Think all vegans are virtuous types? Check out expletive-ridden food blog Thug Kitchen...

The blog with a penchant for profanity has a cult following even among dedicated carnivores

It's as if  Samuel L Jackson went on a health kick and started a Tumblr. Thug Kitchen is a food blog with a penchant for profanity (motto: "Eat like you give a f**k") and healthful vegan dishes. And since the blog started last September, vegans and non-vegans alike seem to be eating it up. In April, Gwyneth Paltrow name-dropped the blog on an episode of The Rachael Ray Show on American TV.

Mystery is apparently one of the most-used ingredients in Thug Kitchen. The LA-based bloggers insist on anonymity, agreeing to be interviewed only via email. Despite the blog's first-person voice, they tell me, "there are multiple cooks in the kitchen". They are all vegan, with the exception of one omnivore, who eats "mostly vegan".

Thug Kitchen may be the latest iteration of the vegan-food blog that's militant, but not in a "meat is murder" way. It's in your face – they take broccoli more seriously than your mum probably ever did – but it's also just plain funny. Other vegan-food blogs, such as Post Punk Kitchen and Vegan Black Metal Chef, have used some combination of humour, charm and counter-culture and fared similarly in attracting a wider (read: not necessarily vegan) audience. But part of Thug Kitchen's street cred can no doubt be attributed to veganism's growing popularity as high-end restaurants cater to vegetarian palates, and prominent devotees, such as the former US president Bill Clinton, espouse the health benefits of a diet devoid of animal products.

If you're late to the party, Thug Kitchen is here – as they say in the blog's FAQ – "to drop some knowledge on your ass". The recipes may come with a side of shtick, but the bloggers say the message is simple.

"Yeah, the food we cook is vegan, but we really just want people to eat some more f**king vegetables," the bloggers say. "It isn't more complicated than that."

A decade ago, it may indeed have been more complicated. "The internet opened up so many more avenues for vegans," say Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who gained a following of vegans and punk-music fans when she launched her show Post Punk Kitchen on Brooklyn public-access television in 2003.

At the time, Moskowitz had already started sharing vegan recipes on her website. She said she aimed to show that being vegan didn't have to be "dreary and tedious", an ethos that was less than mainstream at the time.

"A lot of [information on veganism] was very stoic and depressing, and it was outdated," she says. "I just wanted to do something that was fun."

Her site has grown, along with what could be called an empire of branded merchandise and vegan cookbooks, the latest of which, Isa Does It, will be released in October. In a nod to the internet days of yore, the Post Punk Kitchen site hosts a forum, on which a user playfully mentioned Thug Kitchen in April: "I've been enjoying the shiitake out of this blog, recently, bisques."

Thug Kitchen, too, has misconceptions to clear up. "You don't need to have a disposable income to eat well," the bloggers say. That's reflected in their recipes, which are also sprinkled with colourful language. Their Spiked Citrus Iced Tea recipe calls for maple syrup but concedes, "this shit can be expensive so feel free to replace it with agave or honey".

Jess Sconé, blogger and a co-founder of Vida Vegan Con, a conference geared towards vegan bloggers, says veganism's move into the mainstream, coupled with the growth of social media, has allowed bloggers to get more creative and reach a wider audience.

"I saw vegan mozzarella on MasterChef a few weeks ago, and it wasn't even a big deal," says Sconé, who also cultivates an air of mystery by using a pen name and refusing to divulge her real one. She attracts non-vegetarians to her own blog, Get Sconed!, with cocktail recipes that are vegan, using, say, coconut milk in her take on a White Russian.

Thug Kitchen bloggers, also known to whip up a cocktail or two, hail from a generation more likely to get a recipe from Pinterest than from Grandma's recipe book. The blog's Twitter account has more than 30,000 followers, and its Facebook page displays more than 300,000 likes. Recipes are announced like memes: bright, enticing photos of dishes with words emblazoned on top. "How about a nice tall glass of chill the f**k out?" screams the text imposed over a Blackberry Bourbon Fizz cocktail recipe.

That Thug Kitchen's recipes resonate with those outside the vegan community isn't surprising to Brian Manowitz, the Vegan Black Metal Chef, who gave veganism an edge when he started appearing in YouTube videos in full armour while using swords and daggers to chop ingredients.

Manowitz points to his own carnivorous fans, often drawn in by a shared love of metal. Some, he says, take a "pry the meat from my cold, dead hands" approach to food but say they really like his recipes.

"That's both humbling and awesome," Manowitz says. "It's good in the sense that that's the real goal, to get people interested."

The bloggers behind Thug Kitchen (named Best New Blog for 2013 by America's Saveur magazine) say a profanity-laced cookbook is in the works. They've also turned their attention to upgrading their site, catering specifically to readers who don't seem to mind the bloggers' anonymity. Fans have even playfully suggested potential narrators for the blog. Names that have come up, in addition to Samuel L Jackson: Betty White, wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul.

"Thug Kitchen started as a couple of jokes and healthy recipes, but it's evolving into a community of people who are ready to take control over what they cook and eat," the bloggers say.

A version of this article appeared in 'The Washington Post'

Roasted chickpea & broccoli burrito

Makes 6-8

3 cups of cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained)
1 large onion
1 red bell pepper
1 large crown of broccoli
4 cloves of garlic
1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Half a teaspoon ground coriander or more cumin if you don't want to go to the shop
Black pepper or cayenne pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 220C (gas mark 7). Chop the onion, bell pepper and broccoli so the pieces are about the size of a chickpea. Chop the garlic real small but save that shit until later.

Place the chopped-up veg in a bowl with the cooked chickpeas. Pour in the oil and soy sauce, stir, then throw all the spices in. Mix until all the vegetables and shit are covered.

Put all of that on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven, don't f**king burn yourself, add the garlic, and bake for another 15 minutes. The broccoli will look a little burnt at this point but that is the plan so chill the f**k out and take it out of the oven.

 Squeeze the juice of half of the lime over the pan and stir the roasted chickpeas and veggies all around. Taste some and see if it needs more spices or anything.

Now make a f**king burrito. I like mine with spinach, avocado, cilantro, and some fire-roasted salsa, but you do your thing.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks