Cooking the Books

Cooking the Books with Brooke Bolander

Happy Thursday and welcome to a brand new monthly feature in partnership with Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard’s Cooking the Books Podcast!


Today’s guest is Brooke Bolander, talking to Aliette and Fran about her awesome new novella The Only Harmless Great Thing.


Here at the extension kitchen, we have bonus Q&A content:

The Book Smugglers: What’s your favorite food scene from (an SFF) movie, tv show, or book?

Brooke Bolander: I know you’ve specifying just one, but basically any and all food scenes from Studio Ghibli flicks are my fave. That honey tea and ramen S?suke’s mom makes during the tsunami in Ponyo? Oh yeah. The cursed buffet Chihiro’s parents gobble down in Spirited Away? Worth turning into a pig for. The breakfasts in Howl’s Moving Castle? I’d tolerate my cookfire being voiced by Billy Crystal for those bacon and eggs without a second thought. Animated meals often have a habit of reflecting the True Foodness of food better than the real thing; you’re never going to taste honey as good as the stuff in Pooh’s pot looks. Studio Ghibli sort of exemplifies this phenomenon, repeatedly and reliably.

Oh, and the ice cream Laura Dern scarfs in Jurassic Park, because you know when John Hammond says he’s spared no expense he damn well means it.

The Book Smugglers: Let’s play Marry/Kiss/Kill, but with food.

Brooke Bolander:

Marry: Sushi. Any kind. Fancy uni from Michelin-starred restaurants, eel rolls from the deli section of a Target, it all goes down the hatch (except for the frozen food rolls someone gave me once, but that’s a tale of horror for another time and could not rightly be called sushi anyways, being a mockery of both God and man and quite possibly the very idea of agriculture that had led to its creation).

I could live off raw fish, honey and berries for the rest of my life. Warning: I may actually be a bear.

Kiss: The breakfast bagel sandwich from Absolute Bagel on West 108th & Broadway. It is not something you should eat every day, or even WANT to eat every day, but when I have made Mistakes the night previous and lived to regret them, it is the sovereign (if only temporary) ruler of my heart.

Kill: Calf liver. I am not picky about what I’ll chow down on–I’ve eaten alligator and squirrel and jellyfish and all manner of interesting stuff–but a thing that tastes like mothballs and your grandmother’s bad dreams with the texture of chalk left out in a particularly damp Louisiana summer is not a thing my body will allow itself to ingest without some serious complaints to the manager.


Go over to the main kitchen to check out the full episode and to listen to the whole interview!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.