Somewhere in a heaven filled with feather-light crepes and properly trussed herb-roasted fowl, Julia Child is probably giggling a bit. Because, at the heart of it, the French Chef was kind of a broad, never taking herself or her brilliant food all that seriously.
What would make her chuckle? “Thug Kitchen.” And a whole bunch of other profane but completely fabulous cookbooks that seem bent on becoming what publishers call a “subgenre.”
Cooking doesn’t have to be drudgery and it doesn’t even have to be earnest (Bobby Flay and my beloved Barefoot Contessa, for example). Giada DeLaurentiis made it sexy, what with her low-cut chestal displays over boiling pots of pasta, but funny is better, I think. And a lot less dangerous.
This new wave of foul-mouthed and funny cookbooks is long overdue if you ask me.
This is about as far as you can get from my spiral-bound church cookbook collection that always has the “hints” section, which pretty much concludes that vinegar can solve every problem from coffee table rings to cholera.
And while I treasure those cookbooks, they don’t make me laugh like “Thug Kitchen” or bad-boy-cook pioneer Zach Golden’s “What The #$ Should I Make For Dinner?” And who can resist “#Mealtime” by Hip Hop’s 2Chainz, who, seriously, reminds us that “If wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook”?
My friend, Sara, turned me on to “Thug Kitchen” (“Eat Like You Give A #$!”, a cooking website with hilarious profanity-laden recipes (and a cookbook now out). Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a whole lot more like making pancakes from scratch when I’m reminded “Whoa. I know you’re not reaching for some premade flavorless Bisquick (BS).”
“Thug Kitchen,” despite its name, is obsessed with healthy eating and isn’t afraid to call you out for using “Campbell’s Chunky Sodium Soup” or the like.
“Eggplant is abundant as #$% right now,” TK reminds us. “Grab that Grimace lookin’ SOB and roast the #$% out of it.”
The result is a velvety-looking dip for even more fresh veggies. Perfect for those of us who like our roughage with a side of smartass.
And we are legion. Consider the wildly positive reviews of 2Chainz’s new album/cookbook combo. The recipes are terrific but even better are the recipe introductions and asides. When considering what to cook, 2Chainz advises: “Call Fergie. Invite her to watch a movie on Netflix. Once she accepts, start making the green beans…”
And while Martha Stewart may have simply ended a recipe with “Serve at once,” I much prefer 2Chainz’s advice to “serve warm, lean back and vibe out.”
Rapper Coolio’s “Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price” advises us to “thinly slice avocado and lay it down on top that sexy bed o’ spinach.” Measurements are given in nickel and dime bags. You gotta laugh. They’re banking on it.