Think you don't need a recipe for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Think again. If you don't want to end up with a sandwich that's wildly out of balance, with the wrong kind of bread, the wrong kind of jelly, and the wrong kind of nut butter, you'd better follow a damn good recipe. A recipe like the one James Franco provides for the "Utilitarian, American-Style PB&J" in the fascinating new Artists' and Writers' Cookbook, which comes out October 11.
We won't give away Franco's tips for making a perfect sandwich, because the introduction he provides about how the history of his eating life revolves around the PB&J is even more intriguing. He also points out that despite the variety of food on offer at the many, many, many movie sets he's been involved in, "I am usually content with a PB&J. It is simple and safe and keeps me going."
But enough Franco and his sandwich, because the book is full of recipe contributions from actors to celebrity authors like Joyce Carol Oates and T. C. Boyle to art-world stars like Marina Abramovic and Ed Ruscha. The contributors' introductions to their recipes range from hilarious to heartwarming to completely nuts. Author and artist Natalie Eve Garrett compiled all the recipes for the cookbook, and provides her own must-try recipe for Disgustingly Good Cookies.
Famed author Neil Gaiman's fans will get a kick out of his Coraline's Cheese Omelette recipe, written in a no-nonsense conversational way that smart kids (and even some grownups) will understand, and making special allowances for people who are "scared of parsley".
Some of our favorites in the cookbook? The recipes for cheese and crackers and leftovers from Ed Park, author of the brilliant novel Personal Days, creator of the Facebook meme "Hall and Joyce Carol Oates," and founding editor of The Believer. And yes, you do need a cheese and crackers recipe. Everyone does, especially if it's this one. (See below for that recipe; as for Park's funny recipe for leftovers, you'll have to check out the cookbook.)
Crackers with Cheese
Cheese, any kind (one chunk)
You'll also need these non-edible devices:
You'll also need:
1 digestive system
1 napkin (for crumbs)
1 glass (for beverage)
1 beverage (water, e.g.)
Open the box of crackers and puncture the plastic wrapping. Unwrap the chunk of cheese and cut a thin wedge from it. Make sure it's not wider or longer than the crackers.
If the cheese has a spot of mold, you can just throw out the whole thing, or just pare away the bad bit. If you throw it away, you need to go out and buy more cheese, so—think about it.
Place the wedge on cracker, place the entire thing into mouth, chew, and swallow.
Repeat til satisfied. (Typical time: 15 minutes-2 hours).
Reprinted with permission from The Artists' and Writers' Cookbook (powerHouse Books, October 2016). Illustrations by Amy Jean Porter.
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