I think I’ve made it clear before that I am not someone who is normally drawn to self-help books. I have also mentioned that Audible kind of takes issue with this rather strongly, and insists on throwing suggestions my way. But through either sheer persistence or will, it turns out that one did stick
Probably because it is kind of—in part—a piss-take of self-help books anyhow. The other half is a genuine call for you to keep your chin up Champion!—because it is completely normal and understandable to be bummed out after 18 months of lock-downs and pandemic dramas.
Uncook Yourself: A Ratbag’s Rules for Life was maybe perhaps not a book that I expected to see in an audiobook format. Its author, Sydney-based comedian Nat’s What I Reckon, has gained a rise in fame during the pandemic for his fantastically entertaining cooking videos, and from what I had previously heard from the book, it was chock full of recipes, along with the life tips. And let’s be honest, audio isn’t the most conventional format for reading a cookbook. But on checking, it turns out that the audio version of the book does come with a PDF of recipes (and the accompanying art), so I don’t have to get buttery, greasy fingerprints all over my phone as I rewind and fast-forward through the steps
Speaking of conventional, this book ain’t it. Like Nat, it’s pretty damned hard to put into a box. It’s a free-flowing mixture of memoirs, life tips, recipes and simply asking ‘Is it Shit?’ It certainly seems like a product of the pandemic, where our heads and emotions have probably been a free-wheeling mish-mash for the last 18 months.
I did find it rather comforting and relatable though, and a perfect fit for the Self Care bingo. There are some great parts here on growing up not quite fitting in, a prolonged battle with tuberculosis and the isolation that causes, fucking around on cruise ships, music, the nature of the comedy scene, mental health, and how to chuck the perfect sickie. And riffing on other self-help books. While some of these topics—like losing part of a lung after contracting TB—are deadly serious, others are downright hilarious. But all delivered with genuine honesty.
Nat’s narrational style is very conversational, and put me a little in mind of the audiobooks done by both Eddie Izzard and Brian Blessed in a way (He goes off on tangents in a very Eddie kind of way too, I noticed.) As I have professed previously, this is a style that I am a big fan of, so this worked very well for me.
What I do recommend though for anyone curious enough to check this book out though is to browse through Nat’s Youtube channel first, which will give you some measure of his sense of humour. I also need to point out that he uses a lot of swearing and Australian slang, which may be very difficult for some people. Thankfully, the recipe PDF has a glossary of terms.
Again, this was a perfect Self Care bingo pick for me, and once I get a bit more stability back, I’ll be trying out as many recipes from the book as humanly possible.
(Title alteration was made for the same reason Nat needed the bleep button here)