Saturday, May 18, 2024

Book cover: "Will Eisner's Gleeful Guide to Occult Cookery"

Here's a curiosity from the wild and wacky 1970s. Between this and the Lovely post, you might think things are getting too racy here on Papergreat. But it's just a coincidence. I'm doing my best to keep it a PG-13 blog.

  • Title: Will Eisner's Gleeful Guide to Occult Cookery
  • Subtitle: The Saucerer's Apprentice (the first of many, many puns to groan at)
  • Additional cover text: "Brimful with tasty, enchanting recipes anyone can make in any average modern kitchen — each carefully selected to be used in casting spells, leveling curses and causing supernatural results in money and sexual affairs!"
  • Author and illustrator: Will Eisner (1917-2005), previously featured in a post regarding Will Eisner's Spirit Casebook Of True Haunted Houses And Ghosts.
  • Editor: Ivan Klapper
  • Recipes by: Judy Mann
  • Dimensions: 8½ inches by 11 inches
  • Publication date: 1974
  • Publisher: Poorhouse Press. According to the Lambiek Comiclopedia, the other books Eisner did with Poorhouse Press in the mid 1970s included The Gleeful Guide to Communicating with Plants to Help Them Grow; Incredible Facts, Amazing Statistics, Monumental Trivia; Living With Astrology; and How To Avoid Death & Taxes ... and Live Forever.
  • Format: Paperback
  • Original publication: January 1969, by Doubleday & Company
  • Pages: 64
  • Cover price: $1.95
  • Excerpt from the introduction: "OCCULT COOKERY is designed for the middle-of-the-road citizen who has never consciously compounded a curse or cast a spell ... but would like to know how. If you've ever suspected that a strange psychic force was toying with your fate, or yearned to possess the extraordinary power to alter the lives of friends and foes, this book is for YOU! OCCULT COOKERY is dedicated to the adventurous soul who would like to manipulate others. For good or evil. The anem of this magical force is WITCHCRAFT. You've heard of it, of course. But have you ever really believed it existed? ... Much help in this eerie enterprise was supplied by Judith Mann, a young sauceress and a no-nonsense professional caterer. She furnished all the recipes, which have been scrupulously tested for practicality."
  • Recipe names: These names, paired with Eisner's illustrations, are the best part of the book. Here's a large sampling: Bookie Bouillon, Miserable Mulligatawny, Adultery Ghoulash, Pox Meat Loaf, Wrack of Lamb, Drop-Dead Duck, Swamp-Bottom Lobster, Evil-Eye Eel, Toad Stool Flounder, Amorous Beef Stroganoff, Intercourse Pheasant, Grapes of Wraith Salad, Forbidden Zucchini, Fornication Fondue, Lust or Bust SoufflĂ©, Gnome Cake, Inhuman Burgers 'n' Beans, Shrimp Psych-Out, Orgasmic Tidbittys, Cream Obscene, Ghastly Cake, Noodle Nut Necromancy, Chicken Caligula, Rigid Cheese Digits, Agony Niblets, Salmon Succubus, Lost Sole Fillets (groan), ESP Tea, Dracula Toddy and Warlock Wine. 
  • Trigger warnings: The book is absolutely a product of its time, containing some offensive material and often using references to sexual assault for "humor."
  • Cranky Amazon review: In 2015, Maine Rose wrote: "Not amusing, not interesting, not a good read — nothing."
  • More forgiving Amazon review: In 2019, Oldman437 wrote: "The chapter titles are cute, like 'Magic Charms' or 'Terrible Curses' with recipes for Adultery Ghoulash and Drop-Dead Duck. This book was published in the early '70s, so some of the ingredients are no longer fashionable (e.g. real butter, vermouth, etc.), but each recipe we made was delicious — and that's how I judge a cookbook."

Here are two pages from the book, complete with their recipes, followed by a couple more recipes.
Fornication Fondue
(which surprises me, because it's a non-cheese fondue)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
Melt butter in a saucepan; saute onions until transparent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper and garlic. Cover and cook over low heat 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Noodle Nut Necromancy
  • 2 lb. broad noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 4 tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups toasted almonds
  • 1 cup white raisins, plumped in hot water
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Separate noodes with a fork; add sour cream, grated lemon and orange rinds, sguar, almonds and raisins. Blend well with a wooden spoon, being careful not to mash noodles. turn into a serving casserole and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve.

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