By Katie Reynolds
Where can you find out what an oyster fork looks like alongside how to do an ollie? How to wax a snowboard alongside proper chopstick etiquette? What book moves seamlessly from a glossary of cooking terms to vocabulary used in describing skating tricks?
Robert Earl of La Jolla companies Junk MD and Sixteenfifty has creatively combined extreme sports, etiquette and cooking into one book: “X-treme Cuisine.”
The book pulls off the feat miraculously, with fun and useful input from the leaders in surf, skate, snow and BMX.
Formerly a personality on ESPN, Wells had a cooking show in which athletes shared their favorite recipes. That helped him decide to make the recipe book; but while they were touring on the road for the show, he decided the book needed an extra element. “We always ate out at really nice restaurants, and no one had any manners,” Wells said.
He thought it would be a great idea to have 52 dishes, one a week, that mothers could help their sons with, while teaching table manners. “I thought I could be the Emily Post of the X Generation,” Earl said.
Simple and pre-made, the recipes in “X-treme Cuisine” definitely have a bias towards the x-treme sports participants’ dining desires. This means doing everything they can to be able to do as little as possible in the kitchen. They have perfected the art: whether its by microwaving eggs like Tony Hawk, dishwashing fish in foil to cook it, or making the most of Eggo waffles and Ding Dongs.
The list of kitchen essentials in “X-treme Cuisine” includes Jell-o, mac n’ cheese, Kool-Aid, and marshmallow sauce. That said, there are some serious recipes in this cookbook. All kinds of dishes, including appetizers, healthy (and not so healthy) smoothies, desserts, and even meals for vegetarians are included.
Those that apply fun to their daily play, bring it to the kitchen. Creativity abounds, including tips on how to roast meat on a car engine and perform miracles with a microwave.
The book has a delicious recipe on almost every page, and convenient little cut out recipe cards at the back of the book, making them easy to use.
Not only does the cookbook provide recipes, it also coaches you on what’s good to eat. There’s an in-depth description of a range of cheeses and how to pair them with different foods. And heads up La Jollans: There’s a page devoted to the best La Jolla burritos.
The “x-treme” is not lost in any part of the cookbook. The foreword by Tony Hawk, calling Robert Earl the “Jedi of Chichi Cuisine,” sets the tone for the rest of the book. In the midst of all those recipes, the book teaches how to wax a surfboard, put grip tape on a skateboard and how to fix a flat tire on a BMX bike. Over 50 extreme athletes put in their two cents, whether its by sharing their own recipe, etiquette or just random tips.
Even if you did not read a word in the entire book, you would not be disappointed after simply flipping through it. The fun and exciting design is paired with really cool action shots of some of the best of those in extreme sports: Donovan Frankenreiter, Jason Ellis, Todd Richards and Carey Hart.
Perhaps the most surprising, yet necessary, part of the entire book are all of the etiquette suggestions. The guide presents a broad range, from a proper place setting to how to butter your bread and table manner no-nos.
The facts are useful, with pointers on what to use every utensil for, in what order, and what their names are.
Getting cute and a little bit artsy, there is even a little tip on how to make place settings out of surf wax.
And for the extreme sports romancer, there’s advice on how to feed and treat a date.
While he planned on retiring after finishing “X-treme Cuisine,” it actually helped Earl to meet his wife, a free lance graphic designer for the book, and start his design company, Sixteenfifty.
And Robert Earl is moving full speed ahead.
The fact that he says, “Doing a book is a hardest thing that one will ever venture to do,” does not stop Earl from wanting to write another one.
He plans to write a business book to simplify brand strategies. After losing 51 pounds this year, he also plans on creating an exercise video for “average guys, between 32 and 45 years old,” Earl said. “It’s a total lifestyle shift, weight lifting two, three days a week, cardio, and diet changes.”
Add that to the clothing line he keeps track of, Robert Earl Couture, and the man is a whirlwind of action. “I am a train wreck, I don’t know how I got it all done,” Earl said.