I Like Food, Food Tastes Good by Kara Zuaro
Looking for a unique, fun gift idea for someone in your life? Well, if that person likes to cook, and rock and/or roll, look no further.
As soon as I heard it existed, I bought a copy of I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands by Kara Zuaro for my boyfriend. He’s not a tough guy to shop for, to be fair – one of the things I like best about him is how many things he likes. He’s all over movies, and books, and art, and yes, both music and food probably beat out everything else.
With health and budget goals in mind, he’s also been learning to cook better, trying more things and experimenting in the kitchen. And he lives in Seattle, whose music scene is alive and thriving, and he revels in going through The Stranger each week to see what’s playing. So it seemed an obvious gift choice.
Taking its title from punk rock pioneers The Descendents, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good is a fantastic compilation of recipes contributed by various bands. I admit I was skeptical – surely the Descendents would offer up something terrifying: “Gather the empties from around yer house. Pour the half-inch from each bottle into a pot. Watch for butts. Stir.” I envisioned ‘recipes’ involving nothing more than fast food eaten in a gas station bathroom.
But I was completely wrong, and very pleased with the result. The Descendents’ contribution was a recipe for Pico de Gallo (think fresh chopped salsa) that sounds great and is liberal with the cilantro, just how I like it. The cookbook isn’t just amusing for fans of the bands or people who want a quirky read – it’s also a real cookbook, with over a dozen things I was immediately dying to try out.
Here’s an example to whet your appetite:
SOUTHERN CHEESE GRITS RECIPE
from Matt Cherry of indie rock band Maserati
“If you’ve lived or spent significant amount of time in the South, you know that grits are a staple of the Southern breakfast palette. Grits are basically a type of corn porridge and don’t really have much of a taste by themselves, so you’ve got to focus on the consistency. The grits served at Waffle House, for example, tend to be thin and watery, but this recipe makes thick and creamy grits. Recently, grits seemed to have caught on in gourmet restaurants all over the place. I went to a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they serve a plate of cheese grits for about eight dollars. The funny thing is that you can get a twenty-pound sack of grits in the South for that price.”
3 cups water
1 cup grits
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into small pieces
1. Heat the water in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil.
2. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, add the grits, stir, and cover. Stir occasionally, ensuring that the grits do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
3. After about 10-12 minutes, the grits will have soaked up all the water (the mixture should be thick, not watery). Add the milk and stir thoroughly.
4. Add the butter, salt, pepper, and cheese. Stir constantly for a minute or two, until the cheese is melted and the mixture has a creamy consistency.
This makes a great side dish to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, or sausage, and toast. It can also be used as a bed for blackened chicken, fish, or shrimp.
Or if you’re not into Southern Culture (on the skids or otherwise), here’s the example from Indie kids Death Cab for Cutie:
1. Put the bread in the toaster.
2. While it’s toasting, heat a little bit of oil in the frying pan.
3. Cut up some veggie sausage and throw it in the pan. Move the sausage around with a spatula until the bread is done toasting.
4. Spread peanut butter on the warm bread and put the sausage between the slices.
Makes 1 sandwich
Bands who contributed recipes include My Morning Jacket, The Violent Femmes, NOFX, They Might Be Giants, The Descendents, Calexico, Belle and Sebastian, Death Cab For Cutie, Battles, Strung Out, Silkworm, Camera Obscura, Superchunk, the Decemberists, the Walkmen, and many, many more. I can’t wait to steal back the present and get cooking.