Amid the feeding frenzy of the noon hour at L.A. soul-food staple Roscoe's House of Chicken n Waffles, Mo'Nique is considering the revelation of this reporter's most closely guarded secret: a can't-miss recipe for chocolate Kahlua bundt cake. The orgy of artery-clogging ingredients would leave most Hollywood nymphets running to their trainer's doorstep, but the 220-pound comedienne -- who's just polished off a plate of chicken wings -- pauses for effect and slyly coos, ''Ooooh! I think you just made me tingle!''
And because she is a gracious, dignified lunch date, she returns with a culinary confidence all her own -- albeit one you'd never hear from Halle or Jada. ''Let me tell you about making pigs' feet,'' she begins. ''First, you boil some water. Then you add onions and vinegar. Throw the feet in there, and they BLOW UP. Now peel the meat AWAY from the foot, or just eat it straight off of the foot.'' She laughs wildly and whoops, ''It's the nastiest s--- under the sun! And it's actually very good.''
An actress who openly admits to a love affair with pigs' feet -- not to mention Fatburgers, rotisserie chicken, and duck à l'orange? Stop the presses, indeed. But then, there's nothing ordinary about Mo'Nique, star of UPN's urban comedy ''The Parkers'' (which remains one of the most watched shows among African-American viewers), potty-mouthed stand-up, and self-proclaimed ''biggest black bitch in America.'' The brassy Baltimore native is already making history as the first female host of ''Showtime at the Apollo.'' And thanks to her infamous rant against ''skinny bitches'' in 2001's ''The Queens of Comedy,'' she's just released her first book, ''Skinny Women Are Evil,'' a no-holds-barred collection of essays about living large in a size 0 world.
''I always felt that I was too young to write a straightforward memoir,'' says the 35-year-old, who was persuaded to author it with journalist and friend Sherri A. McGee. ''I, of course, wanted to call it 'Skinny Bitches Are Evil.' Sherri won that battle.''
The book -- in which she hilariously riffs on business dinners with vegetarians and the perils of plus-size togs -- is a fluffy read. But it's also filled with the staunch determination that's been vital to her success in Hollywood, which she dubs a city ''full of human sticks.''
''It was the first time I'd read a book proposal and laughed out loud,'' says Atria editor Demond Jarrett. ''She had this line about something making as much sense as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. Every time I think about that, I crack up.''