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Books - N

THE NEED TO FEED: A Hedonist’s Guide - Lydia Lunch {168 pages, Rizzoli}
This is the first cookery book I have ever received to review. Thankfully, it’s not a crass Punk Rock Cook Book like those Punk Rock Aerobics books that did the rounds. You won’t find any Punk Pizza, Poison Idea Monster Pasta, MDC BBQ’d Chicken Squawk or Sex(y) Pistol-whipped Cream here. Anyone who has even the faintest idea of who LYDIA LUNCH is will know the lady has much more class, seduction and sass than to be involved in something as cheap as a mere Punk Rock Cook Book.
What you get is a book of nine chapters, each containing about 10 recipes that are summed up by such chapter titles as Feed Your Head, Do Me A Quickie, The Killer Inside Me and, finally, Detox Weekend. There should be something for everyone’s palate, be you vegan or carnivore but, predominantly, many of the recipes are vegetarian based.
Lunch has made this quite an original book, that can be read for the pleasure of her words as much for the food. Each chapter has a wonderfully written introduction and a recommended musical soundtrack while her cooking methods are relatively simple - even what would be considered complex recipes like Teriyaki Turkey Strips with Caramelized Pineapple or her take on Roast Lamb (wonderfully titled Sacrificial Lamb) don’t go over a single page. Lunch also infuses the writing with her personality, so we get told certain recipes are good seduction food, others good for the mind.
Each recipe is not accompanied by a glossy, perfect looking example of the finished product that often alienates the reader into thinking, "mine will never look that good". Instead, there is a stark black and white ink drawing that has tenuous links to the recipe. Each one has a brief introduction and the cooking method itself lasts barely 150 words in most cases. This sparseness of imagery and richness of narrative gives the book a much more accessible feel, and makes for something rather special.
These are not recipes that are intended to be some kinda fancy gourmet work of art - if they are followed accurately, the final product is open to the reader’s own final interpretation but always satisfying and flavoursome. The recipes are not exclusively for the wealthy either as so many cookery books are - these recipes employ a base of easily obtainable vegetables be it beans, tomatoes, nuts and pulses utilised with a range of herbs and spices. There are a few that will cost a little more, but ultimately these are recipes laden with taste and comprised of healthy ingredients accessible to all.
In case you are wondering, yes, some of these recipes have been used in the House Of Scanner with great results. Highlights? Crispy Kale Chips, Falafel with Mint Raita, Pasta Puttanesca (a wow factor in particular), Oven Fried Zucchini Fingers and North African Pumpkin Stew I can all heartily recommend.
And is that not how ANY cook book should be judged? If the recipes are great and original, it’s a winner. When you have Lunch’s wonderful prose as well as those recipes it transcends being a mere ‘cook book’ and blooms into a piece of literature that is healthy for the mind, body and soul. Now, let me try the Tijuana Bean Burgers!! (05.03.13)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including:
Niceness In The 90s: An Indie Music Memoir