A Short Aside for Those Who Think They Cannot Cook
Before we get started on another food blog, I figure it bears mentioning that I'm aware that some of you refuse to accept the fact that cooking is in your DNA. Literally. Homo Erectus began cooking food at least a million goddamned years ago. So, before you begin your bullshit, pre-baked, lazy nonsense about how you cannot cook, acknowledge the fact that IT'S REALLY NOT ROCKET SURGERY. I realize, however, that trying new things is daunting, and there is a high cost to fucking up expensive recipes. Frankly, there's a high cost to simply filling a spice cabinet. There's a higher cost to you, however, if you simply eat bland, awful crap all the time, because
Yeah, eating food that tastes good is more important for your mood than anything else, and if your mood sucks, so will your sleep, training, and life in general.
Now, I am horrified to get messages like the one I did yesterday, wherein one of my friends informed me he was reduced to eating prison food (top ramen with canned tuna) because he's broker than a cokehead bouncer working in a strip club. This sort of thing just cannot happen- friends don't let friends eat ramen. So, I sent him a tub of protein and am writing this gem. I'll post an article soon with kind of step by step instructions for beginning cooks, but in the meantime, just remember the following:
- Salt is your friend. It's possible to overdo it, so just add it gradually as you go. Don't go all fucking Mrs. Dash on me- there are better ways to get your potassium and salt tastes WAY better.
- Heat is your friend. Everyone's afraid to cook on high heat, but provided you actually pay attention to your food rather than fucking around on Facebook, you'll get a nice crust on your steak and it won't taste like grey horsemeat.
- Make a list of four dishes you fucking LOVE (and that fit your macros) and practice them until you can make them without much measuring or looking at the recipe.
Creepy does not even begin to describe this picture, but this even this weird fucker can cook.
Trust me when I say that cooking is way easier than you think it is- you just need to apply the same discipline to it that you do lifting and you'll be more golden than Dusty Rhodes' son. So, with that, let's get on to the good stuff.
Stew is literally the easiest thing on Earth to cook this side of my hyper-delicious hyperbulk favorite, frozen Banquet fried chicken (and if you've never had it, it makes KFC taste like a fried troll that had lived its life on a diet of doghit before dying of syphillis), and stew has the added benefit of not putting cellulite on your face if you eat too much of it. It's the just about the oldest method of food on Earth, second only to roast meat. Seriously, the cauldron, soup pot, whatever the fuck you want to call it, basically marked the divide between the man who spoke in grunts and hopped around like a pack of retards in a McDonalds Playland and the man who shot monkeys into space. So not only was it integral to living, but the cauldron was the mainstay of every kitchen around the world until just recently.
"There emerges a picture of plain living society scattered over much Europe north of the Alps, dining most days on bread, water, or ale, and a companaticum (that which goes with the bread) from the cauldron, the original stockpot or pot-au-fait that provided an ever-changing broth enriched daily with whatever was available. The cauldron was rarely emptied out except in preparation for the meatless week of Lent, so that while a hare, hen, or pigeon would give it a fine meaty flavor, the taste of salted pork or cabbage would linger for days, even weeks. Except in really hard times, this system meant that there was generally something hot and filling to eat, even if it was no more than a soup thick with shreds of past dinners" (Tannahill 94-95).
"But the cauldron remained the central and essential feature of the northern kitchen until the eighteenth century, and it was the cauldron that dictated how the majority of everyday foods should be cooked. In America the cauldron (known as the 'kettle') was still the single most important and expensive item in the settles' baggage during the westward expansion of the nineteenth century" (Tannahill 97).So I think by now, I've made my point- stew is the engine on which humanity runs, and the best part is that it doesn't matter if you're poorer than a Thai ladyboy hooker who only wants to fuck devout Mormons in the Tabernacle or if you can't cook for shit. Viking berserkers lived on stewroids (their staple stew was called skause), and as I've mentioned before, it's practically all sumo wrestlers and Icelandic strongmen live on. The best part is, even if you're a fucking hobo or you're just a bro who spent his last $10 on preworkout drinks at the gym, you can make a badass stew out of nothing but possibly-gone-bad leftovers and a little ingenuity. Here's how.
Roadkill Soup aka Kentucky Burgoo
Something called Roadkill Soup is exactly what I expect most of us would think people in Kentucky would eat. While banging their sister, playing the banjo, and doing that weird backwoods tapdancing.
Yeah, I don't get it either.
In any event, the origins of Kentucky Burgoo are pretty much shrouded in mystery- I spent a considerable amount of time researching it and it basically boils down to the fact that there were a lot of really poor Kentucky work crews in the mid 1800s who wouldn't be able to work if they fell facedown from starvation. So, someone invented this thick-as-fuck belly buster to get their asses moving. You can make a burgoo (which has to be the most disgusting word in the English language and is apparently predates the stew itself, somehow) with literally anything, but the Confederate army cook Gus Jaubert, who's considered to be the father of burgoo, said this is how he did it:
"The making of good burgoo... is even more difficult than the roasting of the meat and requires more time.…Its ingredients are 400 pounds of beef, six dozen chickens, four dozen rabbits, thirty cans of tomatoes, twenty dozen cans of corn, fifteen bushels of potatoes, and five bushels of onions."No two burgoo recipes are the same, and some people even throw in dead shit they find on the side of the road. One thing they all have in common, apparently, is a healthy dose of bourbon... which makes sense given Kentucky's known for the stuff. Some people apparently simmer their burgoo for a full 24 hours, but that's just fucking silly- what kind of overall-wearing, washboard-playing maniac wants to wait a full fucking day to eat a meal? In any event, the way I made it ended up tasting a lot like chili, which is fine by me because I could live on nothing but chili and die with a smile on my face that'd make it look like I died fucking twenty porn stars. So here's what I did:
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/2 lb stew meat
Some leftover pulled barbecue chicken
1 can of corn
1 can of red beans
1 can diced tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 diced potato
Couple of pinches of salt
Couple of pinches of red pepper
Couple of pinches of ancho chili pepper
- Brown the meat in a frying pan using a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I chop my ground beef as finely as possible, because it gave a nice contrast to the size of the stew meat.
- Dice your potatoes however you like them- I wanted mine small because I had some rice to throw the stew over and I figured it'd all just meld nicely. The whole point of this recipe is that you make it however you like it, so you can experiment and find out how you like it best.
- Once that's done, just dump all of the ingredients in a pot and simmer it for an hour. If you're new to cooking, just put the temperature dial on 2.
- Rock out with your cock out and eat. I threw some diced jalapenos and habeneros on top and then threw the whole thing over rice. Everyone does their own thing with burgoo- doesn't matter if you top the stuff with a dead blackbird you found in your backyard... which is incidentally one of the legends of the origins of burgoo.
Mulligan Stew / Hunter's Stew / Trashcan Chili
Hobo stew. It can't get any easier than that, can it? This doesn't differ greatly from burgoo, and a lot of people think that Mulligan stew was the inspiration for burgoo... but frankly, who gives a shit?
Basically, I'm just including this one to show you guys how easy it is to cook up something decent on the cheap. All of the recipes for this one involve a couple of kinds of meat and some veggies, usually onions and green peppers. The following recipe, to which I obviously added red beans for more protein and texture, comes from 1906 and was literally written by a hobo. Apparently back in the day there were hobos who worked as typesetters to pay for their whisky and Mulligan Stew while they rode the rails from town to town, which is about as ridiculous as it is cool- the only thing that could make that cooler is if Ashley Blue was riding the guy's face as he typed. In any event, here is the authentic recipe:
- Chicken, young or old
- Beef, tender or tough
- Salt pork (plenty of salt)
- Mutton (made from sheep)
- Potatoes (commonly called “spuds”)
- Carrots, turnips, tomatoes, green corn (and other vegetables)
- Take an ax (or similar device) and chop all into fine particles (more or less), throw entire mixture into a large receptacle and coil until all the ingredients are tender (the meat especially). Serve while steaming hot.
Who in the fuck wants to look at hobo porn? Who even knew such a thing existed? Well, now we all do.
Obviously, salt pork is not easy to find, so I used bacon. For the veggies, I used jalapenos, green onions, and corn. If you want to be hyper authentic, you've got to find a big tomato can and cook it over an open fire surrounded by hobos who are probably going to get you drunk on grain alcohol and then gang rape you, so I'd just use a slow cooker. Clearly, using ground pork and ground beef makes more sense than chopping the shit up with an axe... and if you have an axe in your kitchen you are probably adding human flesh to this mixture anyway. In any event, hobos liked this stuff because you could literally make it out of anything you had handy, and you should like it because it means you can bulk on literally anything.
To sum things up, you have no excuse for not making gains. Just get out your crock pot and throw in whatever the fuck you have handy- it'll taste better than being small.
Here's a little eye cleanse, because even I'm a little disturbed by the hobo porn.
Anderson, Jean. Kentucky Burgoo. Epicurious. Web. 5 Aug 2017.
Sparber, Max. Irish-American Dining: Mulligan Stew. Happy Hooligan. 27 Aug 2014. Web. 11 Jun 2017. http://www.happyhooligan.co/2014/08/irish-american-dining-mulligan-stew/
Tannahill, Reay. Food in History. New York: Broadway Books, 1995.