Book Review: The Coca Cookbook

The Coca Cookbook: 35 Recipes With The Forbidden Superfood, by Dr. Bebe Fiammetta

This is a book whose appeal, such as it is, is based on the lure of the forbidden. This is, admittedly, a strong appeal for humanity, but it would have been very possible for the author to have desired not only to make this appeal, but to cover the appeal through creating a competent cookbook that would have interested people on other less problematic motives. Unfortunately, the author does not appear to have understood the appeal of competent writing of cookbooks, which depend for their worth on providing recipes that people might actually want to try. It does not appear, for example, that the recipes are chosen for any other reason other than that they contain ingredients that can easily be substituted for various parts of the “forbidden” coca plant, most notable in these parts for its role in the production of crack cocaine, although included in this book with two ingredients, namely coca flour as well as coca leaves. Without being an expert user of these substances, it appears as if there is some promise in at least some of these recipes, but they would have to be compiled by someone who cared more about the end result of the recipe rather than the mere shock value of making something from coca.

This book is a short one, at less than 100 pages. After beginning with a short introduction and a claim at the beginning of the book that no plant is illegal, despite the horrific purposes that people sometimes use plants for, the majority of the book is made up of 35 recipes that use coca in some fashion. These recipes include ones for bread, crepes, gnocchi, dumplings, pizza, pasta, salad (an ordinary salad with a coca garlic vinaigrette dressing), soup, tacos. Then there are desserts like alfajores, brownies, a creme brulee, a cake, chocolate, churro balls, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, sorbet, pie, mousse, tart, pudding, and tiramisu. After that comes drinks like an energy drink, an infusion, coca orange/lemon or apricot juice, coca bull, bitter coca, a drink called relax all day, and a coca sour. Most of these recipes could have been named with a bit more creativity, and some of the recipes show a shocking lack of interest in the ingredients of the recipe other than coca, as the author is more interested in showing how versatile coca is in products than in actually providing compelling recipes for that use.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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