Kate Richards takes the rap for a dinner party disaster.
Of the entrée: “I’m saving my farts for the train home.”
Of the main: “I feel like I’ve eaten a brick that’s remained inside me.”
Of the dessert: “If Snoop eats this every day, I’m surprised he’s not dead.”
Snoop Dogg’s debut cookbook, From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen (Chronicle Books, $49.99) is out on October 29. Its 191 pages pay homage to the food memories of his life. While objectively terrible (more on that later), the book seduces with novelty fonts and gritty snaps of Snoop moving suspiciously between a ramshackle wooden cupboard and a gleaming whitewashed kitchen, alongside chefy-looking dishes he’s presumably had someone prepare for him.
Also featured are suggested playlists for various themed soirees, guides to the best sweet, savoury and cereal-based munchies and, of course, a recipe for gin and juice. All that, and it’s proudly cannabis free. Intrigued, I decided to host a dinner party to road-test a few dishes.
Snoop’s foray into cooking began after a guest appearance on The Martha Stewart Show in 2008. The LA-born rapper Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr (aka Snoop Dogg) formed an unlikely friendship with host Stewart, bonding over their shared love of cooking. The pair went on to produce two seasons of a double-act TV series called Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, which you will not regret searching for online. Billed as a variety show, it was a hit thanks to the hosts’ offbeat and unlikely chemistry as well as cameos by other major celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Seth Rogan and 50 Cent. Stewart wrote the foreword for Snoop’s new book.
However, having now cooked a few of his recipes, I suspect the pair might have bonded over incarceration stories rather than food. Snoop’s rich legal history includes brushes with the law for cocaine possession, traffic and firearms offences, and a murder charge on which he and his bodyguard were acquitted.
Stewart herself was famously incarcerated for insider trading, spending five months in jail after being found guilty of securities fraud and obstruction of justice. An unlikely pair they may be, but also kindred spirits.
It took me several days to formalise a three-course menu from the book’s varied 50-dish selection. All had some allure, either from novelty factor or their delicious (read: expensive) ingredients. The starter was a no-brainer and a Snoop childhood favourite, OG (“Original Gangster”) fried bologna sandwiches, which came with mustard, plastic cheese, and barbecue chip flourishes. The mains were more limiting: carb-heavy and vegetable-light.
My first pick was lobster thermidore, not least because its inclusion in a book housing such recipes as a “mile high omelette” and “the lunch briz-eak” (sliced fruit topped with honey and peanut butter) seemed ridiculous. Snoop also claims to have first tried the meal in Australia, which was about as close to being relevant to New Zealanders as he gets. But lobster is expensive, so that got vetoed.
Snoop’s “next level salmon” felt like a comparable second choice, a honey-mustard coated fish dish with a side of green beans (one of the few times vegetables are mentioned in the entire book).
Dessert would be banana pudding, and welcome drinks would include the Midori and Baileys shots colloquially known as “Quick Fucks”.
Throughout the party, we’d drink gin and orange juice – which everyone except North & South editor Virginia Larson knows is Snoop’s favourite drink – and Lindauer summer blush, with Moët labels taped to the outside because I didn’t want to risk getting fired for buying premium bubbles on my work credit card.
I’d started prepping dessert around 4pm because the recipe requires chilling. Essentially, it’s corn starch-thickened custard with banana pieces, layered in a glass with smashed biscuits and rum cream. I’ve made custard before, and it takes a bit of whisking, but this was just silly. By the time the mixture was thick enough to go into the fridge to cool, it was past five o’clock. To get it to that point, I’d also had to add three times the recommended number of eggs (are eggs bigger in America?) and double the amount of corn starch. It was a lot of arm power for a dish one guest described as simply “okay”. Way too hard to make, it had a powdery corn-starch undertone and, in my opinion, was too sweet.
The bologna sandwiches were the hit of the night. Despite being slightly burnt (not Snoop’s fault), the mix of luncheon-style meat, tangy American mustard, cheese and barbecue chips somehow worked.
One guest was so struck by this dish he patented an invention to be called the Snoop Dogg Grill™ to press the sandwiches for a more effective cheese melt and bread toasting than when you pan fry. If you’re reading, Snoop, and want to get in touch about this potentially lucrative business opportunity, I can pass on the relevant details.
I’ve put off writing about the salmon because it was truly bad – in fact, borderline inedible. That’s partly because I overcooked it (too much gin) and partly because honey mustard salmon shouldn’t be a thing. The sweetness of the marinade against the richness of the fish didn’t work. It was, as one eloquent party attendee described, “a hard knotty rope full of sharp fish bones, but the beans offer light relief. I’d give it to someone I didn’t like much.”
I’d pictured the evening being a bit like the film Julie & Julia. The reality was much less tasteful. The night ended with a bombsite kitchen and my lounge carpet covered in sodden Froot Loop crumbs, one of Snoop’s favourite snacks. The next morning, the smell of overcooked salmon hung in the air.
Would I host a Snoop Dogg dinner party again? Maybe a Snoop Dogg party. Given everyone seemed to enjoy the snacks and my hilarious Snoop Dogg quiz more than the meal itself, next time we’ll probably just go all out on the Froot Loops.
This article was first published in the November 2018 issue of North & South.