The strangest, funniest and weirdest cookbooks ever published
For every strange subculture, there's a cookbook for that
Food. Everybody loves it. Everybody needs it. It makes sense, then, that there are a hell of a lot of cookbooks out there of all different kinds.
Some cookbooks, however, are much stranger than others. Maybe it's a vanity project from a crazy or controversial celebrity? Maybe it's something that ties into a product of pop culture? Maybe it's just something that'll give you a few good laughs?
Whatever the case may be, for every strange little subculture that's around in humanity, there's a cookbook for that. I've gathered up some of the strangest, funniest and weirdest I've been able to find.
The Pyromaniac's Cookbook: The Best in Flaming Food and Drink
Are you somebody who just loves to set things on fire? Well, there's a cookbook for that! The Pyromaniac's Cookbook is one of the most well-known of the weird ones out there and, as you may have guessed from the title, everything in it revolves around a very simple singular theme. That theme is: everything in there, in some way or another, involves you having to light it on fire.
The flammable fare that's included in this book ranges from main courses to desserts and even drinks (including coffees!), covering the entire ground, from party foods like a flammable version of cheese fondue, meals you could serve at grand banquets and stuff you can cook outside on an open fire.
It also includes famous flambés taken from the menus of top restaurants all around the world, so (if you have the cooking chops), you can prepare some of your own restaurant-quality food.
Quick-Fix Cooking with Roadkill
The whole idea of eating roadkill might be really abhorrent for a lot of you, but for smash car driver Buck Peterson it's a way of life. His first book on the subject: The Original Road Kill Cookbook, has become a cult classic, selling over 200,000 copies since it was published in 1987. Quick-Fix Cooking with Roadkill is his follow-up to that. Buck Peterson claims all his roadkill recipes can be prepared within 30 minutes of finding it by the roadside and with names such as "Freeway Frittata", "Backed-Over Baby Back Ribs" and "Pavement Panini", it's not like he doesn't try to make his recipes at least morbidly entertaining.
Because eating roadkill is very much is a lifestyle choice, the book includes sample menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as advice on where to shop, what kind of wines you should pair your roadkill meals with and, probably most importantly, how to tell if an animal is dead or not before you drag it off to create a roadside feast. This cookbook is definitely not for the vegetarians or vegans among us, or even those who are a tad squeamish about certain dining experiences. But, if you're up for having a go with some roadkill it might be well worth getting your hands on a copy. There's always that novelty value with owning it, too...
Cookin' With Coolio: 5 Star Meals At A 1 Star Price
Coolio may be best known for living in a gangster's paradise, but at one point just over 10 years ago, it seemed like he was about to break into the cooking game. With the tagline of, "there's only one thing Coolio's been doing longer than rapping: Cooking" on the back, the man himself promises to introduce you to a whole new world of "Ghetto Gourmet", a selection of "solid comfort foods with a healthy twist that don't break the bank".
With his signature dishes sporting names like "Soul Rolls", "Finger-Lickin', Rib-Stickin', Fall-Off-The-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth-Chicken" and "Banana Ba-ba-ba-bread", you can't exactly accuse the Grammy-award winning MC of not being creative when it comes to his food. While the food isn't restaurant-level stuff (nor does it pretend to be, either), Cookin' With Coolio more than makes up for it by being absolutely hilarious.
You can buy Cookin' With Coolio from Amazon. You should definitely also read the Amazon reviews for this cookbook while you're there, because a lot of them are very, very funny!
From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg's Kitchen
We move from one rapper to another, this time going into the kitchen of weed-smoking G Funk legend Snoop Dogg. The serial hitmaker released his first cookbook in 2018 and it promises "50 recipes straight from his own collection", ranging everywhere from classic comfort food like Baked Mac & Cheese to high-level dishes like Lobster Thermidor and Filet Mignon, as well as some munchies (because this is Snoop, obviously). The book also promises to bring you "epic stories and behind-the-scenes photos" to create the full Snoop Dogg experience and, let's be honest, who wouldn't want that?
Ted & Shemane Nugent’s Kill It & Grill It
Ted Nugent is best known as that loud-mouthed deeply Republican and deeply controversial American rock star who loves to hunt wild animals and say a few racist things about Barack Obama. He also really, really likes meat. Like, really. So much so that Ted and his wife Shemaine once published a cookbook all about how to prepare and cook meat and fish. It's probably a pretty decent buy if going hunting for wild game is your thing, but considering his rather sketchy political views, I'd totally understand if you wanted to give it a pass.
You can get Ted and Shemaine Nugent's cookbook from Amazon. If you do buy it though, you might want to hide it when your Democrat-voting, classic rock-hating and/or vegetarian/vegan pals come round. Trust me on this.
Can You Take the Heat?: The WWF is Cooking!
For the younger of those among us: wrestling was a big deal in 90s and 00s. Like, a REALLY big deal. It was such a big deal in fact that it got what a lot of pop culture icons seem to get and that's a cookbook! Written by "Good Ol' J.R." Jim Ross, who was the WWF's play-by-play commentator at the time and is also a bit of a BBQ sauce magnate on the side, the cookbook has a huge variety of recipes themed around various members of the company's roster at the time. It's developed somewhat of an infamous reputation thanks to it being discussed at length on the internet, probably due in no small part to how weird the book is and how inane some of the instructions are. One of the recipes has an instruction that says "follow the instructions on the packet". I'm not even joking...
Pro wrestling personality Brian Zane has attempted to make a few of the recipes from the book in a series called "Kayfabe Kitchen". The absolute highlight for me was when he attempted to make Gerald Brisco's "Best Cake Ever". It has to be seen to be believed...
I guess this cookbook is best viewed as a novelty purchase for a fan of that era of wrestling rather than something to seriously use in the kitchen. That and you probably don't want to be serving a Grilled Steak Benoit to your dinner guests... Having said that though, the recipe for The Rock's cookies comes highly recommended by anyone who's ever tried them!
You can buy the WWF cookbook from Amazon here. This is another one where you'll want to have a read at the Amazon reviews, by the way...
Yes. This is real. This is definitely very much a real thing that you can actually buy. There is a cookbook out there that offers a full and comprehensive guide to cooking on your car's engine. Manifold Destiny has been a cult classic for over 20 years now and it was even updated in 2008 with new recipes and new tips on how to cook food using only the heat from the good old lump of internal combustion under your car's bonnet. With "step-by-step diagrams, crowd-pleasing recipes, and thorough instructions," the bizarre cookbook promises that "you can turn your car into a kitchen without ever crossing any golden arches." Sounds good maybe, if you're bored with typical service station food.
Apparently, older cars with big engines work best at cooking stuff. In that case, if you've got a big old American land yacht with a 7.3-litre V8 you're probably gonna have a pretty good time cooking stuff out of this cookbook. Or if you've got an old Italian supercar with a predilection for overheating. As for me personally? I'd rather go to McDonald's, thanks...
Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals and Customs from Around the World
You might not realise it all the time, but even in death food is a very important part of life. That's something that Lisa Rogak has attempted to illuminate in Death Warmed Over, a cookbook that contains a collection of 75 different recipes that are typically served at funeral ceremonies in all sorts of different cultures all around the world. Part cookbook, part sociology study, Death Warmed Over explains the cultural contexts and rituals behind why all these recipes and meals exist in the first place and even the proper timings as to when these meals should traditionally take place.
While it's not got the comedy of other entries I've put on this list, Death Warmed Over is definitely one of the quirkiest and most interesting takes on a cookbook that I've ever come across. For those of us interested in the culture surrounding food and especially the culture and rituals that surround funerals, it's probably a really great addition to your bookshelf just overall and not just as a cookbook. Plus, you could always use the recipes in it as part of a Halloween or a funeral-themed party if that's your bag.
You can buy Death Warmed Over from Amazon. You can even get the eBook version for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
Claiming to be "the heaviest cookbook ever", Steve Seabury's Mosh Potatoes is a collection of 150-odd recipes from some of the biggest rock and metal musicians in the world, as well as some from newer and more up and coming bands. Including contributions from Joey Belladonna (Anthrax), Zakk Wylde (Black Sabbath, Black Label Society), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-Guns N Roses) and Lemmy (Motorhead) among many others, you can expect the dishes from Mosh Potatoes to probably be as wild and crazy as the lives of the people who've cooked them up.
In keeping with the rock and metal theme, the recipes are divided up into "Opening Acts" (appetizers), "Headliners" (entrees) and "Encores" (desserts). The book is also filled with backstage stories and anecdotes, many of them likely being pretty crazy indeed considering people like Lemmy were involved in the making of this cookbook.
You can buy Mosh Potatoes from Amazon. A portion of the author's cut from the sales of the book go towards the Meals On Wheels Association of America, so by buying this slice of heavy metal quirkiness you're actively helping to feed vulnerable people.