Star Trek is near and dear to our hearts at The Cosmic Circus, so when we found out about The Star Trek Cookbook from New York Times bestselling author Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, we quickly opened a new channel and sent a priority one communique to try to review it.
The book is the first official Star Trek cookbook since 1999, so it makes sense that the team would get a culinary heavyweight like Chelsea Monroe-Cassel to pen it. Monroe-Cassel came onto the scene with Inn at the Crossroads, a Game of Thrones food blog.
The same care and attention to detail that made that blog a hit has very clearly gone into crafting this tome. It’s 171 pages that span the history of Star Trek from The Original Series to Star Trek: Lower Decks. Look no further if you’ve ever wondered what exactly Nog (Aron Eisenberg) was drooling about in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 when he mentioned Tube Grubs, this cookbook has a recipe for the kebabs.
Read ahead for our thoughts and find out why we think this book is worth your time.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Pocket Books/Star Trek, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, for the purpose of this review.]
Gorgeous food photography in The Star Trek Cookbook
First, let’s discuss the most significant improvement since the last cookbook. The Star Trek Cookbook features beautiful, high-quality, and full-page color photos of the food in question. The photography of things like the Riskian Cheese Pastry, the Quadrotriticale Salad, and the Kava Rolls would be totally at home in the pages of a gourmet cooking magazine.
Organization galore, plus step-by-step recipes
The food is organized by course. It’s pretty straightforward. When you page to one of the course sections of the book, you’re greeted with text and pictures of the recipes included within the section.
Unfortunately, there’s no index to ingredients or specific recipes. You’ll have to browse the pages to find what you want. The pages themselves are thick glossy paper that stands up to dog-earing and even writing in the margins of the recipes, so if you’re the kind of home cook that does that, this may appeal to you.
There is an interesting “Menu Suggestions” appendix at the back of the book. That has ideas for meals from breakfast to dramatic entertaining, and each sample menu includes page numbers for the recipes. The meal-planning suggestions are great and even include themed drinks in most cases.
This one has straightforward step-by-step recipes, a vast improvement from the original Star Trek cookbook. If paragraphs of text make your head spin, don’t worry. The instructions are easy to follow and don’t have complicated culinary jargon.
How difficult are the recipes in the Star Trek Cookbook?
If you’re more comfortable with getting your dinner from a replicator or paying a visit to Neelix in his galley for his latest creation, don’t fret. The Star Trek Cookbook has recipes that are approachable for novice cooks. It also has a few deeply challenging recipes – like Uttaberry Cruffins – that will satisfy the most proficient home cooks.
Each recipe in the book has a difficulty level on a scale of 1 to 4 pips – that’s Ensign to Captain, for those out there keeping rank.
One thing missing from the food photographs are pictures from the various Star Trek series with stills from the episodes where the food was mentioned. The original Star Trek Cookbook from 1999 had pictures, but they were black and white.
The images we get are still amazing and put the focus on the food, but I missed seeing the characters. I wanted to see Quark (Armin Shimmerman) behind his bar or Neelix (Ethan Phillips) in his galley. Star Trek has a huge culinary history, as evidenced by the fact that there was a demand for this book, and I wish there were more pictures from in the universe.
The Star Trek Cookbook is a book geared toward fandom, so the lack of pictures from the various series was slightly disappointing. I suspect it may have been a rights issue trying to navigate 56 years of television history, and that’s ok. The updated Star Trek Cookbook still works as a gorgeous reference book to the cuisine.
And one thing to note about the book – although it includes culinary fare from Lower Decks and Picard, it does not include Star Trek: Strange New Worlds or Star Trek: Prodigy. This is understandable, considering Strange New Worlds is brand new. I’m looking forward to the next edition, where we’ll hopefully learn some of Captain Christopher Pike’s (Anson Mount) gourmet breakfast secrets.
Chelsea Monroe-Cassel’s The Star Trek Cookbook is worth checking out. If you’re only in the market for one cookbook this year, get this one. This book would make a delectable addition to your home library, with recipes sure to please visitors from all four quadrants of space. It would also be an excellent gift for any Star Trek fans in your life.
The recipes are easy to follow, and the pictures elevate them to a mouth-watering level. This is a book you’ll want to browse and rabbit ear – so you’ll want to pick it up in hardcover versus e-reader form.
My rating for this book: 8/10
The Star Trek Cookbook is available now! Are you going to check the cookbook out or maybe add it to your holiday wishlist? Please share your thoughts with us on Twitter @MyCosmicCircus – especially if you make anything delicious from the book!
And if you’re feeling hungry, check one of our recent Cosmic Circus recipes, try out our Hocus Pocus buns!
Cosmic Cuisine: Hocus Pocus Buns