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The Sad Bastard Cookbook

The BumblePuppy Press’ own Rachel A. Rosen and Zilla Novikov (ably assisted by Marten Norr) struck out on their own between last summer’s publication of Rachel’s Cascade, and Zilla’s forthcoming debut, Reprise, by writing a cookbook that is both useful and funny.

Cover of The Sad Bastard Cookbook by Zilla Novikov and Rachel A. Rosen with illustrations by Marten Norr

It’s a cookbook, and one I’ve had on (virtual) hand for only a couple of days, so I would be lying if I told you I have read it from cover to cover. But I have spot-read it and can tell you three things.

First, it is a pragmatic cookbook, one that makes no pretence it will turn you into a master chef, but rather, that it will help you feed yourself on your worst, most stressed-out, days.

Second, it is a funny book. Aimed specifically at dealing with depression or other mental or physical illnesses, as well as people who are simply over-stressed by the demands of living in a brutal, late-capitalist world where “leisure time” is more often an aspiration than a reality, it is at once snarky, kind-hearted, and justifiably angry at the state of the world. (It is also rich with in-jokes to the authors’ own books, as well as some by their friends. You don’t have to have read Cascade or be looking forward to Reprise, but you’ll get more chuckles out of the SBCB if you have done.)

Image shows excerpt from The Sad Bastard Cookbook Table of Contents and includes the following note/warning: Mental and physical illness, disordered eating, and dark humour throughout, as well as occasional mentions of alcohol, swearing, and political references. If you have specific food triggers, some recipes may be
unpalatable to you.

This cookbook is an old friend who keeps crashing on your couch, promising they’ve got something lined up and are gonna get their shit together. This cookbook is all the recipes you already make, when you’ve worked a 16-hour day, when you can’t stop crying and you don’t know why, when the eldritch abomination you woke at the bottom of the ocean won’t go back to sleep. And hopefully, this cookbook gives you some new meal ideas. Even Sad Bastards have to eat.

The recipes are chatty but concise, with vague but clear directions allowing the reader/cook the option of following the directions as written or working on variations, confident we won’t ruin a dinner we’re very nearly too tired to make in the first place.

And third, The Sad Bastard Cookbook includes enough of a variety of recipes not only to keep you alive in trying times, but to keep you and your taste-buds from getting bored.

Image is a 3- panel cartoon showing two stick characters discussing depression and the state of the world. One character gifts the other with a copy of the Sad Bastard Cookbook by Rachel A. Rosen and Zilla Novikov.

You can buy the book in paper from what some call The Big A, but the authors have chosen to also publish the book under a Creative Commons License and are offering it as a free download from the Night Beats Extended Universe website – and you can also get it right here from The BumblePuppy Press’s store (preferably, but not necessarily, when you also buy one of our other excellent books, currently all 20% off!).

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