Monday, 5 January 2009

Ghetto Cuisine

Thanks to last night's 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs, I have discovered, somewhat late in the game, that Coolio has himself a cooking show: Cookin' With Coolio (not Cooking With Coolio, which, as Wikipedia will tell you, does not exist), which broadcasts (naturally) on the My Damn Channel, er, channel.

Let's start with the Salon's review which, in itself, is nothing short of jaw-dropping:

[I]n recent years... chefs have acquired a hard-edged kind of cultural chic. And who better to carry this tradition forward than an actual gangsta rapper? The Web series reveals that the Compton-born singer of "Gangsta's Paradise" has, for his second act, earnestly become "a ghetto-witch-doctor-superstar chef." Where Emeril would say, "Bam!" Coolio booms, "Shaka Zulu," tutoring his audience in the preparation of dishes that include caprese salad, sautéed spinach, and "game-day turkey." Nothing is fancy. Everything is sound. Coolio does go rather heavy on the balsamic, but that's bachelor cooking.

Some of you will find the program offensive, pointing to the air of inner-city minstrelsy that attends to the proceedings and the objectified women lingering around them. The production gives you a feel for what it might be like were Flavor Flav to host This Old House. For instance, Coolio taps out his spices from small plastic baggies as if he had bought them not at Whole Foods but in his dealer's Escalade. Next, a pair of women from Coolio's stable of "sauce girls" are always at his side, and the sauce girls—possibly taken in from a home for the mute are not to be confused with actual sauciers. What the sauce girls do, mostly, is stand around in heels, sometimes wearing aprons, sometimes wearing a bit less than aprons. They were permitted to fondle some baguettes in an episode featuring "ghettalian garlic bread." That's the one where the star and his sous-chef pretended to abduct a college boy off the street. "We're gonna find a hungry, broke-ass, malnutritioned, Top Ramen-eatin' muthafucka, and we're gonna teach him how to cook a healthy, inexpensive meal," promised Coolio, intent, as always, on putting the M.F. back into MFK Fisher.

Sufficiently intrigued? How about you take a look at Episode Seven, chosen entirely at random, which starts off with an ineffectual fracas between a goldfish and some kind of Power Rangers reject octopus/lobster hybrid, only for both to be labelled "bitches" by Coolio, disguised as a pirate (though rather than an eye-patch he's wearing a pair of shades, somewhat ruining the look). From this point on they dance apparently at random behind our host as he discusses how best to marinate shellfish, and orders his sauce girls around unnecessarily. I sort of hope the whole thing is a joke, since at least it kept me laughing for two whole minutes, which isn't bad for an internet video but too brief a period for me to discover at what temperature Captain Coolio had planned on cooking his shrimp.

Of course, all of this is still better than C U When U Get There.


Anonymous said...

HAHA OK, FIRST of all....Clearly the show is intriguing enough for you to write this extended blog about it. Second of all, the "Sauce Girls" are FAR from mute. How do I know that these four woman are talented hard working college educated beings, maybe because I am The Sauce girl that was in 7 out of the 10 episodes that were shot in Los Angeles. The show is doing so well that people from LA all the way to NYC and London are speaking on it. As "Ghetto" as Coolio is he is only capitalizing on what people want and enjoy-it sells!. The dime bags of salt and pepper, GENIUS! Does is play into stereo types, OF COURSE! But you please tell me one show, film or anything in life for that matter that does not feed into that sort of stuff. We are all making a living, and we (Everyone from Cookin' With Coolio and My Damn Channel) are just looking to entertain, and obviously if you are choosing to discuss this show (though in a negative light) in you blog, well than my friend..We have done our job!

Damn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Hey, if you're laughing then we're doing our job.

Thanks for the shout out.

Also, in that episode Coolio's grill was set on "High" You can click on the "more info" tab for the whole recipe.

jamie said...

Anonymous - The criticisms you are responding to are quoted from another source, and I don't think necessarily reflect Mr Squid's opinions...

The fact that he found the episode he watched to be hilarious is about the only conclusion I'd say is fair to draw!

SpaceSquid said...

Jamie's right, of course, Anonymous; your specific points are arguing against points made by Salon, not me. As to discussing it in a negative light, different strokes for different folks, I guess. If it's any consolation I spent more time watching this episode than I have any other cookery show ever, so you get points for that.

Thanks for the temperature advice, Michael, I missed what Coolio's companion had shouted. Like I say, I was laughing pretty hard; it's not every day you see a rap artist lay into a giant goldfish with a fake sword.

Lastly, I should also mention that I am entirely in agreement with Coolio on the matter of lemon grass.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone, OK, I am sorry if I came off strong (being that this is not your original content and the opinion of others). However, I was emailed this blog on my way to an audition and I felt like I had to defend myself and the show. It is very funny and I am glad you enjoyed it.

PS: I am the sauce girl with the long curly hair :)

SpaceSquid said...

No worries, Anonymous; I hope the audition went well.

New York CiDy said...

Thanks SpaceSquid :)