Cookbooks inspired by television shows have become a genre unto themselves. And with the holidays coming up, now is a great time to experiment in the kitchen. And why not make some dishes from your favorite shows, movies, and even video games? The holidays are bound to look a little bit different this year. Many of us are still in quarantine, and unable to see friends and family. But that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge ourselves and make some dishes that would otherwise not be acceptable on the holiday table.
Back in the before times – when we were allowed to gather together indoors – I used to throw lavish feasts at my television viewing parties. I became renowned for my legendary Game of Thrones feasts. Sometimes people who weren’t even fans of the show would come just to get a slice of that sweet (and savory) pork pie. Also for the Red Wedding I made bread and salt and forced everyone who came to eat it so they would be “safe under my roof.” Fortunately everyone made it out alive.
None of these feasts would truly have been possible however, if it weren’t for some excellent cookbooks that I’ve acquired over the years. So go ahead and treat yourself to a geeky holiday feast, you’ve earned it. If you’re wondering where to start, we have rounded up the top 8 cookbooks inspired by our favorite genre shows and movies.
A Feast of Ice and Fire
Image via Penguin Random House
Ah, one of the genre cookbooks that started it all. A Feast of Ice and Fire is the official cookbook for Game of Thrones. It even has a foreword written by George R.R. Martin himself, because we all know he has nothing better to do. Game of Thrones is one of those series that would be significantly shorter if the author simply cut down his lavish descriptions of food and feasting. But where would be the fun in that?
The cookbook was born out of the popular Inn At The Crossroads fan site for Game of Thrones. You can still find many of the recipes online, although some are now exclusive to the cookbook itself. The authors scoured the books to pull dishes from the many feasts held in the series. Each recipe has an epigraph with text from the book describing the dish. The authors take an unique approach to each recipe, providing both a medieval and modern version of the recipe.
There are many excellent recipes in this book but trust me, you’re going to want to make the pork pie. It is the perfect centerpiece for any holiday table, if you’re sick of turkey or plain old ham.
Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook
Image via Harper Collins
Doctor Who has been around for so long that it is no surprise that the show has its own cookbook. However, Doctor Who isn’t really known for its food. With a few obvious exceptions. These dishes are often more inspired by the show, than actually drawn from it directly.
Pick up this cookbook to figure out how to make fish fingers and custard, or the ever popular jelly babies. The recipes in here vary wildly between incredibly simple and extremely complicated, so make sure you read the directions carefully. The Doctor Who cookbook is also very heavy on the dessert (guess the Doctor has a sweet tooth). So this is a great option for your after-dinner treats.
The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook
Image via Simon & Schuster
Did someone steal your sweetroll? Well now you have the opportunity to make more, with the official Elder Scrolls Cookbook. Cooking food has become a popular mechanic in video games in recent years. Consuming food is essential to restoring health, or providing you with some sweet sweet buffs. We can’t promise that any of these recipes will make you damage resistant, or increase your stamina. But we can promise that they will be delicious.
Learn how to make the famous sweetrolls from Skyrim, along with Apple Cabbage Stew, boiled creme treats, and S’Jirra’s Famous Potato Bread. These rustic recipes draw inspiration from the many locations and cuisines of the Elder Scrolls games all across Tamriel. The straightforward recipes are relatively simple for any home cook, and the beautiful images will have you hungry for more.
Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook
Image via Titan Publishing
The popular Joss Whedon show Firefly may have only lasted for one season on air, but it is still inspiring legions of fans to this day. The layout for the cookbook clearly labels the difficulty for each recipe so you can approach each dish according to your skill level.
The cookbook inspired by the show is true to the roots of the series, with many dishes leaning towards Asian flavor. Five-spice is a key ingredient in many of these recipes, so make sure you pick some up from your local grocery. Learn how to make Mudder’s Milk; shoo-fly pie, bao buns, and even some cocktails like the Gunpowder Gimlet. Put on your brown coats and have yourself a Firefly holiday feast.
Image via Penguin Random House
Another show that I once held viewing party feasts for is Outlander. Author Diana Gabaldon is another one who spends a lot of time describing the food of each era. Since Outlander is a time-travel show, there are recipes from 1800’s Scotland, as well as from the more ‘modern’ era. Protagonist Claire Randall Fraser once described the food of 1800’s Scotland as either terribly delicious, or just plain terrible. Well we are happy to report that these recipes fall firmly in the delicious category.
The cookbook author has also taken care to do her research on what foods would have been available and edible during the time periods featured. Not just one of our favorite genre cookbooks – this is also a great resource for authentic Scottish recipes. Learn how to make a tipsy Laird trifle (I hope you like whiskey!) along with some French classics like Coq Au Vin. And of course no Scottish feast would be complete without alcohol, and the Outlander cookbook has plenty of cocktails for you to experiment with.
This is another cookbook that was born out of a popular fan site, so you can also check out Outlander Kitchen online for recipes. And if you like this cookbook, there is a sequel out now Outlander Kitchen: To The New World And Back Again. The second cookbook features recipes from Colonial America, along with more Scottish classics.
Supernatural: The Official Cookbook
Image via Simon & Schuster
Although the popular show Supernatural is soon coming to an end, you can relive some of its best moments with this official cookbook. These recipes are inspired by the many diner meals that the Winchester brothers ate over the course of the series. So that means most of the recipes are fairly simple to follow and eat. Learn how to make some diner-worthy burgers and fries, along with pies and angel food cake. No need for a road trip when you have the Supernatural cookbook handy!
The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide
Image via Simon & Schuster
A bit of a twist on genre cookbooks is the official Walking Dead tome. It features dishes from the show such as Carl’s pudding; Carol Peletier’s baked goods, and Hershel’s spaghetti. But this cookbook is also a survival guide, with tips on how to eat during an apocalypse. The survival guide features expert advice on how to forage for food, hunt wild game, and cook over an open fire in dire circumstances. And with the world feeling pretty apocalyptic right now, this might be a good time to learn some of these skills.
Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook
Image via Hachette Books
Star Wars is another franchise that isn’t really known for its culinary delights. So that means that the recipes in this book are inspired by the films, rather than drawing directly from them. Gear up for plenty of punny names like the titular Wookie Cookies, along with Jabba Jiggle, Greedo’s Burritos, and Han-Burgers. This is a cookbook for all ages so get your kids involved and have a geeky holiday feast as you sit down to watch the upcoming Lego Star Wars Holiday Special.
So go ahead and treat yourself to a geeky holiday feast this season with some delicious recipes from your favorite shows, movies, and video games. What are your favorite genre cookbooks? Let us know by joining the conversation with Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today!
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.