Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I just got a copy of Amy Sedaris’s new hospitality book, I Like You. It’s great! I love the murky, drabbed-down Nixon-era color palette used for the photographs of Amy’s outre craft projects and “jackpot recipes,” most of which manage to look appetizing and disturbing at the same time. What, for example, would Martha Stewart think about the state of this cookie sheet? Or for that matter the careless and amoeba-like shape of the cookies?

Baked-on Grunge and Cookies

I like it.

Here’s what you need to know about Amy:
  • She runs her own cupcake and cheeseball business out of her New York apartment. Her cupcakes, pictured above, were voted the second-best cupcakes in New York by New York Magazine.
  • She remained a Girl Scout all through high school.
  • She collects plastic and rubber models of food (especially cuts of meat and chains of sausage links).
  • She loves wigs, falls, and hairpieces and is very good at channeling Tricia Nixon. (Here’s Amy. Here’s Tricia [on the right]. See?)
  • She has a fondness for toadstools and pantyhose. (Who doesn't?)
Make no mistake, I Like You is full of “real information.” For example, if you’re going to be entertaining children, Amy stresses that the food should look like it could spring to life at any moment.

Cautiously Optimistic Burgers

My mom used to sometimes decorate our food like this. But she never made me a band-aid cake.

There’s really no recipe that would be beyond the capabilities of the most novice of cooks (excluding the Lady Baltimore cake, a confection that I’ve always thought and always will think is absolutely horrifying). Sure, there’s a recipe for Croque Monsieur, but as long as you’ve got some American cheese, some luncheon meat, some Wonder bread, and some hatchet- and squirrel-shaped cookie cutters, you’ll do just fine.

Amy's Croque Monsieur

Amy has a whole chapter on what to do in the unlikely event that anyone comes to a party at your house under the influence of a certain illegal substance. Her list of suggested munchies is particularly thought-provoking. A sampling:
  • Uncooked hot dog dipped in Swiss Miss
  • Popcorn popped in bacon grease
  • Grilled cheese and corn sandwich
  • Crisco mixed with sugar
She also dispenses beauty and grooming tips. Here's one: To make sure your lips stay red(dish), even after your lipstick wears off, eat a cherry Popsicle or apply a moistened plaque-disclosing tablet.

Perhaps my favorite chapter is “Pantyhose, Crafts, and Good Ideas.” I certainly remember having to make hideous crafts out of pantyhose as a child. But Amy’s pantyhose crafts reach levels of hideousness no one in the early ‘70s dreamed were possible.

Eye Burrito

This floppy nylon nightmare is an eye burrito. Note the Nixon-era-appropriate use of felt to make the Julie Christiesque eyes. The burrito filling can be anything ranging from lima beans to kitty litter (unused, I presume) to dimes.

Other “Good Ideas” include making a selection of fake cakes using hatboxes, spackling, and plaster of Paris; a totem pole constructed of toilet-paper rolls (classic); and a calf stretcher made from scrap lumber. Give it as a gift to anyone with an “insatiable burning desire” to have his or her calves stretched. And be sure to spray paint it gold!

A cupcake of a book! Highly recommended.


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