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Metal/Prog Metal Book Reviews

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Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook written by Annick Giroux

Review by Mike Korn

Ever wonder what keeps rabid metal musicians nourished while they crank out riffs and blow out speakers? Like many, I assumed they lived on fast food, gas station hot dogs, bags of Doritos and mass quantities of alcoholic beverages. Well, I'm sure those items are still part of the equation, but there is actually far more to the "metal diet" than you might guess. And it took none other than a devoted headbanger with a talent for cooking to reveal it all to the rest of us.

Annick Giroux is uniquely qualified to compile a heavy metal cookbook. Not only is she an accomplished chef, but also a well-known figure in the heavy metal underground. As the editor of "Morbid Tales" fanzine, she's got a strong connection to a variety of metal bands from all around the planet, particularly the extreme kind. When she got the bright idea to ask some of the bands she was in contact with for their favorite recipes, she was stunned by the overwhelming response. The result is "Hellbent For Cooking" and for foodie and metal fiend alike, this book is an addictive read.

This is one beautifully laid out cookbook. Chapters range from "Appetizers and Side Dishes" to beef, seafood, pork, lamb, poultry and vegetarian sections...there's even a dessert chapter and a drink chapter! Each recipe gets a beautiful color picture, often taking up an entire page. Because it's a metal cookbook, don't be surprised if you see skulls, candles, bullets and spiked wristbands in the picture as well! The recipes are given in the band's own words, with Giroux adding her own tips and tricks. Plenty of funny metal/food cartoons are scattered throughout and there are facts about each band and their releases included. This is an extremely handsome volume that works as both cookbook and guide to the world metal scene.

As for the bands, well, they come from over 32 different countries and range from ancient forefathers like Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy and Sir Lord Baltimore to well-known semi-underground acts like Sepultura, Destruction and Armored Saint to the extremely obscure depths of the extreme metal scene like Master's Hammer, Funerot and Trench Hell. I'm quite an expert on the black/death metal scene, but several bands like Xibalba, Children of Technology and Mantak were completely new to me. "Morbid Chef" knows her metal, that's for sure!

And the recipes? Well, the range is incredible here as well and extends from simple but effective dishes like Anvil's "Thundering Beef Brisket" and Accept's "Roast Beef With Green Beans"  to really exotic stuff like Arphaxat's "Pictavian Chicken with Mojhete Beans" and Sigh's "Habanero Gyudon". Some of the stuff seems pretty bizarre like Bulldozer's "Spaghetti Barracuda"(using real barracuda), The Lamp of Thoth's "Black Pudding and Squid In Its Own Ink", and Alcoholic Rites' "Destructive Semen" (which involves coconuts being buried underground for 20 days!). Of course, your own personal tastes will determine what dishes you like...I thought that the "Mummified Bacon Jalapeno Bombs" from Autopsy and the "Garlic and Coriander King Prawns" from Budgie sounded pretty awesome, myself.

I could enthuse about this book endlessly but it's best if you just discover all of its eccentric delights yourself. You'll never think about heavy metal the same way after sampling "Hellbent for Cooking" and you might even wind up banging furiously in the kitchen while concocting Repulsion's "Mushroom Steak ala Jack Daniels"!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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