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Things I Have Learned

Alex Webster Of Cannibal Corpse On Home Cooking
Toby Cook , May 31st, 2011 07:43

Hide your tender suckling children, Cannibal Corpse's Alex Webster is in the house & feeling hungry! But, as he tells Toby Cook, these days he's all about food processing and a balanced diet

As obvious as it sounds, anyone can learn to cook things that are interesting, healthy and cheap!

A few years ago I got on a bit of a cooking kick because I finally realised that if you're going to make something that's actually good and healthy, you have to learn how to do it; if you're just going to make macaroni and cheese, or something with hotdogs, I mean, anyone can do that. What I did – and I would recommend this to anyone – was to go out and learn a few recipes, because to eat good food you either have to pay good money to eat at a decent restaurant or you have to learn how to make it yourself. And let's be honest, it's much more affordable to learn how to do it yourself, isn't it?

You don't need to go all 'Frasier Crane' and come up with a 'signature dish' – just find something you like, and perfect it

Since I got on my cooking kick I've learnt a few pretty good recipes and one that has really stuck with me, and that I use all the time, is a particular pasta dish: It's spaghetti and a little balsamic vinegar with basil, sun dried tomatoes – chopped up – a little olive oil and some seasoning – a little salt and pepper to taste – and that's it! This is a recipe that I actually learned from a Jamie Oliver book; it's my 'go to' dish, especially when I make spaghetti, rather than just adding a jar of sauce. Although I do that sometimes.

That said, for me it's important that I follow the recipe exactly

Well, as exactly as possible. I'm not a natural cook, some people are naturally good at it, but for me I've found that if I follow the instructions to the letter I can actually make something good, but when I deviate from it there's definitely a chance of disaster.

Sometimes, though, disasters do happen

Many years ago – way before I got in to cooking in anyway – I tried cooking this big roast joint, for Thanksgiving, or something. I'd prepared the meat and the veg', and everything had gone in the oven and been cooking for about the right amount of time so I opened the oven and go to take the dish with the meat in out – but here's the thing, I'd put the meat in this big glass dish that, I soon found out, just wasn't something I should have been putting in the oven; as soon as I put in down on the counter and the cold air hits it, bang! It just explodes, everywhere. I'm talking everywhere, it just shattered, there was meat and glass all over – I didn't attempt much Real cooking for a while after that!

I don't go much on organic produce

I don't really go for the organic stuff because I figure that compared to a lot of the crap we [the band] eat on the road – McDonalds and whatever else – an organic pepper or a regular pepper, they're still both better than what I eat a lot of the time. So, yeah, when I'm cooking I'll go for the less expensive vegetable option, I don't bother buying organic peppers or carrots rather than just buying regular ones.

Every kitchen should have a Cuisinart food processer (or similar)

I've not really been doing that much cooking recently – exciting cooking that is, obviously I cook everyday to eat! – but for a while when I was really getting interested in learning all these different recipes, we used a Cuisinart-style food processer; we'll still make a lot of stuff with that, like I often make my own hummus, and I've made soups and a whole bunch of different things. Owning a good food processer is pretty important.

I have nothing against vegetarians, but it's definitely not for me

I'm not a vegetarian but our drummer [Paul Mazurkiewicz] is – out of our band, he's the only vegetarian. For me, I've just always enjoyed steak so much, y'know, like a really good steak... because of that I just can't see myself giving up meat – I really don't see that happening, even now I'm picturing bacon and steak together, like a bacon wrapped filet mignon... I don't know that I could ever say 'no' to that!

But I do respect vegetarianism, and I can see that it's actually, probably, a very healthy way to go - most vegetarians I know are quite healthy, as long as they keep track of their protein intake and that sort of thing. The number one thing I think vegetarians have to be careful of is getting enough protein, and knowing how to combine foods, y'know? Don't just eat rice, eat rice with beans, and then you get a complete protein hit, and that would also have a similar level of amino acids to a piece of meat. So I think that a good vegetarian who knows how to do that would be just as healthy, if not healthier, than a meat-eating guy.

Jamie Oliver is really not that bad!

There are certainly a lot of celebrity chefs on TV over here, and I can see why a lot of Americans haven't really taken to the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, especially, but to be honest, I really don't mind Jamie. Actually, one of the first cook books that I picked up was a Jamie Oliver 'Naked Chef' one.

I think it's pretty clear that over hear in the US there is a real problem with obesity, and people's diets in general – I know a lot of people get pretty angry at Oliver's crusade, but honestly, if someone is putting that much effort into trying to get people to eat healthily, and learn how to cook for themselves, I think you have to respect them for it. And like I said, his was one of the first recipe books I picked up, and I still use a lot of recipes from it – they're real simple, real easy and good for you. What's wrong with that!?

Cooking naked is never a good idea

Don't do it, alright!? Just don't.