Behind the Scenes at Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook


2015 marks SFWA’s 50th Anniversary Year, and the organization is celebrating in many ways. One of these is a cookbook, Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook, that contains recipes from many of your favorite writers. asked Ad Astra’s editors, Cat Rambo and Fran Wilde, for a behind-the-scenes peek at the book, and for information on where you can find your copy this summer.

Cat Rambo: The cookbook came about because of a discussion on the SFWA boards, in which we were talking about the earlier SFWA cookbooks compiled by the inimitable Anne McCaffrey. It seemed like a great way to celebrate our 50th anniversary: to create something that drew from across the membership, and showcased the imagination and creativity of our members.

Fran Wilde offered to co-edit, and accepting that offer was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, because the cookbook would not exist without Fran’s savviness and willingness to impose order on the state of chaos that emerged from the first call for recipes.

Fran Wilde: We received over 200 recipes, and were able to select a variety. Obviously the Jim Hines’ elf barbeque recipe was paramount, as well as a pineapple fried rice recipe from Octavia Butler’s longtime friend Leslie Howle, Mary Robinette Kowal’s teatime tassies, and Jay Lake’s momos.

Even better, Ursula Vernon and MCA Hogarth created custom badger art for the inside of the cookbook.

Art by MCA Hogarth

Art by MCA Hogarth

Cat: There are, quite simply, some wonderful recipes in there, including Brenda Clough’s method for creating an easier croquembouche, the delightful Honey Badger cocktail, detailed instructions from Spider Robinson on how to cook an omelet, and what William Gibson claims is the only recipe he knows, adding “I got it from Stephenson.”

We’ve covered brunches, dinner parties, and potlucks—everything a writer needs to celebrate their victories—and even a few quick meals for those with pressing deadlines and no time to cook.

Fran: What I’m noticing at conventions this summer is that people are bringing a copy of the cookbook to autographing sessions and getting more signatures. That’s really cool. Also I see tweets now and then when someone tries out a recipe. Always good news for a fantasy & sfnal cookbook editor to know folks are still alive after!


You can find the copies of the cookbook for sale at most conventions (including DragonCon, Capclave, Sasquan, and World Fantasy Convention) from Larry Smith, Bookseller, and the cookbook will be available in the SFWA suite and at the SFWA table in the Dealers Room at Sasquan. It will also be available at Dragoncon at the SFWA table, and you can also find it online!

And here’s one of the recipes from Ad Astra, contributed by author and animator Andrew Penn Romine. If you try it out (or any of the other recipes in the cookbook), let us know in the comments!

Andrew Penn Romine’s Honey Badger Cocktail Recipe from Ad Astra: The SFWA 50th Anniversary Cookbook

Making the syrup with fresh ginger instead of using store-bought will help. I’ve lowballed the lemon juice. You may be able to use as much as a quarter of an ounce to taste. It’s very reminiscent of a bourbon/whiskey sour!

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz honey liqueur
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 1/4 oz ginger syrup (Commercial but handmade is better because easier to make it stronger.)
  • 1/4 t lemon juice

Add ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into rocks glass, garnish with lemon twist, or better, a small slice of fresh ginger.

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and, as well as her debut novel, Beasts of Tabat. An Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee, she is the current President of SFWA (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see her website.

Fran Wilde’s first novel, Updraft, debuts from Tor Books on September 1, 2015 (she is getting more excited about this by the day). Her short stories have appeared at, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, and in Asimovs’ and Nature. Fran also interviews authors about food in fiction at Cooking the Books, and blogs for GeekMom and SFSignal. You can find Fran at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.


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