Starting next weekend, I’ll be posting a weekly series of recipes inspired by science fiction sources including Star Trek, Babylon 5, Farscape and Futurama. I’ve been cooking since I was about eight years old. Though I have never been to a culinary school, I had excellent teachers in my mother and grandmothers who taught me the basics of several ethnic cuisines. Am I a master chef? No. What I am is a good cook with pretty broad experience and a fairly wacky imagination.
What I want to do is nothing new; scifi-related recipes have been around for quite a while. But much of the time, the goal is to recreate a prop, rather than a meal. The emphasis is on presentation rather than palate. The cooks want to get the look right; flavor is an afterthought. Or, in some cases it’s just a well-known recipe with a new name, calling Pigs in a Blanket “Petrokian Sausage in Filet of Bregit Lung.” But really, it's just Pigs in a Blanket. I don’t want to do that.
I’ve seen some pretty unpleasant recipes out there. Gummi worms in chocolate sauce as Qagh. Baked tofu with sherry and brown sugar as Flarn. No doubt the appearance is correct enough, but I wouldn’t want to eat it.
In creating these recipes, I set several rules to insure a good outcome:
1. It’s got to taste really good.
This is the big rule. If it isn’t tasty, it’s just a novelty. I want to make real food from unreal sources.
2. No absurdly expensive or rare ingredients.
No point in calling for truffle-infused demiglace or requiring that you use Kopi Luwak coffee. If you can’t get it in a local store or farmer’s market, for a good price, I’ll find something else.
3. No technique unfamiliar to a regular home cook.
I have no intention of baffling you with my amazing skills. Probably more than a few of you are better cooks than I am, and for those who aren’t, it does you no service if all I do is show off. Also, I don’t ask for crazy equipment. Just knives and pots and stuff like that.
4. The recipes must be easily doubled, for larger dinner parties.
Because you might not want to eat all alone in the night.
Please feel free to make requests, and if you make the recipes at home, I'd love to know how they turn out.
First up: A trip to the kitchens of Babylon 5. See you next week!