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Biker Billy Cooks with Fire - A Review

Bill Hufnagle, a.k.a. Biker Billy, has managed to combine his love of motorcycles with his love of cooking to produce a unique cookbook that almost defies description.

Billy's motto is "Eat Hot, Ride Safe, and Cook with Fire."

Billy's live stage show has been seen on numerous National TV programs, Billy's own cable TV show, and at most major motorcycle rallies. Billy is definitely a showman with a hot pepper fetish. His cookbook contains almost no recipe that does not contain hot peppers, even the desserts.

The book is divided into the usual cooking sections with Billy's own slant. His sections are:

    Appetizers, Salsas and Dips, Condiments and Sauces, Breakfast and Brunch, Lunch, Soups, Pasta, Big Bikes: Main Dishes, Sidecars: Side Dishes, Biker Breads, The Ride's End: Desserts

He interweaves stories about bikers including old-time period black-and-white biker photographs together with direct comparisons between motorcycles and food. An example excerpt is:

    "I am always amazed at the wonders that can be produced from flour and water. Add a little oil, salt, and maybe some eggs – ALRIGHT, it's pasta. From extra-thin vermicelli to the richest stuffed shells, there is something for everyone. You could say that pasta is the V-twin engine of the food world. Compare America's Harley V-twin and Italy's Ducati V-twin; the two engines are similar but also very different. Even the multiple ways they function can be compared. Harley, Moto Guzzi, and Ducati all use V-twins, but each differently. Pasta can be everything from the foundation that wears a sauce, to the wrapper for a filling, to just another ingredient in a casserole."

His central ingredient is the hot pepper. He even categorizes the strength of the various hot peppers in Scoville units. The anaheim hot pepper is considered mild with a rating of less than 2500 Scoville units. On the other end of the spectrum is the habanero hot pepper, which he classifies as atomic with a rating of as much as 300,000 Scoville units.

Some of his more noteworthy recipes are "Kiss of the Devil Cocoa" that uses habanero peppers, "Drop-Dead Cornbread," and "Ballistic Bananas." This latter dessert uses only 3 tablespoons unsalted butter; 1 fresh habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded, and halved; and 4 ripe bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise. Billy's comment about this recipe is: "Just add this to your next banana split and watch your tongue burn rubber to get to the ice cream." Billy does know how to turn a phrase.

You will enjoy Biker Billy Cooks with Fire. You'll be entertained by Billy's biker stories and maybe gain a better understanding of the biker world. Billy is a self-taught cook but he believes strongly that all motorcycle riders should be professionally trained by organizations such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Further, he urges motorcyclists to support the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and other groups working toward supporting the rights of riders.

If you haven't had a chance to catch Billy's show around the country, buy this book and try out some of his recipes for yourself. In Billy's own and often stated words: "ALRIGHT!"

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