cooking up a a good story or two or three





Press release

[Connell] is a master of language, an endlessly inventive wordsmith who writes with a poets eye and vision…”


            —Peter Tennant, Black Static


Connell is a stunningly good writer.

Robert Butterfield, Dead Reckonings


Connell is nothing if not inventive, diverse and sublimely witty.

            —The Agony Column





When he reached the age of 767, Peng Zu was sought after by the benevolent Emperor Yao, who wished to receive advice on ruling the nation. Peng Zu made a thick soup for the emperor out of pheasant, Jobs tear seeds and plums, well salted. Eating the dish, the emperor felt as if he were sitting on air. He was filled with a deep cosmic joy in which he saw everything clearly.

You see, Peng Zu said, the gravest problems of state can be resolved over a bowl of soup. The people, seeing you live frugally will not resent you. When the ruler is calm, the nation is calm.

Learn of the outrageous and sometimes dubious lives of Peng Zu and fifty other notorious cooks from the pages of history and legend, in a picaresque dictionary of delicious and playful story-telling.


About the Author

Brendan Connell was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1970. He has had fiction published in numerous places, including McSweeneys, Adbusters, and the World Fantasy Award winning anthologies Leviathan 3 (The Ministry of Whimsy 2002), and Strange Tales (Tartarus Press 2003). His published books are: The Translation of Father Torturo (Prime Books, 2005), Dr. Black and the Guerrillia (Grafitisk Press, 2005), Metrophilias (Better Non Sequitur, 2010), Unpleasant Tales(Eibonvale Press, 2010), The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children (Chômu Press, 2011), and The Architect (PS Publishing, 2012).


Publication Info


Paperback, 180 pages

Chomu Press
1st edition, December 5th, 2012

USA: $12.00

UK: £10.00

Europe: 10.50




Kasia Duzy:





(The author kindly gave me an advance peep at  this work. However, my review will remain as independent as possible. )


The book is mosaic in nature, telling the unconnected stories of several notorious cooks. It has a large geographic reach, spanning from England to China and all points in between. In addition, it covers a great chunk of time. The stories include both mundane and fantastic elements.  Therefor,  this book could have been written for me.

The idea is a good one. Many of the stories are simultaneously; funny,touching and eccentric. However, after several of them, they begin to merge and the reader’s attention begins to wander.

This would be a good bedside/handbag book. You could read a random story when time allows. However,  I wouldn’t recommend reading them one after the other.  Take  time to savor, and digest, each meal before moving on to the next. This would make a good Christmas present for a foodie.

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