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The Star Trek Cookbook
Ethan Phillips and William J. Birnes
Pocket Books, 320 pages

The Star Trek Cookbook
Ethan Phillips
Ethan Phillips, born and raised on Long Island, New York, attended Boston University, where he graduated with a degree in English Literature. He went on to study at Cornell University, and eventually received a Master of Fine Arts degree. He began his acting career on the stage, appearing in Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

William J. Birnes
William J. Birnes is a writer, editor, book publisher, and literary rights agent in New York and Los Angeles. He has a PhD in Medieval Literature and Linguistics from NYU. He taught English and Linguistics at both undergraduate and graduate levels for many years at what is now called the College of New Jersey.

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jonathan Fesmire

The book's very name, The Star Trek Cookbook, conjures images of strange dishes and exotic drinks. That's exactly what the book delivers: recipes for the food of Star Trek, from Fineagle's Folly to Heart of Targ. Some of the food sounds disgusting at first, and probably would be if you had to eat the actual alien ingredients, such as Klingon gagh (worms) or Blood Pie.

Yes, you can make these dishes. Most are easily prepared, but don't worry, you don't really have to eat lungs or brain beans to enjoy interplanetary cuisine. Voyager chef Neelix shows how to prepare the recipes from Earth ingredients. If you think this makes no sense, consider that to make many Earth foods, on Voyager, Neelix must use Delta Quadrant ingredients, often without telling the crew. Hey, if Neelix makes you something that looks and tastes like noodles with soy sauce, then just enjoy it.

Neelix introduces most of the dishes before giving the Earth recipe, and even recounts tales of his experiences with the crew members who enjoy them. For pure reading and browsing enjoyment, check out those sections. I had to laugh out loud at many of Neelix's anecdotes.

If you're feeling shy of alien style foods, don't worry, there are many traditional Earth recipes in here as well, favourites of characters like Captain Sisko, Bones, and Chief O'Brien. Or have an Earl Gray, hot.

Several non-Neelix sections, written by Voyager property manager Alan Simms, explain the secrets of Trek food props. You do want your Kanar and Blood Wine to look authentic, don't you? If you've ever considered throwing a Star Trek theme party, you'll find this book your most valuable resource. Even if you haven't, you may want to consider it now.

A review of The Star Trek Cookbook would be incomplete without personal experience, so my wife and I invited my parents over for a Star Trek dinner.

When my dad came in, he immediately asked, "We're not going to eat worms, are we?" Well, we did have gagh! We also served Hasperat, a Bajoran snack food, Klingon Ale, and Vulcan Mocha. Now, don't make gagh with real worms. On Earth, we make it with noodles. Since I wanted little meat with the meal, I cut up some beef into worm-like strips, so we had a mixed gagh. There are over 51 varieties, the book says. It seemed a reasonable addition.

Dinner tasted delicious. As we polished off the Hasperat, my mother and wife each said that it would make a great hors d'oeuvre for any party, a welcome change from the usual chips and dip fare. The gagh made a satisfying main course. It's quite filling, so we had leftovers, which I enjoyed for lunch the next day. Now, I think it was better the first night. Gagh is always best served fresh.

The Vulcan Mocha Ice Cream kept me wired for several hours. What's in it? Take some good chocolate ice cream, mix in finely ground espresso beans, then refreeze. No wonder Vulcans are so alert. For those cooks who like to make everything from scratch, Neelix gives a more time-consuming version of the recipe.

I intend to try many of the other alien foods later, like the Trill soup, Azna, and the Telaxian Gaborsti Stew. I'll also have to make both hot and cold Tranya the next time we have guests over.

More than just a book of tasty recipes, The Star Trek Cookbook shares insights into many of Star Trek's main characters. Neelix's casual explanations bring up memories of past episodes, and even fill in some of the blanks as we learn about his cooking experiences. For instance, I didn't know before that Chakotay is a vegetarian, nor that Ensign Ro ate so much Hasperat. Treat yourself to good reading, tasty food, and a serving of Trek trivia. The Star Trek Cookbook has them all.

Copyright © 1999 by Jonathan Fesmire

Jonathan Fesmire has travelled to France, Germany, Estonia, Finland, and Ireland. He enjoys speaking French and learning bits of other foreign languages, but most of all, he loves writing, and has sold fiction to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, SpaceWays Weekly, Jackhammer, and others.

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