Wartime Cookbook Writer


An original recipe: chicken blood, tapeworms and tripe

Every new war brings a new set of constraints and thus, a new set of opportunities for enterprising individuals.  In most of our nation’s past wars, the ladies and gents on the home front would be swept up in a fervor for cooking odd things.  The Spanish-American War brought us Spider Corn Bread and Royal Prune Cake.  The War of Eastern Attrition saw the advent of Hermit Vole Pie and Hominy Suet with Hard Sauce.  These are all beloved recipes that call up fond memories of grandmother cursing in the kitchen, and of picking fur from between your teeth after a satisfying meal with the extended clan.  It is because of these warm feelings that many people mistakenly believe that these recipes originated in their own families.  I’m sorry, but this is simply not the case.  The truth is that while your grandmother was taking nips of moonshine and passing off your beloved Pea Puree Pancakes as her own, I was hard at work writing the recipes that your family would come to associate with holiday brawls.

It is actually a very simple process to write a cookbook.  You see, there are already so many recipes in the world that it is entirely unnecessary to write another one from scratch.  I don’t think I ever have.  Instead, I follow my patented Cyrus St. Rid Reciperation Process®.  It goes like this:  I ask a servant to lead me to the kitchen, and once there, to find me a cookbook.  I then flip through it randomly and rip out whatever pages my hands chance to linger upon.  Once I have a good stack going, I am led out of the kitchen, and head to my shooting range.  My servant affixes all the pages to a mound of pillows, and I commence to firing birdshot at them.  My servant gathers up the pages and we begin creating new recipes.  If my servant yells, “Ingredient!” I respond with, “Dog Biscuits!”  If my servant yells, “Quantity!” then I say, “Five and a half liters!”  If, “Cooking Method!” then, “Poached!”  Any word or item in the original recipe that has been shot through is replaced with something new.  It is all terribly exciting.  You can feel history being made.  We continue in this way long into the night, stopping only to build a bonfire, bring out a spit and roast a large number of ermine for sustenance.  We also enlist another servant to wheel out the portable wet bar and mix drinks that make heavy use of maraschino syrup.  All these steps are vital in the creation of new traditional foods.  You, too, can use my method if you send me a check or money order for $25,000.  Rest assured, you will recoup this cost in the sale of your cookbook.  Unless, of course, your recipes require ridiculous ingredients such as avocados or coffee liqueur.

I would be remiss if I did not mention what is perhaps the most important part of this process.  You need to invent a pseudonym under which to publish your books.  I sold the rights to mine ages ago, and from what I can tell the brand name is still going strong, though the new proprietors of the name moved into the nut butter market rather than continue along the wildly successful cookbook trail I had forged.  In my opinion, a bad business move, but who am I to comment?  Am I allowed to tell you the name I wrote under?  I think I should not, considering I am still fighting my way through a libel suit over the use of my name in a “children’s” book in which the main character sneaks into the windows of unsuspecting youths and spirits them away to a redundantly named pleasure land where he recklessly allows them to wander into harm’s way time and again.  You should be aware that this fate could also befall you, as fiction writers are a thieving, scheming, dirty bunch and they almost always turn first to the cookbooks for “inspiration.”


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