Stefan Gates's Gastronaut: Adventures in Food for the Romantic, the Foolhardy, and the Brave falls somewhere between these two extremes. A self-described "epicurean desperado," Gates's book describes some of his more interesting food-related adventures, misadventures, and experiments. Don't let the rather plain cover fool you - this is hysterical, in a very British way (and I mean that as a sincere compliment). For instance, he has a chapter entitled "How to Stage a Bacchanalian Orgy," complete with substitute suggestions for hard-to-find ingredients like dormice. He also has sections on cannibal recipes, foods that are considered aphrodisiacs, and how to cook guinea pigs. His advice includes how to gild Cheetos and sausages with edible gold and what to eat in order to produce the most flatulence.
Balancing out the recipes for head cheese are (comparatively) more practical ones for toffee fondue and tips for creating a biscuit-tin smokery. Even in these sections, Gates is able to interject a great deal of humor and wit. Overall, Gastronaut may not help you prepare a roast turkey for the first time (even though it has a recipe for turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with a chicken that is stuffed with a duck), and it will never be able to replace How to Cook Everything in terms of real-world application. However, if you are looking for a cookbook that is a lot of fun and has a few practical recipes interspersed with some crazy ones, you should definitely check this one out.