A Gothic Cookbook

Is food the most underrated character in Gothic literature?

Written by Ella Buchan and Alessandra Pino, and with illustrations from Lee Henry, A Gothic Cookbook is an original cookbook showcasing food and drink from, and inspired by, classic and contemporary Gothic tales, teasing out the tastiest titbits with recipes, literary criticism and drawings.

A Gothic Cookbook is, as far as we know, the ONLY Gothic cookbook. But we need the help of communities passionate about food and literature to help spread the word and get us to our crowdfunding target on Unbound.

It’s 100% illustrated (there are examples of the hand-drawn images in the link), with each of 13 chapters focusing on a classic and contemporary Gothic novel, novella or short story. We’ll discuss the edible themes, symbolism and fascinating food facts in that text, followed by 4-5 recipes for dishes and drinks inspired by that book.

It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, with any recipes that are meaty/fishy accompanied by tried and tested adaptations. And I should probably stress that the dishes are designed to be eaten and enjoyed – there are no eyeballs on the plate. No snips, snails and puppy dogs’ tails. No brains on toast. Neither is it all about puns and gimmicks. (No monster mash, cakes iced to look like Rosemary’s Baby, etc etc.)

Instead, the recipes are either based on dishes mentioned in the Gothic tales (such as the chicken paprikash, described on the very first page of Jonathan Harker’s diary in Dracula) or inspired by food and drink themes and motifs in the books. Such as:

  • Our twist on Florence Balcombe’s “Dracula Salad”, written by the widow of Bram Stoker and published in a church pamphlet in 1912.
  • A plate of fresh ricotta-filled ravioli as gleefully and greedily devoured by Mrs Van Hopper with her “fat, bejewelled fingers” while our poor heroine picks at someone else’s rejects, a cold, badly carved “plate of ham and tongue” – in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
  • Gin and tonic cake, inspired by Mrs Poole’s destructive (and, for Bertha, liberating) habit in Jane Eyre.
  • Chilean seafood stew or “chupe” and portentous (yet pleasurable) chocolate mousses a la Rosemary’s Baby.
  • Desserts inspired by Toni Morrison’s seminal classic, Beloved, where “sugar could always be counted on to please [the ghost]”
  • Hot chocolate pudding pots, cider and sausage casserole, and baked pheasant with hazelnut stuffing, brought to life from the pages of Angela Carter’s chilling short story, The Bloody Chamber.

There are also higher pledge levels, such as the Patron Level, where a person’s name and/or the name of an organisation or society is printed in the front of the book, highlighting our biggest supporters. We can tailor pledges with a certain number of books, a special thank you and logo in the front of the book, and any other extras that might be of interest to you or an organisation.

Please do have a look at our Unbound page here: https://unbound.com/books/a-gothic-cookbook. This has a longer synopsis of the book, details of the recipes we are covering, sample illustrations and also an excerpt. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram as @agothiccookbook.