Coolio’s Unexpectedly Endearing Cookbook

Picture: Dennis Lee Rapper Coolio handed away on Wednesday on the age of 59. Most of us know him for his predominant banger, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” together with different beloved tracks together with “1,2,3,4″ and “Unbelievable Voyage.” However do you know that Coolio was additionally a passionate prepare dinner? He even […]

cookin with coolio

Picture: Dennis Lee

Rapper Coolio handed away on Wednesday on the age of 59. Most of us know him for his predominant banger, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” together with different beloved tracks together with “1,2,3,4″ and “Unbelievable Voyage.” However do you know that Coolio was additionally a passionate prepare dinner? He even revealed a cookbook, Cookin’ With Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Worth, in 2009, together with an online video collection of the identical title.

I purchased a replica of Cookin’ With Coolio in 2016; by likelihood, a good friend gifted me one other copy for Christmas that very same yr. I bought it as a result of again then I simply thought it was humorous: Right here’s somebody who dropped a really iconic monitor throughout my early life, and right here he’s 15 years later, messing round in a thrifty kitchen. As quickly as my fiancée and I heard the information of his loss of life, we instantly blasted “Gangsta’s Paradise” and I ran over to my bookshelf.

I’m certain your first query is: Is that this cookbook any good? Effectively, it is determined by the angle from which you take into account it.

Coolio’s strategy to delicacies

“Who’s The Ghetto Connoisseur?” the intro to the ebook asks. Coolio says up on the prime that there’s one factor he’d been doing longer than rapping, and that’s cooking.

“I used to be making thirty-minute meals after I was ten years outdated and I haven’t ever seemed again,” the intro reads partly. “I’m the ghetto Martha Stewart, the black Rachael Ray. I’m the kitchen pimp who received’t hesitate to fillet Bobby Flay or ship my posse after Emeril Lagasse.” Pure poetry.

Coolio goes on to elucidate that he grew up poor, which formed his relationship with meals—it required navigating the piecemeal, typically disparate elements in his pantry. Many people perceive that a number of the biggest triumphs within the kitchen come from coaxing scrumptious dishes out of the naked minimal accessible, particularly on arduous days.

“I need folks to know that simply since you’re poor, you don’t need to eat quick meals each day,” Coolio writes. “Folks all the time attempt to inform you that it’s a must to have cash to eat effectively… Hell, after I was rising up, I may make a meal out of a package deal of Prime Ramen and a bottle of Windex. All you want is a bit of little bit of meals and a bit of little bit of know-how.”

That reassurance units the stage for the remainder of the ebook. However as I’m certain you possibly can inform from that intro, it’s not a severe one. Cooking With Coolio is stuffed to the brim with nonstop jokes. You’ll be able to really feel his rapper’s persona come by means of, full with plenty of wisecracks about chasing after ladies. (A lot of the content material would most likely increase eyebrows in 2022; his dextrous use of the phrase “pimp” as each an adjective and a noun is unimaginable.)

However Coolio manages to be fairly encouraging to everybody studying his ebook. He challenges the lads to clever up and get within the kitchen, the women to sharpen their culinary expertise, and households to feed their youngsters utilizing his approachable recipes.

Page for "Simple-Ass Mozzarella Salad"

Picture: Dennis Lee

Recipes from the Coolio catalog

As for the culinary content material, effectively, it’s… one thing. You most likely know what you’re stepping into if you scan the desk of contents. One part of the ebook is notably referred to as “It’s Onerous Out Right here for a Shrimp,” and the dessert part is titled “Candy Treats for That Candy Ass.”

I wouldn’t precisely say these are nice recipes, however they’re all very accessible, with elements you both have already got in your pantry or ones that you would be able to get on the most elementary of shops. These dishes may usually be referred to as consolation meals, like caprese salad (this model provides onion), chili mac, a slew of steaks, hen (one recipe known as KFC, or “Kompton Fried Rooster”), and seafood (“U Can’t See My Bass” and “Oil My Mussels”). Okay, okay, can’t overlook “Rooster Lettuce Blunts” both.

photo of cookbook

Picture: Dennis Lee

The portions of every ingredient are fairly simple, however notably, the salt and pepper are measured in dime baggage. Do you have got any thought simply how a lot salt you possibly can match right into a dime bag? At one level Coolio clarifies that half a dime bag is a few half tablespoon’s price of dry seasoning, which suggests one complete dime bag of salt is a fucking tablespoon. That could be a lot of salt, contemplating nearly all of the recipes name for an entire dime bag.

Shortly after I obtained the ebook, I made one recipe referred to as Fork Steak (which I fortunately documented again in 2016, and I’m glad I did). I used to be particularly inquisitive about it as a result of it calls on your steak of selection, then instructs you to bake it for an hour at 400 levels Fahrenheit with numerous different elements, together with beer.

fork steak

Coolio’s Fork Steak
Picture: Dennis Lee

Contemplating I like my steak medium uncommon, this was fairly a departure from my common cooking strategies. The tip end result had scrumptious taste however was concurrently horrible as a result of the factor got here out bone dry, regardless that the title “Fork Steak” implies that it’s purported to be tender.

And should you suppose I’d go up one thing referred to as a “Sizzling Fruit Sandwich” then you definately apparently don’t know me that effectively. It’s… scorching fruit served between slices of sandwich bread. This recipe ended up tasting like heat jam, plus the 4 tablespoons of olive oil the recipe in some way requires. It impressed some combined emotions, to say the least.

The recipe header notes that Coolio made this for TV executives he was having over for dinner, however got here up with the concept off the cuff since he hadn’t had something deliberate for dessert. I respect a culinary Hail Mary. Particularly one which landed, not less than based on Coolio.

hot fruit sandwich

Sizzling Fruit Sandwich
Picture: Dennis Lee

Okay, so the meals’s largely hit and miss. However as a cultural determine, Coolio looms giant in my family—not simply due to his cookbook, however as a result of his was the final live performance my fiancée and I attended previous to the pandemic. I noticed an advert on Fb that he was coming to Chicago, and the tickets have been solely $15 every, so are you fucking kidding, after all we have been going. I used to be working in a restaurant then, and it was uncommon for me to get a Saturday off, so I used to be further excited to have an evening out.

We didn’t know what to anticipate after we obtained to the venue; there was barely anybody there when the doorways opened and never many extra folks confirmed up after that. We sat by means of opening act after opening act—there have been six of them, one among which was a DJ who began his set by speaking about what number of scorching canines he had eaten. We watched the couple in entrance of us go to sleep. Coolio lastly confirmed up on stage at midnight.

He was purported to carry out all the Gangsta’s Paradise album in its entirety, however at one level he forgot the lyrics to one among his songs, so he and his backing band scrapped the concept. A girl rushed the stage, a transfer Coolio embraced, and issues obtained bizarre as soon as she began grinding on him. However man, when he did “Gangsta’s Paradise,” he put his coronary heart and soul into it. He should have carried out that music one million occasions, but when he was sick of it, he didn’t present it one bit. The small crowd lit the fuck up, together with me, and for an entire 4 minutes, I used to be a youngster once more.

Coolio wasn’t glad together with his personal efficiency, although, as a result of after the present as we waited for our rideshare residence, he poked his head out of the venue’s second-story entrance window. He apologized for ruining the present by forgetting the phrases. He supplied everybody tickets to come back see him once more, which we by no means obtained and by no means will.

This week, after the information broke, my fiancée seemed up the main points of that 2019 present, for reminiscence’s sake. It seems it had been precisely three years in the past, to the very day. Relaxation straightforward, Coolio. Maybe I’ll make your recipe for Pimp My Shrimp this weekend in your honor. Hell, possibly even a Sizzling Fruit Sandwich.


Kristian Gul

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