Book Review — F*ck, That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well

F*ck, That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well
Action Bronson
Abrams, 2017

I’ve been putting olive oil on ice cream since forever, but at Lilia in Brooklyn, Chef Missy Robbins showed me how she puts truffles on top of soft-serve with olive oil, honey, and sea salt.

And that’s when I became the biggest Action Bronson fan in the world. Honestly, I know that the man is a rapper, and that there has been some controversy over his lyrics, but as an old Goth, I’ve never been inclined to check out his music (no judgement, just likely not spooky enough for me), or his television shows. However, before he was a musician, Action Bronson was a chef. With a culinary school background. He knows a lot about food, all of it, from everywhere, and his travels as a musician have allowed him to taste food from all over the world. This book is a list of 100 of his favourite things to eat.

Besides the above mentioned olive oil and ice cream, Bronson offers up a little bit of everything, from high-end cuisine to junk food. He’s as happy eating truffles (“Truffles are only fancy to us because we don’t live where they come from.”) as he is drinking Crystal Light; as happy with a slice of greasy New York pizza as he is with a slice from an authentic pizzeria in Naples. He lists his favourite places around the world to get chicken wings and fried chicken (braise it in mustard, OMG), as well as his favourite bagel joints.

F*ck, That’s Delicious is part biography — Bronson traces his love of food back to his childhood in Queens and the vast array of food from around the world — and part cookbook, with plenty of his own recipes (which look fantastic!) for everything from a cheese bagel to his Albanian nonna’s Pasul (a dish of baked cannellini beans), to Explosive Chicken made with Szechuan peppers.

The writing here is funny, intelligent, and shows a true love and respect for foods of all kinds, and the cultures that they come from. The book is full of photos of Bronson on his travels, but also the odd silly cartoon (look for the one that goes with the story about the bear, the Poconos, and a pair of ladies’ slippers), funny diagrams, and plenty of photos of dishes that will make the reader yell, “Gimme that!”

It can seem a bit name-droppy at points — Bronson is friends with Mario Batali, who wrote the foreword, and mentions him frequently, so there’s some discomfort with the perception of misogyny, whether implied or actual — but he gives props to the places and chefs he mentions.

Overall, a really fun book that covers diverse area of the culinary world, and you don’t need to be a fan of Bronson’s music or television shows to be able to enjoy and appreciate it.

Should Taxpayers Have a Say in How Food Stamps Get Used?

I came across the following piece when compiling the weekday Food For Thought column, but I’ve got a bit more to say about this than I could fit into a typical line of snark.

In the US, where food stamp use has become prevalent because of the economy, there is much debate over what the stamps should be used for. Experts now want to ban junk food from qualifying for food stamp use. This currently applies to hot prepared food, household products, tobacco, dietary supplements and alcohol (note – this probably varies from state to state). The idea being that food stamps are to be used for healthy nutritious food. Which totally makes sense. Under a junk food ban, food stamps could not be used for pop, chips, chocolate, etc.

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All That and a Bag of Chips

Somewhere, Jamie Oliver is crying.

The new conservative government of England (hey, what happened to the balancing forces of a coalition?) has caved in to demands from the junk food industry and has scrapped the Food Standards Agency (the equivalent to the FDA). Which means that junk food companies are now free to self-regulate.

It seems that the junk food industry and its lobbyists weren’t terribly impressed with a motion to put stop-light style labels on the front of food packages indicating healthy and poor choices. The industry won that battle, arguing that consumers could use the existing nutrition labelling to calculate the percentage of each nutrient that the food item provided. This is similar to what we have in Canada and the US and let’s be honest – who sits down and calculates their daily intake of every nutrient?

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