One of the best things about cooking is the way it brings people together, whether to prepare the meal or to enjoy the results.
Sometimes it can bring together seemingly unlikely cooking companions, such as the pairing of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg in the television series “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.”
The duo weren’t as disparate as it first seemed, however, because Snoop, better known as a rapper and entrepreneur, proved to have culinary skills that rival his rapping. He has collected fifty of his best recipes in “From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from the Boss Dogg’s Kitchen,” with a surprising range of classic and playful dishes.
Of course there’s a recipe for “Gin and Juice,” since that song catapulted Snoop and his first album to the stratosphere of the rap world in 1993, but there are also Snoop’s inventive takes on lobster thermidor, fettucine Alfredo and cinnamon rolls complete with anecdotes on where and when he first encountered them.
Snoop’s fettucine combines the best elements of fettucine Alfredo—the velvety textured creamy sauce and lots of cheese—with the best parts of shrimp scampi, adding a lemony lift to what might have been (given the quantity of cream) a too-heavy sauce.
It’s a delicious twist that makes the dish just right for, as Snoop observes, “when it’s time to chow down like a boss.”
The cookbook isn’t short on swagger: “I like my pancakes just like I like my money—stacked high to the ceiling,” he writes. Snoop’s cooking lives up to his hype, though, with meticulous instructions for everything from searing meat to mixing drinks.
Snoop didn’t learn those skills from Martha Stewart, but rather by a lifelong affinity for cooking that included pre-celebrity stints in fast food.
“I used to work the breakfast shift at McDonald’s as a kid,” he writes. “The supervisor used to call me Young Eggs because I could crack the eggshell with one hand.”
That early foundation in cooking is evident in some of his elevated basics, including a tender cornbread muffin, macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake and Caesar salad.
Snoop Dogg is as comfortable name-checking Edna Lewis, the influential chef and food historian, as he is making a shout-out to DJ Khaled and Puff Daddy.
The cookbook features a strong collection of desserts, but probably the one most likely to be made is the Bow Wow Brownies, a rich, crusty brownie made with milk chocolate chips.
“My greatest recipe is Bow Wow Brownies,” Snoop asserts. “The key is to make sure they’re nicely baked. If I really want to take it up a notch, I might even add a dash of my secret ingredient—a sprinkle of Snoop’s herbs and spices really gives those things a kick.”
Even without the herbal additions, the brownies have an outstanding texture and taste.
“They’ll come out of the oven smelling real aromatic,” Snoop promises, “and a couple bites will leave you feeling like you’re on cloud nine.”