Wanna See Something REALLY Weird? (Angel in the Kitchen)


We’ve discussed in three previous installments the mystique of cookbooks, and compared certain aspects of the cookbook to the Bible. Before we shelve this topic, we want to cover the subject of unusual if not downright WEIRD cookbooks.

We mentioned in our last post that a group of science fiction authors, not the usual type of people who write cookbooks, collaborated on a collection of recipes and called it Cooking Out of this World. And like the plots in many of their novels, some of these recipes were pretty far-fetched. “Old Prospector’s Coffee” was totally outrageous, and the creator of that one humorously warned readers NOT to drink this nasty brew. But as far as bizarre cookbooks are concerned, this compilation of SF-related recipes was fairly run-of-the-mill.

Sometimes the thing that makes a cookbook truly weird, is it’s author. The renowned stage and film actor Vincent Price, who was unfairly typecast as the evil, often monstrous villain in a long string of horror movies, loved to cook and collect recipes from the many places he visited. Seeing the name of the man who scared us silly in such classics as The House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler, on the cover of a “book of cookery” seems a little bizarre — at first glance; but Price was a gentle and refined soul who loved good food, and was nothing like the “creepers” he portrayed.

We’re not sure we can say the same of John Poister’s The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook.  The author suggests that everything tastes better after you set it on fire. Seriously? Apart from recipes compiled by questionable cooks, there are also those that call for some rather nasty ingredients. We’re not fans of creepy-crawlies, so The Eat a Bug Cookbook: Real Recipes Using Beetles, Spiders, and Other Truly Unusual Ingredients, by David George Gordon, sends shivers up our spines — as well as feelings of nausea. Not quite as bad, but just as unappetizing, is “Buck” Peterson’s The Original Roadkill Cookbook, which features recipes for such “delicacies” as “Pavement Possum”! Since we have no desire to ever try these dishes, we’ll never know if they taste BAD; but we do know they are in BAD taste!

There are also several legitimate cookbooks out there that just SOUND bad. Cooking with Poo is one. It’s written by Saiyuud Diwong, and actually has nothing to do with what first comes to most minds — Khun Poo runs a famous Thai cooking school. And there are also cookbooks that call for unconventional cooking methods, such as Manifold Destiny, written by Chris Maynard and featuring recipes you cook on a hot automobile engine block!

There are plenty of other crazy cookbooks out there. Some are in such poor taste as to not be worth mentioning. And yeah, we KNOW that many of these are simply designed to be funny. But when there’s a really bad cookbook, written by someone who’s not a good cook and often not at all serious about food or its preparation, it can — pardon the pun — leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth. Even with legitimate cookbooks, if the recipes are too time-consuming or difficult to prepare, if they call for ingredients that are too exotic or too expensive, and if the resultant dish isn’t very palatable, it can be a real turnoff to people who genuinely want to learn more about the kitchen, cooking and different foods. Word of advice to would-be cookbook writers who know nothing about GOOD cooking: leave the subject alone. Please find another way to make your friends nauseous. We don’t need any more spurious recipes.

Haha, yeah, whatever.

The same can be said of the Bible. If you’re writing or speaking about God’s doctrines, be sure you yourself fully understand the truth of His Word. Be careful not to turn people off to the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Be a “sound copy” of God’s message, a “living epistle,” as the Apostle Paul called it. Face it, we’re the only “Bibles” some people will ever “read”!

And if you’re searching for information about God, read the ONLY “authorized” book on the subject — The Bible. Don’t take people’s opinions as gospel. Don’t take single passages of the Scriptures out of context. Don’t over emphasize a single verse, or try to use it to justify a bizarre doctrine or fringe denomination. Don’t listen to the half-truths of cults composed of misguided people. Don’t ignore a clear verse in order to be politically correct or to justify some personal philosophy you have. And please, don’t consult works of fiction, such as The Da Vinci Code, for truths about the Living God.

The best cooks learned from other good cooks.

Oh, and one last thing: it’s hard to learn how to cook just by consulting a cookbook. The best cooks learned from other good cooks. So find someone who’s learned to “rightly divide the Word of God” — and learn from them. Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, Missionaries and Sunday School Teachers are a great place to start. These people “hold classes” in churches and synagogues, and use The Bible as their textbook. These people can cook!

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that … some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1 NLT) “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” (Hebrews 13:9 NIV)  “Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” (2 Peter 3:17 NLT)


Many Motives for Countless Cookbooks (Angel in the Kitchen)


Like many people, we’re passionate about food. Yeah, that’s a euphemistic way of saying, “We love to eat!” — but our passion isn’t just prompted by our stomachs. We’re two information junkies. We’re also certified (certifiable?) bibliophiles, with a house filled with thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. Among our many books is an extensive and fascinating collection of publications surveying the history of food, dining, table customs, and related topics. And copious  cookbooks — including a few just too weird not to be wonderful, such as Cooking Out of this World, which collects recipes by famous science fiction writers. But our library of cookbooks is actually rather small compared to the collections of other, more fanatical aficionados.

People buy and collect cookbooks for a variety of reasons. (1) Some people actually want the recipes. We can appreciate this. Cookbooks offer a window on other cultures, and a door to trying other cuisines. These collectors, like us, probably love to cook and try new things. We previously mentioned the similarities between cookbooks and the Word of God, and the same reasoning applies to The Bible. The Holy Scriptures are filled with “recipes” for hope, peace, joy and security — basically everything we need for abundant life. The Bible also affords a window on another, spiritual, lifestyle. It’s essentially our door to eternal life.

(2) Some people buy cookbooks that tie into a special interest they share. There are historical cookbooks for history buffs, such as Lobscouse and Spotted Dog (recipes for foods served in Nelson’s Navy circa 1812); cookbooks that transport readers to other lands such as Thailand or the Mediterranean; cookbooks that connect to interesting subcultures or ethnic groups, such as Taste of Tremé: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’ Famous Neighborhood. Similarly, historians have read the Word of God to learn about Biblical times. And if anyone is interested in God’s spiritual subculture or the “ethnic” group we call the People of Faith, then look no further than the Bible.

(3) Sometimes readers are simply interested in the person who “wrote” the cookbook, assuming that person actually did. We discussed celebrities who’ve penned cookbooks. Oprah and Dr. Phil are two more we can add to an interminable list of “authors”! Finding out their favorite foods  helps us to better know the celebrities whose lives we follow. God wrote the Bible. True, He used a “ghostwriter” — the Holy Ghost, also called the Holy Spirit, who works through people and “guides us into all truths.” (John 14:17) Want a “celebrity cookbook”? God is greater than the most talented actor starring in the biggest budget Hollywood action movie: not only does God perform all His own stunts, but His “special effects” are real and not computer generated!

(4) People also buy cookbooks because they’ve seen the author on television. Here, the idea is that if we like Emeril’s or Rachael Ray’s cooking shows, we’ll also like their books. If you get inspired watching Joel Osteen or the 700 Club, you’ll want to grab the “tie-in” book: The Bible.

(5) Cookbooks make nice gifts for any occasion, especially when you’re not sure what else to give the person. And since everyone needs the Word of God, The Bible is the ultimate no-brainer gift!

(6) Some people are simply into collecting, and cookbooks seem to be popular — even for those who don’t cook. These collectors proudly display their cookbooks on the shelf, sometimes for status — like trophies gathering dust. People often treat the Bible the same way. It languishes on a coffee-table, unread, and hence does the “collector” no good. Every house, hotel room, and waiting room should have a Bible, but it should never be reduced to the status of a “decoration”; it’s not designed to impress visitors with one’s “spirituality” — it’s designed to help us live Spirit-filled lives.

Some people are “fans” of Jesus Christ, and they’ve bought His “cookbook.” But they’re not necessarily followers of Jesus: people who read His Word, are transformed by it, and then seek to do His Father’s will. Religious people carry their Bibles to church. People of Faith read it daily.

The Bible is translated into every known language and read by every people group. It’s available on CD and DVD, and has been the source material for many movies and TV shows. It’s God’s love letter to His people — ALL the people of earth regardless of ethnicity or nationality. One BOOK for one RACE — the human race.

“Jesus answered, It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NIV; also Deuteronomy 8:3) “How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding…. Your word is … a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:103-105 NLT)

“Woof woof!” Translation: “I’m baking some dog biscuits.”

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing … in all wisdom….” (Colossians 3:16 ESV) “Jesus said … ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples….'” (John 8:31 ESV)