Food That Rocks: Favorite Recipes from the Hottest Kitchens in Music
by Margie Lapanja & Cindy Coverdale
Published by Conari Press
304 pages, 2004
Reviewed by Monica Stark
One doesn't often think about rock musicians eating. Or, at least, eating at home. One thinks of them even less as puttering around in their own kitchens: chopping onions, washing dishes, peeling spuds or mincing ginger for a Sweet Potato Purée.
Of course, rock musicians are people too. If anyone has cause to know this -- up close and personal -- it's Cindy Coverdale, whose husband -- David -- is the lead singer of Whitesnake and who formerly held the same post with Deep Purple.
Since David Coverdale is something of a princeling in the rock world, it's not a big leap to see how Cindy would have gotten the kind of backstage access necessary to put together a book like Food That Rocks. Working with respected food writer and cookbook author Margie Lapanja (Romancing the Stove, Food Men Love) Cindy has polled some serious legends of modern music and put together a book that encompasses all aspects of food.
From "Signature Salads, Soups, and Amped-Up Appetizers" to "Sizzlin' Sides and a Pasta Performance" to "Electrifying Entrées" and "Desserts Worthy of a Standing Ovation." The final full chapter, "A Delicious Mix of Styles and Tastes" seems to capture everything that didn't fit in the other chapters: Empañadas Fritas, Arroz Con Pollo and Crema De Frijoles Negros recipes from Jennifer Lopez's Madre's Restaurant in Pasadena (does that girl never stop promoting?), Steak and Eggs from Aerosmith guitar ace Joe Perry; oatmeal from bass guitarist (The Firm, Blue Murder, Whitesnake) Tony Franklin; Hot Rod Hot Dogs and "Little Old Lady from Pasadena" Chocolate Fudge Brownies from (you guessed it) Jan and Dean.
Each recipe in Food That Rocks begins with a photo and brief profile of the artist who contributed. So, for example, the recipe for Grilled Sea Bass actually begins with a profile of über drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford. Each artist has answered a short-but-telling questionnaire ("If you were a food, what would you be?" "Do you have any special 'backstage food' requests?" "What music do you recommend to accompany this recipe?") Obviously, some artists took the questionnaire more seriously than others. Tony Hadley, the lead singer of Spandau Ballet, answered that he'd be a Brussels sprout, though no reason for the selection is given (Food for thought?). Hadley also reports that his special backstage food request is for "M&Ms ... but with the brown ones removed!" An obvious poke at the urban legend that a well known classic rock band one time did likewise.
Food That Rocks is interestingly organized and a lot of fun to read. You wouldn't buy this one for the recipes alone -- even though many of them are interesting, it's such an eclectic collection, foodwise, it would be tough to know how to categorize it. On the other hand, where else are you likely to get cooking tips from Shania Twain, Billy Corgan, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie McGimsey, Adrian Vandenberg and Patti LaBelle all under the same covers?
It's worth noting that a percentage of the profits from Food That Rocks will go to assist Freedom from Hunger. In the introduction, the authors tell us that Freedom from Hunger is "a charitable organization that helps women and their families in developing countries break free from poverty." Which gives a nice finishing spin to a well concocted casserole of a book. | February 2004
Monica Stark is a January Magazine contributing editor.