Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!



BOOKS Joey Skladany entertains, instructs in 'Basic Bitchen'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 2341 times since Sun Jun 28, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

With Basic Bitchen, Joey Skladany has probably put together one of the most entertaining cookbooks one might come across.

With recipes for items such as Antidepressant Red Velvet Cake Pops and entertaining stories, Skladany aims to connect readers and cooks with the basic pleasures of life. Skladany talked about his book, Pride—and lightning.

Windy City Times: How is quarantine life going?

Joey Skladany:It's fine! I'm staying with my family and parents. I was in New York for a spell and I flew back to Florida a little more than two weeks ago, and I did the whole quarantine thing. Now I can re-emerge and be an everyday human!

WCT: I saw your Instagram photo with the quarantine hair.

JS: Yeah—that got out of control. [Laughs] It was interesting.

WCT: Let's talk about your book. First of all, how did you come up with the title and, for our readers, what's a "basic bitch?"

JS: [Laughs] Well, it's been in the vernacular for a while. Well, "basic" initially has a negative connotation—like if someone's devoid of culture and is into doing only what's comfortable. But I flipped the script a little on that, and "basic" is now a term of endearment. I am a very complex individual, but I like to challenge myself by traveling and doing different things, so being basic is kind of a respite for me. It embodies what is comfortable to me, to the point where I don't have to worry about anything. So these are go-to dishes that are simple and that really hit the spot. So "basic" is almost very contradictory to who I am as a person.

As for the name, I have a background in entertainment and TV; I started as a publicist. Then I worked for Food & Wine, and then Chowhound. I look at cookbooks almost every single day, as people want me to look at theirs. And I would look at some and say, "Hmmm … this isn't really grabbing my attention." So many were aspirational instead of inspirational. And in my mind, I thought, "I just need to get back to basics." And I came up with "Basic Bitchen," but I thought it had to be trademarked; I looked it up, and it wasn't. Then, I logged onto GoDaddy and said, "Done!" [Laughs]

I felt there was a void in the cookbook world. I wanted to put out something that was told through a lens of humor and self-deprecation; I really my writing reflects who I am as a person. People don't want to be preached to; they have so little time, and they want the items to taste good.

WCT: The book has something for everyone, from vegans to full-blown carnivores to low- and high-carb items. How did you decide what recipes went into the cookbook?

JS: Again, I wanted to cater to every single type of eater. And because being basic is so universal, I wanted to make sure the food was as well. But if you think about a typical "basic bitch," that person is usually health-conscious but they're also willing to go out and drink a lot at brunch, so I have drink recipes. And they also have a sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied.

I think the thing with being basic is that there's inclusivity—especially with me, as a gay man—and I would never want to put out a cookbook that ostracized a group of people because of a dietary restriction. I wanted this book to speak to everyone.

WCT: And part of the fun, for me, involves the names of some of these recipes. What, for example, is the story behind "I've Got My Shit Together" Strawberry Macarons?

JS: [Laughs] Yeah—that. Well, I've very type A and OCD. I'd like to think my shit together but, in actuality, we all don't. Macarons is probably the longest and most detailed recipe in the book, but here the measurements have to be precise. So if they come out right, the first thing I think is, "I've got my shit together." [Both laugh.]

WCT: Also, what about the "I'm So Artisanal!" Cobb Mason Jar Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing?

JS: Being a New Yorker, there are stereotypes about the artsy hipsters—and they pride in what they do, whether it's home-brewed beer or homemade kombucha. The term "artisanal," from a media perspective, has been synonymous with "Brooklyn-derived." It's, like, some people say, "I'm making my own ranch dressing. I'm so artisanal." It's about using an overused term—it's like "synergy," in the workplace.

WCT: Like the word "organic"…

JS: Yes. There are federal guidelines, but it stops at a certain point. I don't need organic Cheerios, you know? [The term] is definitely a marketing tool.

WCT: What was the toughest part of putting this book together?

JS: Oh, my gosh. I never second-guessed anything I put into the book, but because I'm so insanely type A, everything has to have a flow and a place—and I think that inhibited me in a lot of ways regarding the creative process. Also, the regimented schedule I use in my everyday life didn't always work in my favor when it came to the book, although it helped with deadlines and [the organization of] my thoughts. Then, I started a routine in which—every morning, for the first half-hour—I would bring my laptop into bed with me and just write, with a fresh mind; I just let it all flow and go back to see if anything made sense.

But when I'm in a zone and doing something creative like this… I was just craving an opportunity like this. It just felt so right.

WCT: With June being Pride Month, what does "pride" mean to you?

JS: It means complete and utter confidence in your own skin. As LGBTQ people, we grew up being so ostracized for our differences. Pride is about celebrating these amazing things that make us different, and using them for our advantage—not rejecting them. I always thought being labelled as gay would be detrimental to my career and life; it wasn't until my mid-20s when I was able to flip that script.

Being gay is a part of me and something I can use to my advantage—like surrounding myself with this amazing community of inspiring people. RuPaul said it best: "If you don't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?" It's important to achieve self-love and self-acceptance, and not giving a rat's ass what anybody else thinks because their opinions don't matter.

WCT: By the way, is it true you were once struck by lightning?

JS: Yes—well, indirectly. The summer before my freshman year in college, I was going out to get the mail and my dog was on a leash. Lightning struck the tree right next to me and the current traveled, and I felt the full zap in my feet. I was so disoriented, and I had sores on my feet as well as lacerations. Also, I had no saliva in my mouth, and my hair was on edge. I did go to the hospital.

WCT: And what about the dog?

JS: My poor little Yorkie was actually fine because he was on a patch of grass. But I jumped so high and quickly that his collar came up over his head, and he bolted, too—no pun intended. [Laughs] But it was so weird: There were no clouds and no thunder before it happened.

Basic Bitchen will be available Tuesday, Aug. 4. Pre-order the book at .

This article shared 2341 times since Sun Jun 28, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Jonathan Ned Katz talks new book, LGBTQ history, state of the world 2021-05-05
- Author, historian and activist Jonathan Ned Katz will come out with a new book, The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, on May 18. The biography is centered on the life of Adams, a Jewish lesbian immigrant, and also ...

Gay News

BOOKS Lambda Literary Awards to take place June 1 2021-05-03
- The 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards—which celebrates LGBTQ+ books and authors—will take place Tuesday, June 1, 6-8 p.m. Typically held in person in New York City, this year's Lammys will be presented virtually for the first ...

Gay News

1971: The Chicago Daughters of Bilitis 2021-05-03
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life - An excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life, a new book by St Sukie de la Croix. You can buy the book from, all good bookstores, and for a signed copy, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Master of None,' children's book, Kristen Stewart, expectant couple 2021-05-02
- Master of None is coming back—but this time, the series will focus on Lena Waithe's character, Denise, noted. Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix, starred Ansari for the first ...

Gay News

1970: The Police Murder of James Clay 2021-04-26
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life - " … One month after Finnie's Ball, a Chicago Defender headline read, 'Female Impersonator killed by cop in W. Side street brawl.' The Chicago Sun-Times headline read, 'Man slain fleeing police in bizarre W. Side clash.' ...

Gay News

'Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories' virtual talk on May 16 2021-04-22
- On Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. CT, Women and Children First will host the virtual panel discussion "Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories" on its Crowdcast Channel. Centering on the release of Diana Souhami's new book No Modernism ...

Gay News

Joan E. Biren aka JEB talks Portraits of Lesbians book journey and re-issue 2021-04-21
- In an era where lesbian visibility was almost non-existent, activist and photographer Joan E. Biren (or as she is also known, "JEB") self-financed and self-published a photography book called Eye To Eye: Portraits of Lesbians. Biren's ...

Gay News

Bechdel, Rannells among upcoming CHF guests 2021-04-21
- The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) announced its line-up of virtual programs with award-winning writers, scholars and cultural icons in late April and throughout May. Among LGBTQ participants/guests will be Fun ...

Gay News

BOOKS Chicago After Stonewall available May 11 2021-04-19
- Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life—a detailed account of how LGBTQ's in Carl Sandburg's "City of the Big Shoulders" responded to the Stonewall Riots—will be available May 11. This book pulls together jigsaw pieces ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock 2021-04-18
- Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...

Gay News

Trans, non-binary youth influencers launch book collection with "A Kids Book About" 2021-04-12
--From a press release - Chicago, IL - April 12, 2021 - While many teens took e-learning as an opportunity to level-up their gaming skills, a group of young people chose instead to write a collection of books about their lives. ...

Gay News

Windy City Times publishes book of historical newspaper covers 2021-04-14
- Windy City Times newspaper, founded in 1985, is publishing a limited-edition, four-color book featuring hundreds of covers from its own archives, plus covers from other LGBTQ Chicago media, including Outlines, BLACKlines, En La Vida, Identity and more ...

Gay News

The Amazon Trail, How to Write a Book 2021-04-10
- I'm not giving away any secrets here. Not saying it's simple or that anyone can do it if they send $25.00 to Post Office Box 1,2,3. Nope, it's a personal journey and every story has a story. Here's mine, about the ...

Gay News

Yvonne Zipter's historical novel 'Infraction' out June 1 2021-04-01
- The lesbian historical fiction work Infraction, by Chicagoan Yvonne Zipter, will be out June 1. The publisher is Rattling Good Yarns Press. Set in socially turbulent St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1875, the work follows Marya Zhukova, ...

Gay News

Chella Man talks media endeavors, the fashion world, upcoming book, AAPI visibility 2021-03-31
- The multi-talented 22-year-old, Deaf, genderqueer, transgender, Jewish, AAPI, artist and activist Chella Man has done more in his short life than most people achieve in their lifetimes. This includes a successful YouTube channel; TedX talk, modeling ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.