If you spend enough time reading Stephen King’s stories, you’ll soon discover his characters actually eat: Not gonna lie – the fresh lobstrosities cooked over an open flame in “Drawing of the Three” sound pretty good.
“Castle Rock Kitchen,” by Theresa Carle-Sanders and with a forward by King, gathers 80 meals imagined from King’s Maine-centered stories and turns them into recipes you can whip up in your own kitchen.
For Carle-Sanders, the melding of her love for cooking with her love of reading is an easy fit.
“I have always been a reader and a cook,” she said on her website. “We ate out a lot – my Dad had an appreciation for good food that was unusual in the ’70s. His enthusiasm for food from all over the world sparked a passion in me. To this day, I spend most of my free time in the kitchen.
“Once we were home, the kitchen clean and the dishes put away, Mom would put me to bed with a book. She read to me as an infant, and started me on a lifetime of travel and adventure, both on and off the pages.”
This isn’t the first time Carle-Sanders has created a cookbook based on fiction: She has written two books inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels – “Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook” and the follow-up “Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again.”
“Castle Rock Kitchen,” by Theresa Carle-Sanders, with a forward by Stephen King, is available through Maria’s Bookshop.
For more information, visit Maria’s at https://bit.ly/3FiVXKm.
She said after the second “Outlander” book, she wanted to write another fictional cookbook and having been a Constant Reader for more than 30 years, she knew King’s body of work could fit the bill.
“Stephen King has a huge library of work, a big fandom, and I had noticed, when reading his books in the past, that he often mentions food,” Carle-Sanders said in an email. “I started reading his novels and short stories in the order they were published, which took me the better part of a year, reading eight hours a day, seven days a week!”
She said once she finished a proposal, her agent took it to King’s agent, who got his approval for the project and agreed to write the foreword.
Then came the task of figuring out how to condense all of King’s food references into a manageable list and make cuts from there. Carle-Sanders and her editor decided to focus on King stories that take place in Maine, rather than trying to include recipes from all of his stories.
“I read on a Kindle, highlighting every mention of food as I go,” she said. “From there, I enter all of those notations into a spreadsheet, where I add, delete, and move recipes around until I have a working table of contents that is balanced in terms of ingredients, courses, and stories represented.
“The biggest challenge was leaving behind the King stories that aren’t set in Maine, including ‘The Shining,’ ‘The Stand’ and his Dark Tower series,” she said. “The balance to that loss is the focus on Maine; it gave me an opportunity to write a fictional and a regional cookbook.”
And what Carle-Sanders came up with is a deep-dive into some of King’s iconic stories: Like “Cujo”? try making her “Dog Days French Toast Casserole.” There are “Hermits for the Road” bars based on cookies in “The Long Walk” – one of this reporter’s favorite stories, as well as “Crab Canapés” from “Pet Sematary” (my all-time favorite).
And if you’re not a huge Stephen King fan but like to cook – or, conversely, you are a huge Stephen King fan would could take or leave the culinary arts, Carle-Sanders said either way, this book has something for you.
“The recipes range from easy to more advanced, and you’ll find a wonderful collection of Maine comfort food. And those non-fans may find themselves drawn into one of the excerpts above a recipe, wondering what that story is all about,” she said in the email. “On the other hand, Castle Rock Kitchen also makes a great gift for the Stephen King fan who doesn’t necessarily like to cook. It’s a cookbook you can get lost in, and read cover to cover. The food, photos, and excerpts take you on a deep dive into Stephen King’s Maine, and give you a real taste of the author’s home state.”
And if she could sit down to a meal from any book, Carle-Sanders said she’d go with “11/22/63.”
“I think I’d like to be at the diner on Highway 1 South, where Jake from 11/22/63 stops for dinner and order/s the Blue Plate Special,” she said. “This is back before fast food, when Mom’s Home Cooking was what was on offer, and the special included a fruit cup to start, a filling main meal, and pie à la mode for dessert, all for the grand price of eighty cents. Those were the days!”