Happy Halloween! To celebrate this fantastically spooky holiday I wanted to pair books written by my favorite author with flavors of my favorite food. Stephen King and chicken wings both hold a dear place in my heart. I had fun deciding which King novel best complemented different flavors of wing sauces.
Barbeque wings complement a story with a slow burn and a lot of heart. King’s foray into historical fiction, 11/22/63, immediately came to mind. Like any good barbeque this story takes time to develop, it cooks low and slow. Thankfully the slow place results in juicy, saucy characters that readers become invested in.
Ghost pepper wings bring the pain and the fury. Carrie’s telekinetic powers unleashed upon her cruel classmates, after humiliating her at prom, is a satisfying blaze. Following years of bullying and abuse from a batshit crazy, religiously obsessed mom, Carrie has a lot of anger and rage to unleash. The way Carrie destroys the school’s auditorium reminds me of the destruction waged upon my digestive track after eating super spicy wings.
Buffalo wings, the classic wing flavor, and my personal favorite. The aroma of buffalo sauce is intoxicating and brings an instant smile to my face. I had to pair these magical snacks with a classic Stephen King novel. I think Salam’s Lot is the perfect choice. The book features many of the classic King-isms: set in a small New England town, told from multiple perspectives, a scary supernatural element, and well written kid characters.
Soy-Garlic: Soy sauce and garlic are like chocolate and peanut butter. Two distinct flavors that mesh perfectly together to form an ultimate, cohesive flavor. The genre mashing in King’s Dark Tower series is a western with horror and fantasy elements. The series is a beautifully cohesive tale with a satisfying conclusion (at least for me). The Dark Tower also ties together the King universe by including characters, locations, and references to his other novels. Just like soy-garlic flavored wings the Dark Tower is a fantastic blend of flavors.
PB&J flavored wings are probably one of the weirder wing flavors I’ve tried. Surprisingly the sauce paired well with the chicken. I would pair PB&J wings with one of King’s weirder books that somehow still works for me (probably an unpopular opinion). The Tommyknockers, a strange novel featuring aliens, is a bit off the wall, but I enjoy its weirdness.
Lemon Pepper a non-conventional flavor choice when ordering wings. An unconventional King book that I love is The Long Walk. Fans of Netflix’s Squid Game will enjoy this book. Straying away from his supernatural wheelhouse, King tells a dystopian story where teens competing for a prize by walking on a road for as long as they can. If they fall behind or stop, they are killed. Only one can win.
Sweet chili wings deliver sweetness with a spicy bite. Pet Sematary perfectly compliments sweet chili wings. Pet Sematary is known for being one of King’s most terrifying novels because of its brutal twist, matching the spicy bite of the chili. The sweetness comes from the heart of the story, which is focused on love, family, and parenthood.
Honey Mustard is such a crowd-pleasing sauce, so I started to think which Stephen King novel would appeal to the widest range of readers. And I came up with Joyland. Joyland is not too scary to turn away readers who dislike horror. Also, the book is a manageable length, unlike some of King’s doorstopper epics (which I love). I think this book has an interesting mystery with well-developed characters that would appeal to people who usually dislike King’s books, while still appeasing the Constant Readers.
Garlic Parm: Unfortunately, in my early 20s I became cursed with lactose intolerance. I wanted to choose a King book that is as full of shit as my toilet after I ingest cheese. Thus, I’m pairing garlic parm wings with the lackluster Cell. I don’t recall many plot details from Cell, but I do remember not enjoying it. The novel is not on par with King’s usual work. While cell phones causing a zombie apocalypse is an interesting premise, the book has no memorable characters and a dull ending.
Smoked – Smoke is similar to steam, which is a key element in King’s excellent follow up to The Shining. In Doctor Sleep Rose and the Knot’s steam hungry followers are fantastic villains. Smoking meat well results in yummy smoky flavor infused down to the bone. Just like how Danny is deeply smoked in the trauma of his childhood.