No Wave underground legend, feminist icon, artist, author, actress, musician and all-around troublemaker Lydia Lunch is now the author of a cookbook, The Need to Feed: Recipes for Developing a Healthy Obsession for Deeply Satisfying Foods, a “hedonist’s guide.”
Via email Lydia answered a few questions.
Dangerous Minds: Our mutual friend, author Chris Campion, told me that you were coming out with a cookbook, and via hoighty-toighty publisher Rizzoli, even, and that seemed somewhat out of character for you. Chris assured me that you were indeed a *most fantastic gourmet chef* and that your culinary skills were a not-so-very well-kept secret. The recipes in The Need to Feed—a Lydia Lunch-esque title if ever there was one—seem to bear that out, but still, how did a cookbook by Lydia Lunch end up being published by Rizzoli? It seems like there must be a story there…
Lydia Lunch: A few bizarre coincidences led up to me pitching the idea to Rizzoli. I had written the introduction to Cesar Padilla’s book Ripped: T-Shirts from the Underground, which they had published in 2010.
I kept seeing it everywhere. Artist Martynka Wawrzyniak, R.Kern’s partner, had originally pitched the book to Rizzoli and worked on it with Cesar. I was on a rare visit to New York shortly after its publication and met with Martynka. She suggested we pitch something to Rizzoli together and was instrumental in making The Need to Feed happen.
Around the same time someone had sent me an article from the TV Guide, in which Michelle Forbes claimed I was the inspiration for her character in True Blood. A witchy vixen who throws orgiastic bacchanals full of food laced with intoxicants in order to celebrate the resultant pandemonium. This inspired me to pen The Need to Feed.
Martynka is Vegan, loves food and to cook, shares my political disgust with the US Food industry and is a brilliant artist in her own right. Acting as editor and co-conspirator, she was able to push forward my politics, sass and vitriol, not the typical fare of a book that deals with food.
DM: And so now you are the proud author of a cookbook.
Lydia Lunch:I wrote the recipes with Marcy Blaustein, a friend of many years who left the thankless confines of the music industry to concentrate on catering in Hollywood, because as she once said “Everyone loves you when you feed them.” She’s just opened her first restaurant in Los Angeles called Eat This on Santa Monica and Hudson.
DM: Since I’ve never been invited to one, what are your dinner parties like? And what is the secret ingredient for a perfect Lydia Lunch dinner party?
Lydia Lunch: A great mix of people, enough time to enjoy the evening (long Sunday afternoons are actually best). Easy, spicy, tasty finger foods, great music, stimulating conversation…A relaxed atmosphere where people leave full of LIFE.
I asked Lydia if there was just one dish that was her favorite from The Need to Feed and she said it would be her jerk chicken marinade recipe:
I Said Jerk That Chicken!
If it’s hot…no doubt I’m going to want to stick it in my mouth. Just the way I am. I love any food that makes me break a sweat. Slowly savoring the healing heat as it penetrates every cell, kick starting the nerve endings and revitalizing the synapses as they gush with endorphins. Gooey good fun! Jamaican jerk marinades are magic to the mouth. The combination of heat, sweet and pungency create a powerful tangy rush of oral delight! Jerk is exotic, deeply penetrating, incredibly satisfying and yet highly addictive goodness. Gotta love it.
1-tablespoon ground allspice
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced
2 small yellow onions diced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 inch of fresh ginger minced
2 - 3 Scotch Bonnet chili peppers deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
Toast the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a dry pan on low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a blender adding cayenne, black pepper, thyme, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, brown sugar, orange juice and lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil. STAND BACK! And blend. Refrigerate for a few hours.
Use as marinade for chicken, turkey, pork or vegetables. Lather both sides of meat in jerk sauce and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Reserve the rest of the marinade for dipping. Grill, broil or bake. Use to brush on vegetables before grilling. Serve with rice and Mango Salsa.
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro minced
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients and allow to marinate and to chill for 1 hour.
*Word of warning: Wear plastic gloves when handling hot chili peppers. Especially Scotch Bonnet…you touch yourself and the neighbors will hear you scream. You touch someone else, they will be calling the police.