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Vice Blog


April 23, 2009, 4:45pm

You've read the story (or if you haven't do so immediately) about testing our various recipes from The Anarchist Cookbook, and now you can watch an instructional video detailing the entire process from the inception of the article to swirling together some napalm. Today marks the premiere of VBS's new series From the Pages of Vice, a sort of behind-the-scenes look at how our magazine articles come to fruition. Keep reading for Associate Editor Rocco Castoro's reasoning behind forging insurance papers and putting a bunch of people he barely knows in a situation involving shrapnel.

I have a long and ardent history with The Anarchist Cookbook, specifically the electronic version. In the mid-90s, a nerdy acquaintance of mine who frequented bulletin board systems that specialized in pirated software and low-resolution porn .gifs gave me a 3.5 diskette that contained one of the many iterations of the Cookbook. The next day I finished up whatever bullshit typing lesson my junior high "computer teacher" assigned the class and proceeded to print out my buddy's subversive gift in its entirety. Under the guise of being engrossed in a game of The Oregon Trail, I plopped the printed pages on my lap and started reading while my party of pioneers died from snakebites and dysentery. When I came home I quickly ate dinner and retired to my room to read a few more pages before stashing them under my mattress.

That weekend I shared the Cookbook with some friends. We were particularly struck by two entries: one on making thermite and another on flaming tennis balls stuffed with strike-anywhere matches. Thermite was out because it required making a bunch of iron oxide (aka rust) by wrapping electrical wires around nails and immersing them in water, not to mention finding someone who'd be willing to sell a magnesium ribbon to a 13-year-old. That left us running around town trying to find someone's older brother who would be willing to buy a bunch of strike-anywhere matches without looking like a suspicious little turd. After about an hour or so of searching, we gave up and stole some weed from the room of one of the aforementioned brothers who wasn't home. We went to the woods to get high and probably never seriously considered building anything from the Cookbook again.

But I've always had a lingering feeling that I'd one day force myself to attempt some of these recipes, so what better excuse than working at Vice? I pitched the idea to my editor and kind of forgot about it until one day he said, "Where's that Anarchist Cookbook story?" Over the course of two days I cobbled together supplies, a location, and people willing to help me for free. Then, the night before I was set to blow everything up, he said, "Oh yeah, we have to film this for VBS too. Find a cameraman." Enjoy what you watch, but please do not be a very stupid individual and try to recreate what you see here. Then I'll have to issue a fake apology and pretend to care that you only have one eye. That would be a waste of your and my time, and nobody wants that.