FOODHEIM

A Culinary Adventure [A Cookbook]

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From one half of the cult comedy duo Tim & Eric comes the culinary bible for modern food freaks, showing you how to throw epic parties, suck the marrow out of life, and cook better than your grandmother.
 
ONE OF THE TEN BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker • ONE OF THE BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR: New York Post • “A book with all the recipes to Wareheim’s insanely delicious secret sauces? And a sneak peek at the man behind the curtain?? I’ll take two please . . . extra crispy!!!”—Jack Black

Director and actor Eric Wareheim might be known for his comedy, but his passion for food and drink is no joke. For the last fifteen years he has been traveling the world in search of the best bites and sips, learning from top chefs and wine professionals along the way. His devotion to beautiful natural wine, the freshest seafood crudos, and perfectly cooked rib-eyes is legit. And now he wants to share with you everything he’s learned on this epic food journey.

In Foodheim, Wareheim takes readers deep into his foodscape with chapters on topics like circle foods (burgers, tacos), grandma foods (pasta, meatballs), and juicy foods (steak, ribs). Alongside recipes for Chicken Parm with Nonna Sauce, Personal Pan Pep Pep, and Crudite Extreme with Dill Dippers, you will discover which eight cocktail recipes you should know by heart, how to saber a bottle of bubbly, and what you need to do to achieve handmade pasta perfection at home.

Written with award-winning cookbook editor Emily Timberlake and featuring eye-popping photographs and art chronicling Wareheim's evolution as a drinker, how to baby your pizza dough into pie perfection, and more, Foodheim is the ultimate book for anyone who lives to eat.

Praise for Foodheim

“We are all searching for greatness, and Eric is what we are searching for in ourselves. Through his searching we don’t need to search: we have found. Eric is my Martha Stewart, my mother. He’s the maître d, the Emeril Lagasse, the Andre Agassi, the Dennis Rodman. He’s true love and commitment to the craft of the food. He is food.”—Matty Matheson
 
“Eric has written an instant classic that will command prime real estate in every young culinary enthusiast’s kitchen. People will say about Foodheim what past generations have said about Joy of Cooking, ’This book taught me how to cook.’ If this book existed as a resource for me when I was making my bones, I would surely be more successful today. Hail, Foodheim!”—Kris Yenbamroong, chef and owner of NIGHT + MARKET

Under the Cover

An excerpt from FOODHEIM

Introduction


The HeimLine

My first hero was C.C. DeVille, the guitarist from Poison. He introduced me to the whammy bar. When I was fourteen, I was on the JV basketball team and was awarded a printed certificate for being the first-ever student in my high school to slam dunk. To this day, I still respect the art of a heavy-metal guitar solo as well as the graceful power of a slam dunk.

I have the same reverence and respect when it comes to food and wine. I remember the first time that I encountered shrimp cocktail with a spicy horseradish dipper. I was overcome with emotion, just like the first time I listened to “Talk Dirty to Me.” These are the moments that shaped Heimy.

I don’t just love food and wine. I worship it. I study it. It’s been this way ever since I was a little kid.

I was born in Baltimore. When I was just a tot, my family would take trips to nearby Ocean City. I credit those early vacations with my passion for blue crab, Old Bay Seasoning, summer produce, and, of course, boardwalk fries! Those extra-crispy fries doused with malt vinegar were one of my first food crushes.

When we moved to Audubon, Pennsylvania, I led a normal food-boy life, eating the stuff that most kids in the suburbs ate in those days. But I was lucky because my mom had a vegetable garden and baked her own bread. My friends and I obsessed over it. When I wasn’t misbehaving, my mom would give me a piece of warm bread with a smear of Brie and I’d go psycho. In those days I was a Boy Scout, and, one year, I won the Box Car Derby with my dad’s help (he hid melted fishing weights inside the wood car frame). We celebrated afterward with Pizza Hut personal pan pies, all buttery, salty deliciousness. I loved that it was just for me—no sharing with my sister, Jessica!

My maternal grandparents lived in Germany, and the few trips we took to visit them solidified my love for German village cuisine: schnitzels, stews, rouladen. Oma and Opa were so frugal. They’d take cheap cuts of meat and simmer them for hours to create a cauldron of happiness and flavor. I’d watch Opa go to the garden to clip herbs for his world-famous Opa Salad (page 206). Then he’d come in and ask my sister and me why we drank straight orange soda. It was horrifying for him to see his blood relatives not cut that sugary syrup with some sparkling water.

I moved to Philadelphia for college, and for the next five years I was vegetarian. It was pretty much a nightmare. Whole Foods did not exist. A dry veggie patty on a previously frozen bagel was a highlight in those days. When I started eating meat again, I branched out a bit more but really focused on my favorites: pizza, cheesesteaks, and Italian American cuisine.

Immediately after college I got a job as an assistant wedding videographer. I wore a fake silk blouse with one large, gold top button. My boss taught me how to back up to the shrimp table and sneak a bite while pretending to take pictures. As a photographer, you were allowed only a crappy cold sandwich, but I usually left these events full of premium sea meats due to my shrimp theft skills. I got to the point where I could grab a shrimp, dip it in some cocktail sauce, and pop it in my mouth while simultaneously posing the bride and her bridesmaids.

It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles and started exploring all the global goodness that the city had to offer that my love for food really went to the next level. Mexican food, Thai food, sushi, farmers’ markets; you name it, things were popping! I started traveling around the world—to Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Italy, France, and more—and my interest in regional food traditions kept growing. Then I started touring with my comedy partner, Tim Heidecker.

I attribute my great awakening to the art and beauty of food to one meal: at Alinea, in Chicago. Tim and I were touring and I had a day off. Somehow I got a res at this three-Michelin-starred food mecca, which is considered one of the top restaurants in the world. Alinea has a dress code but I didn’t have a blazer, so I asked my hotel if they had anything I could borrow. I was in luck! They had Michael Jordan’s jacket from a photo shoot many years prior. They offered it to me if I promised to return it. MICHAEL JORDAN’S BLAZER!!! WHAT?! I put it on. It was way too big, but it gave me superpowers. I rolled into Alinea like I owned the place, then proceeded to have the most magical, entertaining meal. I was blown away by the artistry, including chef Dave Beran himself plating the “entire table” dessert in front of me. Wow.


From Food Boy to Food Man


Today, I run a number-one-rated, award-winning Top Food Blog and spend most of my time as a pasta photographer. I often wear matching Tevas with my Madi, and sometimes carry my cat around in a BabyBjörn. Nothing makes me happier than cooking gorgeous meals at home. Sometimes it’s a twenty-minute pasta al pomodoro with perfectly ripe, perfectly in-season farmers’ market tomatoes. Sometimes it’s an elaborate, weekend-warrior-style project, like pizza dough from scratch or a dankadent array of raw-fish dishes. My life has come full circle because now I know how to bake that Pizza Hut–style personal pan pizza at home (see page 86). And I wanna teach you all my tricks.

My food obsession may seem surprising to people who know me for my comedy work. But I’ve been into culinary delights for at least as long as I’ve been into professional comedy—they’re both essential parts of the Complete Heimy Experience. And to me, there’s always been a connection between the two. More specifically, a connection between chefs and comedy people: We’re all freaks.

The food industry and comedy biz are both known for attracting outsiders—intense, talented weirdos who don’t really fit in to mainstream society. That’s why I’ve always felt a bond with chefs. We’re all obsessive, over-the-top people. Our parents worry about our life choices. We’re super-focused on our craft and take our work very seriously—but we also live life to the fullest and like to have a good time. That’s why so many comedy people are also food people. If you’re traveling to a new town and want to know the best spot for lunch, a late-night meal, or a cool quiet bar, ask a comedy person who tours a lot—they always have the best tips.

Back in 2009, me and my comedy friends Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang, and Jason Woliner started something we called “Food Club.” Basically, we showed up to fancy restaurants wearing suits and captains’ hats. If we liked the meal, we awarded the chef with a plaque. If we didn’t like the meal, we burned the plaque in front of the restaurant. A few of the plaques are still hanging in restaurants in LA, and a pilot we shot for a Food Club TV show is online somewhere.

Food Club started as a total joke—a way for us to kind of poke fun at fine-dining culture and its old-school, rich-guy stuffiness. But it also exposed us to so much greatness. We were moved by the quality and creativity of the food. And in some cases, we got to befriend the chefs. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, two of the greatest chefs in the modern LA food scene, became official skippers. We presented them with tiny skipper hats and they took us around the city to all their spots—incredible restaurants, like Totoraku—and started to turn us on to the real-deal food and wine scene.

In a lot of ways, comedy is what allowed me to live out my wildest food fantasies. While Tim & Eric was touring, I got to meet barbecue-god Aaron Franklin in Austin, where he fed me meltingly tender bites of brisket that he’d smoked in an old oil drum for sixteen hours. After one of my live shows in London, I slammed gin martinis with Anthony Bourdain at Groucho’s in Soho. (Miss you, man.) When I was filming Master of None, I relocated to NYC, and Aziz and I would choose shooting locations based on their proximity to yummy spots where we wanted to eat after wrapping. That’s how we ended up shooting at pasta paradise il Buco, The Four Horsemen, and Mission. This is a very annoying and braggy way of saying, Thank you, Comedy Gods, for allowing all of this to happen.

In between projects, I always try to fly somewhere new to immerse myself in the food culture. That could be anywhere from San Sebástian in the Spanish Basque Country, where I went on bonk “pintxos crawls” and hopped from bar to bar snacking on tinned fish and croquetas, to Japan, where sushi masters prepared omakase experiences that were so mind-blowingly beautiful and perfect, they literally made me cry. Thank you, Sawada San.

That’s what inspired me to write this book—my desire to share all the incredible things I’ve learned by traveling the world these last fifteen years in search of the most premium bites. Because at the end of the day, cooking is about bringing people together, taking the time to prepare something special, and sharing it with someone you care about. This is the book I wish I had when I first started messing around in the kitchen.

FOODHEIM

A Culinary Adventure [A Cookbook]

Buy

FOODHEIM

— Published by Ten Speed Press —