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15 Strange and Awesome Cookbooks

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Amazon.com

Beyond Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain and even Alton Brown exists a culinary world limited only by human imagination and gag reflex. Here we explore some lesser known but very intriguing cookbooks.

1. Giggle Water

This self-published recipe book told its 1928 readers how to make delightful, Prohibition-flaunting giggle drinks, including “Eleven Famous Cocktails of The Most Exclusive Club in New York.” Drinks such as The Bronx, The Astor, The Bacardi, The Clover, and The Dry Martini were among the recipes. The book recently sold from AbeBooks for £1,200.

2. Cookin’ with Coolio

This may very well be as much a piece of performance art as it is a cookbook. Coolio promises that his Crazy Pollo Salad "easily serves 4 crazy motherf****ers" and introduces readers to his own take on classic foreign dishes, such as Ghettalian (ghetto Italian). Reviewers rate it high for its recipes and even higher for being funny.

3. Odd Bits

Throughout most of history and in many parts of the world today, a person would have to be crazy to throw out perfectly edible pieces of animals just because they weren’t prime cuts. Odd Bits puts modern zest in ancient and impoverished diets with recipes on how to cook ears, feet, hearts, lungs, gizzards, kidneys, brains, testicles, intestines, and more.

4. Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

It can’t be all lickable Snozzberries and edible flower teacups in Roald Dahl’s world. Revolting Recipes, written by Dahl’s wife Felicity, offers up both dismal fare such as Mr. Twit's Beard Food (mashed potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, and cocktail weenies) and some which is more promising, like Eatable Marshmallow Pillows. Perfect for especially strange children.

5. Fifty Shades of Chicken

“I want you to see this. Then you’ll know everything. It’s a cookbook,” he says, and opens to some recipes, with color photos. “I want to prepare you, very much.” There’s pulling, jerking, stuffing, trussing. Fifty preparations. This book is available on Kindle, to offer privacy for the discreet chef.

6. Forme of Cury

Read the recipes of Richard II’s personal chef in this 600-year-old cookbook. Or try to, anyway. They’re written in Middle English. “Nym kedys and chekenys and hew hem in morsellys and seth hem in almand mylk or in kyne mylke grynd gyngyner galingale and cast therto and boyle it and serve it forthe.” Once you figure that out, you’re in for some good pottage.

7. Special Effects Cookbook

Published in 1992, this still locatable family-fun cookbook promises “Easy to create recipes for food that Smokes, Erupts, Moves, Sings, Glows, Talks, Cracks, Pops, and Swims!” A great way to sneak science into your children’s pastries.

8. The Gay Cookbook

Written in 1965, Lou Rand Hogan (creator of the first gay detective, called The Gay Detective, also in 1965) is proud and loud in a time where it was dangerous to be so. He delights in the single entendre (“Chapter Seven. What to do with a Tough Piece of Meat.”) and embraces all the negativity directed at gays of the day with a fierce acceptance: “So we’ll offer here a sort of nonsensical cookbook for the androgynous (don’t bother to look it up, Maude. It means 'limp-wristed')." A whole new take on the 1960s.

9. TV Suppers

It’s so refreshing to see what most families consider their shameful secret given the dignity of 1960s elegance. Eating on the floor while watching game shows does not make you less of a person.

10. The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook

Bates knows the apocalypse, or “The Great Change,” is coming, but he’s not bummed. In fact, in a way it’s something to look forward to, a chance to rebuild a proper society from the ashes of the oil-dependent, chemically treated, artificial wasteland we live in now. Besides recipes for homegrown food, he also includes information on food storage, waste disposal, and rebuilding civilization.

11. The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook

You will be amazed how much food and drink can be improved by setting it on fire.

12. The “Why I’m Such a Fat Bastard” Recipe Book

A cookbook for all who believe Truth is Beauty. Buster is really sick of Kindle diet books. So he made his own Kindle book, showing how to make British desserts. It’s filled with butter and cream and sugar and even some bad language for good measure.

13. Official Star Trek Cooking Manual

Today there's an updated publication of Star Trek cookery, and there have been endless unofficial imitators, but this was the first and the official. Printed in 1978, when the franchise was still sacred to a relatively small number of Trekkers, this is for true academy-trained cadets only. Mr. Scott’s Scot’s Broth. Dr. McCoy’s Cornbread. Romulan stew. They’re all here. (Bonus: Compiled by a woman named “Piccard.” That’s got to mean something.)

14. The Lucretia Borgia Cookbook

A trendier cookbook featuring the favorite recipes of dead celebrities is currently in publication. But TLBC came first (1971). It is based on the idea that “the same good taste that enables one to paint fraudulent masterpieces incongruously carries over into the blending of white sauce. As students of both history and psychology, we should therefore have been prepared for an accidental discovery made during our research into foods of antiquity: notoriously sinister people ate more interesting, and frequently better, food than did most of their counterparts.”

15. Cooking Apicius

The Apicius is an even more ancient cookbook than the Forme of Cury, dating from around the 4th century. It’s a collection of recipes intended to be cooked for wealthy Romans of the era. Grainger translates the recipes and attempts to make them feasible for a modern cook while still retaining the taste of antiquity. It might mean a little rotting fish paste here and there, but if it was good enough for Caesar it’s good enough for you.

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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