What do you think your favorite book or movie character is eating for dinner?

Eleven from “Stranger Things” love Eggo waffles. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make a living from pizza. Harry Potter regularly drinks buttered beer. What do you think your favorite characters eat? What does Katniss Everdeen in “Hunger Games” eat when she’s hungry or The Incredible Hulk when she’s hungry? Does Baby Yoda eat baby food?

In “From ‘Sopranos’ to ‘Star Trek’ Pop-Culture Cookbooks Fuel Fandoms,” Priya Krishna writes of the growing genre:

Chelsea Monroe-Cassel is currently developing the recipe for a dish of which she will never be able to taste the traditional version, and of which she will never be able to visit the place of origin: the Plomeek soup, a staple of the fictional planet Vulcan. While writing “The Star Trek Cookbook,” out next March, she spent hours watching old episodes and movies from her home in West Windsor, Vermont, trying to deduce what might be in the reddish soup.

“We know surprisingly little about Vulcan cuisine, given how much of a fan favorite Spock is,” she said. Some people believe that Vulcans are vegetarians, as their strong morality and fear of their own capacity for violence would mean that they would avoid food that requires slaughter. But do these arguments hold up, she wondered, in a world where meat can be reproduced with machines?

The result: “A cold tomato and strawberry gazpacho and a little balsamic vinegar. “

Ms. Monroe-Cassel, 36, has dedicated her career to bringing food from his favorite TV shows, movies and games. She wrote “A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook”, “The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook”, “Firefly: The Big Damn Cookbook” and “World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook”. Together they have sold over a quarter of a million copies. She’s not a chef by training, but she’s extremely enthusiastic about pop culture food.

For fans like her, “it’s a great way, a new and tangible way, to connect with a world they love,” she said.

“Video games are a form of escape and books are a form of escape,” she added, “and I think it’s a form of escape that appeals to additional senses.”

The article continues:

As fan cultures have deepened, these cookbooks have evolved as well. Less common are those who simply name recipes after characters. Today’s pop culture cookbooks are much sought after tomes on their fictional worlds. They consider climates and character motivations. They fill in the gaps in the story. The authors examine every item, right down to props to recipe photos, so fans can feel completely immersed.

“For better or worse, if a brand doesn’t publish and market itself,” Mr. Miers said, “they’re not as alive as the fans want them to be.”

When the chef and writer Nyanyika banda started work on the upcoming “The Official Wakanda Cookbook” based on Marvel’s Black Panther comics, she knew the rabid Marvel fan base would expect it a high level of detail.

“If we had written this book 15 years ago, you probably could have gotten away with including a lot of things from all over the African continent without explaining why they existed,” said Mx. Banda, 39 years old. “There is this need that the people who come up with these recipes know what they are talking about” in terms of both comics and African cuisines.

Mx. Banda’s recipes – like chambo, a traditional Malawian fish dish – speak directly to the different places in Wakanda in Africa throughout the comic.

Mx. Banda examined the role colonialism played in adding a Western influence to some African dishes, and how to explain that influence when they included these foods in the book – since Wakanda is said to be isolated from the rest of the world. . (Mx. Banda found a solution by referring to more recent comics about Wakanda opening up to outsiders.)

This approach is a far cry from the first books of its kind, which place little emphasis on compelling recipes and complex storytelling.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • What do you think your favorite character from a book or movie is eating or drinking? Tell us about your most beloved character and justify what you think are their favorite foods. Justify your claim based on what you know about the character. What do you think this food says about this person?

  • What do you think of all those fictional cookbooks that are coming out? Are they dumb? Fun? Informative? Have you ever read or bought one? What do you think this growing genre says about pop culture fandom?

  • The article says that there are cookbooks for “World of Warcraft”, “Harry Potter”, “The Simpsons”, “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead”. Which of these titles interests you the most? What dishes and recipes would you most likely try? What pop culture book, movie, or TV show would you like to see a cookbook published for?

  • What other types of information about your favorite characters and stars would you like to know? Maybe the music they like? Favorite social media fad? Favorite book or sneakers?

  • The article refers to the “Narnia problem”: when the children who read about Turkish delicacies in “The Chronicles of Narnia” then tried the real candy and were sorely disappointed. Have you ever eaten or cooked something because it was in a book, movie or show? How was it?


Want more write prompts? You can find all our questions in our Student opinion section. Teachers, check out this guide to find out how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students aged 13 and over in the US and Britain, and 16 and over elsewhere, are welcome to comment. All comments are moderated by The Learning Network staff, but remember that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.



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