Out of all the books requested, the Thug Kitchen cookbook was the most highly requested of all. To be honest, I’ve held off on this one NOT because I didn’t want to dive into this book full of beautiful pictures of tantalizing vegan dishes, but because I wanted to learn more about the controversy that arose when the book was released.
Video cookbook review for Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A
Thug Kitchen is a blog full of salty language written from the perspective of a dude with a vegan girlfriend. Using the conversational writing style of what I thought was just like 14 year old me. Yes, that’s right, I used to use a swear for every other word and sometimes in between syllables. I never associated this style of speech particularly with hip hop before. I thought “thug” was just a word for people who acted bad. But bad as in cool. And that older, bitter adults used it to label kids who hung around skate parks and malls. Because that’s the context that I personally heard it in.
I was oblivious to the fact that many Black Americans are hearing the word thug in a much different, more serious context, and that this is reflective of a society that still disproportionately persecutes Black individuals. The fact that I didn’t initially grasp this is alarming to me. I grew up in a multicultural community and thought I was well aware of racial issues. When racism is invisible to us, we can’t help. Only when we acknowledge a problem can we take action to change.
If you would like to learn more about these issues or (like I did at first) think this is a total non-issue being blown out of proportion, I encourage you to visit these links with an open mind.
I believe the intent behind the language use in this book was a good one; bringing humour to vegan cooking, making it fun, making people laugh and more open to trying plant based meals. I’m beginning to understand that our actual effect is also important, not just our intent.
So with that said, let’s get into the recipes!
The first recipe I tried was for Cornmeal Waffles and Strawberry Syrup. It just looked so good in the photo that I had to try it. That’s one thing I really like about this book. Lots of photos and wonderfully composed at that which really excites you into making the thing.
The recipe itself was very simple. For the syrup just combine strawberries and stuff and let it simmer on the stove. For the waffles, as long as you know how to measure stuff, you’ll get it. Mix the dry ingredients, add in the wet stuff, stir. They came out as I believe they were intended to. Quite fluffy, nice looking although I know my waffle maker heats a bit unevenly so we have the super crispy middle and softer edges.
Taste-wise …well…I think that if you really like cornbread and enjoy that slightly gritty texture, you’ll love these. But they aren’t really my style of breakfast waffles. I thought they’d do better with something savory like vegan chili.
The strawberry sauce was good though I am a biased Canadian and really believe that pure maple syrup is THE superior breakfast syrup and everything else is just never going to be as good. Joking. Sort of. Not really.
Later, I tried the Spiced Chickpea Wraps. They are supposed to capture the smoky flavour of a falafel without the work behind a regular falafel.
I did get the falafel-ness from the cumin in the chickpeas and the tahini sauce was really tasty. My boyfriend said it was awesome. I’ll definitely make this for him again, though for me it just made me want actual falafel.
Next up, we have vegetable pad thai. Now, I’ve had a lot of pad thai in my hometown of Vancouver, BC and really love the dish. Every restaurant always made it a little bit differently and even the worst pad thai I’ve ever had was still really delicious to me.
Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t resemble any pad thai that I’ve had before. The boyfriend said something along the lines of “eh..it tastes weird.” The sauce was too sour and just not nice. After getting feedback from some viewers, I was assured that it wasn’t just me: this pad thai was just not very pad thai-ish.
I also tried the tofu scramble tacos and roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut sauce which I didn’t film but they were kind of the same thing. OK, not gross, but needed some adjustment to go from ok to great. I actually tried more recipes than I otherwise would have because I just wanted to find a recipe that I could rave about. I hate doing negative reviews and really want to support the work of ethical vegans.
Overall, it was hit and miss. The pictures were so awesome and the recipe names were so interesting to me with lots of international flavours. There’s also a lot of guidelines for people who might be new to cooking which I can totally get behind. And it’s all delivered in a wise-cracking, swear word heavy, humourous way.
So that’s my opinion on the recipes I’ve tried so far. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Have you tried any of the recipes? What did you think?