Book Review: Enter Sandwich: Some Kind of Vegan Cooking with No Connection to Metallica by Automne Zingg and Joshua Ploeg

Zingg, Automne and Joshua Ploeg. Enter Sandwich: Some Kind of Vegan Cooking with No Connection to Metallica. Portland, OR: Microcosm Publishing, 2022. 

Cover of Enter Sandwich

Enter Sandwich is not simply a cookbook. It’s  a celebration of all of the fun, enjoyable and unexpected ways that seemingly unconnected currents of pop culture can intersect. After several difficult years rent by disease, political turmoil, climatic disaster and mental health crises, Enter Sandwich taps into the zeitgeist by not only lovingly parodying  America’s most significant and influential metal band but by also reflecting current cultural trends as more and more Americans are trying to eat more healthy foods and experiment with greener diets, and as a growing number of American bands are crossing genres, collaborating in unexpected combinations and appealing to newer listeners and audiences. Even in a divided era, pop culture can unite us and create surprising alliances as readers from a variety of backgrounds can all enjoy this book whether they sought out a cookbook, skilled illustrated art or another way to appreciate Metallica.

2022 was a great year for Metallica and their fans. Use of “Master of Puppets” in Stranger Things exposed the band to a younger audience. Their performance at Lollapalooza in July energized a diverse enormous outdoor crowd and crescendoed with fireworks against the Chicago skyline. Their surprise release single “Lux Aeterna” on November 28, offered a fast, upbeat celebration of music; this song revels in the joy that attending a live concert can infuse into any listener or performer. In 2022, live concerts returned in full force around the world re-opening opportunities for community connections in the stadiums and clubs. Amidst all the terrible news in the US and around the world, the band offered happiness and excitement and fun both live and in their new recordings. Enter Sandwich’s author and illustrator transform all of that energy and fun into a cookbook – a vegan cookbook- of all things. 

Although this is a work of parody and the band is not the least bit affiliated with Microcosm Press, Enter Sandwich channels the creators’ love of this great band and the satisfaction felt by the knowing reader who appreciates all their jokes and references within. Their recipes have fun names such as: Pepper Messiah, Gyro of the Day, Pie of the Beholder, To Live is To Stir Fry and Master of Nuggets. Each recipe is illustrated with funny cartoons that imagine the bandmembers cooking and eating tofu, seitan and nutritional yeast. Each cartoon is also a pun with speech bubbles whose dialogue heighten the sight gags and reference song lyrics in new contexts. Kirk Hammett tells us to “Choose our plate and die” as we prepare The Four Coursemen. Lars Ulrich looks disparagingly at a pot of broth and whines that it’s a “little stock”. James Hetfield is drawn wearing an ever-changing wardrobe of kitchy aprons with puns. The bassists change corresponding to whomever played on the album from which the recipe hails. Cliff Burton instructs readers on how to make Trapped Under Ice Kreem. Jason Newstead munches the Blackened Tofu.  Robert Trujillo enjoys an All Nightmare Footlong. Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Torben Ulrich, Phil Towle and for some reason, Cher, all make appearances as well. Each page makes readers laugh, hum, connect, remember and cook while headbanging. 

Microcosm Press is a small, independent publisher that like Metallica, is dedicated to pushing the limits of art and experimenting with unexpected ways of experiencing beloved favorites. This book is part of a larger vegan cookbook series that includes: Defensive Eating with Morrissey, Comfort Eating with Nick Cave, and Hey! Ho! Let’s Dough: Vegan Pizza Recipes with the Ramones

So far, I have made the two tempeh dishes: Phantom Gourd and the Baked Ends of Sanity, which pair together nicely. Both dishes were delicious. I added spinach and leeks to Phantom Gourd. Chestnuts would have also been nice. I added cashews, shaved brussels, carrots and leeks to the Baked Ends of Sanity. Both recipes are open to endless iterations and additions that would honor the great groundbreaking creativity of Metallica itself and provide healthy, satisfying meals. 

This book would make an excellent gift for any hardcore Metallica fan or any aspiring or expert cook. This book could also be used in a variety of pop culture, music, communication, illustration and nutrition classes. 

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