What better way is there to fully indulge in another world than trying dishes from that very world? To me the appeal of different worlds is in the richness of those worlds. The love the creator of that world invested. Mr Tolkien invented entire languages. A whole “background story encyclopedia” to make Middle-earth exactly what it is. And the authors, actors and fans of Star Trek did the same.
There are klingon dictionaries out there, fanfiction, computer games and the really grand book, that this little review is all about, the “Star Trek Cookbook”.
Author Ethan Phillips (* February 8th, 1955 in Garden City, Long Island, New York) is an american actor and playwright. He hold’s a bachelor’s degree in english literature from Boston University and a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell. He is best known starring as “Neelix” in Star Trek – Voyager.
William J. Birnes (* November 7th, 1944), coauthor of the “Star Trek Cookbook” is an american author, editor, publisher and literary rights agent.
The book was published by Pocket Books in January 1999. It’s a handy paperback featuring 317 pages of content. The cover is – admittedly – a bit trashy, but once you’ve opened the book you will be enthralled. The “Star Trek Cookbook” is written from Neelix’ perspective, and introduces recipes for Voyager, The original Series, Next Generation and Deep Space 9, as well as “The lost recipes of Thalax” that Neelix inherited by his mother.
Each chapter features the favourite dishes of the main characters of the series. Those sections respectively start with an anecdote about the character told by Neelix, and how Neelix found out about the likes and dislikes of the character. The first recipe for each voyager character was donated by the respective actor of the character, including a few words on them and their role.
For the prequels those anecdotes are replaced by Neelix view on the historic characters based on Neelix database research about the respective period, ship and crew.
This makes the book a simply good read. Actually I read the entire book in one single day, because it just is written in a really, really entertaining way.
Alan Sims from the Star Trek Art Department offers helpful tips on how to decently arrange klingon food, insights on creating the set for Quark’s and offers funny anecdotes about the cast.
The “Star Trek Cookbook” is packed with “inside facts”, stories from the set, anecdotes about the characters, good-to-knows about the set (I will never forgot that Tetracell-White actually is Gatorade) and wonderful photographs. It is much more than a simple cookbook, in fact it is a thoroughly enjoyable “inside Star Trek” experience for the reader.
And now you might ask yourselves… wait? Wasn’t this supposed to be a cookbook? What about the recipes?
The recipes cover a wide variety of dishes. Soups, moles, vegetarian dishes, stews, meat, side dishes, desserts and drinks. All recipes are easy to cook. The description of each recipe by Neelix explains the ingredients used on board of the spaceship, and which ingredients are decent “fakes” from earth. The variety is really huge and the “Star Trek Cookbook” definitely has goodies for each and every taste out there.
You shouldn’t expect grand cuisine that requires the skills of a chef, the recipes are”down to earth”, easy to prepare and fast to cook generally.
Some recipes are featured more than once, in the fashion the respective character enjoys the food most. For example there’s Tuvok’s favourite ploomek soup as well as Mr Spocks’ one, plus at least three different kinds of gagh.
My personal favourite chapter is definitely “Afternoon tea with Captain Picard”. Maybe. I’m not sure yet, because I honestly love the entire book.