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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Book Review: Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: Satisfying Stories with a Delicious Twist Anthology

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: Satisfying Stories with a Delicious Twist
Editor: Lisa Mangum
February 11, 2022
244 pages
Wordfire Press
Trade paperback $21.99. ISBN 978-1-68057-292-6
Ebook $4.99. ISBN 978-1-68057-293-3
Hardcover $34.99. 978-1-68057-294-0
Food. We use it to celebrate, to provide both comfort and energy, and to show our love. There’s something about mixing a pinch of this and a dash of that to create something new. And when you pair it with the perfect drink . . . *chef’s kiss*
Stories can do the same thing. They can be a celebration, bring us comfort and energy, and help us express our love. And when the perfect character is paired with the perfect plot . . . well, then you have something worth devouring.

So take a place at the table, and let’s see what’s on the menu.

For starters, gather your pennies to bid for the last two jars of peaches for sale in an apocalyptic future. Follow it up with a slice of pizza guaranteed to bring love into your life. Dig into a shrimp and pasta dish so flavorful, you’d swear it was some kind of witchcraft. Grab a plate of “Lloyd’s Secret Surprise”—it’s out of this world! And for dessert, choose between some very memorable homemade cookies, a slice of chocolate cream pie worth dying for, or a life-sized gingerbread house—just make sure it’s not occupied before you start nibbling at the door.

This collection of nineteen stories is packed full with hearty plots, meaty characters, and a surprising and mysterious twist at the end to serve as the perfect dessert.

All profits benefit the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Table of Contents:
“Words of Warning” M. Elizabeth Ticknor
“Tick Tock” Aleksa Baxter
“The Last Ramekin” Liz Pierce.
“The Gingerbread Contract” Jessica Guernsey
“The Boba Thief” Sixth Moon Press LLC
“The Last Jars of Peaches” Lauren Lang
“Love Potion on a Large #9” Kitty Sarkozy
“The World’s Greatest Chef” CJ Erick
“A Recipe for Home” Alicia Cay
“The Honey Pie” Terry Madden
“Space without Breath” Jen Bair
“Galaxy Edge Café” C. Michelle Jefferies
“Mission Impossible Burger” Mike Jack Stoumbos
“Roll the Dice” Mary Pletsch
“Why I Will Eat Earth: A Manifesto” M. R. Tevebaugh
“An Obsession of Peaches” Bonnie Elizabeth
“Murder in the Roux Morgue” Chris Mandeville.
“Somewhere Far” Ken Hoover
“Royal Wedding” by Kevin J. Anderson

Edited by Lisa Mangum and containing selected stories featuring our favorite foods, this anthology is the seventh volume produced by the alumni of Superstars Writing Seminars, and all royalties benefit the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund.


This anthology is a mix of genres, from fantasy to dystopian to mystery, and more, all using food as the center of the story or the setting for the tale. I enjoyed most, but my big favorites were “The Gingerbread Contract,” “Love Potion on a Large #9,” “The Last Ramekin,” “Mission Impossible Burger,” “The Boba Thief,” “Galaxy Edge Café,” “Murder in the Roux Morgue,” and “Royal Wedding.”

“The Gingerbread Contract” takes an old tale and puts a new, modern spin on it. 

“The Boba Thief” is about the Sentinel of San Francisco, a human extension of the magic sentience of the city, who protects the eateries of the Lotus Lane Merchant’s Association. Lotus Lane has merchants with rare commodities not found anywhere else, stuff that magical beings of Asian mythology would be attracted enough to steal, but Emiko is charged to find why the common inventory of sake, rice, potstickers, and boba tea has gone missing. 

“Murder in the Roux Morgue” is about an assistant, Daniel, a graduate of San Quentin’s inmate culinary program and his boss, the chef of the Roux Morgue Restaurant, making “classic cuisine.” Daniel wanted to try new ways, instead of traditional dishes. New ways to murder for. 

 “The Last Ramekin” uses a cooking championship, The Culinary Conjurers (It's like something you might watch on the Food Network.) but the chefs are wizards, sorcerers/sorceresses, conjurers, and witches. It is the final round, with only seven left,  and one of them is a Kitchen Witch. 

“Love Potion” is about a woman moving away after selling her home who gets the urge to try a “love potion” to see if she could make her ex-husband love her again, with scary results. 

Loyd Alexander is a human who owns a café that serves fellow humans and aliens in the Edge and finds his past finally catching up with him in “Galaxy Edge Café.” 

“Mission Impossible Burger” is about virtual reality and the data used to make the wearer of the VR headset really believe a virtual burger tastes like the real thing, and who will do anything to steal that from the programmer. 

The last favorite of mine is “Royal Wedding” by Kevin. J. Anderson. Set in the past, disgruntled peasants had worked hard putting on a wedding and feast for the prince and princess. One peasant woman who worked in the kitchen, Hedda, had been growing to hate the royal couple more and more each day. She decides to use the herb craft her mother had taught her when she has had enough.

The stories in this book are “comfort food” for the reader. There are all sorts of tales, all well-written, that will seduce a person to take a taste of each one, some sweet, others spicy, nineteen courses of pleasure reading.

I gave Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: Satisfying Stories with a Delicious Twist 4 sheep.

Reviewer: Pamela Kinney

About the Editor:
Editor Lisa Mangum has worked in the publishing industry since 1997. She is currently the Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain Publishing and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors.

She edited One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology, A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology, Dragon Writers: An Anthology, X Marks the Spot, Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath, and Hold Your Fire, also published by WordFire Press.

She graduated with honors from the University of Utah, and currently lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.

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