The holidays approach. After your mother emotionally blackmails you into attending this year’s Misery Fest, you’ll find yourself asking the deep philosophical questions Aristotle and Diogenes wrestled with.
Questions like, “How am I related to Cousin Derrick? Didn’t he and his kids fall out of a tree only last week?!” And, “Exactly how many squirrels does it take to fill Aunt Mabel’s legendary Squirrel Casserole?” I know. I’ve been there. The answers are: Through your father’s father’s side. Yes, because their tails fell off two weeks ago. Forty-two squirrels.
Discussing controversial cookbooks is a delightful relief compared to listening to Cousin Derrick orate about the state flag, homosexuals or the lack of “appropriate” police brutality in 21st Century America. For this technique to work, the recipes must be easy, the writing must be witty and the book must be bursting with gorgeous, sexy, messy food pictures.
Thug Kitchen by Thug Kitchen
I have a hypothesis Whoopi Goldberg and Martha Stewart passionately scissored until they made a book baby and named it Thug Kitchen. Tasty vegan cooking at its most foul mouthed. Bursting forth with food portraits to make your mouth water and then take you out cruising for juicy tomatoes. Descriptions read like you’re getting advice in the back of your favorite gritty truck stop diner.
Excerpt: Peachy Almond Tapioca, “Tapioca might sound like an old lady dessert but trust them; they aren’t wasting their golden years on some bush-league bullshit. This pudding is creamy and perfectly sweet. Now go call Gladys and tell her that shit Ethel said earlier.”
What to drink while reading: Whiskey or Tequila. You don’t mess around and you are here to eat Awesome Town. All of it.
Fifty Shades of Chicken by F.L. Fowler
For any cook who has ever gazed at a gaping wide whole roasted chicken and thought, “I’m going to gobble you up and you’re going to love every minute of it,” have I got a cookbook for you! Enticing, scandalous story vignettes combined with luscious chicken recipes that will awaken your cravings for a delicious home cooked meal.
Excerpt: Blades holds me under the faucet. The touch of his hands and the flowing water make my tail convulse deliciously. The tension grows unbearable. I feel precarious, as if I were about to fall for him again. A cluck of longing emerges from deep inside me. Suddenly we can’t help ourselves, and his long-fingered hands are all over me. “I want to cook you,” he whispers. “Whole.” Oh my. I’m heating from the inside out.
What to drink while reading: I’d suggest your favorite white wine but you and I are going to be honest with each other. You’ll finish that bottle of chardonnay before you even get to Part Two: Falling to Pieces. My advice is to jump to the juicy bits and make your favorite vodka cocktail. Since you’re a Samantha, it’ll be a pitcher of cosmopolitans.
Pro-Tip: In every small town there will be one convenience store open on holidays. There you will find people wandering around on the verge of nervous breakdowns. They’ll mention how this is the first cigarette they’ve smoked in so many months or years. But pros know better—grab a bottle and drive over to an old cemetery to hide out until your family threatens to send the Sheriff’s department out looking for you. When you get caught, tell them you were “remembering Grandpa,” whether he was buried there or not. Everyone will forgive you.