Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (August 22, 2008)

Yesterday, the Veronicas announced that they will be going on tour with the Jonas Brothers from Aug. 22 to Sept. 5. Wait a sec, you might be saying, the Jonas Brothers? You mean those squeaky-clean boys who are always on the Disney Channel, avoid alcohol and drugs, and are evangelical Christians who have promised to abstain from premarital sex and wear purity rings on their ring fingers?

Those guys are going on tour with the Veronicas, whose latest album Hook Me Up includes the song "Take Me on the Floor" with the lyrics "I wanna kiss a girl/I wanna kiss a girl/I wanna kiss a boy"? (Not to mention Veronicas’ member Jess Origliasso‘s tabloid-friendly behavior with MTV VJ Ruby Rose.)

The Veronicas

Wow. Marketing genius or inevitable disaster? You decide.

Last month, Dana Rudolph of Mombian told me about a new cookbook that had just been published: The Butch Cook Book, edited by Lee Lynch, Nel Ward and Sue Hardesty. Since I actually did my master’s thesis on cookbooks (I’m not kidding), I had to write to the publishers immediately to get my own copy!

Cookbooks, especially those written by and for a community (like your local church’s cookbook) do a lot more than just collect recipes. They have a lot to say about domestic ideals, gender roles and even ethnic identity. They can be part of constructing sexual identity, too, like The Lesbian Erotic Cookbook. The Butch Cook Book similarly embraces lesbian sexuality, but from a butch-loving perspective.

"This volume is more than a batch of recipes in lesbian back pockets," writes Lee Lynch in the Foreword. "It humanizes butches for those who have feared and rejected us and it puts the sex in the concept of homosexual into perspective. Finally we can tell you: this is what lesbians do, we cook."

The recipes come from 67 different contributors, including comedian Sabrina Matthews (Impress-Your-Date-with-What’s-Left-Over-in-Your-Fridge Omelet), musician Tret Fure (who has also published her own cookbook, Tret’s Kitchen) and author Radclyffe (Beleagured Butch’s Meatloaf). Bios of each contributor accompany their recipes; these in particular reveal the wide variety of experiences and identities that encompass the term butch.

"Not everyone believes in the butch/femme persona, but the butches who gave to this book truly do," writes Nel Ward in the Afterword.

You may be thinking: Constructing butch identity, yeah yeah, what about the recipes? There are some funny ones, like Green Beans for Butches Hoping for Sex on the First Date, and there are some you would probably rather not eat, like Nancy the Blacksmith’s Mostly Peas, which involves combining frozen peas and V8 (huh?).

Overall the recipes are heavy on traditional American comfort foods, such as Meatloaf from the Woodshop and "Daddy" Rhon’s Southern Chicken and Dumplins. There’s also a hefty desserts chapter titled "Sweet Talk." I think my favorite recipe (at least after reading the book) is Melissa Freet’s Beer and Bar BQ Butch, which begins with the instruction, "Drink a cold beer while reading my recipe." Obviously the quality of the recipe varies depending on the beer being drunk.

The book also includes a number of short essays about butch identity and history. In "The Importance of Meat: My Butch’s Home Cooking," Kate Kane writes: "There is nothing like being fed when you’re hungry, and when someone has anticipated that you’ll be hungry and prepared for it, well, it makes a girl remember what butches see in us femmes."

In a way, The Butch Cook Book reclaims domesticity for butches, who have typically been portrayed as clumsy in the kitchen, if skillful with the grill. "The butch cook book is offered up as a validation of who we are," writes Sue Hardesty in the Introduction."We all find our own way to belong."

Get your own copy at

— by Malinda Lo

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