Cooking to the Beat of a Different Drummer | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 01.05.2005
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Cooking to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Some cooks saute to samba, others julienne to classical. But now some are discovering the joys of folding and pouring to the pulsing beats of punk.


Is that what you're making for dinner tonight?

Ever try "revolutionary coconut curry?" Or maybe "vegan punk-rock pancakes" or "Rebecca’s spaghetti from hell?"

These are some of the delicacies a veteran punk rocker has put together in cookbook, served with a serving of politics and instructions on musical accompaniment.

The trend started decades ago, because after all, even punks need to eat.

"I think it started back in the 80s, when English and American Punk Rock became aware that there is more than just music," said Joachim Hiller, author of three punk-rock cookbooks and editor of punk rock magazine OX. "And people started cooking, basically in squads they started what we call Volksküche, or 'people’s kitchen.' They started to cook for the whole house, invite homeless people, invite people that go to shows, etc."

Pass on the foie gras, please

Just like punk rock, which mainly consists of only three chords on the guitar, punk-rock cooking is pretty easy as well, he said.

Foie Gras

No foie gras for punks, please

"It’s about keeping it simple in a way, and making sure it’s not too fancy," he said. "I don’t like this French attitude that everything has to be very intricate. Usually, the simple recipes that are based on farmer’s recipes are the best ones. These are the ones that are so simple that everyone can make them."

The other thing that makes punk-rock cuisine a bit different is the fact that punks are not what you call meat lovers. Many punks think it is healthier to stay away from meat and that it isn't right to kill animals.

Attitude, man

For the punk rock scene, cooking seems to be more than just putting a meal together: It’s also about eating consciously and about buying the right ingredients at the right places.

That is why vegetarianism fits in well.

"Vegetarianism is basically the key to punk-rock cooking, because of the whole aspect of the exploitation of the so-called third world countries through Western corporations like McDonalds for meat production," he said. "Also punk rockers have always been very critical about consumption. I mean, coming from that background, there is certain awareness of where to shop. It goes into the direction of health food."

Kunden im Bio-Laden

Organic food stores are the place to go to shop for punk cuisine

It’s this attitude that makes punk-rock cooking different from other cooking styles. The actual punk-rock recipes are not all that special compared to any other recipes, Hiller said. After all, spaghetti is spaghetti -- there is no such thing as a punk-rock spaghetti. But it’s the cook’s attitude that makes the difference. Punks have always seen themselves as rebels against the establishment. And Joachim believes that with this attitude towards cooking they can actually change something -- even politically.

"Once every four or five years you can vote," he said. "How much does that change? But how much does it change if you can decide for yourself ‘Who do I want to give my money to?’ And if you take your money to a health-food store, where the money goes to a farmer that produces organic products, in contrast to turbo-cow-milk from some factory, that really makes a difference."

Johnny Ramone

The right food, with the right musical accompaniment, like the Ramones.

And of course there is the music: In Hiller’s cook books, each recipe also recommends a song to play while making the food and eating it. So, for example, if you want to make rice-and-cheese pancakes, you should listen to band "The Hives" to make it a real punk-rock cooking highlight.

So people, get out your recipes and your Ramones.

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