Last month metal-friendly Brooklyn publisher Bazillion Points
sent me a review copy of Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook
by Annick Giroux (of the Montreal-based zine Morbid Tales
). I got a kick out of the premise: 101 recipes by metal bands from 32 countries, among them Obituary, Mayhem, Sepultura, Amebix, Saint Vitus, and Eyehategod. I liked the cute cartoons by Nagawika
that tweak the book's metal imagery, especially the drawing on the front page of the "Desserts" section: a scowling caricature of Scott "Wino" Weinrich
, arms folded, sitting next to a tray of brownies and a sign reading "Brownies of Doom, 5$." And the generous use of slogans like "Death to False Meals" and "Raise the Infernal Fork" suggested that the whole project had been undertaken in a spirit of fun, which I can really get behind. Metal isn't nearly as self-serious as it can seem from afar, and only the most grim and frostbitten of poseurs worry about how it'd look if they had a laugh.
But I didn't want to write about the book until I'd tried one of the recipes, and I didn't manage that till Saturday. I made a Filipino sour pork-rib stew called sinigang na baboy, the contribution of Voltaire 666 of Deiphago, a black-metal trio formed in Manila in 1989 and now based in Costa Rica. "A recipe from our pagan fathers," he calls it. "Simple, cannibal-style cooking: all in one pot!"
So now I'm in a position to confirm that at least one of the dishes in Hellbent for Cooking
is practical and tasty. There are clearly also stunt recipes (candied sweetbreads on a bed of seared heart by Gwar's Balsac the Jaws of Death, black pudding and hashish with squid in its own ink by the Lamp of Thoth's Overtly Melancholic Lord Strange) and sophomoric jokes (Exciter's combo of egg-salad sandwiches and chocolate milk, alleged to produce devastating tour-van flatulence). But Deiphago's sinigang na baboy was a bona fide meal, and I did feel pretty metal hacking pork ribs into two-inch lengths on my kitchen floor with a seven-dollar cleaver from Argyle Street.
Considering how complicated the stew's flavor was, it had few ingredients: tamarind (whole pods simmered in the pork broth, then crushed and sieved), onion, tomato, daikon, green beans, chilies, salt, and fresh greens (I chose wrapped-heart Chinese mustard, dai gai choy, because I was at Golden Pacific and I wanted something bitter and peppery). I used a cut of pork ribs with the belly skin still on it, and the stew turned out so rich with liquid fat that the leftovers solidified in the fridge. That'll keep your coat shiny!
Anyway. Next I'm thinking of trying the llapingachos, contributed by Grimorium Verum, the first black-metal band from Ecuador—they're basically griddled potato-and-cheese cakes with peanut cream. Or maybe the "whiskey demon bacalao" from Gunnar Hansen of Norway's Faustcoven. He suggests adding a shot of smoky Islay scotch to the last round of soaking water for the salted stock fish, which sounds great. And while the dish simmers, he recommends you listen to Hellhammer's Triumph of Death on repeat, "giving small, evil vibrations to the stew." Done and done.