Recipe by Angela Petrella and Michaelanne Petrella, illustrated by Mike Bertino and Erin Althea
In case you weren’t already aware, whenever you happen upon a McSweeney’s McMullens title, get ready for unpredictable high-jinks and not a little guffawing. Also, always remember to start with the cover: go ahead, it’s made to come off … this one is a two-sided poster that just might leave you … bug-eyed!
For would-be mini-chefs, here’s an adventure of the ‘don’t-try-this-at-home’-variety … unless you have the most indulgent parent in the whole wide world. Kristen, who decides “it was time for me to learn to cook,” has already secured her mother’s helpful agreement: “I’m the boss when it’s my turn, if I ask nicely. And yesterday she said it was my turn.” In case anyone had any doubts, check out Kristen’s definitive orange shirt: “Boss of Sauce”! Go, girl!
Her grocery list is long – not to mention rather eclectic – including 20 bags of marshmallows, a new puppy, a Cleveland Browns sweatshirt, horse meat substitute (she settles for tofu delivered on horseback since “‘tofu tastes good when you dump it into sauce'”), and the all-important helmet!
With Mom’s help, Kristen boils the water but hands over the hot bowl (some kiddie precautions are necessary no matter what!), gives Mom instructions while she takes “the puppy outside to think about my next moves,” goes back to add hot dogs, squirts a duck full of water, and adds the burnt french fries. Her deliciously mountainous creation is so large she decides she needs to share. Come and get it: “Recipe is served! No refunds.”
In an interview included with the PR packet (sadly, I can’t find an online version, although I did stumble on this one which is almost as funny), the Sisters Petrella reveal that their culinary adventure is “an homage to our now-departed great-aunt Katy, who was a nutty old bird with whom we created recipes every weekend.” As for the rambunctiously imaginative chef-in-training, she’s their younger sister: “We named the main character after her so we wouldn’t get grounded from our bikes for not including her.” No clues as to the true identity of the puppy, though. They do applaud their honey and Sriracha-eating illustrators, Mike Bertino and Erin Althea, for being “in sync with our syncs.” And how!
Family affair aside, they also admit to their ultimate goal: to “[empower] reckless children to make giant messes and waste food. Yes.” I have to admit, Recipe sure seems quite timely given our overprivileged post-Turkey weekend food coma hangover, ahem. Besides, the raccoons gotta eat, too, right?