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Food for Thought
Cooking with the Stars
I love cookbooks. Yet, I rarely cook. When I do, I am more inclined to cook with an experimental zeal and do not necessarily follow any printed guidance from experts in the field of cookery. However, I thoroughly enjoy reading how simple little ingredients can get weird with each other and become delicious meals. The cookbooks that I am most enthusiastic about are by people who are well known in various mediums (none of which include food preparation).
For example, I would like entrée advice from Coolio. Luckily, there is Cookin' with Coolio. Coolio, unlike the colonel, will walk you through the steps in making his Kompton Fried Chicken (KFC). I am guessing this dish is delicious with a side of Coolio's Cool-a-cado (the avacado won't know what hit it). I can't recommend this book enough. Aside from the delightful and whimsical way it is written, the recipes seem genuinely delicious. I may just have to have some friends over for homemade Chili Mac Pimpi.
Then there are cookbooks that are not necessarily authored by one particular celebrity but take on a well known and famed genre. The Beat Generation Cook Book is filled with amusingly playful dishes like Pickled Beats, On the Road Apples and Ginsburgers. Serving sizes include first ten cats to the table. Cool man.
The electric light bulb, an incredible invention that is integral to most facets of our daily lives. However, couldn't similar things be said about Mrs. Thomas A. Edison's cheese soufflé? No, probably not at all. You should still try Mina Miller Edison's recipe from 1926's Favorite Recipes of Famous Women.
The Dead Celebrity Cookbook is chock full of wonderful recipes by celebrities along with delightful details about said celebrities. The book is broken down into sections like "Delicious Dames" or my personal favorite "Thank You For Feeding a Friend" featuring recipes by some of our favorite Golden Girls.
This holiday season your vegan friends and family members will thank you for making Rue McClanahan's Non-Dairy Cheesecake.
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup of sugar
1/4 cup margarine, softened (I would recommend Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread which can be purchased at Trader Joe's)
2 (8-ounce) containers non-dairy cream cheese (I would recommend Daiya Plain Cream Cheese Style Spread)
1 cup sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine graham cracker crumbs, the 1/8 cup of sugar, and softened margarine and mix well. Press onto the sides and bottom of a 10-inch pie pan. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whip together non-dairy cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into crust. Place the filled pie shell on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Chill for several hours before serving with fresh rasberries.
The book's author, Frank Decaro, explains how he scoured flea markets, yard sales and eBay collecting stacks of out-of-print celebrity cookbooks. We are thankful for his research because now we can make Ms. McClanahan's Non-Dairy Cheesecake and maybe attempt John Wayne's Favorite Casserole. I am guessing it will be the most masculine casserole you will ever have in your life.
Also be sure to check out The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents Christmas in Tinseltown.
There is a sense of hilarity and sentimentality involved when reading recipes attributed to famous figures. The amusement in imagining a noted celebrity, in their favorite apron, getting to work on their signature quiche. The very dear hope that a team of ghostwriters was not involved and you are getting an intimate glimpse into who the individual is or was.
Estefan Kitchen By Emilio and Gloria Estefan
Eva's Kitchen By Eva Longoria
The Kind Diet A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet By Alicia Silverstone
I hope one of these books will offer some culinary inspiration this holiday season or at least a few laughs. Please feel free to share your favorite cookbook titles.