c.r.a.s.h

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Today we’re running series of posts about (and/or hijacked from the book Fancy Desserts, written by) Brooks Headley. Do enjoy.

I spent an hour with Brooks Headley a couple years ago when his band passed through the dining room of a restaurant I work at in San Francisco. The emails had been murky and puzzling: “a nine minute set, some time between three and five p.m.” There was no publicity and no specific start time. I didn’t realize people did that. Brooks and his band pulled up at three p.m. (as promised, which is impressive because they came straight from Tijuana). We moved some tables, bought some extension chords, and then it got very loud. The Chinese ladies continued their afternoon mahjong with ears half covered, and an audience of seven formed on the sidewalk.

The thesis of Fancy Desserts is in the foreword. It starts, “What you’re eating is actually the totality of the life of the cook…” And the recipes are full of heart, wisdom, finesse, and humor; they communicate savvy techniques and the logic behind them, which can help you accomplish making something look “simultaneously insanely elegant and totally stupid.” The rest of the book is like a culinary Matthew Barney exhibit accompanied by anthropological fables unraveling the human condition from the “BOH” perspective. Some of the morals: “That there is glamour to be found in in the unglamorous” and “That true hospitality is noble and selfless.” These pearls of wisdom communicate what it means to be a cook, and rather than come across as forced, Brooks pulls it off with the same humble and nonchalant flair as an impromptu punk show at Mission Chinese Food. —Anthony Myint, Mission Chinese Food

To read about the tour that brought Brooks to Mission Chinese Food, check out his travelogue from our Travel issue, now up on Medium.

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We like Brooks Headley’s new cookbook Fancy Desserts so much that we’re going to spend the day Tumblring about it.

But it begs an important question: WHO IS BROOKS HEADLEY? Sure, you probably know him as the pastry chef of Del Posto. Maybe you recognize him as a fellow audience member from a scuzzy rock show in Brooklyn and have wondered if he’s bald under that black knit cap he’s always wearing. (Spoiler: no.) You could trust the New York Times to tell you who he is (they do a good job of the whole “journalism” thing), but you could also walk a mile in his shoes/try to play an eight-minute set on his drum seat via this story from our Travel issue, in which he chronicles a West Coast tour with his punk band C.R.A.S.H.

Stay tuned for recipes, video, and more BOH miscellany all day long.

Gif by Richie Brown