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Cookin' with Coolio

5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price

by Coolio

Paperback, 202 pages, Pocket Books, List Price: $16 |


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Cookin' with Coolio
5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price

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Book Summary

In a book organized into such chapters as "Pimpin' the Poultry" and "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp," a rap star serves up what he terms "ghetto gourmet"—75 cheap and healthy recipes that he has honed since his childhood in poverty, including "Finger Lickin', Rib-Stickin', Fall-off-the-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth-Chicken." Original.

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Coolio is the author of Cookin' With Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, and host of his own online cooking show. hide caption

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Coolio Samples Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Cookin' With Coolio


How to Become a Kitchen Pimp

Pimpin' ain't easy, but it's necessary, especially if you wanna fully utilize the power of your kitchen. You can't have your spatulas and whisks runnin' around like they own the place. Having the right utensils is a good start, but then you gotta show them who's the boss up in this bitch. In this chapter, I'm gonna tell you what you need to get started, what you don't need, and how to know if you're ready to become a full-fledged KP.

Why is it that when people think of the fine arts, cooking isn't the first thing that comes to mind? Seriously! Cooking is a fine art and kitchen pimpin' is an even finer one. People put painting, sculpting, and dragon slaying on a damn pedestal and don't give cooking the same respect. Let's do some compare and contrast.

As a kitchen pimp, I've got just as many tools in my trade as Picasso. My plate is whiter and cleaner than even the most exquisite canvas. My utensils are many and more diverse than any brush set Van Gogh ever came across. My marinades add color and flavor so intense that it makes the Mona Lisa look like the Sunday edition of Marmaduke. I don't need no potter's wheel to molest and manipulate my raw ingredients. Do I look like Demi Moore to you?

Once my canvas has been dressed and my clay has been sculpted, I stick my finished product in the oven. When my ingredients coagulate together, I'm ready to compare my meal to anything at the Louvre. So watch out, Mister Guggenheim, because I'm about to make you and J. Paul Getty eat my momma's delicious spaghetti.

Now that you understand that kitchen pimpery is an art, let's make sure you're ready to begin honing your craft.

Stockin' the Pimptry It's important to know how to make something out of nothing, but you don't walk onto the field of battle without a game plan and as many damn weapons as you can get your hands on.

So, go the store and start loadin' up your pimptry (that's a pantry for a pimp, in case you didn't know). Here's a short list of things you need to get ready:

1. Seasoned salt

2. Black pepper

3. Kosher salt

4. Soy sauce

5. Tabasco sauce

6. Barbecue sauce

7. Mayonnaise

8. Ketchup

9. Mustard

10. Olive oil

11. Peanut oil

12. Sunflower or vegetable oil

13. Balsamic vinegar

14. Malt vinegar

15. Honey

16. Minced garlic

17. All-purpose flour

18. Condensed cream of chicken soup

19. Condensed cream of mushroom soup

20. Your favorite beer

21. Your favorite red and white wines (they don't have to be expensive!)

22. Lemons

23. Limes

24. Eggs

25. White, red, and yellow onions

26. Tomato paste

27. Ranch dressing

28. Peanut butter

Now, obviously you don't need all of these all the time, but let me tell you this: All those items are cheap and most of them can last a long-ass time in the refrigerator. If you got some of these items on standby, you're one step closer to being ready for anything.


Don't think that knives are the only weapons in your kitchen. Every utensil, from ladle to fork and spatula to spork, is a weapon. Consider everything in your drawers an arrow in your quiver. If MacGyver could turn a paper clip and a roll of paper towels into a Jet Ski, then you can use a slotted spoon to create a breakfast of mass destruction.

To begin your culinary battle, make sure you have these handy:

1. A set of sharp-ass knives

2. A spatula or two

3. A wooden spoon

4. A big cutting board (I like the ones you can bend)

5. Some plastic wrap and tinfoil

6. Some big freezer bags

7. A set of mixing bowls

8. A colander

9. Glass casserole dishes

10. Measuring cups

11. An aluminum roasting pan big enough to fit my nephew in

12. Nonstick frying pans. Teflon ain't just for vests!

13. Why not just pick yourself up a FryDaddy?

If you don't have any of these items, do not fear. They're probably on sale at your local Wal-Mart, Kmart, or Mart-Mart. And if they're not on sale, wait until they are.

If you still can't afford them, sell a kidney!


Every artist needs a studio, a clean place to hone his love for his craft. I don't care if it's the kitchen at the Playboy mansion or a damn studio apartment, all you need is a hot plate and this indispensable book.

Your workspace doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to be beautiful, but it better be clean and it better be organized. A true kitchen pimp has enough to do without spending twenty damn minutes looking for that spaghetti sauce you bought last winter. I keep my pantry immaculate. Dressed nice, in a shirt, tie, and jack-u-let.

My green beans are near my pinto beans and my asparagus stalks are near my collard greens. My vinegar is by my sesame oil, and my plastic wrap is near my tinfoil. My kitchen is clean, my counters are always glossy. Now come on, girls, it's time to get saucy!


Let me be perfectly clear. You ain't cookin' with fire. You ain't cookin' with heat. You're cookin' with Coolio, motherfucker! And that means there's a couple terms you're gonna have to learn to get by in my kitchen. Get to know these like the back of your hand or I'm gonna put your face in touch with the back of mine:

Peench [peench]: This is when you put a little bit of a spice between your fingers and throw it on your food. It's a lot like a pinch, except for the motherfucking fact that gangstas don't pinch. They peench.

Dime Bag [dahym bag]: This is a little bag that some people put some things into. I just use them to hold onto my spices. I fill every dime bag with 1 tablespoon of whatever spice is goin' in there. If I give you an exact measurement, it's because it's important to get it right, but most of the time, I just tell you to have a dime bag of salt and pepper handy to season to taste. In that case, just use a peench or two, until it tastes good on your tongue. Shaka!

Nickel Bag [nik-uhl bag]: This is a half of a dime bag. You'll need about 1/2 tablespoon for recipes that call for these. By the way, these little bags are available at any good tobacco shop.

Coagulate [koh-ag-yuh-leyt]: This is a term I use instead of the word combine. It's just much more pimpish to let your flavors get together in a real intense way. Other chefs let their flavors combine, but when you and me get down in the kitchen, the flavors we make coagulate.

Shaka-Zulu [exactly how it looks, dumb-ass]: This is something I say when something is about to taste better than your momma's nipples.


A kitchen pimp fears nothing. Once you have achieved true pimpishness, you'll be making meals with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back. But in the meantime, you've got to be willing to fall flat on your face and dislocate your shoulder. So pick your bleeding, injured body up off the floor and flip to a recipe in this here cookbook.

You will succeed! You just have to be daring in what you make and how you present it.

Your lady loves Moby Dick but you've never caught a fish on a rod and reel? Take a chance, make her some Tricked-Out Westside Tilapia and you'll be watching them panties come right off. Zoom! Knocking over lampshades and shit. Shaka! What if all your friends are salad-eatin' bitches? Whip up my special Coolio Caprese Salad to please even the pickiest of vegetarians. As long as you do it with style and flavor, they'll all be shouting, "That tastes better than your momma's titties!"

Now that you have everything you need to get started, there's only one thing left to do: Practice.

I didn't become a rap superstar by sleeping eight hours a night. And I didn't become the Ghetto Gourmet by bringing home buckets of chicken. I worked my ass off to become the neighborhood ghetto witch doctor superhero and so can you.

Now, with the help of me and my assistant chef pimp (A.C.P. Jarez), you're about to put in your paces. You're going to be chopping and dicing like Rocky Balboa running up some stairs. You'll be broiling and baking like a soccer mom at a PTA bake sale.

Before we get started, there's only one thing left to do: Learn the rules of my kitchen.

Let me be clear, I have seen the burning bush and I have spent forty days and forty nights preparing to guide you on your journey of pimpification from here to the Promised Land.

Turn to Chapter 2 and study the Ten Cool-mandments.

Learn it, love it, live it bitches! Shaka-Zulu!

Copyright © 2009 by Super Cool Entertainment, LLC