Want to know if you’ve been cooking like a racist? Need tips on how to cook for an emotional eater? Want to know how to serve dinner on a naked woman’s body? Want to learn some of Alive Juice Bar’s recipes, including the one for its signature brown rice and beans and its black bean brownies? Curious about how making kale chips is similar to giving a hand job? Then this is the cookbook for you! How to Cook Like a Racist doesn’t just feed you recipes, it explains what’s going on behind them, like how and why the infamous Juice Nazi came up with them so that you too can come up with your own. You’ll also learn how to consider the meaning of the food you cook and eat in the context of post-colonial identity politics.
In the summer of 2016, Bon Appetit released a video of a White chef explaining a way to eat pho. Enough controversy ensued that Bon Appetit took down the video and apologized for its broadcast.
The controversy centered on the chef’s Whiteness and the politics of cultural appropriation. That is, the activists who demanded that this chef be boiled alive in his own broth insisted that it’s not ethical for a White chef to cook and talk about food from a non-White culture, in this case Vietnamese. Doing so, they argued, is an imperialist and Orientalist act, it’s stealing from and exoticizing another culture. It’s the same as a White person donning yellowface.
So the motive for the title of this cookbook isn’t to rouse or satirize or provoke, it’s to address a controversy that affects a lot of people. Don’t expect any jokes that include dunce hats, nooses, tape, and sombrero hats. The aim here is to think about what it means to cook and eat under the specter of post-colonial identity politics.
This cookbook is divided into five parts. Part one, Who are the racists?, questions prevailing assumptions about who racists are and are not. The eponymous first chapter reviews the controversies surrounding the Bon Appetit video mentioned above and the publication of the White authored Thug Kitchen vegan cookbooks, which has been accused of writing and cooking in blackface by using the black vernacular to narrate its recipes. (It’s not clear to me if swearing and acting like a “thug” while cooking is distinctly a Black activity, or if it’s simply a human activity after a few drinks). This chapter also includes a scorecard to help you determine if you’re able to cook like a racist. Chapter two, Harvard Hates Asians, takes a look at the 2018 discrimination lawsuit against Harvard University to reveal what Malcolm X saw in the motives of White liberals and asks who the most perilous racists are. Part one ends with chapter three, which features Alive Juice Bar’s rice and beans recipe. People of all races are free to appropriate it and all other recipes in this cookbook, you have the Juice Nazi’s blessing.
Part two, How to Cook for Emotional Eaters, is trying to get at the source of the obesity epidemic and considers how we can help emotional eaters eat and live better. Chapter four asks Why Emotional Eating Happens and takes a hard look at American society and culture as the source of emotional dysfunction. Chapter five, How to Stop Emotional Eating, offers solutions that turn the morals and manners, the sense and sensibilities of middle class America upside down. More life hacks in chapter six, Why People Get Fat, this time on how to prepare oneself mentally for the tumult that triggers emotional dysfunction and eating. Chapter seven uses porn star Ron Jeremy and anal sex to help explain why you shouldn’t think that carrot juice contains too much sugar. It ends with a recipe for many people’s favorite comfort food — brownies! — except ours is made with black beans instead of flour and packed with nutrition instead of empty calories. Tastes just as good too.
Part three, How to Cook for Hedonists, is a story about how fucking hard it is to own a juice bar because while everyone says they want to be healthy, most want to be hedonistic even more so. Chapter nine, Doesn’t Everyone Want to be Healthy? brings home that point (the answer is no, no, no, even if everyone says yes). Chapter ten, Food Isn’t the Enemy, It’s the Solution, warns against grouping food into healthy versus unhealthy categories and explains why doing so doesn’t make sense and can be dangerous (yes, you can overdose on kale). Chapter 11 reviews Anthony Bourdain’s book, Medium Raw, because it’s about how great chefs stand firm with their vision and refuse to give into the customer’s basest desires. You’ll know where the Juice Nazi gets his inspiration. Chapter twelve, How to Prepare for a Potluck explains why potlucks are typically gross hedonistic revels instead of balanced feasts. Chapter 13, How to Make Kids Eat Veggies and to Love Their Parents elucidates why getting kids to eat their veggies is as difficult as it is to teach them to love their parents. Chapter 14 teaches you the Alive Juice Bar way to make smoothies.
In Part four, you learn How to Cook Like a Misogynist. Nyotaimori Dinner is the subject of chapter 15 and you’ll be taught how to prepare a woman’s body to be used as a serving dish at a dinner party. The Politics of Eating Meat headlines chapter 16, and if you’re wondering what eating meat has to do with misogyny, I have no idea but “Meat is Misogyny” would make a great banner at a MeToo march and an even better book title. How to Pick Out a Steak is the subject of Chapter 17 because most people do it wrong. How to Cook a Steak is the title of Chapter 18 because most people cook it wrong. Chapter 19 explains how to make oxtail soup. Yum.
Part V, The Politics of Eating and Cooking, goes beyond identity politics to consider the merits and downsides of popular culinary trends such as the localvore movement and the modernist approach to cooking and eating. It begins in chapter 20 with a review of Anthony Bourdain’s graphic novel, Get Jiro!, that summarizes how intolerant and myopic are these culinary trends. Chapter 21, Punk Versus Classical Fine Dining, is a critique of a restaurant review that was used as an opportunity to bemoan the “punk” trend in dining. Chapter 23 is a review of a documentary about legendary sushi chef Jiro Ono (memorialized in Get Jiro!) to show what it takes to achieve culinary mastery. The next two chapters are recipes that reflect Alive Juice Bar’s philosophy of cooking — waste nothing.
Part VI are More Recipes, including one that involves a hand job. Enjoy!
Comments, including hate mail, are welcome. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Write in subject line, “Dear Racist.”
Part I – Who are the Racists?
Chapter 1 – How to Cook Like a Racist
Chapter 2 – Harvard Hates Asians
Chapter 3 – Rice and Beans
Part II – How to Cook for Emotional Eaters
Chapter 4 – Why Emotional Eating Happens
Chapter 5 – How to Stop Emotional Eating
Chapter 6 – Why People Get Fat
Chapter 7 – Glycemic Load versus Glycemic Index
Chapter 8 – Black Bean Brownies
Part III – How to Cook for Hedonists
Chapter 9 – Doesn’t Everyone Want to be Healthy?
Chapter 10 – Food Isn’t the Enemy, It’s the Solution
Chapter 11 – Review of Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw
Chapter 12 – How to Prepare for a Potluck
Chapter 13 – How to Make Kids Eat Veggies and to Love Their Parents
Chapter 14 – How to Make a Smoothie
Part IV – How to Cook Like a Misogynist
Chapter 15 – Nyotaimori Dinner
Chapter 16 – The politics of eating meat
Chapter 17 – How to pick out a steak
Chapter 18 – How to cook a steak
Chapter 19 – Oxtail Soup Recipe
Part V – The Politics of Eating and Cooking
Chapter 20 – Review of Anthony Bourdain’s Get Jiro!
Chapter 21 – Punk versus classical fine dining
Chapter 22 – Review of Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Chapter 23 – Signature Salad Dressing Recipe
Chapter 24 – Avocado Salad
Part VI – More Recipes
Chapter 25 – Yam chip recipe
Chapter 26 – Kale chip recipe
Chapter 27 – Hainan chicken recipe
Chapter 28 – Gluten free quiche recipe
Chapter 29 – Raw carrot cake recipe