Pasta Carbonara

Here’s a rich dish served online in the journal Hello Horror:

My concept here was to write a story based on a recipe. Perhaps I’d impress you more by lapsing all mythological and deep about the symbolism of eggs in the story, but honestly, I chose an egg recipe because, like the main character Sara, I’m fascinated by their physical properties in cooking. “Transmutations” is the word Sara uses.

Culinary horror seems to be underrepresented. This puzzles me because eating is so much a part of daily life and so tied up with all sorts of emotional issues that I’d expect to run across more interesting ideas than zombies and cannibals. I’ve got a ton of culinary horror ideas that I hope I get around to writing before I die. My Netflix stream is all chefs and slashers. While I’m looking forward to Perpetual Motion Machine’s pizza horror compilation (and fingers crossed-working on a submission!), I’m more interested in high-end culinary horror, something that requires knowledge of food culture and cooking skills, something like Brillat-Savarin meets Lovecraft. Sadly, the title “The Gastronomicon” is already taken by some other Joanna (actually Joanne Harris). I thought of it recently, googled to see if anything came up, and now I’m kinda bummed.

“Pasta Carbonara,” like the best meals, ends with an unexpected dessert. I feel strongly that the recipe I invented is feasible and sound. If you have access to the special dessert ingredient, give my recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.

Published by: Joe

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. Their short fiction appears in publications such as Vastarien, Southwest Review, Pseudopod, and Children of the New Flesh. He’s been a flash fiction judge for Cemetery Gates Media as well as co-editing the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Find Joe (he/they) online at and on Twitter @horrorsong.

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