The Star Trek Cookbook
Written by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel
Hardcover | $35.00
E-book | $16.99
Published by Gallery Books | 192 Pages
Cookbook author and food stylist Chelsea Monroe-Cassel has done cookbooks for other big franchises (most notably Game of Thrones), but when she got the call to do a Star Trek cookbook, she was overjoyed—as a longtime fan who grew up watching The Next Generation (and eventually every show in the franchise), it had been on her bucket list for years. (And yes, she’s also a fan of the 1999 cookbook of the same name written by Ethan Phillips and William J. Birnes, and makes it clear that despite some crossover, her recipes are all-new.)
She does her fandom proud with this gorgeous, in-canon, beautifully written collection of Starfleet-sponsored recipes featuring everything from the familiar (Hasperat, Plomeek Soup, Raktajino, Yamok Sauce) to the not-so-familiar (Andorian Spice Bread, Tarvokian Powder Cake). The book not only groups them into appropriate sections—starters, breads, mains, desserts, drinks, etc.—it also ends with a Menu Suggestions section so you’ll know just what to serve with those Denobulan Sausages.
From The Original Series to Lower Decks
Monroe-Cassel was able to include everything up to and including Picard and Lower Decks, which means there was no time to mine Prodigy and Strange New Worlds for dishes. The book still encompasses a huge variety of food seen, heard about, or read about, with recipes meticulously photographed, taste-tasted, and chronicled in stunning glossy pages, where you’ll find everything from Rigelian Chocolate Truffles and First Contact Day Salmon to Pizza with Bunnicorn Sausage.
“One of the challenges is always sort of the battle between making it weird enough, but also making it approachable,” the author told TrekMovie. “I want to have ingredients that are not that hard to source, so that people really can make it without having to drive three hours to a grocery store.” In keeping with the book’s in-canon write-ups, she adds, “And if your replicator is down, you want to be able to make it with whatever you’ve got.” She made a point of using the occasional unconventional ingredient more than once, to keep things practical both for herself and for her readers.
One pip or four?
The book begins with a welcome to food-curious cadets, and each recipe has a 1-4 pips difficulty rating, with 4 being the most challenging. For nervous beginners, Monroe-Cassel recommends starting with the drinks—either the Romulan Ale or the Red Leaf Tea. The Ale is “a very straightforward, very easy, tasty drink” and the Tea is “really nice with breakfast” and “playful with flavors.”
Playful is the right word: The veteran cookbook writer strove to use real food to create delicious dishes, but keep things true to Star Trek, which meant spreading her culinary and photography wings a bit. “My usual comfort zone is sort of dim lighting medieval on a slab of wood kind of thing,” she told us, so incorporating Star Trek’s bright colors was a new experience. She mentions that it took a long time to get the Starfleet Food Rations—those colored blobs seen in The Original Series—to her satisfaction. “One of my rules is you can’t just—if you’re doing Star Wars, blue milk, you can’t just put food dye in milk and call it blue milk like that is literally blue milk, but it’s not a recipe. And so likewise, you can’t just sort of paint some food coloring on melon and call it you know, whatever the up-for-debate name is, which I hope I’ve maybe settled a little bit with my head notes.”
The ones that got away: Jumja sticks and Captain Pike
Her big regret? Jumja sticks, seen on Deep Space Nine’s Promenade. “It’s such a disappointing thing because I made one batch of these, and they were perfect. And I apparently did not write down what I did. And I could never replicate them again, pun intended. It devastated me, I was right down to the submission deadline wire, I was still trying to remake these. And so that’s the one that got away from me.”
Not much else did, except for all the delicacies that have been coming out of Captain Pike’s quarters in season 1 of Strange New Worlds. Monroe-Cassel could probably do a whole book of Pike’s recipes—especially the episode where “there’s a plate of canapés going around, and they looked incredible”—and loves the idea of, say, doing a side-by-side cooking demo with Anson Mount on the Star Trek Cruise one day.
The trouble with… spatchcocking
But while we wait for that, we still have her cookbook, which sometimes takes risks by combining old Trek with new, like the Quadrotriticale Salad, inspired by The Original Series “The Trouble With Tribbles” but enhanced with a tentacle look as seen on season 1 of Discovery. There’s another tribble-related dish that Monroe-Cassel considers one of her prouder accomplishments: Spatchcocked Tribble.
“One of my favorite Star Trek things is the Short Trek about the tribbles [“The Trouble With Edward”] and the origin story of the Tribbles, basically,” she says. “And it makes me laugh every time I think about it, that there’s this poor well-meaning but absolutely bonkers scientist trying to solve hunger problems on a planet just takes over the entire ship and it’s just tribbles are a problem forever then, right? But I actually built a replicator for that photo, Original Series-era because I just really wanted it to look the part.” She said it took forever to get the lighting just right. “It’s like crazy person stuff, but oh my god, it’s really fun and worth it in the end.”
Over 70 recipes from across the franchise
With over 70 brand-new recipes from across all of Star Trek—and yes, Monroe-Cassel includes food from novels and video games—this book is both a fun read and a great addition to your kitchen shelf as well as a collection of Star Trek art books. Star Trek is “just a nice world, it’s a nice place to dwell,” she says. “I think one of the interesting things is it shows us the promise of the best that humanity could achieve. It’s a hopeful future.” This upbeat, life-affirming sentiment is present on every page of her book, whether you’re there as a chef or just a bystander. Happy cooking!
Visit Chelsea Monroe-Cassel’s website or her page about The Star Trek Cookbook.
On sale Tuesday
The Star Trek Cookbook will be released on Tuesday, September 20. You can pick it up at Amazon in hardcover for $35.00 and Kindle eBook for $31.50.
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