Beyond the comforting, homely tomes of Julia Child and Nigella Lawson, there is a whole world of weird and wonderful cookbooks. We might be used to seeing subtle twists on familiar favourites like roast chicken or leek and potato soup, but the great pantheon of cooking has a whole lot more to offer those who are willing to walk on the wild size.
It goes without saying that these publications won’t be suitable for every style of cook. Some may find them too wild to get their heads around. Others might think they sound downright scary. Whichever camp you fall into, rest assured that all of them are absolutely fascinating. These are the weirdest cookbooks that have ever been published.
1. By Hook or By Cook
They might be unfairly maligned by much of society, but prostitutes are people too. Therefore, they also need to eat. Enter, “By Hook or By Cook”, the cookbook “Concocted by Nevada’s Finest Working Ladies”. Inside, the reader can find recipes for “Lorena Bobbit’s Beany Weenies,” and “Creamed Banana Wafers,” proving that every line of work can have something to contribute to the edibe canon.
2. Cooking with a Serial Killer
It’s usually a bad start if a cookbook’s entire concept has been created in poor taste, but that didn’t stop this seriously dark release from hitting shelves in 2004. A collaboration between writer Shane Bugbee and convicted murderer Dorothea Puente, “Cooking with a Serial Killer” includes over 50 recipes and pieces of prison art sent straight from Puente herself.
3. The Forme of Cury
It might not have been strange at the time of publication, but England’s famous 14th century cookbook is undoubtedly one of the best examples of all the odd things that can be achieved in a kitchen. Aside from early templates for dishes such as roast pig, “The Forme of Cury” also instructs the reader on a host of more exotic animals, including whales, seals and herons.
4. Futurist Cooking
If “The Forme of Cury” covers unusual ingredients, nothing can match “Futurist Cooking” when it comes to presentation. Focused on completely reimagining the entire concept of a meal, this 1930 text suggests that, among other things, all kitchen tools be replaced by scientific equipment, dinner guests should wear specially prepared pyjamas and that conversation and music should be banned, except at specific times.
5. Les Diners de Gala
Not to be done by his odd foodie forbears from a few decades earlier, Salvador Dali decided to provide a handbook to his legendary dinner parties in 1973’s “Les Diner de Gala”. Ornately illustrated and packed with recipes such as “Frog Pasties” and “Toffee with Pinecones”, the book is not for the faint hearted.
6. Natural Harvest
Although undoubtedly odd, the aforementioned titles at least revolve around things that most of us would consider to be edible. “Natural Harvest” takes things even further. This book, first published in 2008, has only one ingredient at its heart - semen. Described by the author as possessed of “,a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties,” it is certainly a brave choice for your next dinner party.
7. The Testicle Cookbook
If you’ve decided that “Natural Harvest” is the book for you, why not complete your genital collection with the subtly named “The Testicle Cookbook”. Unsurprisingly, this title is devoted to the dozens of ways in which to prepare and eat animal testes, making it a must for anyone who wants to show that they have real balls.
Flicking through an ordinary recipe book is a harmless, and deeply pleasurable pastime. However, if this collection makes anything clear, it is that you can never judge a book by its genre. You never know what hidden horrors might accidentally be unleashed.