I read a lot of cookbooks; if there’s one I like and the author has more, I get my hands on them. Once upon a time, I found a cookbook based on a blog/web-site I’d never heard of called Thug Kitchen; it was a vegan cookbook that used a lot of 4-letter curse words, and it had a lot of recipes that I enjoyed. Books 2 and 3 were ok, but I never liked the recipes as well as the original. Then there were no more. It turns out that the original authors of the blog/site had been anonymous but eventually revealed after the publication of their best-selling first book to be white Los Angeles-dwellers; this led to a minor scandal involving probably accurate class of appropriation or racial insensitivity. I confess I’d rather forgotten about this series until I saw a new book titled Bad Manners recently; I picked it up and almost immediately realized that this was Thug Kitchen re-branded. But then why wait for something like 6 years to change things?
Anyways, when I saw that there was now a book 4, I decided to have a look; Bad Manners: Brave New Meal actually looks pretty good as a cookbook. It still has the cursing but it feels a bit more toned down, and the writing style definitely seems a bit different. The premise is that people might be wanting to reevaluate their relationships with food after their lives had been totally shifted during pandemic lock-downs etc. I also like that while it’s meant to be approachable, as in there are ingredient glossaries at the back, that it’s still not beginner with every little thing explained in detail, more like if you want to be adventurous and have never tried something like fennel, not only now do you have options, you also have a description of what that is, its nutritive offerings, and maybe a little bit about how to typically treat it (as in common prep work).
The opening breakfast section is what really got me interested; it’s got, among other things, a recipe for breakfast spaghetti and one for orange cinnamon rolls; I normally struggle a bit with getting bored with breakfast recipes since I often have to do that on the go or on the road which can be limiting. The orange cinnamon rolls are one of my absolute favorite Pilsbury things, and maybe one of two reasons I will ever purchase that kind of thing; I am very excited to try this to see how close it gets. It’s otherwise a fairly straightforward cinnamon roll with glaze recipe; the spaghetti breakfast recognizes that this sounds unusual as a label but as the caption on the photo page across says “breakfast is a social construct’. The recipe itself involves pasts, a bunch of veggies, tofu, and what I’m gong to call a a dry sauce involving nutritional yeast and herbs.
The other sections cover soup and salad, snacks and sides, mains, and desserts. These also have some intriguing options, although a few too many uses of artichoke, which is not my favorite in any form I’ve ever tried. The one recipe that really got my attention is for “beeteroni pizza”. I dislike beets, but I have some hope maybe this will be the thing that finds me a way to not absolutely hate them. The crust and cashew-based sauce are pretty standard for a vegan recipe; the main topping though is essentially thin sliced beets (I’m surprised there’s not comment about the likelihood of stains) marinated and roasted under high heat. A minor miracle if it actually turns out as presented, but I have hope. I’m also interested in the idea of the pecan and pear pie; I like pecan pie but it’s usually way to sweet for me, so I’m hopeful the pear might tone that down a bit. We shall see.