I was flippin’ thru books at Kinokuniya when I chanced upon this book with a pretty long title. The tagline was what caught my eye though. “In the kitchen with your favourite bands.” So I thought to myself, “Oh yea, like they’re gonna have stuff like Battles in there haha!” “Well guess what, it does have Battles in there schmuck,” said the book’s content page in response. “Uh… but is it the Battles Battles or some even more obscure band that was pre-WWII?” “No, you dimwit. Its the NY Battles and yes, that is Devendra Banhart, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Convenience, Belle & Sebastian, RJD2, Dalek and everyone else in there too.”

Yes this is a cookbook compendium of some of the world’s hottest bands that nobody really listens to and are constantly namedropped on blogs for maximum poseur effect. Seriously though, its quite the cookbook, with a rather interesting take on things. There’s sections for everything, breakfast, mains, entrees, desserts and drinks. Within each, there’s also varying degrees of complexity, time involved and sophistication. Some of these bands or band affiliates in some cases are actually pretty good cooks who know and understand ingredients and cooking methodology.

Kara Zuaro is the woman responsible for this mess. She’s actually a journalist who’s got the inside track on the indie music scene and made a monumental effort to befriend a ton of cool bands just to steal their secret recipes, be they from the band themselves or from their friends/relatives/roadies/pets.

With a ton of bands involved and I’ve only listed a small handful of the ones I’ve heard and left out quite a few more, there’s also a good range of styles and recipes as well. As a point, Battles and Devendra Banhart offer up two different recipes, each presently quite differently. The NY 4 piece I seem to keep mentioning nowadays like to enjoy a Roasted Bone Marrow, Battles Style. The recipe comes from guitarist Ian Williams and comes across almost like the band itself. Williams serves up a little bit of his thoughts on cooking itself before diving straight into his rather unusual dish, which is served up in 4 different ways. Its relatively precise and logical, also offering tips on how to consume the dish.

On the other side of the coin is Banhart. His recipe for fried bananas, Africanitas Ricas is wasted if I were to describe it. I won’t spoil it all but here’s the intro.

RIGHT ON!!!!!!
here is my favorite recipe for:
AFRICANAS RICAS!
you shall require!
many bananas!
a box of graham crackers!!!
two eggs!!!
SOUR CREAM!!
HONEY!

He ends it with a flourish is all I can say.

The book as a cookbook is quite compelling to me, not least in the way I can see how different mentalities with specific styles and tastes adapt to solving one of the basic problems in life. What to eat. Especially applicable to these guys because they have a hectic schedule of touring and gigging, constantly on the move. It sucks to have to eat takeaway or airline food even if its first class.

As a music-related book, its also terribly enjoyable as well. Each recipe gets a little story or anecdote whether as a preface or embedded within the recipe itself. You get to see your fave band in a new light. This is about as indie as it gets.

Hell, I’d buy this book for Banhart’s “recipe” alone.

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