Snoop Dogg wrote a cookbook. Well, he and someone called Ryan Ford wrote a cookbook, got Martha Stewart to write the opening words and used it as an opportunity to show us all what Snoop keeps in his fridge (eggs, milk and cheese plus Moët and orange juice, if you were wondering). “You know it’s blazin’ up in my kitchen," started a quote attributed to Snoop, in the book's press release. "I’m takin’ the cookbook game higher with a dipped and whipped collection of my favourite recipes, ya dig?” As you might imagine, when From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen was first announced, people's jokes about weed brownies flooded in, but there aren't any cannabis-based meals in here. Sorry, stoners.
Instead, you've got a mix of modern American dishes, soul food classics and boozy cocktails. But are the recipes any good? We asked Gabriel Pryce, chef and co-owner of London's US-influenced restaurant Rita’s and sandwich store Bodega Rita’s, to give his honest opinion. He looked at a selection of eight recipes from the book, wonderfully illustrated here by stock images of food because the actual photos of all of these meals, bar one, weren't press-approved. Let's dig in.
Stack’d Up Flap Jacks
First impressions? It’s a pretty standard pancake recipe. I noticed he puts sour cream in these and some of the other baking stuff. It’s quite a clever thing to do. I don’t know where he learnt that from, but it helps with moistness.
Would you serve it? It’s a good enough recipe to use as a basic pancake batter. The dish is probably too simple for what we would do at Rita’s. We used to have buttermilk bacon and cheddar pancakes with chipotle hot sauce on the menu, which is an homage to Shopsins in New York. It’s a more over-the-top, indulgent thing. This recipe is pancakes at home.
Okay, would you eat it? I prefer waffles, to be honest, and with maple syrup. He suggests Aunt Jemima which is a flavoured sweet syrup. If I was going to jazz this up for eating at home, I would probably serve it with maple syrup and lots of butter.
OG Chicken and Waffles
First impressions? Chicken and waffles is an iconic dish. Snoop says in the introduction that the dish has to be on a par with Roscoe’s in LA and at Rita’s, we were heavily influenced by Roscoe’s too. To be perfectly honest, his chicken and waffles looks very good. The recipe is buttermilk fried chicken with cornmeal in the batter. It’s like he’s inside my mind. It’s as well-developed a chicken and waffles dish as one could hope for.
Would you serve it? Almost 100 percent. I’ve served chicken and waffles through Rita’s since we started in 2012 and I would put this on. I would probably add sausage gravy on the side, as they do at Roscoe’s.
Okay, would you eat it? It ticks all the boxes. I think Snoop is somewhat of an authority on this dish.
Score: 4.5/5, only because I give mine 5/5. But I would also give Roscoe’s a 4.5 so I put this on par with theirs.
Chop It Up! Salad
First impressions? The opening paragraph is the most bizarre and cringe introduction to a recipe ever: “...keep it gangsta at a meeting with the bosses… Keep that shit all the way G and pull out a salad on they asses.” I understand the references to mafiosos but the recipe is boring as fuck: it’s a very simple chopped salad. It doesn’t need a page in a book.
Would you serve it? I would never serve it. I might throw all of these items into a bowl at a Harvester salad bar. I recently went to one on the way back from a stag do and all this stuff is available from the salad bar.
Okay, would you eat it? No. To be honest, not even at a Harvester when I’m hungover. This is bad. There are fantastic chopped salads out there at those classic downtown Italian places in New York or LA, but this isn’t one.
Eastside Cheese Quesadillas
First impressions? Is he making the tortillas? No, and he’s using flour tortillas. For me, it’s immediately dead to the whole thing. We make a fair amount of Mexican food through Rita’s and having spent three months in Mexico obsessing over corn, nixtamalization (the process of preparing corn), masa and corn tortillas, the only thing you need for a good quesadilla is proper corn tortillas. As soon as you walk away from that, it’s just a very skinny cheese sandwich. It’s a shit wrap.
Would you serve it? No. The ingredients for his chipotle sauce (bearing in mind that chipotle is a smoked jalapeño pepper) are sour cream, mayonnaise and sriracha. There’s no chipotle. The cheeses are also kind of wrong. I’m not a purist but I think there are limits to messing around with Mexican food. If I were to serve this, I’d use corn tortillas, proper queso Oaxaca, the melty, stringy Oaxacan hard cheese, and some tomatillo salsa.
Okay, would you eat it? I would eat it out of politeness if I was at Snoop Dogg’s house and he gave it to me. It also sounds like just being around Snoop Dogg makes you stoned so I probably would enjoy it.
Score: 0.5/5. The likelihood of me being stoned and in Snoop’s house is very slim, but if at any point I was, then I would eat it out of respect. Other than that, absolutely not.
Down Under Lobster Thermidor
First impressions? Snoop says he was at the Versace hotel with a pretty insane crew of people when he first ate lobster thermidor: Bow Wow, Fat Joe, Ciara. This is ridiculous. In the recipe, there’s butter, garlic, dry white wine and heavy cream which is my favourite Americanism ever. It just makes it sound so much worse for you. There’s gruyère, parmesan, crushed butter crackers. There’s not very interesting booze in it. The photo looks kind of horrible. The sauce looks like cauliflower cheese. It shouldn’t be a claggy mess.
Would you serve it? With minimal tweaks, I would potentially serve this in a restaurant if I ever thought that anyone would eat lobster thermidor where I was cooking. I would adjust the sauce so it was more like a gratin with a grilled, bubbling top. I’d probably add some chilli in there because I put chilli in almost everything I cook.
Okay, would you eat it? The dish itself is ridiculous, it’s opulent, it’s over-the-top. It’s something that I would want to eat.
Tha Soft Touch Tacos
First impressions? The name sounds disgusting but he is using corn tortillas, which is an improvement on the quesadilla. But with the chopped cherry tomatoes, it looks about as culturally appropriate as Jamie Oliver’s jerk rice. This looks like it would be delicious and easy to knock together when you’re incredibly drunk or incredibly hungover. But does that world of food really need to be in a cookbook?
Would you serve it? I absolutely would not serve these. London has already ruined Mexican food by doing things like smoked octopus and hummus tacos with micro cress, before we had carnitas or just a simple, good taco. We always try and keep tacos quite traditional.
Okay, would you eat it? No – you can only have so many tacos in your life, so why waste an opportunity on these?
Score: 1/5, just for the corn tortillas.
Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday Cake
First impressions? I like that he thinks that birthdays are the best. In the recipe introduction, he tells us he likes birthday cards and presents. It’s the only dish in the book where he talks about having sex afterwards: “...after you finished that last slice, there’s only one thing left – breaking out your birthday suit for some of that birthday sex.” Don't really need that in a cookbook.
It’s a pretty standard chocolate cake. I’m not a very talented baker or pastry chef so to me, this looks like a very good chocolate fudge cake and I assume that is how you make one.
Would you serve it? For someone’s birthday, I’d send this out as a whole cake, and not put a slice on the menu. The gold candles and the white shag carpet in the book photo is a bit TOWIE and chintzy for me. I’d just put down the cake. No carpets on the tables.
Okay, would you eat it? Yes, sure. If it’s Snoop’s birthday, I would want a slice and then I would leave before he gets naked.
Ain’t No Jive Herbed Turkey and Gravy
First impressions? This is quite a traditional roast bird with a basic pan gravy. For the centrepiece to a whole Thanksgiving section of a book, there’s not a lot going on. But I guess that’s what you need for a Thanksgiving dinner. As long as it’s not super dry, it’s fine.
Would you serve it? I would probably only take inspiration from this in that it is a turkey and the gravy has stock in it.
Okay, would you eat it? I lived in America for five years and I’m not a fan of turkey, but I am a fan of Thanksgiving, in the sense that I have nice memories of going to a 24-hour diner in New York with my brother. I probably wouldn’t eat this, though, the recipe is a bit pointless.
Score: 3/5 because it does what it says on the tin.
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