The Best Geeky Cookbooks to Read This Holiday Season

From Westeros to The Continent to a galaxy far, far away, there are many fictional cuisines to sample from.

Cookbook covers: A Feast of Ice & Fire, The Witcher, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Photo: Bantam | Ten Speed Press | Insight Editions

Sometimes, when you’ve watched a really great show or film—or played a really fantastic game—it feels like there ought to be more. How else can you immerse yourself in the world once the series is over or you’ve beaten the final boss? Luckily for food lovers, there’s another option: sinking into a cookbook and either reading, or eating, your way deeper into your favorite setting. 

Geeky cookbooks aren’t new. There are a dozen different unofficial Lord of the Rings inspired cookbooks, some of which have been out for a decade. But the growing library of officially licensed cookbooks that celebrate so many favorite settings, series, and games have expanded cuisine options for the adventurous with otherworldly ingredients (usually with appropriate modern-world substitutions). Some focus more on the food and the atmosphere, while others provide full narratives within the pages. These are some of the best geeky cookbooks to read—or gift—this holiday season.

The Witcher Official Cookbook

The video games, books, and the Netflix series of The Witcher all feature travel across the Continent—and journeying to different regions means experiencing plenty of different foods (including recipes good for the road). Like the series, the chefs who created the cookbook drew on folklore from Europe to place recipes within the setting—and then introduced a new character, a cartographer traveling the world and collecting recipes as she makes her maps, to be a guide through the world. An introductory map gives a sense for those travels, and her encounters with familiar characters, including not just Geralt but lesser-known characters like Boris the Troll and the Ladies of the Wood (Witcher 3), as well as Ciri and Vesemir. 

The regional ranges echo the foods of real world nations that inspired them—the recipes from the Skellige Isles are drawn from Scandinavian foods, while the meals from Beauclair lean toward French ingredients, for example. Several travel focused recipes, such as the Campfire-Style Baked Potatoes, or Ciri’s breakfast porridge, emphasize the importance of moving from one place to another as a traveling monster slayer. Other references, including recipes for potions, echo items that might be found in the games—Hattori, an elven dumpling maker in Witcher 3, even contributes two of his dumpling recipes. While many of the featured recipes are more challenging than a casual cook might want to attempt, the beautiful photographs and the in-world introductions to each make this one just as fun to read as to bake from.


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