Alien Donut Shops, Cybernetic Tea Rooms, and More Sapphic SFF for Foodies!

a collage of the covers listed with the text Sapphic Sci-fi and Fantasy for Foodies!

Is there anything more comforting than reading a cozy fantasy book? Maybe watching The Great British Bake Off. That’s why I love sci-fi and fantasy books that incorporate food, whether it’s a magical bakery or an alien cooking competition. And of course, any book is better with queer characters.

Interestingly, I found this list neatly splits into two categories: there are the prose novels that take place at least partly in a shop (a cafe, tea shop, bakery, or donut shop), and then there are YA and middle grade graphic novels. Some of them I’ve read, and some are at the top of my TBR. Let me know if you have any other sapphic SFF recommendations where food plays a big part!

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels

the cover of Legends and Lattes

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

This is the book that kick-started the popularity of cozy fantasy! It follows Viv, an orc who has hung up her sword in order to open a coffee shop—even though no one in this town has heard of coffee. This is such a low-stakes, comforting fantasy that really focuses on the design, construction, and beginning of the coffee shop, including the menu. You will definitely have a craving for cinnamon buns while you’re reading this. Plus, there’s a very cute, slowly developing romance between Viv and Tandri, the succubus who runs the shop with her.

Check out Nat’s review for more!

the cover of The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Sal is a robot who has been running a tea shop for hundreds of years, since her “master”/partner died. Since then, creating sentient robots like her has been outlawed, but the existing ones are in a legal limbo. When tech Clara enters her shop, the two of them immediately hit it off, despite Clara’s wanderlust and Sal’s complicated situation. Both Clara and Sal are also asexual, although that label isn’t used. The tea shop plays out in the background of this story, but it is the setting for most of the novella, as you’d expect from the title!

Check out Danika’s review for more!

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies cover

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

When I think of magical baking stories, I think cozy fantasy and comforting reads. But that’s not the only direction it can go in. In the Pies Before Guys mystery series, bisexual baker Daisy runs a pie shop with a secret. She can bake vengeance into her pies, and she has a side business in delivering justice to men who harm women. When she starts getting blackmailed, though, she has to find out who is behind the notes before she loses everything. Besides, she has a statewide pie contest to win!

The next book in the series has her competing in a baking reality show!

the cover of Light from Uncommon Stars

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

There is so much going on in Light From Uncommon Stars that it’s hard to pull out just one thread: it’s about aliens and demons and curses, but it’s also a grounded, realistic character study. It’s hopeful and comforting, but it also contains abuse, bigotry, and a lot of brutal descriptions of transmisogyny.

One aspect, though, is that Lan, a refugee from another planet, runs a donut shop with her family. Over the course of the book, she learns that baking isn’t about using a replicator to achieve the best donut. It’s a celebration of the things that make life worth living, like food and music. Plus, there’s a slowburn sapphic romance subplot between two of the main characters.

Check out Danika’s review for more!


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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Graphic Novels

the cover of Basil and Oregano

Basil and Oregano by Melissa Capriglione

I am eagerly anticipating my library hold on this YA fantasy graphic novel finally come in! It promises to be The Great British Bake Off meets magical boarding school plus sapphic romance.

This follows Basil Eyres and Arabella Oregano, two students at the Porta Bella Magiculinary Academy. The two immediately hit it off, and they decide to work together to rise to the top of their classes before the end of year culinary festival. But then Arabella’s secret she’s been carefully hiding comes out, and it could change everything.

Did I mention there’s a little tomato dog on the cover?? This looks so stinkin’ cute.

Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 3 cover

Space Battle Lunchtime series by Natalie Riess

I adore this all-ages sci-fi graphic novel series. Peony agrees to be in a competitive cooking show, only to be transported onto the spaceship it’s being filmed on. That’s when she realizes that this isn’t space-themed, it’s literally in outer space. But she takes the existence of aliens in stride, and concentrates on the competition. And, okay, maybe one of the cute alien contestants.

I highly recommend reading the first two volumes back to back, because they feel like two halves of a story (the cooking competition). Volume 3 is a fun bonus, which is a mystery that takes place on a living spaceship!

Check out Danika’s reviews of volumes 1 & 2 and volume 3 for more!

the cover of Cooking with Monsters Vol 1

Cooking With Monsters: A Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat by Jordan Alsaqa, illustrations by Vivian Truong (YA Fantasy Graphic Novel) (September 5)

This one isn’t out quite yet, but it’s one of my most anticipated releases for the rest of 2023!

Hana has just joined the Gourmand Academy of Culinary Combat, where you learn not only to fight monsters, but also to deliciously prepare them. How efficient! She’s having trouble keeping up, though, and she’s somehow already gained a rival in the form of another girl at school—and also a crush on said rival. Can’t wait to get my hands on this!

For a bonus queer magical baking story that isn’t sapphic, I have to recommend The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta, which has an agender main character and a genderfluid love interest. When Syd accidentally bakes brownies that make everyone who eats them break up, Syd and Harley, the bakery delivery person, embark on a mission to track down everyone who’s been a victim of broken-hearted brownies and find a way to fix it.

Let me know in the comment if there are any other sapphic SFF books you’ve read that are focused on food! I would love to read more.

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