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May 2005
Cooking With the Ramones

Recipes by Joshua Ploeg


According to the experts, the late, inimitable Joey Ramone’s birthday is on May 19th. In honor of this, I thought it would be fun to make a few recipes using the foods mentioned in the songs of this influential punk band.

I’m sure some of you have good memories from Ramones’ shows and songs—they meant something particular to a lot of us. I remember sitting outside a theater in Portland while they played. Back then I didn’t have any money and was too lazy to sneak in, so a group of us sat on the curb, listened to the show and enjoyed snacks we purloined from a pastry dumpster. A troupe of drunk crusty punks—marshaled by a friend of mine who had been kicked out of the show for running on stage and crowd surfing—were repeatedly trying to rush up a flight of stairs, past the bouncers to get into the show. They ran all at once figuring their sheer number and alcohol-fueled desire would get them past the huge security guys. It was all for naught—other than our amusement—as the bouncers simply pushed them back down the steps. It was relentlessly delicious. As the Human League would say, it was “Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee good times”!

Farina (“Every Time I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think of You”) with Bananas (“Havana Affair”)
In the song, the girl eats her Farina with thorazine in it. This sounds like a bad idea—in spite of the fact that I did make a stew with tea tree oil (it was too strong!), and I hear rumors of such questionable cuisine as cough syrup-filled donuts. In this case, I have substituted bananas for thorazine. Since the Ramones were so fond of Cuba, I gave this recipe a tropical flair.

1/3 C. Cream of Wheat
1 1⁄2 C. Vegan Milk of choice
1⁄2 C. Coconut Milk
1⁄4 C. Brown Sugar
1⁄4 t. Salt
1/3 C. Dried Pineapple, chopped
1⁄4 C. Golden Raisins
Ground Ginger, a pinch
Ground Cardamom, a pinch
1 t. Margarine
1 Banana, sliced
Lime Juice to taste
Optional: Sliced strawberries or kiwi fruit

1. Cook cream of wheat with vegan milk, coconut milk, salt, sugar, spices and dried fruit for several minutes until thickened. Stir in margarine and sprinkle with lime juice.

2. Serve in bowls with sliced bananas and fruit, real maple syrup on the side if it needs sweetener. Toasted coconut can also be added.

Refried Beans (“We’re a Happy Family”)
The Ramones provided an ideal blueprint for a lot of us who have played in punk and hardcore bands over the last 20-odd years. Simple enough songs with tunes that were meaningful and easy to remember, short live sets, high volume and keeping the rock star banter between song breaks to a minimum.

If you are punk you’re probably easily bored—this recipe is about as unadorned as I get. But the combination of liquid smoke and shortening creates a taste that will be appreciated by those vegans and vegetarians out there who might miss a little lard in their beans.

2 C. Pinto Beans
1 1⁄2 t. Chili Powder
3 T. Shortening
1⁄4 t. Liquid Smoke
3 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 Onion, minced or ground
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Lime Juice
Hot Sauce

1. Soak beans in 6 C. of water overnight.

2. Change the water and simmer the beans for 1 1⁄2 hours, until soft.

3. Sauté onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a few T. olive oil in a large skillet for several minutes. Set aside.

4. When the beans are done, drain them, reserving 1 C. of the bean liquid. Mash the beans with reserved bean liquid, chili powder, black pepper, liquid smoke, shortening, salt to taste and some olive oil.

5. Bring the skillet back to medium heat with the onions and garlic in it and incorporate the bean mixture into this and fry until it begins to develop a bit of a crust in places. This will take around 10 minutes. Add more bean liquid or shortening if you need to.

6. Add lime juice, hot sauce and more salt to taste.

Serve with green salsa and extra-thick tortilla chips.

Vegan “Chicken” Vindaloo (“I Just Want To Have Something To Do”)
This is the most useful and pleasing of their culinary lyrical moments.

Vindaloo Paste
1 t. Cumin Seed
1⁄2 t. Cardamom Seeds
Cinnamon Stick, an inch or two
1⁄4 t. Cloves
1⁄2 t. Black Mustard Seed
1⁄2 t. Fenugreek
1 t. Chili Powder
1⁄2 t. Salt
2 Dried Hot Chilies
1 Bay Leaf
1 t. Vinegar
1 T. Lemon Juice
2 T. Onion, grated
1⁄4 C. Water (more if necessary)
2 T. Oil

1. Toast the dry ingredients briefly in a dry pan.

2. Grind them until fine. Mix with the other ingredients to form a paste. Set aside.

1 lb. Vegan “Chicken,” chopped
1 or 2 Potatoes, diced
1 Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 T. Ginger, minced
1 t. Turmeric, ground
1 t. Coriander Berries, crushed
1 Fresh Hot Pepper, minced
1 Red Bell Pepper, minced
1 C. Tomato Sauce
1 or 2 T. Tamarind Paste
1⁄4 C. Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
A few T. Olive Oil
Hot Sauce to taste

1. Fry the potatoes with salt and pepper in some olive oil until browned. Set aside.

2. Fry the onions, ginger and garlic briefly in olive oil.

3. Add vegan chicken, salt and pepper to taste, turmeric and coriander and fry until browned.

4. Add minced peppers and vindaloo paste and stir, cooking for a few minutes. Add the potatoes.

5. Mix brown sugar, tamarind and lemon juice into the tomato sauce and add this to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, adding water or broth to thin it out if necessary, and additional hot sauce or salt to taste.

Serve with rice.

I hope everyone had fun this month, I know I did! Be sure to come back next month for another installment because “I Want You Around.”

Until next time…
Joshua is a Punk Rocker

Recipe of the month and occasional diatribe: Contact Joshua at His cookbooks are available at


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