Anything but Ramen: Exploring 2 Chainz’s new cookbook, 'Meal Time'

Food columnist Aaron Pellish on how the rapper changed the way he thought about the cooking process

Tauheed Epps was born in Atlanta in 1977, but he didn’t become one of my favorite people alive until 2011, when he started rapping under the name “2 Chainz” and became one of the most popular rappers as a result of his goofy, clever wordplay and bombastic energy. He raps like a clown kingpin and I love it more than anything.

Recently, 2 Chainz released his sophomore album, “B.O.A.T.S II #METIME.” More importantly to this column, he also released an accompanying cookbook called “#Meal Time,” which is filled with recipes for stuff he supposedly cooks while he’s on his tour bus and wants to eat home-cooked food.

When I first heard about this, I was skeptical, because I’m not sure what makes him qualified to tell me what to cook other than the fact that he raps about cooking drugs in his youth a lot.

But then I read through some of the recipes — they’re astonishing. In the recipe for his “Me Time” sauce (a mix of Dijon mustard, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise), the first three instructions are “1: Go to the mall, spend a handful of racks on a new outfit for the night,” “2: Get a manicure and pedicure” and “3: Spend some more ‘me time’ at the house, catching up on old seasons of ‘The Wire.’”

The first direction in the recipe for teriyaki salmon is “Put on your Versace apron.” The way Mr. Chainz says to start his green beans recipe is to “Call Fergie, invite her to watch a movie on Netflix.” I think it goes without saying that this is the greatest cookbook in the history of cooking, and we should probably all stop trying to top it.

Because “#Meal Time” was an objective masterpiece, I decided to try one of the recipes out. I picked the one for garlic mashed potatoes because it seemed technically simple and didn’t demand that I purchase a luxury apron or get a pop star to hang out with me.

The recipe started by saying, “If wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook.” After I begrudgingly took all of my four-finger rings off, I boiled some potatoes and heated up some buttermilk. The recipe called for solid gold kitchen utensils, but I figured my regular old diamond pots and pans would work just fine.

Halfway through the recipe, Mr. Chainz instructed me to play the lead single off his new album, “Feds Watching,” and celebrate the good times I’ve had this year. So I put on the song and me and my guys turned up while my ‘tadoes (pronounced tah-DOWS) and my buttermilk boiled.

When both were done, I strained the ‘tadoes, poured the buttermilk in, and mashed the living hell out of them until, surprisingly, they started looking and tasting like real mashed potatoes.

I said “surprisingly,” because, in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting a recipe from a rapper’s cookbook that included directions about getting mani-pedis to produce quality food. But me and my guys slammed down those mashed potatoes in a hurry because they were so good.

I don’t know if 2 Chainz is a master chef or just a better chef than I am, but maybe all of those innocuous instructions actually helped my dish. Maybe in getting wild with my guys, I was able to keep myself active enough that it actually helped me focus on my cooking. Maybe 2 Chainz made the dish simple enough for someone to cook while partying. Maybe the real secret to making good food is doing things like playing goofy rap songs and watching Sportscenter on repeat while you cook.

All I know is that I never expected 2 Chainz to teach me anything about food or cooking, but now that he has, I admire him so much more.

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