Book Review: Ad Astra – The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook edited by Cat Rambo and Fran Wilde

vutlu’meH QaQ jajvam!

Which is, of course, Klingon for “Today is a Good Day to Cook!” and seems fitting for this collection of party food recipes from a group of folks who are known for their love of good times as well as sitting alone in front of screens, writing.

Despite many fanciful titles (Doom Cookies, Alien Scones, etc.), the recipes are real-life and (mostly) tasty-sounding contributions for party food and drinks.  The focus on host-made or potluck dishes keeps the collection from flying off into the wild black yonder.  There is something for every taste here: sweet, savory, indulgent and health-conscious.  Although, given that these are science fiction and fantasy authors, they tend toward the “What the heck! It’s a party!”  end of the spectrum.

As the contributors are authors rather than chefs, the recipes tend to be of the sort that include the contents of cans and frozen packets; so much so that one is astonished at the first line of Marianne Porter and Michael Swanwick’s instructions, “Bone a chicken.”  This recipe’s head note mentions that it was submitted to and published in Gourmet Magazine (though not under the title “Metaphysically Areferential Chicken”)!

Some of the pleasure of browsing this book consists of finding glimpses into the lives of favorite authors.  Spider Robinson’s four-page description of exactly how he makes an omelette reveals a scary-size attention to detail; Brenda Clough’s “Cheating on Croquembouche” is an engineer’s construction manual in miniature.  I’d like to have watched as she essayed it. I have added it to my bucket list of things to make at least once.

Many recipes reflect the lifestyles of impecunious authors; pasta, chicken and ground beef tend to dominate for crowd-feeding dishes, although Joe and Gay Haldeman’s “Boozy Beef” calls for filet mignon and bourbon.  The best-seller list is a good place to be!

To the credit of the editors, they have corralled the inevitable metaphorical “recipes” which infest many collective cookbooks onto the last few pages, in a section of “SFWA Specialties.”  Even so, only two are frankly infeasible for our planet – and who but a goblin would want to eat an elf, anyway?

ad astra cover

About Judy

I have been cooking and eating all my life. I help run the Olney Farmers and Artists Market in Olney, Maryland, arrange their weekly chef demos and blog from that website ( on Market matters. This personal blog is for all things foodie: cookbooks, products, restaurants, eating.
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One Response to Book Review: Ad Astra – The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook edited by Cat Rambo and Fran Wilde

  1. Pingback: Ad Astra Cookbook Part of Humble Bundle to Support Charity! | Fran Wilde

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