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Herschell Gordon Lewis—and you know who he is, don’t act like you don’t—Herschell Gordon Lewis once said, “I see film making as a business, and pity anyone who regards it as an art form.” 

Oh, if only Roland Goock had felt likewise, and who, you ask, is Roland Goock? Come in close, kiddies, and bring some of that hooch with ya. 

I have searched the Gallery of Regrettable Food website, but I have not found any references to Herr Goock. Which is, um, regrettable, and a bit surprising, as any given page of Roland Goock’s, The World’s 100 Best Recipes, certainly belongs there. 

I come from a family of foodies. Some people have family bibles, we have cookbooks. Patrons and practitioners of the culinary arts, in our house food is serious business. 

So how in god’s name we came to be in possession of this grisly tome is a mystery. None of us can remember. The copyright date is 1971: speed was cheap and smoking was still good for you, a mindset of which the Polish Carp on page 49 seems evidence

There are a few offerings in this book which don’t look half bad. There’s a picture of a Zuger Kirschtorte that could make Willy Wonka weep. The Strawberries Romanoff looks refreshing. The picture of Crepes Suzette, with its dark background and brandy flame, is moody. Pensive. 

But oh my god, the rest of it. Let me put it another way; if Herschell Gordon Lewis, god rest his soul, had written a cookbook, this is what it would look like. 

Speaking of Mr. Lewis. Let’s talk about page 42. Lobster Americaine

It's hard to say how many milligrams of 1970’s Valium I would have to ingest before I could look at this and not run screaming into the night; jesus, talk about a “Blood Feast”. What should be luscious chunks of lobster meat in a wine-tomato sauce looks instead like something Jeffrey Dahmer would’ve cuddled. 

Like I said, the desserts look pretty good but there’s only eleven of them. That still leaves eighty-nine pics of main and side dishes which, at a casual glance, appear to be crime scene photos

According to the book jacket, The Worlds's 100 Best Recipes is “Beautifully illustrated, with full color photographs, a delight to the eye.” Not really. Not so much. I realize Roland Goock didn’t take these photographs himself. But he picked ‘em. I’m not sure which is worse. 

Alex, in A Clockwork Orange, says, “It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you see them on a screen.” Meaning, I think, art is sometimes truer than what it aims to depict. I’ve been a little rough on Roland Goock, and from reading his bio I have to admit, he appears to have the mentality of a foodie. He understands food, it seems. 

He doesn’t know dick about food photography, however. 

Of course, neither do I. Herschell Gordon Lewis didn’t set out to make Citizen Kane, either. With this book, Roland Goock set out to make a work of art, is my belief. How true his aim might be, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder

Don’t get me wrong, I love Herschell Gordon Lewis movies. But part of their charm lies in the fact that they never seem really real.

Lewis said it wasn’t about art, so I take back what I said before.

This is the cookbook Ed Wood might have written.

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