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Alan Kistler talks about geekdom and the "Game of Thrones Cookbook"

April 06, 2012|Elliott Serrano, For RedEye

I have long been a fan of Alan "Sizzler" Kistler ever since I discovered his series of annotations for episodes of the series "Doctor Who." When it comes to having a treasure trove of knowledge of all things geeky, Alan has it. He's written for Newsarama, Nerd Puddle and other various sites. He now has his own cookbook!

The "Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook" is a must-have for fans of the fantasy series written by George R.R. Martin and now a hit television series on HBO. With more tasty recipe options than you could shake a broadsword at, Alan Kistler has created a fun collection of culinary concoctions that are sure to add extra spice to a"Game of Thrones" viewing party.

Alan took some time from slaving away in the kitchen to tell me about his new book, what it was like creating the recipes and how life has been as one of the hottest geeks in the world!:

Geek To Me: How long have you been a fan of the Game of Thrones series? Did you read the original books first? Or did you get hooked by the television mini-series?

Alan Kistler: I was aware of it for some time and had read the first two book years ago but, although I liked it, for one reason or another I hadn't gotten around to continuing the series. After watching the first episode of the HBO series, I thought "My God, this WAS a bloody good story, wasn't it?" Went back, skimmed through the first two books to remind myself what happened, then went through the third book and the rest very quickly. Just in time for this project, really.

G2M: Does someone have to be a fan of GoT to enjoy the recipes?

AK: Not at all. The fun thing about these recipes is they cover a variety of foods and for a variety of occasions. If you just want a simple dish for yourself or a variety of snacks, we have you covered. Not everything has to be a feast and you don't need to restock your kitchen with medieval supplies and extinct animals to enjoy this. I also give a context for each recipe but no real spoilers, beyond character names and perhaps where they live, so you can go read the
books afterward and find yourself surprised by the twisting plots.

G2M: Where did you get the inspiration to write a cookbook about a fantasy world?

AK: It's not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. People have been doing fun tie-in works for years. There's a Klingon audio dictionary to teach you the language and Harry Potter cookbooks. My friend Bonnie Burton does Star Wars related crafts. Considering how often food is mentioned and discussed in the books, it makes sense to build a cookbook for the series A Song of Ice and Fire. After I started this project, I found out there were already web-sites making recipes based on the books. I chose not to look at them until afterthe final galley edits were in and weeks after I had completed my final notes. That way I couldn't be accidentally influenced.

G2M: How challenging was it to come up with the recipes?
AK: George R. R. Martin does a wonderful job of describing many dishes in terms of what's involved and what kinds of spices it has. At the same time, he's not a big cook by his own admission, so you've still got to do some legwork in figuring out "Okay, well, how would this dish have been prepared?" In many cases, it's pretty obvious. In others, not so much and that's where creativity comes about. I'm not a professional chef by trade nor have I written a cookbook before, so occasionally I would need some help with research and the publisher was very nice about that.

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