Book Review: The Star Trek Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

From the Publisher:  With all-new recipes right beside timeless classics, food stylist and New York Times bestselling author Chelsea Monroe-Cassel’s reimagining of The Star Trek Cookbook presents a visual feast along with complete guides on favorite foods from across Star Trek, adapted for easy use in 21st-century kitchens. Themed as a Starfleet-sponsored collection of recipes from across multiple quadrants and cultures, and intended to foster better understanding of different species from a human perspective with its Earth-centric ingredients, this must-have cookbook embraces the best of Star Trek and its core message of hope, acceptance, and exploration in the spirit of gastrodiplomacy.

That’s right, friends – It’s a brand new Star Trek Cookbook!  There are more than 70 new recipes in this updated edition, with inspiration pulled from across the franchise, including Lower Decks (First Contact Day Salmon), Picard (Romulan Flatbread and Bunnicorn Pizza), Discovery (Krada Leg Skewers), and even Star Trek Online (Snaildoodle Cookies) and tie-in novels (Andorian Spice Bread, mentioned in the Stargazer novel, Oblivion).  And with every recipe comes an absolutely gorgeous photograph of the finished product, snapped by the author.

Each recipe includes a difficulty rating (out of 4 pips), expected preparation time, and yield, as well as suggested pairings with other included dishes and suggested plating.  There are even whole suggested menus in the back, for your next Trek party.  But it’s the introductions written for each dish that really make this book special.  From the in-universe traditional preparation of gagh to the cultural significance of hasperat to the versatility of the humble leola root, you’re in for a treat if you don’t actually make any of the recipes.

But, of course, I couldn’t resist.  And I knew exactly where to start:  Plomeek Soup.

Sure, this is a one-pip recipe, but it also combines tomato, strawberry, and apple into a soup, which can be served hot or chilled.  The ingredient list is short:  Tomatoes, strawberries, apple, Greek yogurt (or crème fraîche), and balsamic vinegar.  I’ve read through quite a few of the included recipes and this is one of the more unusual flavor combinations that I’ve come across, at least for my palette.  But I decided to go for it.  The ingredient list was specific, the instructions were clear, and the preparation and cooking times were pretty spot on.

The result? Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.  The Greek yogurt adds a tanginess to the acidity of the tomato and vinegar, and then there’s the very present taste of strawberry.  The apple is the only flavor that I couldn’t pick out, and I think it’s likely there to add some sweetness.  It was hard for me to pin down a dominant flavor.  But I found a dash of salt helped.  But I’m not quite sure that this Vulcan dish will be making it into my standard rotation just yet – it might take a little more experimentation and tweaking for me.

While I may not be entirely sold on this particular recipe, I am sold on this cookbook.  I’ve already marked a few more recipes that I want to try.  I’ve been eyeing the I’danian Spice Pudding…  And as the weather gets chillier, I’ll likely make my way through all of the soups and stews.  As Nurse Chapel says, “Your self-pity’s a terrible first course. Why don’t you try the soup instead?” (TOS:  “Obsession”)


The Star Trek Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel was published by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster on September 20, 2022 in hardcover and ebook formats.  It is available online or at your local retailer.

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