Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kitchin' Pimpin'

Probably the first cookbook with an explicit language warning, Cookin' with Coolio: Five Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, arrived from the library a few days ago. Yeah, that's right: the library. I admit to being mostly intrigued by the kitsch factor, and to not expecting to make a permanent addition to the cookbook shelf... so library it was. While I'm not as much of a library addict as Anna, I honestly try to do all my cookbooks this way before buying... there's only so much shelf space in a tiny apartment... so don't think I'm disrespecting the Kitchen Pimp... and isn't part of Coolio's message about saving money? That's what I'm doing then: Not Coveting My Neighbor's Groceries (Cool-Mandment IX). Or something. Oddly, the Cambridge Public Library appeared to underestimate demand for Ghetto Gourmet education... so I had a to wait a few weeks for them to get it in... which means I'm not ideally situated to fully explore Coolio's cooking principles before the holidays really hit, but I'll do my best to cook a recipe or two.

I've only been able to flip through the book to this point, but the writing is strong with the funny... if obviously gimmicky. If you're down with a little light hearted parody of 90's era gangster rap applied to braises and roasts, then you'll enjoy it. If not, then I'm guessing you were never in the market for a Coolio cookbook, so we're probably all set. Oh, and yes, he measures spices in dime bag increments (or peenches - note that pimps don't pinch). Not much of a stickler for spice measurements is Coolio, but he gives specific volume measurements where it's important, and not just a matter of taste. From what I can tell, he is very focused on simplicity and strong flavors with recipes that... and I'm being serious here... should actually appeal to a lot of people. They're not exactly Rachael Ray quick, but seem to be short on the prep time (if not cooking time) at least. I may be wrong, but Coolio might be on to something here... prep time might be more of a barrier to home cooking than how long something takes in the oven. I suspect there is a crowd out there that would be happy to roughly chop some stuff, open a few cans, and throw it all in a roasting pan with a hunk of meat for an hour and a half while they play Modern Warfare 2... but couldn't get motivated to work through a lot of prep and steps, even if you've got dinner on the table in 30 minutes. The argument against would be that this requires some foresight, but as the Kitchen Pimp notes, respectable ghetto gourmets keep things chopped and prepped in their fridge. You have to have standards, I guess... if you can't handle it, maybe you just aren't kitchen pimp material? Something to think about for all you aspirants.

It's really F-in cold here today, so I'm not sure I'm motivated to head to the store, but I am fairly intrigued by Coolio's Fork Steak (he's a big fan of braises):