Back in March, I made a post about some of the nerdy cookbooks we have in our collection here at VPL. Since then, we’ve added more, and there were options that I just didn’t mention the first time around. The last time around, I highlighted some books that did a little of everything and a couple that focused on gaming. This time I’ve ended up with two based on shows and one on… kind of a show? More of a personality. But before I launch into the full three-course meal, let’s start with some hours-d’oeuvres, the books that either didn’t make it to me in time or that I just feel need a quick mention.
First up, the one that didn’t make it: Heroes’ Feast, the official Dungeons & Dragons Cookbook. Would I have wanted to make some halfling dishes? Maybe find out what Dragonborn eat? Or try some cuisine eaten by Drow in the Underdark? Whatever I would have made would likely spice up a game night. If you’re a D&D fan, throw a hold on this and roll your percentile dice to see what recipe you should cook from it.
It should be no surprise to anyone who has read my posts that I am a nerd and proud of it! I mean, my very first post was about science, math and humour. A 100+ hour video game made my best-of-2022 list. And I’m a Librarian who loves reading books about Libraries, so how’s that for a niche interest? Something only those who have read my bio will know, though, is that I’m a baker1. Combining these passions led to scouring the catalogue for nerdy cookbooks to share with our readers, which I found way more of than I anticipated. We’ve got cookbooks for Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, Outlander, and even Alice in Wonderland. And those are just single-media cookbooks. Read on past the break to see a plethora of options that are sure to hit something you’re passionate about and give you ideas for a delicious, nerdy night in. Also, there might be some pictures of my attempt at one of the dishes.
In 1947, children across Canada went on a chocolate bar strike to protest the 60% overnight rise of the price of candy bars from 5 cents to 8 cents, which, kudos to them for banding together and trying to affect change*, but it does make you wonder: how does pushing down the price of a commodity such as chocolate work out for everyone along the supply chain? If it’s anything like coffee, I’m going to hazard a guess that the answer is: not well.
For all that chocolate is ubiquitous and beloved**, to the point that children back in ’47 expected it not to be a luxury good but an affordable treat that should be readily available and affordable, what it comes from, where it comes from, how it’s processed – all of this and more are fairly removed from the final product. I don’t think I knew until very recently that anything other than the cacao seeds were edible from the pod, that the stuff encasing the cacao seeds isn’t a useless byproduct but a refreshing treat in its own right (and possibly the reason that the cacao fruit was picked up by people in the first place, since the seeds are bitter and wouldn’t have been immediately appealing, in theory). And if you were to ask me where cacao was grown, I’d probably have known to say Ghana, but not Côte d’Ivoire, nor immediately think of South America despite that being the provenance of chocolate (Ecuador and Brazil being the big contributors as far as cacao farming goes; I think the idea that we have the Mayans or the Aztecs to thank for chocolate is fairly widespread^*), though I’d probably have said India (thanks only to this spice company). If you’re thinking that maybe I just know a bit less than the average person about chocolate (or geography, or history), that’s probably fair – my knowledge of geography and history in general is abysmal – but which of the following would you wager is more strongly associated with chocolate? Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, Brazil and Ecuador, or Belgium and Switzerland (as in Belgian and Swiss chocolate)?