People have been imbibing brewskies since the beginning of time, it seems. "The Golden Rock Star," as John Schlimm calls it, is said to be the world's oldest and most popular alcoholic beverage. And what better to enhance a beer buzz than beer-infused food? Schlimm is the author of The Ultimate Beer Lover's Cookbook, which features more than 400 food and drink recipes -- from appetizers to desserts to a party drink guide -- all including beer.
Schlimm, who'll be Harrah's Tunica for booksigning on Saturday at 5 p.m., recently spoke with the Flyer. Among other things, he says it's ok to have beer all day, starting with breakfast.
Flyer: What inspired you to write a beer cookbook?
Schlimm: A lot of it has to do with my family heritage. My great-great grandfather, Peter Straub, founded the Straub Brewery in the 1870s, and I grew up in a beer culture. Today, my family still owns and operates the brewery, but I don't work there. I don't think my cousins would want me on the assembly line. I imagine it would be like that scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel are working the assembly line at a candy factory -- it could be disastrous! They let me do the writing, and they do the brewing. I also love good food, and some of the best food is made with beer.
How did you compile the recipes?
The cookbook has been in evolution for over 10 years. Every time I came across a recipe from friends or relatives, I would add it to the archives. I picked them up from anywhere and everywhere. Its very comprehensive and is the largest beer cookbook ever published.
What are some of your favorite recipes from the cookbook?
I have become attached to each of the recipes, so that's like asking a parent to say who their favorite child is. A few stand out, though: the blazing hot wing sauce, the scrambled eggs with beer, and the double chocolate cake.
Did you find any odd or surprising recipes?
The "squirrel dinner for two" recipe has gotten a lot of attention. There's a whole chapter on wild game, including bear steak and elk recipes; therein lies the interesting stuff. And there are some drinks that you light on fire. You drink them after the flame goes out, of course.
What are some things you learned about beer while writing the book?
Ancient Egyptian pyramid builders were paid with beer and buried with beer--one for the road, you might say. It has been said that the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock because the beer supply was low, and that Noah served beer on the Ark. And the whole concept of "beer belly"--beer has long been accused of that crime--may be a myth.
Is there anything else you would like to add? The presidential candidates have used beer as the ultimate photo-op. It's not about kissing babies. It's about knocking back a beer with local patrons at a local bar. Hillary has been seen taking a whiskey shot and then washing it down with a beer. Obama has been seen sipping a Yuengling, and John McCain is married to one of the wealthiest beer heiresses. Beer will come out the winner! It will be in the White House one way or another.
--by Shara Clark