'Thug Kitchen' Is the Latest Iteration of Digital Blackface
Earlier this week, a hard-hitting investigation by Epicurious revealed that the food blog (and upcoming cookbook) Thug Kitchen—a brand that got popular by writing recipes in a tone reminiscent of African American Vernacular English—is run by two WASPy white people from California, Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, whom Epicurious refers to as “masterminds.”
For the uninitiated, Thug Kitchen’s recipes are sold with phrases like “Don’t fuck around with some sorry-ass ten-dollar takeout,” and “This holiday season bake a batch of these spiced sons of bitches.” The tone has led many people to deride the “Thugs,” as Davis and Holloway wish to be called, as “deceptive” and “a lot like the latest iteration of nouveau blackface.” Others criticized the title of Thug Kitchen for its use of the word thug, something that has been deemed a code word—that is, a “polite way to say ‘nigger’ in mixed company.”
The backlash to the revelation that Thug Kitchen is written by white people has inspired a backlash of its own. Detractors of Davis and Holloway’s critics point out that automatically associating the word thug with black men is itself racist. But there’s no denying that the word has historically been used as a weapon to condemn people of color.
A Visual Guide to Making Action Bronson’s Borek
By now, you’ve seen Mr. Wonderful’s how-to video as he makes his childhood favorite, borek, with his aunt. Now it’s time to make it on your own with this illustrated guide. You’re welcome.
Fuck, That’s Delicious: New York Volume Two
Watch Action Bronson take us on one of the most unreal, out of bounds New York City food tours that’s ever been committed on film.
How to Cook Dinner for 20,000 Syrian Refugees
The kitchen staff at the Bab Al-Salama IDP camp make use of what limited resources are available to feed thousands of Syrians displaced by war.
We Met the Girl Who Cooks in Her Coffee Maker
A few years ago, I briefly lived in Stockholm. My time there was punctuated by constant coffee breaks—fika, as they’re called in Swedish—because it’s so fucking dark all the time that you can’t stay awake without drowning yourself in black coffee. Swedes love their coffeemakers as much as they love pickled fish and IKEA and electronic music. They practically bathe in coffee; in fact, Sweden is the world’s third biggest coffee consumer per capita.
Then I heard about Katja Wulff, a Swedidsh blogger who repurposed her precious coffee maker into an all-purpose cooking machine. She still makes coffee in it, allegedly, but she’s also cooked pizza, fish soup, birthday cake, and something she calls “testicle tacos” using, exclusively, her coffee maker. Her recipes are compiled on the Swedish blog Kaffekokarkokboken (basically, “coffeemaker cookbook”) and, more recently, on its English counterpart Coffee Machine Cuisine. Both blogs are flooded with photos, taken by Wulff’s boyfriend Dan Sörenson, that prove just how weird the culinary arts can be. I spoke with Wulff about how the obsession all started, what she’s cooking on her new YouTube cooking show, and how to fry balls in the same pot you brew coffee.
VICE: So, where did this idea come from?
Katja Wulff: Back in 2009, I lived in a dorm and I shared a kitchen with lots of other students. I did not like to cook in that kitchen, because I’m not a very social person and the thought of hanging out with the other people sometimes creeped me out. They were all nice people, so that was all on me. And the other thing is that I’ve never liked to cook, didn’t know how to. There was this one day that I was extremely unsocial and tired—er, hungover—and I did not want to go to the kitchen. I thought about preparing my noodles in warm water from the sink but realized quickly that it must be much smarter to cook the noodles in my coffee maker. And it worked great! I was so proud of myself and started to think about what more I could cook with it. Soon my little experiment escalated and I never cooked in that kitchen again. I even got away from the mandatory cleaning week that each student got since I never spent any time there.
Wait, you don’t like to cook?
And yet, you write a cooking blog? It seems like the project is more about art than food.
That’s absolutely right. I think that Coffee Machine Cuisine is more of a creative or twisted humor or blog rather than a food blog. If you’re looking for great recipes, then read another blog. If you want to have a good laugh, I hope you’ll think Coffee Machine Cuisine is fun. It’s the same with the cookbook [Kaffekokarkokboken, published in 2011]. I want people to read the book from the first page to the last. You don’t do that with cookbooks, but this isn’t a cookbook. The blog and book aren’t about cooking great and tasty food—although I try all of the time. It’s about creativity and encouraging people to do whatever they like to do.
The Joy of Cooking (While Really Stoned)
To fully experience the joy of cooking while really stoned, you must first attain basic proficiency in both of those disciplines separately before ever attempting to combine them. Because if you can’t fry an egg without burning it, getting high will only make matters worse. And if you can’t handle your herb, you’ve got no place in a room full of sharp knives and burning hot surfaces. That said, one needn’t be a top chef or a pot head to have a wonderful time preparing (and consuming) a high-end meal while under the influence. Just start by familiarizing yourself with the following simple guidelines, humbly compiled by The Weed Eater over the course of many years.
Cook With Your Head, Not Over It
A highly ambitious meal plan combined with blazing massive amounts of highly potent cannabis may sound like a recipe for success at the outset, but things will quickly turn sour if and when something goes awry. So if you want to get really high, it’s probably better to elevate a familiar dish rather than trying to boldly cook what you’ve never cooked before.
Tips to Help You Improve Your Kitchen Safety
So I just finished this thing called a “first aid class” at the public library and it made me realize how much of a dummy I’ve been in the kitchen lately! If you’re as clueless as I was about kitchen safety, no worries, my fellow chef. Just memorize the handy checklist I’ve prepared below and you’ll be on your way to a sanitary and secure cooking space in no time.
Male Chef Kitchen Safety 101:
This is a no brainer—STEAR CLEAR OF THE STOVE! Steam is water’s hotter, more sinister cousin. Cordoning off a dangerous heated area can help reduce contact with this vicious vapor.
Be sure to cover ALL sharp tips in the kitchen. The last thing you need is a sharp piece of produce accidentally penetrating the wrong orifice.
How-To: Make Prison Style Sweet and Sour Pork With Andy Roy
You learn something new everyday, and if you weren’t locked up in Pelican Bay State Prison in the early 2000s, then today you are going to learn how to make a prison-style sweet and sour pork. And we’ve got just the man to give you a tutorial: Andy Roy, a professional skateboarder for Anti-Hero Skateboards, who’s known for a variety of things—not the least of which are the spider web tattoo on the top of his head and his dog pissers to rock.
Munchies: Momofuku Toronto
We headed to Toronto, Canada to hang with the Momofuku crew, the thriving American restaurant brand impressively stretching its wings into Canada in the midst of a burgeoning Toronto food scene, complete with pressed duck, lobster mac & cheese, and a giant whole rib eye.
How-To: Make Sous Vide Pot Butter
Everyone knows how to make a basic weed butter. We took New York chef, David Santos of Louro, to Denver, Colorado to show us how to make sous vide pot butter. He then used it to create the best marijuana meal the world has ever seen: perfectly roasted chicken with sautéed wild mushrooms and a pain perdu from the weed—ahem—pan drippings.
Just in time for Easter