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.
3. Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal by Steve Seabury/Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook by Annick Giroux/For Those About to Cook: Pure Metal by Bruce Moore
OK, seriously, how many of these did we need? I know metalheads are sometimes weird about metal in that they like everything in their life to be "metal" somehow. These are often the same guys with neckbeards and spiked wristbands and, yeah, come to think of it, they look like they'd get a lot of use out of a cookbook, so I suppose, why not? At least that explains why so many were written. But then, if you are one of those people, which one do you buy?
Well, if you, sir, are one of those people who would actually pay money for one of these things, I recommend Hellbent for Cooking. Mosh Potatoes and For Those About to Cook seem aimed at selling their books through the use of well-known names, which is all fine and good. But for your true metalhead, recipes from guys like Bumblefoot, Joey Belladonna, Zakk Wylde, and the guys from Poison are only going to go so far in appeasing your appetite for true metal cooking.
Hellbent for Cooking is a true metalhead cookbook. This one doesn't care if the person is famous. As long as they play metal, their recipe is good enough to be included -- guys from Autopsy, Rotting Christ, Eyehategod, Gorgoroth, Saint Vitus, and, of course, GWAR giving out all their favorite metal cooking tips.
Plus, they call author Annick Giroux the "Morbid Chef" right on the cover. You know it's metal just from that.
2. Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price by Coolio
A 1-star price is, incidentally, what I can buy most of Coolio's albums for these days in the bargain bin. OK, so what does a "loc'd out gangsta set trippin' banger" like Coolio know about cooking? Well, I guess, there has to be someone to cook in Gangsta's Paradise, so Coolio fancies himself for the job.
In the description here, it says that "there's only one thing Coolio's been doing longer than rapping: cooking." Unfortunately, nobody told him there's only one thing people have cared about less than Coolio rapping in the past fifteen years: Coolio cooking. Even was I tempted to give it a shot, it seems written purposefully to drive me, and anyone else with taste, away.
Coolio describes his cooking technique as "Ghetto Gourmet," then proceeds to make a minstrel show of cooking with such new types of food as "Blasian" (black/Asian) and "Ghettalian" (ghetto/Italian), as well as recipes for dishes such as "Finger-Lickin', Rib-Stickin', Fall-Off-the-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth Chicken." This one isn't just unnecessary and tasteless, it seems determined to set the Civil Rights movement back at least 50 years. Thanks, Coolio.
1. Lost in the Supermarket: An Indie Rock Cookbook by Kay Bozich Owens and Lynn Owens
Did you know there was hipster food? I didn't either. I thought they were all just vegans. But apparently all those guys you see riding around on bikes with scarves around their necks in the summertime have enough recipes to fill a cookbook. As the description assures us, the title is definitely a Clash reference because this book is just that cool.
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So if you've ever wondered, "just what do those guys in Animal Collective eat?" It's right here for you! For the record, they eat Greek Style Shrimp. How about Sunset Rubdown? All set forth in this very book!
Yes, Lost in the Supermarket presumably contains all the secrets to having the body shape of an anorexic teenage girl so you too can fit in those size-16 skinny jeans and that vintage youth small Pavement tee you found at the thrift store the other day. The real secret, though? Don't eat anything in this book. Don't eat anything. Ever.