The Deplorable Gourmet

This is a cookbook produced by the website Ace of Spades, assembled from recipes submitted by Ace of Spades readers and commenters referred to as the Moron Horde. The commentariat at Ace of Spades is likely one the most unique you'll see anywhere online. These are regular people across the United States interested in current events. They hold a broad range of opinions on everything. Each post at Ace of Spades gets thousands of fairly terse comments attached to them. To a large extent they know each other by this online connection so they've formed a kind of community. For the most part they did not support the female Democrat candidate for president thus the name, Deplorable Gourmet.

$15.00 on Amazon. $6.00 Kindle. You know, this is one book where maybe Kindle version is better. 374 pages of tight information. No photographs. The index shows the names of commenters not the names of their recipes. The table of contents is outlined. So there is no listing of all the recipes. You'll have to find them by category or by the author's name. 

The writing style shifts somewhat recipe to recipe while adhering to the tone that you'll see online at Ace of Spades site. Irreverent. While oddly respectful in a sideways manner. Wit of the heartland. A conversational style disregardful that this is a cookbook and not Ace commentary. For example, nearing the end I had to set down the book and laugh out loud and taking a good while to recover from hysterics reading  lin-duh fell recipe for Unknown Blackbean Soup. She starts her simple recipe, "One of the simplest 'homemade' soups evah!!! I pulled this out of my ass one night." 

I was hopeless tied up laughing at that. I had to stop reading. 

Recipes handed down. Others invented while drunk. Others invented by need or by shortage of sensible ingredients. A lot of recipes call for pantry ingredients common before obesity epidemic of America. One recipe called for spam, for example, many call for tinned fruit and vegetables. There is a heavy reliance on commercial items, tinned tomatoes preferred over fresh, packaged seasoning, packaged dressing. I noticed three recipes for tinned pineapple but none calling for fresh pineapple. Packaged onion soup, tinned soup. Lots of things with cream cheese. Tinned beans preferred over soaking dry beans. Lots of Velveeta cheese. I began to think these are people who don't care to cook. 

Like so many entries, lin-duh fall's recipe is not even a recipe. It's just what you do with tinned beans. You jazz them up with diced onion and garlic and dry herbs and chicken broth, olive oil and sour cream and hot sauce. Have them with rice if you you feel like it. See? They're all pretty much like that. They're not even valid recipes. They're what you do when you scrounge. No sense in even writing down measurements, it's all common sense. But what's interesting is how utterly simple. Nearly all the recipes are like this. While we've come to thinking in terms of texture and color and blending flavors in balance. We think, how do we expand this to hit every taste sensation. To lin-duh fall's recipe we'd consider altering the pH with vinegar and including something sweet to expand the flavor profile to sweet/sour and enhance the black bean experience. We'd be thinking what fresh herbs we have available and what spices might be useful, with dry herbs our third choice. We'd consider including an alcohol. And all that is already habitual. 

Nobody makes their own pie crust.

Intermingled with outdated and slipshod pantry-heavy convenience items for recipes that aren't even valid recipes, just convenience things tossed together, pre-shredded cheese, tinned jalapeƱos and tinned tomato put in a bender, instead of real cheese and fresh vegetables, there are also real gems, serious food by thoughtful cooks collected through their travels or worked out by trial and error over time. This book is a complete mixed bag. It you're looking for something uniquely great, this book has it, and if you're looking for something fast to whip out, this book has that in abundance. It shows very clearly how Americans across the whole nation cook and the things that Americans eat.

It also shows clearly why Americans are fat. 

I don't like paperback books. I strongly prefer books bound with hardcover. That is my book-prejudice. And that is one reason why my bookcase is loaded with pop-up books. Those do not come in paperback form. That is by far my largest category of books in a bookcase that takes a whole wall. Second largest category is cookbooks, and those hardly ever get read. They're read once and then become reference book thereafter. I look at one of the cookbooks for reference maybe once or twice a year. Everything else is online. I'll watch fifteen videos of women making handmade pie crusts and not bother opening the baking bible. I don't now if I'll ever return to this book for reference. I cannot see myself asking it anything. It is a fun book to read just to hear people talking about their food, their personalities shine through brilliantly. It's a wonderful collection but that's about it in terms of actual usefulness or for getting any ideas. Say, you want to make Christmas cookies, or a peach pie, or a snack nut bar. This book will not be the first place to go for ideas. The internet has all that and more in abundance plus demonstration with video. For me, this book was good for a very large chunk of America. The whole time I kept thinking it's helping me understand my neighbors and my family's extended families. I just came from a sister's daughter's wedding. My sister married into an American farming family smack in the American heartland and my mind was blown how they do things. And food is a very large part. This book helped me comprehend them.

And everyone is fat.

Almost. A nephew has kept himself thin. This book is an epiphany that goes like this, "oh, so that's what's going on."

rice and chicken thigh

Fried chicken skin, and garlic pickle.

Four chicken thighs are pressure-cooked with their bones and skin. Overcooked, actually, so they shrink from the bone and pull off with no resistance. The way I like it.

The rice is pressure cooked too. Separately. And both these things in succession went so fast it'll make your head spin.

And there is no cleaning the pot. Both thighs and rice are cooked inside their own bowl placed on a trivet inside the pressure pot.

The thighs had been brined first and they produced a lot of liquid that can be used for very flavorful gravy.

The rice was flavored excessively in a way that Japanese cooks don't do. They like their rice white and unadulterated. This has teaspoons of sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, toasted sesame seed oil, and half an anchovy smashed. And altogether that's a lot of flavor permeating each grain. I could have used seaweed and bonito flakes.

The chicken was not seasoned beyond brining.

This rice bowl is extraordinarily flavorful. Its outstanding. It's a whole new unique thing unto the world, based upon a million previous things.

I was watching the Samurai Gourmet and the guy took home his extra cooked rice with something pickled, and I thought, man, that sounds really good. And it is. It's just so weird to think of adding picked anything to rice. But we have weird pickles too. It doesn't have to be dill, it doesn't have to be cucumber. It can be anything pickled and in any favor. Why does dill monopolize the pickle aisle anyway? Those things are rather gross to begin with. Yet there they are taking up all the space on the shelves. I wish they'd pickle things with ginger.

The basil took off faster than everything else in the Aerogarden and needed to be trimmed. What the heck.

rice and beans and meatballs and Brussel sprouts

Short grained rice. Un-rinsed for stickiness. Beans from a tin. Meatballs prepared previously. 

Napa cabbage in chicken broth

Very rich chicken broth from broken bones of previous roasted chicken, fried chicken thighs and ducks, and nothing else. No seasoning, none of the customary Japanese flavorings and enhancements. 

Except for soy sauce, and light vinegar and pepper over the onions, mushrooms and cabbage as it fried. Cilantro for herbal aromatic.

There I was watching Samurai on Netflix and they're showing all these delicious things one after another and I'm thinking, HEY! I can do that in minutes. I have all the stuff. I can do whatever I want. And the thing that I wanted was 1/4 a whole Napa cabbage. This hit the spot. It was breakfast.

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