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Profanity-filled 'Thug Kitchen' cookbook urges healthy eating

The foul-mouthed creators talk about the vegan cookbook that landed on the U.S. bestsellers list and why they verbally abuse readers to eat healthier foods.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway's mission was simple: They started an expletive-laced recipe blog to inspire people to eat healthy plant-based foods and it was so successful it resulted in their first cookbook, "Thug Kitchen."

Originally the blog, which received a glowing endorsement from actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and the book were anonymous. But as the publication date neared, the pair of 29-year-olds based in California revealed their identities.

Davis and Holloway, whose foul-mouthed trailer for the book has had nearly 770,000 views on YouTube, spoke to Reuters about the vegan cookbook that landed on the U.S. bestsellers list and why they verbally abuse readers to eat healthier foods.

Q: Why did you start a food blog?

Davis: We were both working shitty day jobs and wanted to be more creative at some point in our lives, so we started the blog as a way for me to work on my recipes and for Matt to work on his photography.

Q: Where did the title for the book "Thug Kitchen" come from?

Davis: We've always thought of thug as an attitude and we wanted people to take control of their plate and get bad-ass in the kitchen. We thought it was a good way to convey that.

Q: The book and the website are full of profanity. Are you concerned that it could offend some people?

Davis: We curse on the site because we curse in real life. And we wanted to show that just because you are trying to take care of yourself and you want to eat more vegetables doesn't mean you don't have a sense of humor.

Swearing isn't for everybody but there are other wonderful recipe blogs that you can get plant-based recipes from that don't swear.

Q: How does your collaboration work?

Davis: I come up with all the recipes and Matt does all the beautiful photography, and we work on it together. I am self taught and I have always been a passionate home cook.

Q: The blog was previously anonymous and you only recently revealed your identities. Why?

Holloway: When we created the site it was never about self promotion. Like Michelle said, we were just doing it for ourselves. A lot of other websites are spearheaded by a personality or a lifestyle. We didn't want to do that.

Q: What advice would you give to people who want to eat better?

Davis: Take your time. Take one night out of the week and try to cook something new with new ingredients. Try to do a plant-based meal one night a week.

Spiced Chickpea Wrap with Tahini Dressing (makes four wraps)

Tahini Dressing

1/4 cup tahini*

3 tablespoons warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

2 cloves garlic, minced

Spiced chickpeas

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups cooked chickpeas**

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 large wraps or flour tortillas


Cucumber sticks

Carrot sticks

1. To make the dressing, mix all that sh-t together in a small glass until it is smooth and creamy. Set it in the fridge.

2. Now get the chickpeas going. Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and fry them until they start to turn gold and pop around a bit. You'll see what ... we mean. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. In a small glass, mix together the lemon juice, maple syrup, and soy sauce. When the chickpeas are looking right, pour the lemon juice mixture over them and stir. Let that sh-t evaporate for about 30 seconds and then add all the spices. Stir and let them all fry together for another 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.

3. Serve these spiced sons of b-tches in a wrap with some spinach leaves and thinly sliced carrot and cucumber sticks. Drizzle some dressing over it and wrap that sh-t up.

* This is like peanut butter but made out of sesame seeds. It will be near the nut butters or falafel mix at the store.

** Use two 15-ounce cans if you aren't making it yourself.

(Editing by Andrew Hay)