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The Necronomnomnom Mike Slater Main

"The Necronomnomnom: Recipes and Rites from the Lore of H.P. Lovecraft" Book Review

Written by ZigZag

Published by Countryman Press

the necronomnomnom mike slater poster large

Written by Mike Slater
2019, 205 pages, Reference
Released on October 1st, 2019

Review:

Readers of H.P. Lovecraft are undoubtedly familiar with the legends of The Great Old Ones, the divinity of the all-powerful cosmic gods Cthulu and Yog-Sothoth and the forbidden pages of the mad Arab’s Necronomicon. We shudder at the thought of the haunting misadventures of such luminaries as Charles Dexter Ward, Abigail Primm, Dr. Henry Armitage and the infamous Herbert West. Lovecraft’s densely written narratives summon a world long forgotten, one filled with an inescapable dread of the unknown and inescapable madness. If you dare enter this realm and assume the long journey toward enlightenment, you will need proper sustenance. It was on one of my many trips to the library at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, where I stumbled upon the very book I required for my quest; The Necronomnomnom: Recipes and Rites from the Lore of H.P. Lovecraft, by Mike Slater.

The layout is similar to that of other cookbooks, opening with an author’s Foreword (and Forewarnings) assuring readers of a rewarding experience. He concedes users may need to experiment from time to time concerning measurements. It is also encouraged to alter the ingredients list according to dietary restrictions. From there we are provided a Table of Contents which separates the recipes by category, including: drinks, appetizers, soups and salads, main dishes, sides, breakfast, children’s meals and desserts.

Here’s where things get tricky. The recipes themselves are playfully crafted in the writing style of Lovecraft, referencing monsters and the unknown, as well as occasionally obscure descriptions of ingredients. For example, chicken breasts marinated in white wine are identified as Albino Penguin au vin blanc. Some ingredients may take a minute to figure out, as in a drink recipe (Mi-Go Brain Cylinder) calling for the following:

1 oz ScHNaPS compound, Scottish variant, buttered subtype. (butterscotch schnapps)
1 tbs. chilled Celtic spirit (creamed) (chilled Bailey’s Irish Cream)
1 drop Red Ice, isotope 101. (Red Ice 101 Cool Cinnamon Schnapps Liquor)

The clever writing carries over to mixing instructions:

Utilizing a target-commodious ferromagnetic cylinder, fill to half capacity with the ScHNaPS compound base. (Pour the schnapps into a tall shot glass.)
Pour the creamed Celtic syrum over the reverse of a concave metallic transfer implement, a spoon perhaps, to add without haste. (Slowly pour the Bailey’s into the shot over the back of a tablespoon.)
Finally, initiate gravity-assisted insertion of the isotopic solution with a dropper of eyes, force one drop of the Red Ice into the center of the liquid mass. (Using an eyedropper, drop (not place, drop) one drop of the Red Ice 101 into the center of the glass.)

Some selections are a bit more obtuse, like the meal that calls for 3¼ tbsp. of the Aztec’s favored fruit, minced – without seed, if the warmth pleases (jalapeno pepper). Occasionally, ingredients are presented in German; ¼ cup gehobelte Mandeln/amandes en tranches (sliced almonds) and other languages – to keep you on your toes. Following the recipes section comes the all-important Appendix (The Rites Revealed), which serves as a cheat sheet, translating all of the previous information into easy-to-follow Standard English syntax. A fairly significant drawback to this book is the lack of photographs of the finished products. There are an impressive number of illustrations by Kurt Komoda that offer some insight and are quite gorgeous by design, but are completely inadequate for reference.

For the purpose of this review, I attempted three recipes; a main course, a side and a dessert. I started with a side of creamed spinach (The Side Dish Not to be Named) because it seemed pretty straightforward. It claims to serve four, but the proportions were off, as it only called for ¾ cup of spinach, plus ¼ cup bok choy. It doesn’t specify if the spinach should be chopped or loose leaf but instructs you to cook until wilted, suggesting leaf. I increased the amounts of both vegetables and followed the directions to mixed results. The texture was not right – it should have been chopped after all, but the taste was fine.

Next up is a promising vegetarian spaghetti squash recipe (The Unknown Ka’Squash) that came together nicely. The squash is halved and baked for an hour, then scooped out and shredded into noodles and mixed with herbs and cheese and tomato before being baked again. It turned out as expected, but the flavors greatly improved when reheated for lunch the next day.

My third selection was a dessert of apple crumb squares (The Oats of Dagon), which were easily assembled and featured the surprise appearance of bacon as a major ingredient. I was wary at first, but the flavor was pleasing and improved over the next few days.

The Necronomnomnom offers a fresh spin on a familiar format with mixed results. It excels in presentation, as Slater is totally committed to the Lovecraft writing style and references many of the author’s best known works in clever puns and asides throughout. However, the book would greatly benefit from the services of a professional cookbook editor when it comes to properly naming tools – a metal jigger is misidentified as a tall shot glass in the above drink recipe. One final element to the book is an index that is moderately helpful, but items are listed by their Lovecraft name, so you cannot simply go to “C” for chicken.

This is a sturdy, well-made hardback book with a beautiful cover and nearly one hundred eye catching illustrations. The thing that cinches the deal is the affordable price of only $13.99, roughly half of what I expected. That being said, the lack of photographs and the frequent use of dense language throughout makes the book something more of a novelty than a must-own. There are more pros than cons if you like to cook and have a little patience, so I feel comfortable giving this one a guarded recommendation.

Grades:

Overall: 3 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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