Humans have been eating food for almost as long as they’ve been alive. Over the past several years, due to the established link between eating food and not dying, food has continued to increase in popularity. I started my YouTube channel to capitalize on that trend. It was January of 2015 on a cold winter night. Or an unseasonably warm winter morning. Or possibly an overcast afternoon since I’m not an early riser. I had been curious about trying to make tutorial videos for a long time. I was especially curious about whether or not I could make tutorial videos that were entertaining and that were more than just a talking head. So I decided not to include my head. A trickle of people began watching, and over the next couple of years that trickle turned into a stream, then a river, and eventually a frightening hurricane. In a mostly nondestructive way.
Cooking intimidated me well into adulthood. I always thought it would be a great idea to write a cookbook for college students, which I could then go back in time to give to myself. But as I continued to not learn much about cooking (and also struggled with figuring out time travel) I realized I had some mental blocks. I was often too intimidated to try making new things simply because I hadn’t tried to do so before. I wrote this book to be very accessible to people who are new to cooking, who might feel a little intimidated, just like I was. In other words, cowards. They say it takes one to know one. And while that’s not true at all, here we are.
I learned what I know of cooking from other tutorial videos, books, recipes, and things I gleaned from my mom and my friends, who totally exist. So if anything in this book is wrong, let me know and I’ll pass that along to whoever is actually responsible. Because it’s not me. What I hope you get out of this book is that cooking doesn’t have to be precious or difficult. All you have to do is follow the instructions and then disobey the instructions whenever you feel like it. Most of the time things will turn out great. And if not great, then at least mostly edible. There’s really nothing to be afraid of. I mean, aside from all the terrifying things in the kitchen.
There are sharp things, hot things, lethal machines, and sometimes intruders. You have to know how to handle yourself so you don’t get injured and so nobody steals your stuff. And that’s on top of the worry that comes with being judged for how that casserole will turn out. This book helps you with that particular situation by not teaching you how to make a casserole.
What this book does contain is simple recipes with a special blend of ridicule and condescension lovingly crafted to spur you on. At the same time, it should be interesting enough to those who aren’t intimidated by cooking, who appreciate simple recipe ideas wrapped in Pulitzer-caliber prose. It’s for lovers of food and enemies of trees. And it’s for anyone who might enjoy a cookbook that attempts not to bore you, but if you do end up bored, or even disappointed, it is thoroughly flammable.
When I make a recipe, I’m looking for the intersection of simplicity and tastiness that is formulated from a mathematical algorithm too complicated for you to understand but that’s mostly based on subtraction. I still get intimidated when I see a long ingredient list. And if not intimidated, it makes me want to take a nap. That’s why most of the recipes in this book don’t have too many ingredients and it’s also why there is some ingredient repetition. If you learn how to do a few things well, it can help form a basis for you to try things on your own. It’s also just a reflection of my own limitations, which I am pretending is intentional. But my limitations happen to have excellent taste.
Use this book however you want. If you’re new to cooking and want to learn some basics, start at the beginning. When you’re bored of that, jump to a recipe. If you don’t want to cook at all but enjoy absurd humor, read it like a novel. If you enjoy the story I’ve woven throughout it, you’re projecting, because I didn’t weave a story throughout it. It’s a cookbook, after all. Also, he dies at the end.
Copyright © 2019 by You Suck at Cooking. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.