My mother peruses cookbooks and cooking magazines continuously: forever searching for the perfect stuffing for Cornish hens, a new twist on saucing ham steaks, something novel involving bread pudding, or perhaps anything interesting involving guavas or persimmons. I must have inherited this glitch from her, because I love to browse through cookbooks too (even though I almost never actually cook anything, thanks to a gracious partner).
But I don't think I have ever before read a cookbook cover-to-cover, every damn word.
I did that tonight.
Even weirder, I don't think a cookbook ever gave me self-help tips -- most especially ones that made sense. Stranger and stranger: this cookbook actually provided me with some useful advice that helped me successfully deal with an odd little parenting crisis ( involving a scrap between my son and his cousin, who spent the winter holiday at our house).
Well, it isn't exactly a cookbook. It most certainly is not a parenting book. This most useful food-and-life advice book is Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin.
Kenny Shopsin seems wonderfully familiar, a composite of all of the best men I have ever known. A noisy, opinionated, and sometimes downright rude iconoclast, Shopsin dishes up delicious meals while providing some truly useful tips on food prep, relationships, life, and child-rearing, plus fabulous recipes such as Mac n Cheese Pancakes and soups like you never encountered. Shopsin's imaginative cookery involves a lot of trial-and-error:
"This kind of experimentation has a lot to do not just with creativity but with a lower-than-average repugnance for failure. It goes beyond a willingness to take risks to a willingness to fail miserably." (p. 81)
His book is unconventional. It tips you off to it's spirit straight away, with a tab labeled "DO NOT PULL" on the front cover (which of course requires a tug). As soon as you pull that tab, you will be sucked right in to this rewardingly peculiar cookbook -- and what a delicious trip it is!
"Eat Me" contains some of the strangest food tips that I have ever encountered. I am still reeling from his idea of transformation of soggy tortillas into delicious crepes, plus the idea of anyone being excited and inspired by lefse... all of that and more is included in Shopsin's odd blend of interpersonal relations and restauraunteering.
Besides Mr. Shopsin's sensible advice, he has given my family of picky eaters no end of delicious ideas. A gorgeous book full of mouth-watering recipes, tempting photographs, and absolutely golden life-lessons. I love Kenny S. and I can't wait to share his book with mom. I think you might like it too!