Having been warned against using the word “unique” in reviews, let me just say that Cooking to Die For is unusual. This will not be a surprise to any reader familiar with Eric Moebius Morlin, who lived from 1987 to 2001 on the streets of the Little 5 Points section of Atlanta, supporting himself by reciting poetry. After he left the streets, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from The University of Central Florida. These days he lives in New Mexico.
These details are important because maybe it takes a man with that kind of background to think of sharing real recipes in a novel about a worldwide plague of undead. After all, the survivors who can’t subsist on human flesh do have to eat. They need to know how to make mayonnaise, sour cream and butter and BBQ sauce, along with venison and, if necessary, roadkill. Just because the world has gone mad, that doesn’t mean you don’t need condiments. And who wants to survive if you can’t make mead or Lemon Iced Box Pie? The recipes are scattered through the book, whenever cooking naturally occurs in the story.
But while the recipes add a note of humor to the book, don’t mistake this for a comedy. It is, instead, a series of interconnected stories which take place mostly in the southern United States but also in other parts of the world. They tell of ordinary people caught up in a nightmare world where “eaters” are everywhere, and nothing is ordinary anymore.
Morlin’s style is straight-forward and, no matter what happens, he treats it in the same even, unemotional tone, which works very well for this story. The plot sweeps you along. You may, in fact, read this book in one sitting. It is lavishly illustrated by Morlin’s own mesmerizing and often quite disturbing black and white illustrations.
While the undead are a common subject these days, this book is different. Give it a try. It is odd but interesting to finish a book about biological warfare gone horribly wrong with a deep desire to go make some butter.