Bad Manners is not your grandma’s cookbook. It is an LA-based website and cookbook company chock full of amazing plant-based recipes exploding with flavor. The recipes have enough sass and profanity to make it feel like your friend is reading them to you over a glass of wine after a long day and she has zero filters left.
I was first introduced to Bad Manners under its former name, Thug Kitchen, about six years ago. Someone sent me a link to one of their recipes and I was laughing the whole time I was cooking. The end result tasted amazing. I immediately asked my parents for one of their cookbooks for Christmas. For some reason, my baptist pastor dad wasn’t interested in gifting me a profanity-ridden cookbook. Luckily, they have a website, podcast, and, of course, all the social media. Let me give an example of some instructions from my new favorite recipe, Hippie TLTA Sammie:
“No need to f***ing measure it out, just trust your 3rd grade teacher did an ok job with you and f***ing eyeball it.”
“Yeah, you have better read this sh** all the way through before you started cooking hungry.”
“Once the tempeh is browned on both sides then you are ready to make a bada** sandwich.”
“It’s a f***ing sandwich. If you got this far in the recipe but fail at the assembling a sandwich part then we honestly don’t know what the f*** to say to you.”
The food is fun and creative, and the website is user-friendly. You can search by types of meals, or ingredients. So if someone just handed you a block of tofu and you have no clue what to do with it, just search for tofu recipes, and they’ve got you covered.
The creators of Bad Manners are also refreshingly self-aware. The company launched under the name “Thug Kitchen” to show their grit and make them stand out in an otherwise high-brow food scene. However, the term “thug” has become increasingly divisive, especially in an age of police violence against Black people and the protests that follow. Critics pointed out that a company started by two white people using a word that had become a racist dog whistle was, at best, cultural appropriation, and at worst, contributing to dehumanization of Black people. So like any decent company, they apologized and vowed to do better. Under the “Change” tab of their website is a full explanation including their commitment to change the titles of their cookbooks and website. They restate their commitment to inclusivity and empathy. They close the section by saying, “These changes are underway but will take a little while longer while we finish the work. We’re serious about being advocates for change and that starts with us.”
What a refreshing move. It’s a risky marketing move to change your entire name and brand based on current events, but this sounds like a discussion that developed over a sustained period of time. Bad Manners was willing to take that risk to continue to “widen the table in our country’s conversation around food and add more chairs.” In the aftermath of deaths of numerous Black people at the hands of police, while many companies released vague statements about Black Lives Matter, Bad Manners took a very firm stance. And they back that commitment up with a list of all of the nonprofits they support. At the end of their list, in the most on-brand way possible, they say, “Most importantly, register to vote. And then, ya know, f***ing vote.”
Check out all of their incredible recipes at www.badmanners.com. And as they say, eat like you give a f***.