Let’s go back to some personal back ground here. If you’re new to this website, you probably have no idea that we are into hardcore and punk music and, besides being vegan, we (my husband and me) are also straight edge. This is not an aspect of our lives that you will find I will talk about on here often but sometimes there are some references in the articles or posts.
Why am I telling you this today? To introduce the woman I’ve interviewed last week: Natalie Slater, responsible for the blog Bake and Destroy, one of the first blogs about vegan food that I started following. It was easy to me to get into her posts: the page has this punk rock layout, she’s into tattoos, she’s straight edge and she loves baking.
We talked about her first book, coming out this summer, and some of her influences – in life and in the kitchen:
Your book Bake and Destroy – “Good Food for Bad Vegans” comes out in August and was listed by VegNews Magazine co-founder Colleen Holland’s as one of the “15 Most-Anticipated Vegan Cookbooks of 2013”. What can we expect to find in the book?
I wanted to write a book filled with really fun, really tasty recipes that just so happen to be vegan. For five years or so people thought of Bake and Destroy as a place to find dessert recipes with a healthy dose of pop culture, but ever since I started posting my meals on Instagram there was a serious demand for my savory recipes. So I think this book has the best of both worlds – lots of easy to make, creative dishes and desserts for people who already have a plant-based diet as well as people who just want a break from the norm.
What does “good food for bad vegans” mean?
It’s a nod to The Cramps’ Bad Music for Bad People album. My friends actually came up with some other ideas that were pretty funny, I posted them here. Gay Recipes for Racist Vegans made me laugh really hard. I still want to write that book. My April Fools joke this year was that I’m working on a follow up book called Eat Shit and Die. I had so many friends call to congratulate me, I actually felt kind of guilty.
What I love most about your blog is your sense of humor and the way you name and describe your food and recipes. Where does all of this come from?
Thank you! I went to a food blogger conference in Portland last year and sat in on a session about recipe writing. One of the points the speaker made was that your description should be one short paragraph because no one wants to read a long story about your soup. I thought, “well, I’m doing it wrong.” I always tell epic tales about my recipes, but people read them so maybe I’m the exception to that rule. And the stories are true – that’s how I get inspired. I might hear a Marduk song or see a slasher movie and for whatever reason, that makes me think, “you know what would be good? Almonds on a taco…”
How does pro-wrestling influence you and your cooking? I always see you talking to or about CM Punk on Twitter and he’s also the one who wrote the introduction to your book, right?
Well, Punk and I have a long history together. I talked about it a little bit on his DVD Best in the World, but basically we met at a party right after I graduated high school – he went to Lockport High and I went to Joliet Catholic. First we became friends because we’re both straight edge and we were both trouble makers, and eventually we started dating and we were living together. It’s funny, because I grew up a huge wrestling fan and dating a pro-wrester made me hate wrestling. I’ve been married to my husband for seven years now (he is not a wrestler), and Punk is a really close friend of ours now. So I get to be a fan again, and it’s fun to drop those references into my cooking. And of course I do SugarSlam every year – a pro-wrestling themed bake off.
And what about punk rock? I’m also very much influenced by the music! What will I find to relate to it in your book?
A few years ago I was approached by a publisher who wanted me to do a “punk cupcake” book. I came back to him, basically, with the proposal for the book I ended up writing, and he was like, “no, no – punk rock like, cupcakes that look like they have cocaine on them, and cupcakes with booze in them and stuff.” That’s just not my idea of punk rock, I guess. To me, punk rock is loud music and trashy movies and just having fun. This book is like my brain fell out of my head and landed in the pages. I mean, it’s illustrated by Betty Turbo, it’s full of recipes inspired by horror movies, pro-wrestling, music… it’s just dumb fun.
Where do your cooking and baking ideas come from? I’ve read that you don’t define yourself as a chef…
I have a lot of close friends who are chefs. Real deal trained chefs who run professional kitchens and I get a little annoyed when people refer to me as a chef. I am not a chef. I am a blogger who happens to know how to cook and bake. But I grew up cooking with my mom and my grandma, and I’m 5 years older than my little sister so once I was in junior high school it was up to me to get dinner started if my mom had a meeting and my dad was working late. Later in college I worked at a bakery, so I get the fundamentals. Everything else is trial and error. I mess up plenty of times before I’m happy with a recipe.
Want to pre-order Bake and Destroy – Good Food For Bad Vegans? Click here!