Bliss Thru Shopping: Stick a fork in it

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We’ll be perfectly honest: Bag Lady and Shopping Siren have never cooked squirrel.

Never had the urge to until … well, no, we can’t say “now” because we still don’t have the urge. (Mostly we’d love a squirrel as a pet, not dinner.) But if we did, we could cook it, and we could cook it like a squirrel-cooking champion, thanks to “The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide.” 

Oh, yeah, that’s a thing.

Feeling a little less squirrel, a little more burgers topped with radish, lentil, parsnip or brie? It’s “The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book” for you.

Only very recently — like, three days ago — did we discover the pop culture wonders and culinary delights that await in the cookbook aisle.

By way of background, Shopping Siren is the chef between the two of us, thanks to cooking shows and internet videos, going so far as to several times whip up mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream frosting. Mmm.

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Bag Lady can make ziti, meatloaf and banana bread. And ziti, meatloaf and banana bread. And ziti, meatloaf and banana bread. It’s a repertoire that could use some expansion.

In skipping the cookbook aisle, we’ve clearly been missing out on an array of dishes suggested by favorite TV shows, movies and books. If you’ve been missing out, too — or if you could use a timey-wimey “Doctor Who” dish or two as a conversation starter at your big Thanksgiving meal next week — we’ve got just the thing.

Let’s just get it out of the way and start with squirrel picante.

• “The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide” by Lauren Wilson, $29.99

Brimming with pictures from the hit TV show, it’s filled with tips such as which knives are a must-have for the zombie apocalypse and how to pack your bug-out bag, along with recipes fit for a scrappy survivor on the go. Cherry moonshine sounds pretty delightful, as does Carl’s pudding. 

Worth noting: We found all of our books this week at Books-A-Million in the Auburn Mall, but we love the idea of buying local, too. So ask your fine local bookseller if they stock any of these. We’re betting they do. Because they want cherry moonshine as much as you do right now.

• “Eat Like A Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls” by Kristi Carlson, $24.99

BL and SS may be the only two ladies of our age group (87) who have not seen “Gilmore Girls,” but it doesn’t make this cookbook any less of a delight. Each recipe starts with a scene-setter for when that particular food was eaten on the show. The recipes are basic with a twist, like making your own cinnamon butter to spread on pancakes. Some are more edible than others. On the show, the Santa Burger comes with a ketchup hat and a cream cheese beard. In the cookbook it comes with a warning: “The Santa Burger is a gesture, not a meal.”  

• “The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book” by Loren Bouchard, $19.95

Written and drawn by the same person who created the dry, witty animated show, this cookbook is out there in burger-terms. Recipes make liberal use of yam, okra and scallions, and bear fabulous names like “Texas Chainsaw Massa-Curd.” Get in your veggies and a laugh.

• “Shopkins: Let’s Get Cooking!” by Scholastic, $16.99

If you have not been around any 4-year-olds lately, you may not be aware of the tiny, technicolor, so-sweet-your-teeth-ache world of Shopkins. They started off as toys but have branched into a children’s book series, trading cards and video web series. Plus this cookbook, which features “50 yummy recipes!” for you and said 4-year-old to make together.

Spoiler alert: They’re mostly desserts.

Even Rainbow Kate’s fruit-on-a-skewer comes with a side recipe for chocolate fondue. But, hey, if you’re going to turn your kitchen into a flour-covered disaster area, you might as well get a whoopie pie and some cookies out of the deal.

• “American Girl Baking” or “American Girl Breakfast and Brunch” by Williams Sonoma, $19.95

These cookbooks are named after the wildly popular “American Girl” book series and doll line, though there didn’t appear to be much, if any, connection. Still, the recipes are straightforward and range from the basic (hash browns) to more unique (fresh mint tisane). Invite your favorite 10-year-old into the kitchen to make a few desserts or brunch dishes this Thanksgiving while you sit back and sip a fresh mint tisane. The very definition of win-win.

• “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” by Dinah Bucholz, $19.95

With more than 150 recipes from the “Harry Potter” universe intermingled with Potter trivia and cooking tips, it’s easy to see why this was a New York Times best seller. Recipes are divided into sections, including “Treats from the Train” and “Breakfast Before Class.” Some are pretty standard muggle fare — French onion soup? — but most dishes are magical. By the way, the secret ingredient in pumpkin pasties is the nutmeg. It’s always the nutmeg. 

• “Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook” by Joanna Farrow, $19.99

Includes “40 wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey recipes!” If you’re a “Doctor Who” fan, you are squeeing like a schoolgirl right now. (At least SS did. In the bookstore aisle. People may have turned and stared.) The book is glossy, fun and filled with puns. Think Dalectible Army tea cakes. Mostly the recipes are standard but appear Who-ish, like Cybermelts, which are open-face cheese and cucumber sandwiches that look like cybermen. SS favored a gingerbread TARDIS with blue (of course) icing. It may actually be bigger on the inside; you’d have to make it to find out.

Best find: “Fifty Shades of Chicken” by F.L. Fowler, $19.99

Where. To. Start.

Do we start with the recipes’ names in this New York Times best seller? (Among them: “Butter breasts,” “Please don’t stop chicken” and “Learning to truss you.”)

Do we start with the fact that each recipe includes a snippet of story from our heroine, Miss Hen? (At one point she asks her beau, “Why do we always have to use condiments?”)

YES, THAT HAPPENS.

We were dying in the aisles, and the recipes look intriguingly luxe, so there’s that, too. Buy this and blush furiously as you cook your chicken. That is not a euphemism.

Think twice: About having a plain old meal.

There’s too much fan fun in the cookbook aisle.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who drooled upon hearing “squirrel picante”) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at baglady@sunjournal.com and shoppingsiren@sunjournal.com. 

“Fifty Shades of Chicken” by F.L. Fowler, a parody cookbook and New York Times bestseller. Chicken has never seemed so racy.

“The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide” by Kristi Carlson. Cook at your own risk.

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