The day has come: The food world has finally gotten the cookbook equivalent of Shit My Dad Says.
A year and a half after bringing its potty mouth and mealtime indecision to the Internet, Zach Golden’s website has become a cookbook. Called What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?: The Answers to Life’s Everyday Question (in 50 F*@#ing Recipes), the book is more or less exactly like the website: Each recipe is presented with two options, so if you don’t fucking like kale with bacon (for example) or you don’t fucking eat meat, you’re directed elsewhere in the book. The instructions are resplendent with expletives: “Do not fuck this up,” Golden warns of cooking bacon “perfectly” in a sauté pan, “or you will ruin the best part of the dish.”
As the New York Daily News noted, the majority of the recipes on Golden’s site aren’t original; they come from Cookstr, a site that compiles recipes from cookbooks and professional chefs. Although most of the recipes in the cookbook come from Golden’s mom, originality isn’t really the point.
The draw of the book, like the website, is the thrill certain people get from seeing the word fuck juxtaposed with, well, anything. WTF’s main appeal isn’t much different from that of seeing a toddler drop a lisping f-bomb, or, for that matter, a children’s book called Go the F**k to Sleep. If Golden had the mouth of a Mormon missionary, he most likely wouldn’t have a cooking website, much less a cookbook.
If blogging, food-related and otherwise, has taught us anything, it’s that gimmickry can be a lucrative business, but also a hollow one. Remember all of the fanfare that greeted the arrival on bookstore shelves of This Is Why You’re Fat? Neither do I.
The huge spike in the conversion of food blogs to cookbooks only underlines how crowded the market has become, and how competitive. If you want to grab the attention of a shopper deliberating between, say, four different titles that offer recipes for kale with bacon, using fucking as an adjective will doubtless distinguish you from the competition. Whether the actual recipe does is, of course, a different story. And while it’s entirely possible that plenty of folks will find the WTF cookbook worth the $10.20 it’s selling for on Amazon, its existence has left us asking, well, what the fuck’s the point?
Image source: Amazon.com