The Ghetto Gourmet: Cookin' with Coolio
"The man really does warrant the title of ultimate kitchen pimp."
[Photographs: Coolio then and now.] Disclaimer: This post contains some NSFW language.
Coolio's Favorite Chicken Wings
Most of you might remember mid-Nineties hip-hop sensation Coolio for his hit singles Gangsta's Paradise and Fantastic Voyage. But in recent years Coolio has found another audience—not on the mic but behind the stove as host of his cooking videos Cookin' with Coolio.
As the self-proclaimed "ghetto Martha Stewart" and the "black Rachael Ray," Coolio got his start in the kitchen at an early age. Without necessities (as basic as a refrigerator) and using bare-bones staples like canned tuna, hot sauce, and white bread, Coolio quickly learned to make do with what he had, which usually wasn't much.
This survivalist mentality along with his mom Jackie's kitchen skills and encouragement lead Coolio to become The King of the Kitchen Pimps, a title that allows him to make no qualms about "filleting Bobby Flay" or "sending his posse after Emeril Lagasse." But for all of his big talk, how does Coolio's newly released cookbook, Cookin' with Coolio stack up?
For all of the wittily names recipes (Chicken Lettuce Blunts, U Can't See My Bass) and unique measurement techniques (a dime bag of pepper, as much as you damn well please hot sauce), Cookin' with Coolio is actually filled with some pretty great information, especially for those with limited experience in the kitchen.
In an opening chapter called "Cool-mandments," Coolio outlines his ten basic rules for solid home-cooking that will be sure to keep us far away from the evils of fast-food by drawing the readers into the light of the refrigerator. The analogy might seem far-fetched, but the basic premise of his rules are pretty down-to-earth. Here are two examples:
Cool-mandment IV: Thou Shalt Honor Your Friends and Family with Amazing Food. Coolio wants all of us to prepare romantic meals for our significant others and cook fun healthy meals for our kids that encourage them to get involved in the kitchen.
Cool-mandment VII: Thou Shalt Always Practice Proper Presentation. Here Coolio is just reiterating what every competent chef and home cook knows: you taste with your eyes first, so your food should look as good as it tastes.
Judging by the recipes in Cookin' with Coolio, the man really does warrant the title of ultimate kitchen pimp. This might not be gourmet food but it's definitely ghetto gourmet (a new genre?) and damn good. So, without further ado here is a recipe for Coolio's favorite chicken wings: