Beyonce’s Cookbook: Would You Buy It?

Beyonce’s Cookbook: Would You Buy It?

Caught this across my desk:

Beyonce Knowles plans to publish a soul food cookbook, a source told the Daily Mirror. The singer was inspired by her mother, who prepares a spread of collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken no matter where in the world they were.

Beyonce’s other inspiration is none other than fellow recent cookbook author Gwyneth Paltrow. The two friends have spoken and Paltrow has been encouraging.

The only problem is that Beyonce has previously admitted that she isn’t such a great cook, and that she doesn’t really enjoy it. In fact, Beyonce says she’s a disaster in the kitchen.

My personal thoughts? I think back to a few months ago, when the original creator of the Kwanzaa Cake – yes, the Kwanzaa Cake – surfaced to tell the tale of how she wound up writing her recipes… including the most famous recipe… ever. Remember this?

One night in my office, at least 10 years ago, my phone rang. I answered it. If only I had noticed that my dogs started to howl and blood mysteriously started seeping from the walls. Alas, I did not. So excited to close the sale, I made an appointment with a personal assistant to meet “the next Martha Stewart, only bigger.” I was happy to think about this latest project that would help feed my assistants.

It turned out that the premise of this cookbook would be “delicious desserts with nothing made from scratch.” This book would be the second in a series. The first book was almost done, but apparently the writer, food stylist and recipe tester from that first book had all gone sailing in the Bermuda Triangle to celebrate and had disappeared. The books were being self-published by Ms. Lee, unless she could find a publisher, ASAP. She really, really wanted a publishing partner.

I ‘m not sure if it was because my head was spinning 360 degrees and my retinas had become burned by some horrible smoke that seemed to fill the room whenever she moved, but I wasn’t grasping the concept. “No fresh food. Just canned food. Nothing fresh, do you understand me? All food out of cans or boxes, so it’s easy for the homemaker …and write the brand name of the cans or boxes right in the recipe.”

I assumed it was the ten years of smoking dope in my formative years that was making me stupid. Then I thought, okay, this is another slant on The Cake Mix Doctor, by Anne Byrn. A book that had been wildly successful. I can do this.

Before you say a word, let me say one more thing in my defense.

I have people that depend on me for their livelihood. Assistants, designers, photographers, and especially my American Express Platinum card. I sign the checks, so I have to bring in the money. To make my small business work, I took the job. First time I ever signed a contract. Of all the truly big stars and real celebrities I’ve worked with, it was always just a handshake and my reputation for getting the job done that created the deal. To put it simply, I deliver what I say I will.

Ms. Lee insisted on a contract. Her attorney at the time also sold Mexican art.

Please, I can’t make this sh-t up.

F-ck me; of course I should have seen the writing on the wall.

Thirteen months past and after exactly 151 recipes, I tried to fake my death.

Ms. Lee called and though we were done with the book, she needed at least ten extra angel food cakes for “fun” sugary holiday times to sell to a magazine. Just a reader’s note, it wasn’t Gourmet, but the magazine I designed those “adorable cakes” for is still in business.

Read it and weep.

Please ask yourself, what would you have done in my place? See how that Kwanzaa cake is looking better from my perspective? I will tell you truly, the candles were her idea.

I guess I imagined something more refined. And I know the Corn Nuts were disgusting, but she didn’t. As a matter of fact, the more tasteless the recipes got the more she liked them, the faster she approved them, and I could get home and drink some medium-priced wine after our meetings. She’s not a good role model for abstinence.

Get it?

The last words I’ll speak, before I board my plane and go to a land where nobody knows Sandra Lee, is that I had to fill the cavity of the Chanukah cake with marshmallows so it wouldn’t collapse under all that frosting, and so that much-discussed pearl Star of David “crown” wouldn’t topple. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’ve never watched any of the videos on YouTube. My priest says, “Never call the devil.”

And to think, Anthony Bourdain was afraid of her. Crap, he was never even close.

In the event that you decided to skip that – which would be totally okay – here’s the overall point that needed to be made:

Very rarely do the people who “headline” the cookbooks actually write the recipes. If anything, she’ll say “Oooh, I want this kind of recipe” or “make sure there’s a [insert favorite dish] recipe in there, too” but the idea of her putting it all together for real on her own in a kitchen? It doesn’t go down like that.

So, don’t worry – it’s highly unlikely that you’d wind up buying a book full of Beyonce’s hamburger helper recipes.

By | 2017-06-10T11:21:36+00:00 January 1st, 2015|Celeb Watch|29 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.


  1. TesiaLoveFlavor July 28, 2011 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    Hi, Beyonce writing a soul/southern food cookbook doesn’t appeal to me because given that she’s “big-boned”, yet remains slim, lets me know that she’s really not eating that kind of food often. I’m much more interested in what she eats on a regular basis and knowing her fitness routine.

    • Kjen July 29, 2011 at 4:45 PM - Reply

      Agreed. I’d buy a Beyonce fitness and weight loss book before her cook book.

  2. Melania July 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    I would buy it. I love cookbooks and the Bey brand is so solid, I’m sure it would be a quality, relatable product. P.S. I’ll be buying your meal plans as well, they look fabulous!

  3. Amanda July 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM - Reply

    “The singer was inspired by her mother, who prepares a spread of collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken no matter where in the world they were.

    Excerpted from Beyonce’s Cookbook: Would You Buy It? | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss ”

    Oh well, that’s not obnoxious at all.

    Really? Would it kill you to eat Japanese food in Japan, real Thai food in Thailand, real Turkish food in Turkey? I’m not saying you have to eat *everything* they eat but I’d feel like an idiot, in Indonesia for a week and eating macaroni and cheese. I hope that’s just something cute she’s saying to sell the idea but knowing what we know of her mother’s conviction she does everything better than anyone else (including dress her daughter’s music group *shudder*) it’s probably true.

  4. sydney July 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM - Reply

    Oh, I remember that monstrosity known as the Kwanzaa cake. As someone who loves to bake, I didn’t think a cake could be insulting but alas, I was proven wrong. I understand what Sandra Lee is trying to do but the execution is a fail whale at best. Plus, she can’t top Martha. That woman has an Empire to run and no one is going to dethrone the Queen anytime soon.

    Meh, there are so many good cookbooks on the market. Unless, she can top Terry Bryant, G. Garvin, or Patti LaBelle, I won’t bother.

  5. curious July 28, 2011 at 11:28 AM - Reply

    if you made a cook book erika, i’d buy it. i prefer cook books over the internet any day.

  6. Michelle of Chellbellz July 28, 2011 at 11:45 AM - Reply

    Please don’t remind us on the infamous K Cake again! Sandra Lee lost all my damn respect when she attempted to make that damn thing! It was so gross, and so tacky to me. Not even because it was Kwanza but because the holiday isn’t even known for having a “cake” it was done to me in poor taste just to use up air time.

    In regards to Beyonce bascially I think he mother should have come out with the cookbook. I think her mother is her own brand, and Beyonce has said before that she can cook a few things well, and that she isn’t constantly in the kitchen cooking up a storm like her mom was. So i don’t know that i buy into the fact that she made these things, or had anything to do with it.

  7. Serenity July 28, 2011 at 11:46 AM - Reply

    No. Beyonce doesn’t strike me a person that can cook. I know I’m sterotyping but that’s how I feel. And I already have my soulfood thing down packed. I’m assuming this will sell to white people who don’t know any better.

    I WOULD, however, buy/download/whatever a sewing book from Ms. Tina Knowles. She can sew her butt pads off!

  8. TLS July 28, 2011 at 1:09 PM - Reply

    No, I would not buy the cookbook. If you aren’t even a cook and have admittedly said you are a disaster in the kitchen you cannot sell me on your cookbook. It just seems to be more marketing and ramp up for her brand. As a fan, I don’t really see why she needs to or is doing this. Particularly since she is going with soul food instead of sharing recipes, food habits, and ideas that help keep in such fabulous shape.

  9. T.R. July 28, 2011 at 1:46 PM - Reply

    I have to agree with Sydney on this: The G Garvin cookbook is AWESOME and if you want a good, correction, GREAT/EXCELLENT soul food cookbook Patti’s is it hands down. I have not had one fail from that book. I used her pie crust recipe for the first time a month back along with her peach cobbler and EVERYONE loved it. Mind you it was the first time I’d made pie crust from scratch.

    As for Mrs. Carter’s cookbook, um even if a person doesn’t “write” the book per se, I at least like to know/think/or believe they’ve been around a kitchen to some degree and can or at least try and cook, which is why I stick to chefs, old school cooks and Martha “the Don” Stewart…LOL okay a B. Smith is good too. :O)

    So I will probably pass on this cookbook even though I LOVE to collect them and recipes.

  10. Gigi July 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM - Reply

    Ugh…soul food.

    I get it–it’s considered a vital part of African-American cuisine, but can we be a little more creative? This just seems like another “Down Home with the Neely’s”, where black folks are boxed into a culinary corner, and do nothing to address the unhealthy eating habits (and shopping habits) in our community. The Beyonce brand is powerful and influential, and if her cookbook addressed the stuff we see here, it would do a lot of good.

    • sydney July 28, 2011 at 6:39 PM - Reply

      @Gigi: Exactly. That’s why I like Bryant Terry (the correct version of his name). His book, the Vegan Soul Kitchen, is a fresh, healthy take on traditional foods from the African diaspora without the usual fattening suspects. If I remember correctly, the book addresses some of the issues you mention in your post. We don’t need another mac n’ cheese recipe. #PaulaDeen. Just saying…

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