You can scan the cover, the title page, the copyright page and the entire introduction of Thug Kitchen cookbook and not find the names of the authors. Probably, that’s in keeping with Thug branding, but a little part of me wonders if, perhaps, it’s because authors Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis don’t want their moms to know they’ve written a book that uses the F-word over 200 times.
Months ago, I started following Thug Kitchen’s blog, but I stopped after the third post that was riddled with curse words. I couldn’t understand how or why using so much profanity was necessary or useful in relaying recipes to readers. But, some months later, seeing the book pop up on a list of top cookbooks of 2014, I bought it. When it arrived and I began reading the introduction, I remembered my brief followership of their blog, but this time I “got” the profanity schtick. While I still don’t think it’s necessary to use such language to sell books or impart cooking knowledge, I now recognize that what Thug Kitchen has done really is genius. They’ve found a way to appeal to a segment of the population who previously couldn’t be bothered to cook for themselves, and they’ve done more than that: they’ve made it cool to do so.
Apart from Rich Roll’s recent Plantpower Way, this is the only cookbook I’ve ever read from cover to cover, and I have to admit, I was laughing the whole time. This also happens to be the only cookbook I’ve ever bought and given away to friends – come of them whose humor runs along Thug lines, yes, but others who I thought could maybe use a little kick to get them in the kitchen cooking a bit more.
I’ve owned my copy of the book for about three weeks, and I’ve made half a dozen recipes from it already. Only one was a flop – the Baked Zucchini Chips, which didn’t get crispy until they were burned and ended up being too small to use as salsa scoops. But the Marinated Baked Tofu, the Sweet Corn and Green Chili Flautas, the Roasted Sriracha Cauliflower Bites and the Smoked Almond and Chickpea Salad Sammies were all excellent. I’m looking forward to trying the Biscuits and Gravy, the Coconut-Lime Rice with Red Beans and Mango, and a number of the desserts.
What is perhaps most amazing about this book, is that the sarcasm and profanity co-exist with fantastically helpful cooking tips and generally healthy, 100% plant-based recipes. For those new to cooking, this might be the best manual for getting started and honing kitchen skills out there. While the recipes aren’t entirely whole food recipes (many pair whole food ingredients with noodles, bread, tortillas, etc.) the meals they make are a damn sight healthier than what most of us are eating for dinner.
If you’re a sailor, a cop, a robber, or just someone who doesn’t bristle at the kind of language you’d be likely to hear at the local pub after midnight, then pick up a copy of Thug Kitchen Cookbook and, as they say, “eat like you give a f*ck!”