“We all need someone we can bleed on…”

by Katie Pizzuto on January 23, 2011

in Cookbooks

It was only a couple of days ago that I was tweeting back and forth with Evan Dawson (blogger for The New York Cork Report and recently published author) about our mutual addiction to books. We jokingly asked publishers to stop putting out so many goddamned intriguing books so we could catch up on our “to read” piles, and I admitted that for every three books I finish reading I usually wind up buying 5 more, making my pile ever larger instead of smaller. And the truth of the matter is that there is a lot of good stuff out there, both fiction and non-fiction, and the recent breakthroughs of both independent publishing and ebooks just makes the dangling carrot even bigger and easier to catch. To paraphrase Henry Rollins, when I walk into a book store I start to freak out because I feel like there are endless shelves of books giving me the finger and saying “fuck you” because they contain knowledge within them that I don’t.

But every once in a while you come across a book that, without question, makes you completely distrust the money-lusting snakes that make their homes inside the den known as a publishing house. Hey, listen, it’s a business, I get it. Nobody’s there to judge what is good or bad literature, and in some weird-ass way I’m thankful for that because despite Dubya’s attempts to dismantle this country’s intrinsic liberties, I don’t want a censor board in the world of books, and unfortunately that means that there will always be a lot of shit out there…shit that people will buy as a punch line, much to the chagrin of the trees that wasted their flesh to make the pages the shit was printed on. So, no, I’m not without strong opinion on this, and you’ll understand why I went on a bender when I received a PR email peddling a book called the Fart Without Fear Cookbook, to see if by any chance was I interested in an advance copy for review.

And I quote (typos and all), “Each year bloggers, foodies and newspapers around the country list the hottest recipes such as last years the hot recipe the bacon-stuffed, bacon wrapped Italian sausage – a recipe sure to play havoc on your stomach. THE FART WITHOUT FEAR COOKBOOK by chefs WAYNE CHEN and GARY GOSS is a tongue-in-cheek cookbook that offers Super Bowl recipes and tips on how to avoid those embarrassing moments when the food settles and decides to ‘vent.’” This isn’t tongue-in-cheek publishing, it’s head-up-asshole publishing. Chapters like Breakfarts, Loaded Lunches, Oop Soups, Side Splitters, and Dangerous Dinners actually had me for a moment, and I was tempted to go ahead and let them send me an advance copy just so I could ridicule the product and not just the concept, but it’s not exactly the greenest approach to life so I held back. What the FUCK people? A cookbook that teaches you how to cook foods that will still make you fart, just not funky fart?! “Now you can experience the flavors, joy and bawdy sounds of your favorite meals but without their odiferous aftermath.” Ugh.

They don’t post a single sample recipe on their website or offer up any legitimate culinary/nutritional background on how they’ve revamped comfort food recipes in order to remove the “deadly” from the silent ones. So who the hell goes ahead and throws down 17 bones for this thing willingly? Have I really gotten to be that much of a curmudgeon that I don’t get this? Has my sense of humor begun waning in my old age, along with my eyesight and bladder capacity? If I want to laugh, I have a tendency to pick up a book by, ohhh, I dunno, Christopher Moore. But I sure as shit don’t pick up a cookbook—well, unless it’s got Sandra Lee on the cover, then I’m definitely picking it up to laugh. Let’s call a spade a spade (or an ass an ass)…these guys got drunk during their 40th high school reunion, had a really stupid idea, and someone with not quite enough brain matter and just enough salesmanship decided to publish the really stupid idea. How’s that for adding value to the world of literature? I won’t go as far as to say that the art of publishing is dead, but at the very least it is surely bleeding out on the kitchen linoleum from a knife to the belly. And as they say in the news world, if it bleeds it leads.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Evan Dawson January 23, 2011

You’re not a curmudgeon, Katie. You’re not out of touch. Consider all of the outstanding book material that doesn’t get published, and then ask yourself how this, instead, does. And I truly want to know how many copies they think they can sell of this thing. What was the initial print run? Who is the target audience?

Can a gag gift sell well enough to justify an entire publishing run? Maybe it can. I’ve been wrong before.

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2 Julius January 24, 2011

They do have a sample recipe on their website, the one for Boston Baked Beans.

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3 Katie Pizzuto January 24, 2011

You’re right, I must have missed it while I was banging my head against the desk.

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4 Thomas Pellechia January 24, 2011

Katie and Evan,

Figuring out what does and doesn’t get published is an occupation for some; namely, authors…

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5 Don January 25, 2011

“Oh my goodness…I’ve cut the dickens out of my finger!” I guess I say lighten up a bit. I know the publishing thing is a little sensitive, but it actually reminds me of a Family Guy episode where Brian was trying to get published then decided to write a piece of trash in an evening some kind of self help thing and ended up getting slammed on the Bill Mahr show. You know Fart jokes have always sold! Potty humor. Some people never get past it.

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6 xxxchef April 28, 2011

net even a chuckle, come on? guy humor isn’t dead yet is it? I mean how many of those Gonzo ballcaps did your website have made- how many sold?

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7 Katie Pizzuto April 28, 2011

Sorry, man, not from me. And no, guy humor is definitely not dead, I just wasn’t aware that it deserved a publishing contract. Industry’s on it’s way down the shitter, so I guess the joke’s in THAT. See, I can do toilet humor, too….just don’t get paid for it.

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