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Book Review: ‘Bong Appétit’

Book Review: ‘Bong Appétit’
Photo courtesy Penguin Random House

Books

Book Review: ‘Bong Appétit’

Book presents a wide range of recipes for every skill level.

As the name clearly suggests, this book is based on the MUNCHIES/Viceland series “Bong Appétit,” that’s known for its extravagant dinner parties featuring mouth-watering, cannabis-infused meals cooked by guest chefs. It’s often heralded for its fun, science-forward approach to cooking and its jaw-dropping cannabis pantry full of flower, concentrates, rare hashes and beyond. The show itself was nominated for a prestigious James Beard award so that should give you just a bit of insight into what to expect from this collection of 65 recipes from various chefs.

At first glance, the book is full of sleek and ultra chic with instagrammable images of hands rolling joints, cannabis fan leaves splayed on a stained wood cutting board and, of course, endless shots of juicy nugs of all shades of green. The book is broken down into eight chapters of recipes and written in a fun, laid-back tone with plenty of humor, just a little cursing and some tongue-in-cheek commentary. The front of the book includes all of the information customary to cannabis cookbooks these days like information about terpenes, cannabinoids, dosing and how to pick strain pairings for your recipes.

There’s a lot of good food in this book even for readers who feel like they want to keep things on the simpler side. To start with, there’s a range of recipes for infusions using the staple ingredients butter and oil but there are also instructions on how to make cannabis-infused cream, coconut milk, honey, syrup and more. Readers can pick and choose recipes to be made individually for a quick snack or meal or cherry pick one from each of the chapters to create a posh multicourse meal complete with dessert.

There are dishes like creamy cilantro kale salad with coconut bacon, spinach and artichoke dip risotto, yogurt-marinated lamb and grilled oysters. Dessert lovers will be into the honey rosemary ice cream, easy frozen cocoa pudding pops or brownie sundae. There are also recipes for drinks like a dirty martini, French 75 and sangria. The last chapter called  “Projects,” has recipes for miscellaneous foods like cannabis leaf pesto, kimchi, homemade ricotta cheese and even peanut butter and jam.

“Bong Appétit” is for the culinary enthusiast who is looking to recreate a combination of luxury cuisine and comfort food from the show that can be made at home. On the cooking series, professional chefs use techniques, products, appliances and ingredients that may not be commonly available to the average home cook but the book is intentional about making recipes accessible. However, readers are still gently encouraged to invest in themselves and their kitchen if they’re interested in doing some really cool stuff. Beginners can start with things like canning jars, cheesecloth and an instant-read thermometer while more experienced chefs might need to get more serious with equipment like a decarboxylation machine or a grape press.

The focus of the book, though, is on the mastery of pairing and preparing cannabis while using culinary techniques in a way that elevates weed along with the other ingredients. There is nothing complicated about cooking, but there is an artistry involved in maintaining the integrity of a great dish without muddying up or obscuring the medley of other flavors. “Bong Appétit” keeps it light but still makes sure to keep a finger on being informative.

Overall, this book is fun and hip and it actually has food you want to eat or at least try for the most part. Are you ever going to poach an entire octopus? Do you really want to make Italian sausage from scratch? Maybe you weren’t planning to before but after getting carried away on a wave of mildly fancy inspiration, you may now.

TELL US, have you ever cooked with cannabis?

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