Mother’s Cookbook is an inspirational work which takes food, desserts, and snacks from the Super Nintendo JRPG EarthBound and brings them to life in a cookbook with original recipes. The creators of Mother’s Cookbook took a trip to MAGfest in Maryland this past weekend. They were there talking about their project to a bunch of excited EarthBound fans during the last few days of their Kickstarter campaign. During the event, DualShockers had the opportunity to sit down with three of them: Chef Bryan Conner, Lead Artist Nick Lauer, and Producer Evan Butler. Since meeting with them, they’ve raised over $52k and successfully funded their project, and are currently working to make the cookbook a reality.
The first thing they discussed was, of course, EarthBound itself. When we asked Bryan if he was a particularly big fan of EarthBound, he answered with a story. He told DualShockers that he has been a fan of the series since the beginning, explaining “I can say without any doubt in my mind that EarthBound was the first thing that I searched on AOL Keywords”; that’s how he found the now-age-old website YouAreNowEarthbound. He explained that it was the precursor to Starmen, which eventually became the well-known website Fangamer. Why is this important? Because that’s exactly whose publishing Mother’s Cookbook.
Bryan participated in a number of fan contests, but one in particular got him “in” with the web hosts. Back when the website was Starmen, they held a contest that Bryan participated in where he created the first in-game town of EarthBound, Onett, out of gingerbread. This caught the attention of Reid Young, an admin of Starmen that later became a co-founder of Fangamer. With this, Bryan’s creation got quite a bit of attention; but more importantly, it’s what started his friendship with the owners of the site.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Bryan is an actual chef with his own video game-inspired creations that he uploads onto his site, delightfully called Level1Chef. He and the crew had been tossing ideas back and forth about making a cookbook of EarthBound food and when they finally pulled the trigger, Fangamer was ready to help them make it happen.
With the help of their producer, Evan Butler, their Kickstarter project met their $10,000 goal in 30 hours. Currently, they’ve raised over five times their goal. The money they’ve raised will go to the production of the book, and moving forward, the team will be hard at work updating recipes, tightening up the food’s presentation, and perfecting the look of the cookbook.
The whole team agreed that they wanted their book to serve multiple purposes. Bryan is a chef that also happens to play video games, but not everybody else is. Instead, the art in the book is meant to invoke nostalgia for a beloved game, so fans who have never touched a pan in their life could enjoy it on their coffee table or bookshelf. If this non-cooking fan ever decided to give it a try, one of the stretch goals was meant specifically for newbies to cooking: simple cooking advice from Ness’ mom.
The writer of Mother’s Cookbook, Hillary Froemel, took special care of this section meant to teach less adept chefs about things like measurements, cooking techniques, and all the basics, but from the wise words of everyone’s favorite video game mom. After all: she does make Ness’ favorite food, and she knows a thing or two about cooking. Bryan isn’t a stranger when it comes to teaching people how to cook either: he runs a Twitch channel that’s both a Let’s Play channel and a cooking stream multiple times a week.
Lead Artist Nick Lauer will be working on fine-tuning the look, which he says their aim is to make it look like a scrapbook of all things EarthBound. The art was constructed in analog as opposed to digital, and Nick explained how this method was more time intensive, but really gave them the look they wanted. As far as other cookbooks go, Nick said: “Go to Barnes and Noble and open up any cookbook, and all the pages are very sterile.” Bryan described while commenting on Nick’s art goals that with Mother’s Cookbook, “we’re trying to liven the pages up.”
Nick explained that the team will also be incorporating fan artwork into Mother’s Cookbook. After working with several artists, this resulted in about 4-5 different styles of art, which worked really well with the scrapbook/collaboration vibe they’re going for. One example of which can be found below
We asked Bryan what his favorite recipe going into the book is, and his immediate answer was the Peanut Cheese Bar. In the EarthBound games it’s an item that recovers health, and as a kid, Bryan said he often wondered if a bar made of peanuts and cheese would even taste good. This was the first spark of creativity that would one day become Mother’s Cookbook.
Since talking with the team they have met their $50,000 stretch goal, which they told DualShockers would allow them to create a ‘making of’ video. Evan described the video as them sitting down and telling the story of “How we made this cookbook happen and talk about a few tips for how to make your own fan project and make it go legit.” Coming from humble beginnings on this project, they want to share how others can do it to. Being in multiple fan communities, they see plenty of good fan content that they’d like to see in bookstores worldwide.
After Mother’s Cookbook launches by December 2018, Evan tells us, “Part of our partnership with Fangamer is that after this EarthBound cookbook, they have the rights to some other video games, and they’re possibly interested in doing more of these.” When pressed to give some examples of what they’d like to tackle next, they listed Undertale, Paper Mario, Stardew Valley, and Breath of the Wild, to name a few.
If you’d like to know more about Mother’s Cookbook, check out their Kickstarter page here. Bryan’s website and Twitch channel both have regularly updated content. To learn more about Fangamer and any more projects they’re publishing, check out their site as well. Finally, you can also check out the gallery below to see more illustrations and fan art from the upcoming Cookbook.
Photos and illustrations provided by the creative and publishing team behind Mother’s Cookbook.