You wouldn't think a column as simple, straightforward and, let's be honest, stupid as mine would get a whole lot of questions, but you'd be wrong. In the - holy hell - almost a year I've been doing this, I've been asked the same questions quite a bit, so I thought it was about time to round 'em all up in one place so I can just send people there. Some call it "laziness," I call it "efficiency." Plus for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything to cook today, and my editor was threatening to make a meat smoothie out of my gizzard. And she was right to.
Q: Are you fucking serious?
A: Yep, that and the following question are far and away the ones I get asked the most. The answer is: uh, sort of? All the recipes are real. I've really made them, and I've really enjoyed the results (some more than others). However, we should all by now be well aware that this column is primarily an exercise in humor. Not to mention, when it started out it was a great way to piss off all the snooty foodie snobs who know how to make the perfect shallot reduction to go with the paté in their chicken galantine, but who wouldn't know a joke if it took that chicken galantine out of the oven and made tender love to it on the dining table until their dinner guests got the hint and went home. So the short answer is: Yes, I take the actual cooking part of it seriously enough for the recipes to work, but everything else is pretty fast and loose.
Q: Do you eat everything you cook?
A: I have at least a little of every dish, yeah. However, I usually wind up splitting it with friends and family. Eating an entire ice cream sandwich casserole sounds awesome until you get about halfway through it and start fantasizing about chewing on your belt just to taste something that isn't sweet. But yeah, I don't ever cook anything I wouldn't eat, which leads us in to the next question. Q: How come you never cook anything with ______ in it?
A: I don't cook anything I won't eat. Ever. That's why there are no Shameless Chef dishes containing fish or mushrooms or fake soy meat or any number of ingredients I hate. I do, however, encourage my audience to adjust each recipe to better fit their own personal tastes; the last thing we want to do is start treating this bullshit like it's sacred. Conversely, sometimes I just don't think of a good way to use an ingredient I like. For instance, I love refried black beans, but I never used them until I made the tostada burgers because they just didn't go with any of the food mutations I had conceptualized. If you can think of an ingredient I haven't used that you feel I should, by all means, make the suggestion in the comments section. Q: How do you come up with your recipes?
A: I mostly just try to think of what would make Gordon Ramsey cry. Actually, most of my dishes are of my own invention, although quite a few come from traditional family recipes that have been handed down at least two generations. I've only tried cooking off the back of a can once, and every now and then when I'm having complete recipe block, I'll ask my friends for help. I don't think I've ever intentionally made something I've seen online, simply because I don't spend a whole lot of time looking up recipes on the internet. As for what, specifically, sparks my muse, it varies. Sometimes I have to go to the grocery store and browse for a while, and sometimes ideas just hit me out of the clear blue sky. That's the way it is with genius. Q: Do you ever worry that most of your dishes are unhealthy?
A: Not really, because I only have to eat them once a week, and if I ever get really serious about getting in better shape, I can always make the dish, have a taste, and then throw it to the crows. Honestly, I'm more worried about the shit I eat the rest of the time, which isn't as creative as my Shameless Chef recipes but is just as bad, if not worse for me. How many frozen burritos can one man eat? Quite a few, it turns out, especially if he has been out drinking the night before.
Q: Are you really a chef?
A: Hahahahahaha! Hell no. I'm technically still not even allowed to answer "yes" when someone asks if I know how to cook.
Q: Does it ever bother you when commenters are critical of you?
A: Nope. Listen, if you're going to write an online column, you learn pretty early on not to give a good god damn what some anonymous asshole on the internet thinks. You'll notice the biggest dicks amongst the commenters on any website never, ever leave their real name or any other form of identification. This is because they've taken the freedom from repercussions that the internet offers as a challenge to be the worst person they can possibly be, someone who wouldn't behave in such a way in real life in a million years. Such people are to be pitied, laughed at, and scorned, but never allowed under your skin. Anonymous assholes on the internet are only useful when they're pestering the Church of Scientology; the rest of the time, they're not worth sweating.
Q: Do you ever worry that you won't be able to think up any more recipes?
A: Nah, if that ever happens, I'll just fudge it with a column answering readers' questions or some such bullshit.
Do you have any questions for the Shameless Chef? No, "YOU SUCK!" is not a question. Leave actual questions in the comments section and I'll answer them the next time I can't think of anything to cook or I'm really, really hung over or whatever.