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Literary Cookbooks for the Holidays

Mandy Carrico
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Holiday dish

Consider adding a literary twist to your holiday get-togethers this year. (Photo courtesy of Giles Gasper)

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

It’s holiday time and for many of us it means hosting: hosting family, hosting friends, hosting office parties. With all the festivities, the typical eggnog, ciders, fruit cakes,and deviled eggs may get old after a few parties. To liven things up, why not put a literary twist on your goodies? Not only will it break the holiday food pattern, but it can be a great conversation piece to kick off a connection among your assembled guests. Below are four cookbooks that promise to have the guests moaning in scrumptious delight over the savory bites from their favorite fictional settings and debating on whether Jamie Fraser can take Jon Snow in a sword fight.

Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders combines the tale of Claire and Jamie Fraser with the delicacies of their historic adventure through the Scottish Highlands, The French Revolution and more. With an endorsing foreword by Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, novice and experienced cooks alike can transport their guests to the feasting halls of Castle Leoch. 

Traveling back even further in time takes us to the foodie landscape of playwright William Shakespeare. Francine Segan’s cookbook Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook features dishes that go beyond the image-inducing mutton and giant turkey leg that comes with that time period. Recipes in their original form and old style spellings follow the updated versions fit for modern kitchens. Pair that detail with Shakespearean quotes and facts and customs about the time period and you can get a rich experience of that era. 

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook leaves the historic realm altogether and lets guests dine in the Seven Kingdoms. Inspired by medieval meals, the book provides modern updates such as food substitutions for pigeons, the now-extinct aurochs and the never-existed dragon eggs. The recipes are divided by region so your guests can delight in one or travel them all. 

No party is complete without the cocktails! Tim Federle’s Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist is a perfect addition to any gathering. With fun concoctions such as Love in the Time of Kahlua, Drankenstein and The Last of the Mojitos, your guests can clink glasses, discuss books, and applaud you for your inventive hosting skills because the classics just got way more fun.

Other literary-inspired cookbooks for parties of all ages:

  • True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps by Gianna Sobol
  • 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
  • Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook: Recipes inspired by Dr. Seuss by Georgeanne Brennan

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