Cooking with dragons, Klingons and more: New exhibit at K-State Libraries features cookbooks from science fiction, fantasy and horror
Monday, Oct. 30, 2017
"The Joy of Cooking Dragons: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Cookbooks" opens Oct. 31 and runs through March 17, 2018, in the fifth-floor gallery at Kansas State University's Hale Library. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — A new exhibit at Kansas State University knows how to cook up some scares for Halloween.
"The Joy of Cooking Dragons: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Cookbooks" opens Tuesday, Oct. 31, in the fifth-floor gallery at the university's Hale Library. The exhibit showcases a wide selection of cookbooks from the world-famous cookery collection of the university's Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections.
"The Joy of Cooking Dragons" introduces visitors to the fascinating world of "mealplay" — a term coined for this exhibit. As a relatively new genre, most of the cookbooks displayed are from the last 30 years and include materials from such popular franchises as "The Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter" books and "Star Trek," among many others.
"'Mealplay' is very serious business to a much larger audience than you might expect," said Roger Adams, curator of the exhibit. "As you explore this exhibit, you will see very creative cookbooks that draw their inspiration from films, television programs and novels."
Adams said some of these materials are purely for fun, while others are very serious in their approach to help fans of a particular genre recreate fictional foods from very real foods.
Adams, associate professor of rare books and an authority on food and drink in popular culture, said he was inspired to create this exhibit several years ago after reading an article in a science fiction newsletter about cosplayers who were recreating a Klingon banquet. Klingons — a warrior race from the "Star Trek" franchise — are known for enjoying bloodwine, targ — which they also keep as pets — and gagh — a delicacy made from serpent worms and best enjoyed while still alive.
"The real challenge to these 'mealplayers' is that they're making edible dishes based on inedible props, which have to look good for the camera," Adams said. "And for foods gleaned from books, some of these dishes are never described in any great detail, so the cooks get quite creative."
"The Joy of Cooking Dragons" is on display until March 17, 2018. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the Morse Department of Special Collections at 785-532-7456.