If you love someone who loves Twin Peaks, Portland is an easy place to get your gift shopping done. Heck, even if you don’t live in the land of Pendleton plaid, doughnut wars, and owl fancy, a gift for the Twin Peaks enthusiast in your life is just an Etsy click away.
But when you’ve tired of knickknacks and Log Lady pins, it can be nice to have something to read. Adding to the selection of Peakie pleasers this winter is Damn Fine Cherry Pie: The Unauthorized Cookbook Inspired by the TV Show Twin Peaks ($24.99, Harper Design). It’s not a must-read for the canon, like The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, but it’s a fun addition to the Peak-iverse. Media-inspired cookbooks work best when their creators seem motivated by geekdom for the show or film, rather than a contract writer hunting down the next paycheck. Damn Fine Cherry Pie creator Lindsey Bowden—who founded the UK’s Twin Peaks Festival in 2010 and bears a resemblance to Laura Palmer portrayer Sheryl Lee—is definitely a megafan first and a cookbook author second, which works in the book’s favor.
Some of the recipes’ character connections are a bit of a stretch: Deputy Hawk and Denise Bryson each have a signature doughnut, apparently, while Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole inspires a “small Mexican burrito” recipes thank to a cryptic line in Season 2 about a “small Mexican chihuahua.” (Based on a new trailer for the upcoming series, maybe he could have used a doughnut, too.) But many of the dish names are so delightful that you don’t even care if they’re not terribly diegetic, like J’ai une âme solitaire French toast, Garmonbozia creamed corn, Agent Cooper’s ducks on a lake, and Nadine Hurley’s marshmallow cotton balls. And there are enough ripped-from-the-screen treats to keep the whole collection feeling connected: the super-crispy, “cremated” bacon Cooper orders at the Great Northern, fish-in-a-percolator trout cooked in a coffee-and-whiskey sauce, the butter-and-brie baguette sandwich Jerry Horne brings home from Europe. Oregon actor Al Strobel, who played a traveling shoe salesman on the show, contributes some quick pecan cookies.
Recipes are simple and easy to follow, with some landing a little too basic: purists might frown on the lack of a muddling step for Benjamin Horne’s old-fashioned. Kindly, Bowden includes a glossary so American readers can make sense of England’s strong flour, muscovado sugar, swede, and kitchen paper (bread flour, brown sugar, rutabaga, and paper towels, respectively)—though she equates self-raising and self-rising flour, which, as anyone who’s translated a Great British Baking Show recipe knows, differ in salt content.
Bowden also throws in plenty of tips for the inevitable viewing parties that will be held when the new season premieres in 2017, with tips for décor and character-inspired attire. Some readers might be newly tempted to dress up as Bobby Briggs, Laura’s football-playing public boyfriend (as opposed to the secret boyfriends). Bowden pays him the great compliment of likening Bobby to Johnny Depp in Cry Baby—style-wise, at least. Need party activities? The book has instructions for owl origami and letter-under-the-fingernail manicures.