Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why We Can’t Cook

Cooking: what is it, and how can I get involved?

Cooking is a long-lost ancient skill our ancestors used to prepare food to eat. Long ago, in order to eat, people had to “grow” “raise” “hunt” and “cultivate” edible things that they would then “cook” to turn into food. It took all day.

Today, cooking has become popular among a select group of hip individuals who wish to recreate this long-abandoned art in their own homes. People who do cooking are known as “cooks.”

What sorts of things do “cooks” make?

Take pizza for example. A cook will make a pizza using a “recipe” and techniques learned from “books.” They will actually make the “dough” (the stuff the base is made from) themselves using their hands, and the tomato part and the cheese part (although many cooks still buy the cheese). * Then they will heat it in an oven. This is also called “cooking” it, which may be confusing.

But why would someone go to all this trouble?

No-one really knows. You can buy a pizza at any supermarket.

What does homemade pizza taste like?

Again, this is unclear. Cooks rarely allow non-cooks to share their “food.” By the time you show up, it’s usually all been eaten. It is thought they do this to hide the evidence of their habit. The only way to know is to become a cook yourself.

Cooking sounds like a religious cult. Is it dangerous?

As with all new things, caution should be taken before attempting. Before trying to cook, you should document your whereabouts and alert your family, should things go wrong. It is a known fact that people who have taken up cooking have disappeared into kitchens, and are never heard from again. It can take years to track a cook down, and it has proven to be very difficult to re-integrate them back into society. Cooks have also been known to recruit their own family and friends into the habit: it’s a discussion you should have before you become hooked.

*Not the cheese you may be used to: this cheese is made from milk and enzymes which are mixed together and left to “age.”

Fast Meals Cookbook, Rockville House Publishers, 1972

Also from this book: Revenge Salad

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peppered Chicken

Stick man hungry. Stick man want chicken. Stick man not sure how to procure chicken. Stick man think. Stick man put on thinking pants. Stick man getting thinner by the minute. Stick man put on belt to prevent pants from falling down. Stick man spies shotgun, has brain-wave. Stick man hunts chicken. Stick man sees chicken dressed in best crown minding chicken’s own business. Stick man don’t care. Stick man hungry. Stick man takes aim, shoots own-business-minding chicken in face. Stick man happy with himself. Stick man plucks, guts, and cuts up chicken. Stick man invites five stick friends over for dinner. Meanwhile, chicken community hold meeting, plot revenge. Chickens wait until sun goes down, pour gasoline around stick man’s house. Next day, nothing left but stick man’s belt.

Recipes from the East, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1955

Also from this book: Boobies

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Bare boobies have usually only appeared in select publications: medical texts, National Geographic, porn, and cookbooks. These are from 1955, that glorious period in American history in which there were absolutely no barriers placed on the availability of nude pictures for the whole family to enjoy.

Recipes from the East, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1955

Also from this book: Peppered Chicken

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kitchen Nightmares

A local restaurant was advertising their summer special on the radio the other day. The special was a shrimp, avocado and strawberry salad. Good luck with that.

Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant makeover show, Kitchen Nightmares used to be a good show when it was filmed in Britain. Well-meaning people did badly because they just didn’t have a clue. Then he did a version in America, but it featured a smarmy narrator with pop-in quickie comments by Ramsey, and mostly him throwing fits, which is what Americans like to see. They don’t care about sincerity; they just want reality show drama. So they picked insane eateries run by insane people. Thus it is that Ramsey’s reputation in America is one of being a bully and a coarse-mouthed thug in a white jacket. It has nothing to do with cooking.

What had happened was that the American show was a TV version of the very thing he was trying to “fix”: it was a rubbish show, with a terrible “menu” of content and no amount of shouting could rescue it from oblivion.

Whenever I see food pairings of obvious folly, I am reminded of Ramsey’s original show. In it, he often had to explain to hapless chefs why strawberries don’t go with fish or some such incompatibility of nature.

There is no need to put pineapple on top of your barbecued ribs. Don’t do it, people.

Meat Cook Book, Better Homes and Gardens, 1969

 Also from this book: Common Cored

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