If you don’t know me, or haven’t seen my apartment, I collect cookbooks. One of the advantages of working at a library is I can get the hook-up in buying cookbooks, which can be a great thing… or a wretched thing, considering my lack of space for said cookbooks, which are currently taking up heaps of space in both my apartment and in boxes at my parents’ house. I have more cookbooks than I know what to do with, in more ways than one.
So, even though I’ve owned the book for some time, and my friend Melanie borrowed it for a while (two months? three?), I hadn’t made anything out of Kara Zuaro’s recipecompilation, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands. With no pictures, aka “food porn,” I flipped through it out of novelty and put it away, never really taking it seriously. It went off to Melanie’s house, to sit among other unused cookbooks, before coming back to mine about a month or so ago, where it was stacked with the obscene number of books which straddle the line between the kitchen and living room in the apartment I share with Clark.
Well, a couple weeks back, I decided to flip through it again, and flip through it in earnest. And you know, I’ll be damned if there aren’t some really tasty-sounding recipes in this book. I marked recipes that sounded yum with sticky-tabs, then realised the whole book was nearly tabbed, save for the “Carnivore” section. And last week, after waking up from a nap at 8 pm, bleary-eyed and hungry, I took the book with me and bought ingredients for Matt Pond’s Vegetable Enchiladas with Homemade Tomatillo Salsa. Except, well, I cheated and got a can of salsa instead of making my own. So really, it was just the veggie enchiladas, less the yellow squash (the ones they had at Publix weren’t too great) and the red bell peppers (no organic selection at said Publix). Still, despite the shortcuts and substitutions, my first round of enchilada-making turned out a success. I made so much I ate enchiladas for four days straight. Surprisingly, I wasn’t particularly sick of it, either. Merely adding a different salsa on top or some sour cream seemed to satiate me just fine.
Other recipes in this book need to be made, once I get fired up again. I’m particularly intrigued by the Vegetarian Paella recipe contributed by Camera Obscura member Gavin Dunbar. Some of the recipes are a bit more free-form than others, which might frustrate those used to their recipes not looking like e-mails. Devendra Banhart probably has the most creative format for his Africanitas Ricas, in which he refers to bananas as “godsends.” Still, if there are godsends involved, it’s bound to be tasty. The recipe for Oatmeal Cake contributed by the instrumental band Pelican looks dead yummy, especially with a topping made with butter, brown sugar, evaporated milk and coconut. Other contributing bands and artists in the book include Lucero, The Hold Steady, RJD2, The Descendents, The Velvet Teen, Slowdive and Voxtrot.
So, if you have an indie band freak who needs to learn how to cook, how about gifting the hipster with this book? Or perhaps you want to try your hand at the Pear and Goat Cheese Panini put forth by Mates of State? Many of the recipes are simple enough, or can be simplified, as I proved with a can of storebought salsa, or just altered to your personal tastes. I’ll continue to jam on the mixing bowls with this book in the future.
Which leads me to wonder, “What other cookbooks do I have lying around that are completely being ignored?”
Very many. Very many, indeed.