Pigeon Pie, Anyone?

By Schrambling, Regina | Newsweek, April 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Pigeon Pie, Anyone?


Schrambling, Regina, Newsweek


Byline: Regina Schrambling

Game of Thrones is jumping on the cookbook bandwagon.

There is no tuning out Game of Thrones and Mad Men and even True Blood, what with the surrounding media frenzy and incessant chirping on Twitter. Now the shows are even invading America's kitchens. Anyone who lives and breathes those series can soon have her or his entertainment and eat it too.

Taking a cue from the success of Sopranos tie-ins, publishers are rushing out official and unofficial recipe collections pegged to the most unlikely material. While too many "real" cookbooks are nothing more than instruction manuals with grocery lists, a good tie-in is transporting; you can participate vicariously through cooking and eating. And while it's easy to write them off as silly, everyone knows virtual reality has no taste. Cookbooks can create an essential third dimension for a show, especially for those who like to watch in a group, at a party.

Take the cookbooks spun off so far from Game of Thrones, both the novels and the HBO series. One is a predictable cashing-in, the other almost scholarly. A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook grew out of a blog started by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer to recreate the meat pies and quail drowned in butter and creamy mushroom-and-snail soup George R.R. Martin dreamed up to make his stories visceral. The combination of headnotes and recipes almost reaches the Elizabeth David level of "put down this book, get out of bed and start cooking." Even Kitchen Arts & Letters, the New York City bookstore where serious chefs and food scholars shop, has ordered copies thanks to recipes based on 15th-century manuscripts. As manager Matt Sartwell says, the food described and shown in Thrones is anything but anachronistic; it has "some relation to food eaten in the late medieval period--you won't find 'pheasant with chipotle sauce. …

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