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Home Cooking With Jakk Frost: Beards in The Kitchen.

November 13, 2013

JakkFrostFall2013small01Text and lower images by Christopher Malo. Top image by G.W. Miller III.

A rowhouse nestled on a small block in West Philadelphia may look nondescript but it is the home of Philly rapper Jakk Frost. Blending in less than the house is Frost’s SUV, or his 6-foot-3 frame and 300 pound physique as he lifts bags of ShopRite groceries from the back seat. Entering his home, the alarm system sounds and as the door closes, it is hard not to notice the five (yes, five) locks and the brace for a 2 by 4. There are enough fresh pairs of Nike sneakers at your feet that you feel like you may have to climb over a small mountain to get further inside. After taking off your own sneakers, of course.

Frost is known for many things. His rapping (creating anthems like “Philly Love”), his friends and associates (such as Freeway), his grooming preferences (Beards are in the building!) and forever repping the city that he was born in and loves.

What is lesser known is that Frost is a beast in the kitchen and has developed quite the palette. Over the years he has prepared meals for the likes of Philly rap vets Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Peedi Crakk and Malik B, as well as Brooklyn Boot Camp Clikkers Sean Price, Tek and Steele for his “Frost CookTV” series on YouTube.

“Food is a good way to give invitation to the religion and to yourself as a person. Period,” Frost explains about the significance of his Islamic faith and food. “When the prophet Muhammad was still alive, he said one of the best ways to spread Islam was to give a peaceful greeting and to feed the people.”

Frost is not the first to tap into the idea of community by breaking bread. Hosting dinners has not only furthered and deepend new and existing relationships but also affords him another angle, tied into the music he creates.

JakkFrostFall2013small04JakkFrostFall2013small05JakkFrostFall2013small03JakkFrostFall2013small02“For me,” Frost explains, “it gives me a chance to express myself through blogs without just saying, ‘Yo, I’m the realest nigga alive,’ and pulling out guns and money and jewelry trying to prove I’m so real.”

Between rapping, readying the early September release of The Beards in the Building album with his Beardgang Clikk (Frost, Freeway, Malik B, Tek, Reef the Lost Cauze, Tana Da Beast and Sean Price), running his studio, recording, engineering, mixing and running his Beardshirts T-shirt company, Frost wants to find time to return to doing new episodes of “Frost CookTV.”

“Maybe get on a small station and see where it takes me,” he says. “Have it where rappers come through the market on tour and want to go on ‘Frost CookTV.’ Where someone’s PR person would want to take them to do radio, TV, they’d also do ‘Frost CookTV.’”

He wants it to happen before someone steals the idea.

This evening’s menu is the quintessential Southern staple of fish and grits. He unfurls the white wrapping paper on top of the freezer containing the frozen leg of lamb inside from the animal he slaughtered himself. He reveals the night’s fish selection: whiting, flounder and catfish.

His philosophy when preparing food for his four children, wife, friends or ‘Frost CookTV’ is simple:

“If I can cook it, you can cook it,” he says  while flying around his kitchen, preparing the fish, readying an egg wash and preparing the base and seasoning bag with yellow corn meal, flour, Old Bay, Kosher salt, seasoning salt, cajun seasoning and garlic powder. “My rule is, once the seasoning changes the original color of the fish or meat, you know its seasoned properly.”

Filling a cast-iron skillet with oil, he offers a tip as he lays strips of fish in, causing the oil to spit and spatter.

“All pans claim the heat distribution is equal but it’s not,” Frost explains. “There’s always a hot spot on the frying pan. Always. You got to know your hot spot. If you don’t know your hot spot, you’re going to be standing there forever. Or you’ll be burning shit.”

Moving on to the side order, Frost put grits, salt, pepper, cheese and enough margarine to give someone a heart attack just by watching it go into a pot.

“You got to know what you’re good at,” Frost says. “If you don’t know how to bake shit, don’t fuck with that oven. If you don’t have a good concept of cause and effect, you won’t be able to cook. Cooking is basically understanding what is going to happen to your food when you season it and heat it.”

It’s the same thing with music, he adds.

“When you create something you have to understand what it turned into and why people like it,” he continues. “It’s the same thing with food. You have to know your audience.”

The difference between cooking and music is just as easy to explain.

“With music, you can make some bullshit, and if it’s presented right, everybody will like it,” Frost says with a laugh. “Only motherfucker that gonna like some bullshit that come out of the kitchen is someone who doesn’t know what good food taste like, or don’t care anyway. No matter how you present it, if it get out there that it’s bullshit, ain’t nobody coming back to your spot.”

Dinner is served.

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