Crotchety genius Steve Albini* has a food blog. It's called Mario Batali Voice. Why? As Albini explains it on the blog: “This is what I made Heather for dinner. The name comes from the way I bring her food in bed and present it to her using an imitation of Mario Batali's voice from TV. When she posted pictures of her dinner on her Facebook I would write a little description and conclude it with the tag (/mariobatalivoice).” (“Heather” is his wife, Heather Whinna.)

Albini proves he's not only a gifted musician and record producer, he's also a good food writer — though his mom thinks he's getting a little too precious with it. (Talk about a triple-threat.) Although Albini says he only owns two skillets: a “steel line cook's item I bought at a restaurant supply shop 20 years ago” and an iron skillet, he has an adventurous palate and an appetite for describing his culinary attempts. In most posts, he recounts with his laconic, dry wit what he makes for dinner and how he makes it.

Describing a venison and pasta dish, Albini writes:

My dad Frank Addison Albini was a terrific shot with a rifle and had generally excellent hunting skills. While my dad loved hunting and fishing, he didn't romanticize them. He was filling the freezer, not intellectualizing some caveman impulse or proving his worth as a real man. He spent considerable time working on the accuracy of his weapons and hand-loaded rounds for specific game and conditions, because he considered taking an animal with more than one shot needlessly cruel. Everyone he hunted with aspired to his ability. In large part I owe my adventurous palate to my dad shooting so many different things.

Albini ends up using a dry mix of espresso, sumac, salt and pepper developed by Tim Midyette and says, “it works magic.”

In other posts, Albini cooks pan-roasted pineapple in prosciutto with li hing and Uumeboshi (mom might be right about that one), asparagus in perilla with pork rillettes, three-minute gazpacho and agnolotti with leeks.

*Albini has played in the bands Big Black and Shellac. He has also produced tons of acts including Nirvana, PJ Harvey, The Pixies, Robert Plant, The Stooges, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Jesus Lizard, Jarvis Cocker, Helmet, Mogwai, The Wedding Present, Joanna Newsom, Jawbreaker, Superchunk, Low, Dirty Three, Cheap Trick and Slint.

Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at

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