Kix Brooks Hopes to Make Cooking Fun New Cookbook
There are few things Kix Brooks hasn't accomplished.
One-half of the best selling duo in country music history with Brooks & Dunn, Brooks is also a respected radio host with his nightly show Kickin' it With Kix and has been named CMA National Broadcast Personality of the Year for American Country Countdown. He also co-owns Nashville winery Arrington Vineyards and has been featured on the Cooking Channel series Steak Out With Kix Brooks. So, it comes as no surprise that the renaissance man has added a new venture to his long resume: cookbook writer.
"My motto of course is, 'I've never done that, but I'm sure I'll be good at it,'" Brooks says with a laugh at a recent press event at the Standard in Nashville.
As the singer explains, he originally had plans to write an autobiography, and as he read back the stories he was sharing, the ones that mattered most to him were of spending time with his father and grandfather as a kid, which often included fishing and walking through his grandfather's garden.
"I grew up in a really colorful, rich culture that revolved around not just eating or cooking but the adventure of gathering," Brooks says with a smile. "I think it's a part of the whole thing that a lot of people unfortunately miss but it's never too late. [This] is a book that really celebrates the fun of cooking."
Cookin' It with Kix: The Art of Celebrating and the Fun of Outdoor Cooking includes over 100 recipes taste-tested and approved by Brooks himself, as well as stories about his life growing up in Louisiana. He says he hopes readers try out each recipe and are able to make their own personal cookbook with his suggestions and tips given within the book's 200-plus pages.
The singer's childhood often included going fishing to help his father prepare dinner and then learning how to boil or fry the fish outside in his backyard afterward.
"I've been huntin', fishin' and lovin' every day and cookin'," he adds with a chuckle. "I blame it on Louisiana. I was raised with a boat house in my backyard. There's a huge fish cooker that you can put two huge pots on that always had water and wine and grease in the other so you could be boiling something or frying something. This whole history of growing up came back to me."
Brooks swears by the guacamole recipe (delicious with a little bit of a kick!), which came from ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Brooks & Dunn toured with ZZ Top for a year, and he remembers frequently going to the store with Gibbons and learning how to pick the best avocado for their Saturday Mexican dinners.
"I still have that knowledge. It's real handy," he admits.
Brooks also highly recommends the sangria recipe and his favorite, red beans and rice, which he perfected over a year of taste testing the dish every Monday night at a different establishment while living in New Orleans.
Fans of Brooks & Dunn will surely be picking up a cookbook for themselves, so we had to ask Brooks what the ideal music is to pair a night of cooking with.
"I would play Brooks & Dunn with everything," Brooks says (the room erupted in laughter). "I remember, of course Ronnie and I didn't know each other from Adam when we started making music, we just met out of the blue. He actually had us over his house, me and Barb [his wife] and probably our manager was there, at this little cabin Johnny Cash had loaned him when he first moved here. He cooked steaks and they were really good. I thought, 'Okay, he's a real guy. He does know how to cook a good steak. We're all right. This is gonna work just fine.'"
One song that always comes to mind when looking back at his childhood and cooking with his family, Brooks says, is "Red Dirt Road."
"It's probably the heart of both of us. I have stories about my grandfather a lot in here and that song was written about [how] he was living in El Dorado when he was in high school, which is southern Arkansas just above where I was in north Louisiana," he explains. "We got to talking one day about those red dirt roads. My grandfather and I, I can remember bouncing down those roads in his old truck going fishing or going to look at some timber he had. I really do associate those times and that part of the world and that song in particular to a lot of the stories and the attitude and the food that wound up in those stories in this book."
Cookin' It With Kix: The Art of Celebrating and the Fun of Outdoor Cooking is available everywhere Aug. 30.
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