Though much of the collection was off-limits to anyone without the proper credentials, the Kochenarchiv did have a large annex with research assistants, photocopiers, scanners, and access to less-important portions of the collection.

Ramsey was particularly interested in one of the sub-units, the Ungenießbar collection, which served as a documentary record of the worst cooking of all time. Most people knew about entries like the legendary Concrete Cakes of Zurich, the 1000 Screaming Demon Death Fugu of Kagoshima, and of course the Six Day Colon War Latkes of Kibbutz Shlomi. But Ramsey uncovered further events in the Archiv that had been officially suppressed for years and were only now opening to scholars.

The so-called Doom Salad of Vancouver, for instance, was apparently able to spontaneously generate salmonella bacteria even in a sterile environment. 50 people had been sickened by it in 1981, so many that the Canadians had feared a biological weapons attack. Ironically, the cook, one Esther Grumaüt, had later been recruited by the Intelligence Branch to study the weaponization of her food as an area-denial weapon during the Cold War, an effort only abandoned when Ottawa signed the Convention Against the Use of Noxious Foodstuffs in War in 1990.

Ramsey was most interested in the case of Suzanne Mayotte, though. It was a case cross-referenced with the Zaubereiarchiv in Munich but one for which many of the incidental details had been censored. A call to the Zaubereiarchiv confirmed that no records like the ones the Mayotte file cited existed (at least not that they were willing to admit). An Australian, Mayotte had apparently inherited a knack for sorcery and cantrips from a distant ancestor who had been sentenced to penal transport for buying goods with unstable faeriegald.

During a study abroad in East Germany circa 1985, Mayotte had been cut off from the extended family and network of restaurants which had thus far sustained her. Forced to cook for herself using the ingredients her communist hosts made available, her knack had resulted in unpredictable “wild magick” effects. One batch of pasta taken to a potluck resulted in 13 hospitalizations for acute newt-related injuries. An apple strudel caused a fellow stident’s eyes to be opened to the infinity of the cosmos. One particularly nasty loaf of bread transubstantiated everything in a 500-yard radius.