What The Fuck Happened?

How to fix food and the pleasure of parsnips

We’ve all known that our food system has been fucked up for decades. But in the process of writing our new book, Brave New Meal, the whole world shut down and we all got the chance to examine our needs and priorities. And luckily for many of us, that included how we eat. So here is our last excerpt from the introduction of our book we’ll share with you here, all about how to start cooking brave new meals of your own.

A food reckoning is unfolding in front of us. Adjustments are difficult and change is scary, but this is an opportunity. A chance for food not just to be different, but better. No more performance art about the perfect diet. No more over-the-top dishes that are intentionally obscene. And no more celebrating entitled, petulant chefs while ignoring home cooks and how average folks eat. Despite whatever chaos is happening outside your door right now, a few things remain true:

1. You’re still here. Look at you. You’re a living, breathing, sexy-ass motherfucker. You’re capable. Shit, you’re more than capable—you’re intelligent. Your purchase of this cookbook clearly shows just how smart you are.

2. Food still tastes amazing. None of us ever stopped loving food, but we sure as shit took it for granted. We trusted faceless food manufacturers to nourish us while they focused on protecting shareholders and lobbying for subsidies. But that’s not food’s fault. Food is our truest love and we just took the long way to the altar.

3. Eating a meal you cooked yourself is delicious but also empowering as fuck. Sure, there’s a lotta unseen work beyond just warming up some ingredients. You hafta plan, shop, prep, cook, and clean. And yeah, all that shit can be time-consuming, but it’s cheaper than ordering delivery, it’s healthier when you control what you put into your food, and it’s an act of true self-care. Start thinking of cooking like doing laundry or bathing. You can put it off for only so long before you start feeling pretty gross. Cooking is self-reliance. Independence. Cooking is motherfucking freedom. You like being free, right? Fuck yeah you do. Smart people love freedom and we’ve already established your intelligence in point number one.

4. Cooking is universally attractive. This isn’t stressed enough. Nobody’s ever gone on a date and afterward debriefed with a friend like, “Sure they’re funny, employed, museum-worthy body, buuuut… they cook.” Ya don’t exercise? Learn to cook. Drive a shitty car? Learn to cook. Don’t have dental insurance? Uncontrollable sweat glands? Look, there’s a lot that people are willing to overlook if you can whip up a tasty and nutritious meal. We want you to get laid as much as you want you to get laid.

Even if a few dishes are all you got under your belt, then goddamn it, cook the absolute hell out of ’em. Make your friends and family beg for the recipes. Your roommates should feel compelled to post Yelp reviews when you serve up supper. You should be planning your next culinary challenge as soon as you sit down to eat the one you just conquered. And that’s where we come in.

Cooking for yourself doesn’t mean you’re relegated to instant noodles, subpar sandwiches, and bagged salads. We know you better than that. You’re not stupid, and even the most basic bodegas have enough ingredients for you to turn out some world-class meals with a little guidance from us. Not to mention, when you get your skills dialed in you get to make each meal exactly to your taste. No more picking around foods that you don’t like. No more hoping they saw your ‘no tomatoes’ note on your delivery. It’s your dinner exactly how the fuck you want it. Every. Single. Time.

The more you cook, the more you’re able to improvise, subbing in and out ingredients based on what you have and still turn out a dope dinner. That’s when cooking turns from a chore to art and it feels natural as fuck. But you hafta stick with it. Nothing worth learning was ever learned overnight, but you’re already halfway there with this book. You like to eat and you kinda know what you like. Now you just gotta figure out how to do that shit at home, and we’re here to help you do everything but the cleanup. Also, cooking for yourself means you learn way more about all the food you’ve already been eating. There’s enough uncertainty in this world without having to guess what the fuck is in baba ganoush or if peanut butter has dairy in it. Cook for yourself and you’ll learn more about food, the world, and your taste. Look at all that motherfuckin growth.

Did you look at the front cover of this book and wonder what half the shit was on there? We get it. Most people are used to buying food to assemble at home (canned soup, boxed mac and cheese, veggies in microwavable bags) and think that’s cooking. But it’s fucking not. You need to start buying ingredients, not products. And there’s no better place for you to start this journey than the produce section of your grocery store or local market. If you’re intimidated by fresh fruits and veggies, you’re not alone. That’s why the produce section stayed fully stocked while everyone else was fighting over the last burrito in the frozen aisle. It’s time you step up. EMBRACE CHANGE, IT’S DELICIOUS.

The new normal is home cooked meals, a full freezer, and eating out just to inspire new dishes to cook at home. You’re gonna feel better about yourself, love your nourished body, and really appreciate all that extra money in your wallet. We’ll show you the way.

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This week Michelle and Matt explore how the Environmental Protection Agency isn't really protecting the environment, easy ways to ruin marble countertops, and bribing Florida's food scene. Matt's curious about Russian sodas while Michelle explains the intricacies of baleen whales. 

Also we’ve been getting tons of requests about the photography in the book. So as a thank you to all of you here in The Broiler Room we’re going to have a giveaway. We’re doing a limited run of some photography from Brave New Meal just for y’all. We’re gonna randomly select 20 people from our subscribers here to receive a gorgeous, custom professional print from our new book. These will be numbered and signed by both of us just for you. And if you are a paying supporter we will enter your name twice so you have higher chances of winning. We will draw winners next week so you still have time to double your luck if you wanna win.

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On this week’s menu we have our Creamy Curried Parsnip Soup from our new book. The velvety son of bitch is ready to warm you up from the inside out. It’s easy as hell to make and a great way to try parsnips if you’ve never had the pleasure.

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See y’all in the kitchen.

Michelle and Matt