tube Grub Skewers (don’t worry gnocchi stand in for grubs), Denobulan Sausages, and Klingon Krada Leg Skewers with libations including Klingon Bloodwine, Romulan Ale, and Risan Mai-Tais.  My son is particularly looking forward to helping me with the Starfleet Food Rations, which are suspiciously similar to mochi candy. 

Difficulty is cleverly measured in pips and the reader is given tips on what the recipe pairs well with as well as “diplomatic plating” suggestions.  Definitely recommended for Star Trek fans, even those who aren’t usually fans of cooking will smile over recipes like Spatchcocked Tribble.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for access to an early copy. Fantasy Foodies can check out a previous post featuring cookbooks based on Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and True Blood.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

New and Unique Fantasies: The Dawnhounds and Book of Night

15 Jun

The Dawnhounds
by Sacha Stronach

Sascha Stronach is a Maori author from Wellington, New Zealand, but has also spent time in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, which are reflected some in the immensely creative The DawnhoundsThe Dawnhounds is set in a post-apocalyptic world with previous technology that seems to mirror our own, but their modern technology revolves around biomechanical plant and fungus.  The story focuses on a former thief turned police officer, Yat, who has been banished to night shift due to her “delicate condition” of being bisexual.  One evening she is murdered under some shady circumstances but is brought back to life by a monkey god and aided by a pirate crew; it is then her adventures truly begin.  This might seem a lot going on, but I did not find the story difficult to follow and I still found Yat a sympathetic character despite the complex world building.  This is Stronach’s debut novel and if you are like me you will be glad to know this is the first in a series.

Book of Night
by Holly Black

Holly Black’s Book of Night features a world much like our own, save one significant detail magic, specifically shadow magic is real.  In her alternate reality people may have their shadows slightly augmented by adding horns, wings, and taking the shape of animals or shadows may be used for more devious purposes such as spying or controlling others.  The story focuses on Charlie Hall, nicknamed The Charlatan who was sucked into a life of thievery at an early age and is trying unsuccessfully to staying on the straight and narrow to help her younger sister have a better life.  Although I thought a central twist was fairly obvious, over all I enjoyed the creativity of Black’s dark fantasy world.  Black previously has been known for writing YA and Middle grade novels like the Folk of the Air Trilogy; hopefully we will see more innovative adult works from her in the future.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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