Anyone can savor the flavor of convenience with Mini-Mart la Carte, a hilarious guide to simple and scrumptious cooking using just those ingredients found on the shelves of the corner store. Victoria Traig, co-author of Judaikitsch, and her intrepid, taste-testing boyfriend, have scoured their local stop-and-shop, crafting culinary delights from the treasures found there. Canned meat to squeezable cheese, relish packets to frozen slushees, the ingredients in these tantalizing recipes amount to much, much more than just the sum of their parts. With tasty recipes for delectable appetizers like Sardines Rockefeller and Notzoh Ball Soup, hearty entrees like SPAM Wellington and Fish Sticks Amandine, and sweet finishes like Banana Nicole Smith and Twinkie Surprise, guests will be lowering their brow, but not their wow. So, forget the Zone, cancel the trip to South Beach, and chow down on some real food, mini-mart style.
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Christopher Rouser grew up in Texas, the mini-mart capital of the world. When he's not experimenting with a block of SPAM and a jar of Cheez-Whiz, he can be found behind his guitar, in Portland, Oregon, where he is a musician (read: waiter) and father to his dog, Bodhi.
Victoria Traig holds (useless) degrees from UCLA and the Oregon College of Art & Craft, and is self-taught in the art of convenience cuisine. When she's not casing 7-Eleven stores, she can be found making ceramics (read: waiting tables) in Portland, Oregon.
Kate Kunath is a freelance photographer based in San Francisco. Her interest in mini-mart cuisine blossomed while traveling the world photographing a report for the International Canned Foods Council (ICFC).
In a book that could make even the most daring foodies cringe, Rouser and Traig (co-author of Judaikitsch) provide more than 50 recipes for readers who wish to craft a meal out of items from the local mini-mart. Employing everything from Cheez Whiz to SPAM, the authors make no attempt at health conscious recipes and even encourage vegetarians to start eating meat. While some recipes seem appetizing, such as Eggs Benedict Arnold and Chicken Wings Cordon Bleu, readers will be more reluctant to try Low Rider Lasagna, which includes cheddar cheese, pinto beans and corn, or Thousand Island Iced Tea, an alcoholic beverage mixed with mayonnaise and ketchup. Kunath has her work cut out for her making these unusual meals look appetizing, and frequently, the challenge is just too great. (What photographer could make Poop on a Pringle-a Vienna sausage, bean dip and Pringle creation-look good?) It's doubtful that "gourmet types" longing to "expand their horizons" will pick up the book, as the authors suggest. Indeed, it's better suited to the dorm-dwelling college student whose dining options are severely limited.
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