Joshua Weissman’s number-one bestselling An Unapologetic Cookbook is misnamed. You won’t catch the potty-mouthed, long- haired chef saying sorry for making a mild ethnic slur against Italians or a penis joke, but in a philosophical sense, apologetics is exactly what he’s doing: he champions the joys of home cooking to an uninitiated audience.

Weissman’s unlikely following is made up of the type of guys who consume a lot of quasi-educational content on YouTube and Wikipedia. They won’t buy the latest Barefoot Contessa volume, but they are curious about how things are made, whether it’s bridges or Big...

Joshua Weissman’s number-one bestselling An Unapologetic Cookbook is misnamed. You won’t catch the potty-mouthed, long- haired chef saying sorry for making a mild ethnic slur against Italians or a penis joke, but in a philosophical sense, apologetics is exactly what he’s doing: he champions the joys of home cooking to an uninitiated audience.

Weissman’s unlikely following is made up of the type of guys who consume a lot of quasi-educational content on YouTube and Wikipedia. They won’t buy the latest Barefoot Contessa volume, but they are curious about how things are made, whether it’s bridges or Big Macs. In his popular video series on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Weissman seeks to convince his viewers they can make middle-American staples cheaper, faster, or better than the highly processed originals.

My fiancé is a Weissman fan. He owns a copy of An Unapologetic Cookbook, and on a recent visit to San Antonio, Texas — his current and my future home — I flipped through its pages. “There are no rules,” Weissman writes, on a page with a photo of him making a lewd gesture with one hand and an even lewder one involving a baguette with the other. Like the titular “apologies,” the “rules” he refers to seem mostly to involve politesse, because a book of recipes, especially one aimed at beginners, is naturally full of rules. Introductory entries include basic directions for quick pickles, pancake mix and sourdough starter, all of which rely on basic chemistry.

I tried Weissman’s take on the Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, a breakfast special at the Texas fast-food chain, in honor of the Texas vs. Oklahoma game. I ran up against difficulties almost immediately (though not as many as Oklahoma’s football team!). My fiancé has only one mixing bowl, which we needed to marinate the chicken, so I mixed the buttermilk biscuit dough in his rice cooker. Other tools called for in the recipe that he — like most unmarried men, I imagine — does not possess: a food processor, a stand mixer, a rolling pin, a biscuit cutter. The recipe advises making butter from scratch and using two types of honey. What dude has all this stuff? I doubt Weissman’s followers can keep up.

Other than that, the recipe is hard to argue with. Marinated, fried chicken in fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits with a sweet butter sauce: it tastes great! The real test: is it better than the original? Before this experiment, I’d never had the famous breakfast biscuit. Tried side-by-side, the homemade version simply tastes more like food, with distinct textures and flavors for each component, none of which resemble corn syrup. This is Weissman’s project in a nutshell: your food doesn’t have to be healthy, but it should taste like the best version of itself. And with a little elbow grease and a lot of supplies, you can make it happen.

Fortunately, I now know exactly what to get my fiancé for Christmas: an extra mixing bowl or two, and maybe, if he’s lucky, a rolling pin.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s December 2022 World edition.