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Cooking The Books

Cooking The Books

By Vanessa Baca
A podcast about food in literature, the inspiration behind the stories, and how the recipes come to life in my kitchen!
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The Pit and the Pendulum and the Horrifying Thrill of Pork Medallions in Amontillado Sauce
The man who was my first literary boyfriend, Edgar Allan Poe himself, and one of his masterpiece works, are the subject of today's podcast, as I expound on the dark genius of the man, his opium-like literary style, and describe a culinary dish worthy of the Spanish Inquisition. And special thanks to the handsome, intelligent, funny, and always annoying Dr. Eddie Tafoya, who provided some of today's audio. Check out some of his work at: Like what you hear? Then check out my blog at: You can also like me on Facebook at: Or follow me on Instagram at:
March 1, 2021
The Shining and the Truly Terrifying Pleasure of Tomato-Basil Bisque
We're taking on the King of horror literature today, my main man Stephen King, and the book that is arguably one of his masterpieces, discussing the literary merits of the book vs. the notorious Stanley Kubrick film, and making some good old comfort food in today's episode, so enjoy! If you like my podcast, you'll probably enjoy my blog at: You can also like me on Facebook at: And of course, you can follow me on Instagram at:
February 4, 2021
Pablo Neruda's Ode to Tomatoes and the Sensual Pleasures of Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes
This episode features the poetry of my very favorite poet in the entire world, the late, great Pablo Neruda, and his culinary and sensual take on food in poetry, particularly the seemingly humble tomato, as well as my interpretation of it, and some meanderings on the nature of food and sexuality, so enjoy with your lover by your side! And many thanks to the hilarious, charming, handsome and occasionally annoying Dr. Eduardo Tafoya for doing the reading on today's episode! Blog: Facebook: Instagram:
January 1, 2021
The Haunting of Hill House and the Spooky Joy of Chicken with Plums and Radishes
A bit late for Halloween, nonetheless we're talking one of the greatest novels in horror literature and how its ambiguity makes it that much more terrifying, and a delicious and unexpected dish of chicken with plums and radishes, so please join us! Like what you hear? Check out my food blog at:! You can also like me on Facebook at: And you can follow me on Instagram at: Special thanks to Dr. Eddie Tafoya, professor, comedian and author, who provided some of the audio in today's episode. If you want to learn more about his work, visit:
November 23, 2020
The Exorcist and the Demonic Pleasures of Split Pea Soup
It 's the high holy season for those of us drawn to the darker side of life, and in honor of Halloween, I'm talking about a favorite book of mine that spawned one of the most shocking and horrifying films ever made, and tying it in with a delicious potful of soup that is just perfect for this season of falling leaves, crisp evenings, ghosts and ghouls, so give it a listen! Here is an interesting article if you want to dig more into the true story behind this book: If you like what you hear, check out my blog over at :, or you can like me on Facebook at:, or even better, follow me on Instagram at: Happy Halloween, you little monsters!
October 13, 2020
Bless Me, Última and the Spiritual Bliss of Blue Corn Cakes
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, and to memorialize a wonderful author who was also a dear friend and mentor, I'm discussing the pivotal book Bless Me, Última by the late, great Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya and sharing my method for making a savory New Mexico treat that incorporates our favorite seasonal green chile!  Like what you hear? Check out my blog at Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
September 15, 2020
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires and the Bloody Thrill of Cheese Straws
We're talking some Southern-fried vampirism today, along with a tasty appetizer that no self-respecting Southern housewife would be caught dead without, so check it out and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts! If you like this podcast, you'll love my blog so take a gander over at: Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
August 24, 2020
The Silence of the Lambs and the Cannibalistic Joy of Chicken Liver and Fava Bean Crostini
Join me as we talk cannibalism, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and I share my method for making a tasty chicken-liver and fava bean crostini! Check out my blog at: Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
July 14, 2020
Kitchen Confidential and the F*cking Brilliance of Yellowfin Tuna
We're honoring the foul-mouthed legacy and cooking genius of my idol, Anthony Bourdain, talking about his seminal work Kitchen Confidential, and I'm trying my hand at one of his more fanciful food references in that book, so listen and enjoy! Check out my blog at: Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
June 19, 2020
The Name of the Rose and the Ungodly Goodness of Fried Cheese in Batter
We're going back to 14th century Italy with a medieval monk and his Watson-like sidekick to an abbey where murder, mayhem and a massive library take center stage, and frying up some tasty cheesy goodness in the latest episode of Cooking the Books, so give us a listen!   Check out my blog at: Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
June 2, 2020
Dune and the Otherwordly Joys of Cooking Rabbit
Today's episode talks about the unearthly joys of science-fiction, including my favorite sci-fi book of all time, and a delicious and unusual dish featuring - you guessed it - rabbit! Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at: Check out my blog at:
May 15, 2020
Like Water for Chocolate and the Magic of Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Poblano Peppers)
This week, we are talking magical realism and food, discussing one of my favorite foodie books of all time and how it presents food as both magical and as a reflection of emotions and feelings, and I'll share my method for making a classic Mexican dish! Visit my blog at: Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
April 29, 2020
Fairy Tale Food and the Comfort of Cooking Risotto
In this week's episode, I talk about the magical and transformative qualities of food in fairy tales, discuss one recent retelling of my favorite fairy tale of all time, and share my method for making squid-ink risotto. Like me on Facebook at: Follow me on Instagram at:
April 22, 2020
La Cucina and the Art of Homemade Ragú Sauce
The culinary delights of Southern Italy are richly described in the wonderful book "La Cucina" by Lily Prior and I discuss the comforts of making homemade ragú sauce during COVID-19 social distancing.
April 14, 2020