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An irreverent journey through the crazy, twisted, mixed-up world of food!

About the Author

Stefan Gates is a writer and broadcaster. In 2004, as a presenter and writer of the BBC2 series Full on Food, Stefan introduced the nation to the wilder side of gastronomy. He's worked as a TV directorm scriptwriter and comedy producer, but his strangest job was appearing naked on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy at the age of four. He is married to the top food photographer Georgia Glynn Smith, who shot the pictures for Gastronaut in between working with the likes of Nigel Slater and Gordon Ramsay.


First published in Britain, this "gastronautical questbook" is an irreverent and unexpected journey through several culinary oddities. Gates, a comedy producer, director, scriptwriter, and self-described "epicurean desperado," assures readers, however, that each of the featured bizarre recipes is "real and practical." With more than 50 black-and-white photographs and several charts, the book begins with a chapter on gilding Cheetos and sausage with gold leaf, then moves on to famous last meals, cannibalism, aphrodisiacs, and more. Recipes are given for such interesting dishes as Chicken-foot Stew, Nettle Haggis, Lumpydick, Butt Sandwich, Cow-Heel Soup, and Buckinghamshire Bacon Badger. A list of useful web sites is also included. Overall, this is a fascinating collection, but it's not for the weak of stomach. Recommended for all libraries with strong food history and cookery collections.-Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib., Lister Hill Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Comedian Gates is an "epicurean desperado," willing to cook and eat anything-at least once. After all, he argues, if we eat 22 tons of food over our lifetimes and use 16% of our waking lives preparing food, shouldn't we try for the occasional "culinary epiphany" by maximizing our "excitement-to-mastication ratio"? A "culinary disaster" is not necessarily a "culinary failure," he reminds readers as he explains how to prepare fish sperm, sweetbreads, head cheese and cow heel. He admits he hasn't (yet) tried some dishes-such as those for Roasted Placenta Loaf, and Quick 'n' Easy Termites-but most have the user-friendly directions that signify a well-tested recipe. The book has no rigid structure, so a chapter on gold-plating food leads to a section on how to recreate a bacchanalian orgy or even the Last Supper, followed by an exploration of cannibalism and a look at cooking with aftershave. By the time readers reach the 11 pages of directions for producing an imu (a Polynesian pitbake requiring, among other things, a huge yard, a couple of truckloads of scrap iron and a small lamb or goat), they'll be with Gates in spirit, even if they're not ready to bring in the backhoe. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Witty and weird...this extraordinary "cookbook", stuffed with esoteric foodie facts, contains a surprising quantity of workable recipes, but the principal pleasure is to be derived from Gates's witty writing, which had me laughing out loud." * Sunday Times *
"Huge fun, extremely informative and featuring the oddest selection of recipes you are ever likely to see (I never knew, incidentally, that woodlice tasted like shrimps), Stefan Gates' new book is in the best tradition of British experimental gastronomy." * Daily Express *
"A brilliant, brilliant book" -- Pete and Geoff * Virgin Radio *
"Brilliant. Deranged, but Brilliant." -- Heston Blumenthal
"With the avalanche of chef books launching this autumn, Gates and his irreverent look at culinary matters presents welcome relief from all that serious cooking, It's a splendid read." * Publishing News *

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