The Unofficial Spenser CookbookEdit

(Latest Update 22 May 2004)

There has been talk for years on the subject of putting together some recipes based on what our favorite gumshoe has been cooking over the years. Until now nothing has ever happened, although Dr. Parker has said in the past that something was in "development."

Please do not take any of these as being in any way recommended by Parker, Spenser, Susan, or anyone else. It's what I've come up with after doing some research. I have tried to keep the preparations as close as I could to the steps given in the book. In many cases I have had to use guesswork.

If you have any ideas please send them in; they may very well be much better than what I came up with. The names of all contributors will of course be included on the pages.

The Godwulf Manuscript

  • Chapter 7: Spenser makes Scallops Jacques from a recipe in a French cookbook a girlfriend gave him. It's "a complicated affair with cream and wine and lemon juice and shallots..." (Note: it's usually called Coquilles Saint-Jacques)
  • Chapter 12: Spenser makes a Spanish omelet and eats it with thick slices of fresh pumpernickel.
  • Chapter 12: Boneless chicken breasts cooked "with wine and butter and cream and mushrooms." Salad dressed "with lime juice and mint, olive oil, honey, and wine vinegar. Also some rice and baking powder biscuits.
  • Chapter 21: Six fat German sausages, and rings of green apple dipped in flour and fried in the sausage fat. Two big slices of coarse rye bread with wild strawberry jam.

God Save the Child

  • Chapter 3: Breakfast at home:
    • Two sliced green tomatoes, sprinkled with black pepper and rosemary,

dipped in flour and fried in olive oil.

    • A broiled porterhouse steak
    • Syrian bread
    • A bowl of blackberries.
  • Chapter 8: Dinner at his apartment with Susan.
    • Pork loin en croute with Cumberland sauce.
    • Green apples, carrots and red onions simmered in butter and cider.
    • French bread
    • Sliced native tomatoes on a bed of Boston lettuce with oil and vinegar.
  • Chapter 17: Memories of his mother's American chop suey.
  • Chapter 21: Hot corn muffins and cold vealwurst for breakfast at home.

Mortal Stakes

  • Chapter 2: Breakfast at home: Fresh squeezed orange juice, mushroom omelet with sherry, warm loaf of unleavened Arab bread.
  • Chapter 6: Fresh squeezed orange juice, whipped cream biscuits, fresh strawberries, sour cream for breakfast at home.
  • Chapter 23: Spare ribs (experimenting with his barbecue sauce), zucchini with beer batter fried in olive oil.
  • Chapter 29: Leftover beef stew for supper at home.
    • Cornbread with strawberry jam for breakfast.

Promised Land

  • Chapter 15: Breaded lamb cutlets in a butter and wine sauce, fried potatoes, greek salad back at his apartment.
  • Chapter 22: Spaghetti and salad at his apartment with Pam.

The Judas Goat

  • Chapter 22: Eggs steam-fried with a little white wine, toast, apple butter.

Looking for Rachel Wallace

  • Chapter 19: Caponata and syrian bread at Susan's house, followed by steak, mushroom, peppers, and onions along with rice pilaf.
  • Chapter 20: Lamb chops and black bread at home.
  • Chapter 23: Meatloaf sandwich with lettuce for supper at home.
    • Cornbread, country sausage, and broiled tomato for breakfast.
  • Chapter 25: Spaghetti with a sauce of broccoli, garlic, basil, parsley, kosher salt, and oil. Served with the rest of the syrian bread.
  • Chapter 26: Cornbread made with buttermilk and wild-strawberry jam.
  • Chapter 31: Red beans and rice, chopped peppers and scallions, with canned chopped tomatoes on top, served with grated cheddar cheese.

Early Autumn

  • Chapter 6: Cheeseburgers at Susan's.
  • Chapter 9: Spenser finally gets a chance to cook while Patty is away.
    • Pork Chops with pineapple-cream sauce Rice cooked with chicken broth and pignoli nuts, thyme, parsley and bay leaf.
    • Salad with Bibb lettuce, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic.
  • Chapter 10: Spenser makes a potato and onion omelet. Thrown away.
  • Chapter 15: Steak and beans, rye bread, pickles at the cabin.
  • Chapter 16: Cornbread, strawberry jam, fresh fruit; breakfast.

A Savage Place

  • Chapter 5: Pasta with fresh vegetables in a thin cream sauce he makes at Candy's.


  • Chapter 2: Susan makes a potato and scallion omelet, served with biscuits from a mix and boysenberry jam at her place.
  • Chapter 12: Spenser makes corn cakes at Susan's. Served with butter and homemade maple syrup.
  • Chapter 20: Thanksgiving at Susan's
  • Breakfast: Fresh squeezed orange juice Johnny cakes with butter and maple syrup.
  • Dinner: Hot pumpkin soup.
  • Cold asparagus with green herb mayonnaise on a bed of red lettuce.
  • Pheasant with raspberry vinegar sauce.
  • Saffron pilaf with white and wild rice and pignolia nuts.
  • Sour cherry cobbler with Vermont Cheddar cheese.
  • Chapter 21: Leftover cherry cobbler for breakfast.
  • Chapter 32: Country pate (Spenser made it with lamb, duck, pistachio nuts, and anchovy) sandwiches on whole wheat bread, served with bread and butter pickles he and Susan made and some peach chutney.

The Widening Gyre

Chapter 13: A sauce of red and green peppers and mushrooms, stir-fried in olive oil and raspberry vinegar, a few walnut meats, tossed with spinach fettuccine, served with grated Jack cheese and whole wheat bread.

Chapter 28: Roast duck with fruit stuffing at home.


  • Chapter 5: Cold poached salmon fillets with dill mayonnaise, boiled new

potatoes and peapods at home. Chapter 36: Bean soup at home.

A Catskill Eagle

  • Chapter 40: Breakfast ala Susan: Cornbread, Cranshaw melon, muenster cheese, green seedless grapes.

Taming a Sea Horse

  • Chapter 11: Preparing dinner at his apartment: Boneless chicken "marinating in the juice of one lemon and one orange with a little ginger."
    • Endive and avocado salad.
    • Corn meal and onion fritters.

Pale Kings and Princes

  • Chapter 20: Cornbread and honey at Susan's.

Crimson Joy

  • Chapter 2: Dinner at his apartment:
    • Beluga caviar, Bremner crackers, lemon wedges.
    • Grilled lemon and rosemary chicken.
    • Brown rice with pignolias.
    • Assorted fresh vegetables lightly steamed and dressed with Spenser's famous honey-mustard splash
    • Blue corn bread.
  • Chapter 27: Chicken with broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, and tarragon at Susan's.


  • Chapter 5: Homemade Johnny cake at his place.
  • Chapter 9: At home, fresh crabmeat sautéed in olive oil and white wine with red and yellow and green peppers and mushrooms. With potatoes and broccoli dressed with honey mustard.
  • Chapter 22: Dinner at his place.
    • Endive with sliced avocado and mango, with a dressing of first-press olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.
    • Cob smoked turkey, tomato chutney, whole wheat rolls and some cranberry conserve they had put up the previous fall.
  • Chapter 29: Sweet potato pancakes at Susan's.


  • Chapter 20: Duck breast sliced on the diagonal and served rare, onion marmalade, brown rice, broccoli tossed with a spoonful of sesame tahini.
  • Chapter 38: Turkey hash with corn bread and a dab of cranberry ketchup at the cabin in Maine.
  • Chapter 39: Planning supper at the cabin. Grilled chicken, succotash and hot biscuits with honey, and some cole slaw made without mayo.


  • Chapter 36: Chili and corn bread at his place, with some corn relish he and Susan had made.

Double Deuce

  • Chapter 9: Chicken and peppers sandwich on seven-grain bread.
  • Chapter 14: Chicken in a wine and lemon sauce, buckwheat noodles, broccoli, whole wheat biscuits at their house.
  • Chapter 31:
    • Pork tenderloin, brushed with honey, sprinkled with rosemary, cooked in the oven.
    • Corn flour biscuits with boysenberry jam.
    • White beans and peppers doused with olive oil and cilantro.
  • Chapter 35: Brunswick stew with "sort of" dumplings that Susan made.
  • Chapter 37: Whole wheat blueberry pancakes at their house.

Paper Doll

  • Chapter 10: Dinner at his place
    • Salmon roe with toast and Creme Fraiche.
    • Buffalo tenderloin marinated in red wine and garlic.
    • Fiddlehead ferns.
    • Corn pudding.
    • Red potatoes cooked with bay leaf.
  • Chapter 42: Polenta, chicken breasts pounded flat and coated with

cornbread crumbs. Sour cherry pie for dessert.

Walking Shadow

  • Chapter 16: Bread and Butter pickles.
  • Chapter 32: Brunswick stew is simmering at Susan's.
  • Chapter 45: Spaghetti late at night. Orange juice the next morning.

Thin Air

  • Chapter 43: Dinner cooked on Susan's patio will be grilled buffalo steaks marinated in red wine, rosemary and garlic, plus roasted corn.


  • Chapter 52: Baked beans and corn bread at the house in Concord. Venison chops soaked in red wine and rosemary. Bread pudding with whisky sauce to follow.

Small Vices

  • Chapter 52: Rotisserie cooking a boneless leg of lamb seasoned with olive oil and fresh rosemary, beet risotto made by Susan, green salad, and bread at his apartment.

Sudden Mischief

  • Chapter 29: Steak salad: (romaine lettuce, mushrooms, sweet peppers, celery, scallions, the steak grilled and sprinkled with cajun spices before cutting.)
    • Also sweet corn he had frozen the previous year, removed from the cob and sprinkled with a little sugar and fresh cilantro.

Hush Money

Chapter 20: Brunch at Susan's. Huevos rancheros with mild green chilis, linguica instead of choizo.

  • Chapter 38: Black beans, garlic, sherry, and cilantro with linguine.


  • Chapter 16: Pasta with clam sauce at home.
  • Chapter 34: Lobster salad and boiled native corn.
  • Chapter 62: Onion omelets with biscuits.

Widow's Walk

  • Chapter 12: Ham sandwich ala Susan
  • Chapter 25: Pasta tossed with green peas, sautéed scallops, and pesto.
  • Chapter 34: Fruit smoothie with frozen strawberries and a nectarine.
  • Chapter 53: Egg salad ala Susan.

Back Story

  • Chapter 51: Tossed salad and cornbread at Susan's.