Hot Damn and Hell Yeah: Review
Let me start out by saying, I am not an excellent cook. I’m not even an average cook. In fact, I can count the number of times I’ve cooked this year on my hands, and one foot! But I decided to review a cookbook because despite not being an experienced chef, I am a very experienced consumer of food. To review a cookbook, you must test the recipes! So my boyfriend’s mom lent me her immaculate kitchen and let me get to work.
Hot Damn and Hell Yeah is a vegan tex-mex and southern eats cookbook written by Ryan Splint. I don’t normally keep to a vegan diet, but I know there are several reasons people choose to do so and I applaud them for their resourcefulness in this world of cheese-loving-lunatics. Starting this project, I was very intimidated by words like ‘TVP’ (textured vegetable protein) and ‘silken tofu’, but Splint broke these ingredients down in a simple, albeit southern, way. The descriptions of common vegan substitutes, what they should look like, and where to find them are super helpful to people who wouldn’t know which aisle in a grocery store vegan ingredients would be found.
A southern native who moved to Australia and found themselves missing the cuisine of their home province, Splint presents each recipe from a knowledgeable yet humble platform. Each recipe is laid out in an easy-to-follow format so that beginners like me have no confusion about when to turn the oven on preheat and how to keep dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
I decided to make an Apple Crisp (because I love dessert, and because I already had all the ingredients!) This recipe only took up half a page. It was simple, easy, and delicious, which makes me think that cooking might not be as scary as I’ve always thought. I’ve included pictures for your viewing pleasure, and also as proof so my mother knows I’m not a complete failure.
Making this recipe was fun! And to be completely honest with you, it helped me bond with my boyfriend’s mom, which is always a plus. I definitely ear-marked other recipes to try out– ones that require trips to the grocery store. The southern twang throughout the book gives a sense of authenticity and actually makes reading the cookbook as a whole enjoyable, and I can’t say that about many cookbooks.
This book is for people who have been vegan their whole life, and for those just starting out. In Splint’s foreword he talks about how there are a lot of stigmas about vegan food.
“There’s a lot a’ people that think pompous, self-righteous attitudes and morality lectures oughta be served alongside it, maybe ta make up for the lack of flavor in their food… This ain’t about who’s got a right to eat what, or what should and shouldn’t be on yer plate for proper eatin’.
What this is about is food without obscure ingredients, that’re easy ta make and don’t taste like sawdust even though it ain’t chock-full a’ dairy and meat.”
That is exactly what I got with this cookbook, no-nonsense recipes that taste good and use common ingredients, served up in a good ol’ southern manner.
This review was written by fall intern, Grace Hansen. Find her on Twitter: @thegracieve and Instagram @grace_evelyn18