Cookbooks are interesting. Some are used as a means of preserving and passing down traditions and techniques, some are for ripping off big celebrity chef's coveted recipes, and some are for torturing yourself into a youth large Locust T-shirt. Some focus on one region or even just one ingredient, but they all serve one basic purpose: making sure us not-chefs have something to eat besides PB 'n' J. And while some people may only dabble in cooking from scratch and some may have shelves packed with recipe books, everyone has a go-to when they're feeling hungry. It's the one that's so worn in you don't need a bookmark to find your favorite recipe because the page is so stained and frayed that, even when sitting on the shelf, it peaks open, begging “pick me.” We asked a few of our fav bands about that standout book in their kitchen libraries and here's what they had to say.
Charlie Looker of Extra Life
The only cookbook I really use is the Rao's Cookbook. It's really basic deep Italian cooking. Rao's is this legendary 100-year-old restaurant in East Harlem which I've never been to. Tables there are booked literally six months in advance and apparently the only people who even get in are A-list celebrities and mobsters. So I just stick with the cookbook. I make the Puttanesca sauce all the time.
Ryan Naideau of Nude Beach
Momofuku Cookbook. The best restaurant in NYC reveals every ingredient and every recipe along with stories, anecdotes, etc. Perfect for making fancy sauces (i.e. red kimchi puree, ssam sauce, 'octo' vinaigrette to name a few), roasting veggies and rice cakes, dressing up ramen noodles etc. I highly recommend this book for lovers of pickled everything and pork. Make their buns at home!
The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, need I say more?
Jon of Silent Land Time Machine
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. [Ed. note: MINE TOO!]
Even more enjoyable than the recipe for garlic soup or various kinds of über nutritionally-dense chicken stocks is the exhaustively thorough introduction entitled “Politically Correct Nutrition”. Over the course of roughly 70 pages Sally Fallon simply DESTROYS the over-simplified categories with which we “understand” modern nutrition and explores the different kinds of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, enzymes, and oils to reveal a MUCH more complex and accurate picture of human dietary needs. The intro alone could make you rethink everything you've ever heard about nutrition, and, as it turns out, you should probably do that.
Kate of Ami Dang
Urban Dictionary. My favorite recipe: Water Bread
Flash salt that shit, tho.
Kanako Wynkoop of Broken Water
Last winter I made it a habit to make two dozen orange clotted cream mango pancakes at midnight when I was feeling blue. My sister lives downstairs from me, so I would drag her and her gay roommates up out of their stoney cave to stuff their round faces with these precious mouth watering treats. see:
Artichoke to Za’atar, a re-release of 1999’s Arabesque, by Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf
I love this cookbook because it opens by clearly stating that food is an addiction. I don't eat for necessity, I eat for pleasure and escapism and a fucking high. Every recipe in Artichoke to Za’atar has been a celebration of my mouth. I also notice that I feel a stronger connection to the people of the Middle East when what is in my belly and on my tongue reflects their rich palette and history. I was on edge watching the Egyptian revolution. I wanted to celebrate with them. I felt a little closer because of this cookbook.
Also, for you folks that have yet to reflect on or unpack the racism our media has poisoned you with towards Middle Eastern people and culture, a deeper understanding of the sophistication of the cuisine may in turn make you act more civilized with your Middle Eastern neighbors.
Also, a keystone in my kitchen: Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, by Shizuo Tsuji, Mary Sutherland – Kodansha International Limited (1980.11.15)
Favorite new book: Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions, by Elizabeth Andoh. BEST PICKLED BEETS I'VE EVER PREPARED/EATEN!
Matt Olenick of Acid Fast
These three are my jam. The Joy of Cooking is awesome for basic ingredient info and technique. The Brazilian black bean recipe is a fav. Soy not Oi and Don't Feed the Bears are both vegan cookbooks, and they're funny and have some standout recipes. My favs are fried cauliflower and SF burritos from Soy not Oi, and cheesesteak and BBQ Tofu from Don't Feed the Bears. Also, Don't Feed the Bears has an awesome best-of-compilation interview with Carcass. Mostly I don't use cookbooks, I learn a lot from cooking with other people and just making stuff up with whatever is around.
Marisa of Mannequin Pussy
“The Official Mannequin Pussy Cookbook”
Ingredients: pre-sliced gruyere, pre-sliced chicken breast, two slices whole wheat bread, Cholula, Mustard.
Step 1 – Place bread into toaster.
Step 2 – Wash the one plate that's in the sink so that you can use it for the sandwich.
Step 3 – Take out a slice of cheese.
Step 4 – Watch the toaster slowly count down.
Step 5 – Remove toasted toast from toaster, place cheese on one slice.
Step 6 – Place three or four slices of chicken on top of the cheese.
Step 7 – Give that bitch a healthy dose of Cholula.
Step 8 – Put mustard on the other slice of bread.
Step 9 – Cut that shit in half and enjoy.
Ingredients: plantains, salt and olive oil
Step 1 – Cut the plantains into diagonal slices.
Step 2 – Put two tablespoons of oil into the pan and turn the heat all the way up.
Step 3 – When the oil is jumping, put the plantains in.
Step 4 – About a minute each side to get the plantains crispy and a little soft.
Step 5 – Take them off the heat and smush them a little bit with a mallet and then toss them back in the pan (we don't know why but this makes them taste better) for another couple of minutes.
Step 6 – Add salt to taste, put on plate and eat.