Monday, December 15, 2014

Miles on Monday: Cookin' with Miles Davis

For this week's edition of Miles on Monday, we bring you a brief look at Miles Davis as chef.

As the story goes, Davis taught himself to cook by consulting various cookbooks and trying recipes he found in magazines, and compiled his favorites for future reference. “He had a little cookbook about the size of a phone book that you could hold in the palm of your hand. We’re still trying to find that,” his nephew Vince Wilburn told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2011.

While the cookbook has yet to be found, a couple of recipes purported to be Davis' made the rounds on the internet back in August, but given that they were both for chili, perhaps they weren't the most appropriate cuisine for the heat of summer.

Now that fall is about to turn into winter, though, perhaps you might might be interested in trying "Miles Davis' South Side Chicago Chili Mack," and a variant recipe for chili also attributed to Davis, as recounted by the website Open Culture.

One slight problem for the novice cook is that the recipes as originally recorded in Davis' autobiography and by his sister lack some specifics on the steps of preparation. Fortunately, a site called The Recipe Diva has broken down one of the recipes into sequential instructions (which presumably could be followed, making adjustments as needed, for the other).

Of course, in cooking as in music, there are few absolutes. You can start with some ingredients and a basic recipe, and add your own touches, techniques and flavors to suit. Whether you follow Miles' recipes to the letter, or decide to do some improvising, we do have a suggested soundtrack: the 1956 album Cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet, which you can play from the embedded video window below.

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