Feeding the villains
Hannibal Lecter aside, what do villains eat?
I can’t remember seeing Darth Vader ingest a nourishing meal, or any meal for that matter, possibly because seeing the hardened hero-turned-villain slurping brown mush through a straw would make him more pitiful than frightening.
Likewise, Batman’s Riddler, I imagine, might enjoy a bowl of alphabet soup or a mysterious stew, not only pumpkin pie, which he only orders but doesn’t eat.
Sometimes it’s the food they eat that makes them villains. Think of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, who continues to terrify people through myths and tales, despite the fact that wolf aggression towards humans is much less common than the fairytales suggest.
Or the cannibalesque witch in Hansel and Gretel, who’d appear much less frightening if she happened to keep siblings around to do housework, rather than fatten them for a meal.
Speculations aside, villains must eat, mustn’t they?
Thoughts like these have led me to develop some of the stories for my new culinary noir collection, ‘Pass the Cyanide’, as I vowed to feed my heroes and villains equally. After all, it might be hunger or a diet that turned them into villains in the first place.
Some of them, as it turned out, had a rather peculiar diet that poses significant danger to life, while others got inspired by the many sharp objects in the kitchen. Oh, and when it comes to sharing one’s treasured culinary secrets, the thought of them became so unbearable to one particular villain that he simply had to…
You see where this is going, don’t you?
Simply put, food has always been a source of inspiration in my life, so it was inevitable it would find its way into my stories as well.
Many stories, as it turns out, because publishing ‘Add Cyanide to Taste’ was supposed to be a one-off, my self-indulgent book to soothe the ills of the pandemic, but readers took to it, so it turned into a series. Naming it ‘Cooking with Cyanide’ probably won’t score any brownie points with my guests, who are already getting suspicious when I inquire about their allergies.
What can I say? Writing culinary noir comes with a few downsides, alas, it’s too late to pull back. ‘Pass the Cyanide’ is coming out, the E-book on 3rd November and the paperback two weeks later, 17th November.
To give you a taste of how dark and twisted those stories are, here’s one of them as a taster.
The paid subscription offers exclusive content, insights and early access to my work. If you enjoy reading ‘Hungry Words’ and would like more such content, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
It was supposed to bring him back, not drive him insane.
Lights on the sleek cooking device blinked at him. The darkness added a sinister tone to it, but pulling up the shutters would risk attracting the attention of the journalists that were prowling around his house, stealing his rubbish. As much as this sudden interest in his life flattered him, Ernest would rather die than allow his secret to come out.
What kind of a celebrity chef hides in his office? It was all because of the E-chef. Every time the damn appliance let out that annoying ping to alert him it was time to add another ingredient, Ernest’s self-respect wailed. At first, he’d got excited and tried to guess the ingredient that was going to appear on the E-chef’s screen, but it had started to wear him down. The damn thing was supposed to rescue his career, not hijack it.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Hungry Words to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.