Friday, June 22, 2012

The Illustrated Edition

The Illustrated Edition
Bobby Derie

Roast Suckling Human
Preparation and Cooking time: 5 ½ - 6 ½ hours
Serving size: 3-4

You will need:

1 (10-12 pound) dressed suckling human
2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups of kosher salt
12 cloves of garlic
pepper and seasonings to taste
A large roasting pan
Meat thermometer
Aluminum foil

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Rinse the infant. If not done already, remove any remaining internal organs and wash the cavity well.
3. With heavy string, bind the arms together at the wrist (or, if the hands have been removed, at the elbows), and the legs together at the ankles or the knees, as appropriate.
4. Rub the infant down well with salt and seasonings, including inside the cavity, and stuff with garlic and any breading as desired.
5. Place the infant in the roasting pan and pour in the olive oil. Cover the ears and nose with aluminum foil to prevent scorching. Insert the thermometer in the meaty part of the thigh, making sure the thermometer does not touch bone.
6. Roast in the oven for half an hour per pound, basting every hour. Ensure that the meat thermometer reads at least 170 degrees F. Remove foil before serving.

Serving Suggestion: Goes well with Californian orange wines.


“The judge has ordered an injunction against the publishers, and we’ve seized all the copies in the warehouse, but they’re refusing to give up the author.” Detective Grimes continued. “We have half of the editorial staff down in lock-up, but they’ve already begun phoning their lawyers and claiming they’ll make a First Amendment fight out of it in the courts.”

Professor Maxwell closed the book, eyes lingering for a moment on the glossy cover and the ghoulish feast it depicted, laid out with exquisite culinary depiction on white ironstone china. He set it on his desk. “I am not a lawyer, but in my professional opinion you may have difficulty restricting the book as obscene.”
“Not my department. Right now I’m holding them as accessories to murder and conspiracy. The forensic guys say there are pieces of at least two men, a woman, and two children on display in that little cookbook.”

Maxwell arched an eyebrow. “You think the illustrations are real?”

“Photographs from life. There are things in there you don’t even see in most medical textbooks.” The detective leaned over to tap the cover to emphasize his point. “The problem is, we don’t know who took them or where, or even when—though the layout of the photos, the quality, and the décor suggest relatively recently. These aren’t a lone cannibal serial killer’s polaroids. These were staged, professionally taken, lighting and all.”

“Surely the publishing company would have records? Receipts?”

“Their servers are encrypted and their lawyers are telling them not to talk to us. So you can see, we’ve got quite a situation on our hands. That’s where you came in.”

The professor nodded. The shelves behind him were stacked floor to ceiling and wall to wall with recipe books, folklore, histories, and anthropological reports on culinary history—at least half of which dealt with anthrophagy. He’d made his career on it.

“Leave me the book.” Maxwell said. “I’ll analyze the text and let you know if I find anything that might suggest the author’s identity.”

“Thanks, doc.”Grimes said, rising from the chair and offering his hand. “But please make this a priority. For all we know, right now the bastard could be writing a sequel.”

Fried Brain Sandwich
Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 2-3

You will need:
1 human head (age 6 years or older for full size)
½ cup unbleached flour
1 tablespoon butter or lard
2 quarts of court-bouillon
Light brine (1 cup salt to 4 cups water)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large pan
1 large frying pan
1 meat thermometer
Bread & dress to taste

1. If not already done, remove the brain from the skull, and peel back the ‘skin’ to expose the folds. Soak the brain in brine to remove as much of the blood as possible.
2. Insert the meat thermometer and poach the brain in the court-bouillon for ten to twelve minutes. Make sure the thermometer reads at least 165 degrees F before removing the brain from the bouillon.
3. Let stand to cool for a few minutes, then slice into strips.
4. Lightly bread the strips in flour and seasonings, then fry them with butter or lard until brown.
5. Serve on sliced bread with dressing.

Serving suggestion: Thin slices of dark bread like pumpernickel, garnished with strips of romaine lettuce and horseradish.

Warning: It is recommended that brains be thoroughly cooked to reduce the risk of prion disease.


“What I don’t understand is, haven’t there been quite a few ‘How to Cook Humans’ books over the years? Not counting your own, of course.” said Lorraine, then sipped her tea.

“Oh yes,” said Maxwell. “Several. Most of them, however, have sought refuge in parody or satire—played cannibalism up for its comedic and gross-out value. But an authentic book of recipes for human flesh, with illustrations? No, that’s very rare, even in fiction. Graham Masterton of all people perhaps popularized the idea when he sold off ‘The Secret Shih Tan’ to that horror program all those years ago, but even then he retained the mystery and taboo of the thing.”

He tapped the book’s cover for emphasis, just as the detective had done. “But this is…a standard, commercial, slightly vapid cookbook in the contemporary style. Aside from the principal ingredient, there is nothing keeping this off of the shelves of Barnes & Noble, sandwiched between Julia Child and Emeril.”

Maxwell sipped his tea and nibbled on the corner of a biscuit. Lorraine reached over and opened the cover, then closed it again.

“Well, the photographs are shocking, if they are real. I don’t see how they’re much more obscene than most R-rated movies, however.”

“You may be right,” he said, then wiped crumbs from his shirt. “And I admit it’s a bit of a concern for my own work. But that is up to the police and the lawyers to deal with. For now, my task is simply to read the book and ferret out any clue as to the chef’s identity.”

“So you think someone actually prepared these recipes? That it isn’t just a hoax, or a very realistic creative exercise?” said Lorraine.
The professor paused and swallowed his tea.

“I believe the recipes could be real. They are certainly functional enough. The photographs appear to echo the preparation and presentation exactly. So if the directions are real, and the results are real—well, I refuse to believe someone went to all the trouble of inventing and then cooking such dishes without tasting them.”


Placenta alla Puttanesca
Preparation and Cooking Time: 1 ½ hours
Serving size: 1-2

You will need:
1 human placenta, chopped
1 pound spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
4 overripe tomatoes, crushed
8 olives, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon dried crushed basil
1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
½ tablespoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried fennel
Salt to taste
1 large pot

1. Heat the oil in the pot, then add the placenta and onions and lightly sauté until brown, then add the garlic and let sit 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the crushed tomatoes and other ingredients, then let simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces, about 30-35 minutes.
3. Add herbs or salt to taste.
4. Serve over spaghetti

Serving suggestion: Try sautéing with sliced anchovies, and serving with an Anjou rosé.


“You know I must give the police something.” Maxwell told her.

“Afraid they’ll turn their attentions on you?”

“Not to insult you, but there are certain gross similarities to my own work.”
“Ah, yes, the infamous textbook. Not exactly flying off the shelves, I noticed.”

The professor smiled. “Perhaps you’ve underestimated your potential audience.”

“Or perhaps your presentation is lacking, your ingredients too…stale.”

The smile died by degrees. “Each of those recipes is from an authentic anthrophagic tradition. Fifteen years in the field, in the bush and jungle and prisons. The research is impeccable.”

“Yes, because the natives of the Amazon basin know better how to boil a man into a stew than anyone else. I’d like to see one of them make a roux.”

Maxwell shrugged. “So what do I tell them?”

“The truth, as far as it goes. You can point out the sources, likely or possible. Show them that thesis you’ve been holding on to. Let them come to their own conclusions, and the courts will decide what is obscene and what is…art.”


1 comment:

  1. Nice one. Delightfully disgusting. And you even mentioned my favorite Masterton cannibalism story, which I thought nobody else had read. :)