Celebrity cookbooks are a well-worn staple of the industry: a way for famous folks to stretch different creative muscles and get a little taste (no pun intended) of the publishing world. But later this year, a giant of the restaurant world will join the ranks of celebrity chefs on a book shelf near you. Charles Entertainment “Chuck E.” Cheese — yes, the original Pizza Rat — will be releasing Chuck E. Cheese and Friends Party Cookbook. This is a book none of us asked for but all of us are deeply curious about.
The book, published by Weldon Owen publishing, is broken down into party themes — ranging from “Chuck E.’s Everyday Birthday Party” to “Jasper T. Jowls’ Howlin’ Hootenanny” (you know Jasper: he’s the hound dog bassist for Munch’s (now retired) Make Believe Band) — each with a slew of thematically appropriate nibbles and sips you and your mini-chefs can make at home.
While there are recipes for things like “Watermelon Agua Fresca,” cinnamon rolls, and “Cheesy Weenies” don’t worry: Chuck E. isn’t straying too far from his roots. Most of the recipes are pizza based. (Sadly, however, none of the recipes seem to capture the “children you don’t know sneezing directly into mouth” elements of the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant experience which... missed opportunity, that’s all I’ll say. Whomst among us wouldn’t go for a cocktail called “Ball Pit Mishap.”)
Chuck E. Cheese hosts half a million birthday parties a year, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to most of them. (It is also possible that at a certain point at one party, time warped the point that it felt like half a million parties.) Chuck E. Cheese and Friends Party Cookbook boasts “a party for every occasion,” pairing recipes with an assortment of games, jokes, links to video dance parties, and other activities “hosted” by favorite Chuck E. Cheese characters to bring the fun of Chuck E. Cheese into your own kitchen... minus that one dad who is absolutely getting other adults in his party to order his beer to get around the strictly enforced two-drink maximum. (Unless you’re that dad in which case: no judgment, sir, we get it.)
Jokes aside, it’s easy for adults to poke fun at this franchise, but that’s because we’re looking at it through our grown-up eyes. Chuck E. Cheese is where a kid can be a kid. It’s not for us. For kids that place is heaven... and kid heaven is chaotically overstimulating and runs on an arcade-ticket economy. (That was my last one, I promise.) The book, chock full of relatively simple, kid-friendly recipes is a great way to get your kid excited about learning their way around a kitchen and an excellent resource for parents who want an Instagrammable themed kids’ party without spending hours searching the internet for ideas. And seriously, tell me you don’t want to eat this Rainbow Marble Unicorn Cake. It looks kind of like the imaginary dinner the Lost Boys eat in Hook, which I’ve always wanted to eat, so I’m here for it.