What are your favorite offbeat cookbooks?

I have a friend that loves to cook and loves cookbooks.

I'd like to get her a fun cookbook as a house warming gift but something beyond the realm of The Silver Palate and other "normal" cookbooks.

What's out there for the offbeat chefs that produces tasty results?


I know a LOT of you left some great Megan-simple cookbook ideas for me back when I was doing my cooking challenge. What about cookbooks for people who aren't afraid to get experimental? Not that this will surprise you, but here are MY offbeat cookbook suggestions…

The Unofficial Game of Thrones CookbookThe Game of Thrones cookbook is a collection of hearty meals inspired by George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series! Including recipes for Arbor Red Wine, the Stark's Venison, Apple, Cheddar Plaits, The Imp's Wild Strawberry Fool and Wilding Grilled Pork Chops with Stir-Grilled Apples.

The Star Wars CookbookThe Star Wars cookbook will show you how to make Wookie Cookies, Jedi Juice Bars, Dark Side Salsa, Boba Fett-Uccine, and Crazy Cantina Chili. (Psst: there's one for Trekkies too!)

The Manga CookbookThe Manga Cookbook is an illustrated guide to preparing Japanese cuisine. Learn to identify and make the same things you see in all your favorite manga, including: onigiri, rice balls, yakitori, skewered chicken oshinko, pickled vegetables udon, Japanese noodles, and loads more.

What are YOUR (possibly less nerdy) suggestions for offbeat cookbook ideas for people who actually LOVE to cook?

  1. I have to say that while I am not a huge heavy metal fan in general, I was totally psyched about my boyfriend's purchase of Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook. Not only are the recipes hearty and home-style, but they were submitted by heavy metal artists from all different countries. The result is a delicious collection of off-beat recipes from around the world!

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  2. I've got to recommend Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management for any history and/or Victorin era buffs. It's 90% neato Victorian recipes (and illustrations!) with the rest being tips on running a household such as how to remove stubborn stains, the best way to organize a closet and what servants should be paid. Plus gotta give some props to a book that's been continuously in print for over 150 years.

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  3. I have a ton of antique cookbooks that were my mothers and my grandmothers. The ones from the 50s crack me up. The campbells soup cookbook, the homemakers guide, all kinds of bizarre retro confections to be found in there.

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  4. For the historical nerds, Colonial Williamsburg has a number of really yummy cook books in their collection. The recipes are a combination of classics done perfectly to a number of extra yummy classics that have been more or less forgotten. I got two of them for wedding gift and I haven't had a flop yet.

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  5. can't get enough of my book for absinthe cocktails!

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  6. There have been a lot of shout outs to Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's books, but nobody mentioned the Veganomicon, which even if you're not vegan, just has an awesome name. Also, "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone has recipes but also explains the environmental impact of the food you eat. My dad's side of the family is all aging hippies, and they love the recipes from that book when I bring them to family gatherings. I would also recommend picking up cookbooks at museums or ethnic church fairs. My mother has a cookbook with old German family recipes that her mother gave her (my grandmother grew up in Munich, North Dakota, which is like Chintatown but for Germans). I'm in MA, so we have places like Old Sturbridge Village and Plymouth Plantation, and they sell cookbooks and craft books like they had in ye olde days.

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  7. I echo the calls for Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and that whole series, as well as the Veganomicon.

    One I finished reading recently was How to roast a lamb, which has a lot of awesome Greek food in it, as well as the author's recounting of what it was like growing up in a Greek food-centric family.

    I love Conscious Cook for fancy vegan recipes. The kind that have presentation, come on little plates, and are somewhat impractical. ;)

    Beloved children's author Roald Dahl has a few cookbooks. The fun children's Revolting Recipes and a wonderful personal anecdote-filled look into his life and favorite recipes

    I haven't actually bought any of the below yet, but they've gotten good reviews and they're all on my Amazon.com wishlist.

    Expensive but OMG do I want this! Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. The set breaks down the whys and hows behind things (want crispy fried fish? know what temp, how much oil, etc.) and there are AMAZING photographs. Check 'em out — This stuff isn't PhotoShopped. They actually cut pots & pans in half to show the inner workings and check out the bullet through the eggs! :D

    Highly recommended: Momofuku.
    Delicious twists on standard recipes of different Asian cultures and also uses the word F*ck. :) Seriously, check out the reviews on this one.

    Various Vegan/Vegetarian from around the world:
    Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions
    Buddha's Table: Thai Feasting Vegetarian Style
    The Asian Vegan Kitchen: Authentic and Appetizing Dishes from a Continent of Rich Flavors
    Korean Vegetarian: Explore the spicy and robust tastes of a classic cuisine, with 50 recipes shown in 130 step-by-step photographs
    Flavors of Korea: Delicious Vegetarian Cuisine (Healthy World Cuisine)
    The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan
    Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes
    Vegan Italiano: Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from Sun-Drenched Italy
    The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More Than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes
    Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
    The New Now and Zen Epicure: Gourmet Vegan Recipes for the Enlightened Palate

    Vegan soul/comfort cooking:
    Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine
    Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food: 65 Everyday Meal Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Over 150 Great-Tasting, Down-Home Recipes

    Soul Kitchen (Korean Edition)
    A Korean Mother's Cooking Notes

    The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen

    The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 6,500 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques
    The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions: Veganize It! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite

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  8. I'm looking forward to getting the Manga Cookbook someday… and to any other anime fans, specifically ones who like Ouran High School Host Club, Vampire Knight, Fullmetal Alchemist, an international fan club I am in (Risembool Rangers) is soon to release a Cookbook full of fun recipes, art, and even poems (one of which I contributed). I can't wait to purchase mine!

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  9. You wanna talk about Megan-simple cookbooks, check out the "The (Reluctant , Nervous, Lazy, Broke, Busy, Confused) College Student's Cookbook" by Joshua N. Lambert. For the extreme beginner, tells you things like how to boil water and walks you through the process of setting up a basic kitchen and what tools you need and what staples to buy. Lots of cook-ahead recipes and everything is very simple ingredients.

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