Books

Cooking Notes: The 5 Most Unnecessary Musical Cookbooks

This past week, international superstars and hard rock musical auteurs Smash Mouth announced that they were bestowing down upon us a cookbook from the heavens, which would give us some All Star recipes. You may have your doubts, but these recipes will have you Walkin' on the Sun and saying "I'm a Believer."

So if you're anything like me, most of you have already put in your pre-orders to Amazon for this thing and are preparing your kitchen as we speak. For those still left shaking your heads though, you might ask, "why the hell is Smash Mouth making a cookbook? Why now? Why ever?"

My answer to that is: why not? After all, what one man finds unnecessary, excessive, redundant, and, being harsh, stupid and ridiculous, is another man's treasured secret recipe for all his future cook-outs. But if Smash Mouth isn't your style, maybe you'd like to consider some of the alternatives in the world of musical cookbooks.

If you think musical cookbooks in general are an unnecessary product (after all, what do any of these people know about cooking?) then I have no help for you.

5. If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired By the Seasons by Sheryl Crow and Chef Chuck White

According to the description on this one, this one is a book full of recipes that Sheryl Crow and her personal chef Chuck White -- would that we were all so lucky to have a personal chef -- came up with while she was fighting breast cancer. While I applaud her for her courageous fight against cancer, there's something that smells fishy about all this, no pun intended.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but the whole thing seems tacky, starting with the a ridiculous pun on one of her hit songs in the title. Second, she has top billing over the guy who actually wrote all the recipes -- she's a "self-admitted non-cook."

Granted, maybe that's better for Mr. White. It will probably sell better than it would if it was just his name on the cover, but it's also a sort of classless shilling of a product. Did anyone really ask for this and, if so, why?

4. Plenty: A Collection of Sarah McLachlan's Favorite Recipes by Sarah McLachlan (with Chef Jaime Laurita)

I found Sheryl Crow's cookbook a bit tasteless (again, no pun intended, but they just keep presenting themselves!), but Sarah McLachlan's cookbook is just downright low. As in Crow's case, McLachlan didn't write any of these recipes; her personal chef did.

Why do all these people have personal chefs? Where can I get one? Anyway, at least Crow shared the billing with the eminent Mr. White and stood next to him long enough for the cover photo before making him get back to work slaving over a hot stove for her.

Look at the cover of this thing. I see Sarah McLachlan. I don't see this Chef Jaime Laurita anywhere, except his name in tiny letter at the very bottom of the cover, just out of sight and out of mind. Never mind that he wrote the damn recipes, he's not important enough for top billing on his own book.

But hey, maybe the recipes are good. This is Sarah McLachlan, though, so expect each one to involve copious amounts of onions, just because she loves to make you cry so much.

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Corey Deiterman