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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Food Fad

Actually, that should be Food Network Show fad. Now that the political scene has waned into typical bickering among media outlets over how deep Obama's bow was and should have been or how red Sarah Palin's lipstick is and ought to be, Click goes the remote.

I land and pause at the latest death match on the Food Network channel. It could be the "Challenge" show, three teams of ordinary American families making Thanksgiving meals from scratch, or "The Next Iron Chef", where culinary combatants wield their knives and food processors in an attempt to blitzkrieg their way into Iron Chef status. Or it could be the semi-professorial, semi-wacky mysteries of how to generate syrup, fudge, soft or hard candy or such in 'Good Eats'. The whole family is addicted to these shows now.

Of particular interest is the 'Iron Chef' shows, based on a Japanese original. The presiding person is someone called the Chairman, who barks out commands and waves his arms in windmilly-chop-choppy motions, presumably borrowed from the Japanese version. He is a source of much merriment and entertainment as he presents the chef to the panel of judges "Chef Cora" or "Chef Besh", with a sharp karate chop that barely stops short of the judge's jugular.

Sous-chefs frantically whisk and toss, challengers almost sweat into the sauces as they frantically mix and plate the dishes, barely finishing microseconds before the countdown runs out and they raise their hands in the air "Time's up".

The script is always the same, with excited commentary on the hustle about the 'Kitchen Stadium' :
A visiting chef 'challenges' one out of four or five Iron Chefs and is then presented with the 'secret ingredient' which could be eel, garlic, chives, swordfish, cranberries....the more exotic, the better. The chefs strive to incorporate this ingredient into just about every dish of the four or five course meal they prepare, sometimes resulting in hilarities such as eel ice-cream, steak flavored pudding, etc. And they get roundly basted by the judges for such inappropriate daring as well.

Will the Iron Chef win, or will the challenger? So far, it's been a good bet to assume that the Iron Chef does. Only occasionally does the show veer from script to award the prize to the challenger( which isn't even quite clear...do they get cash, or fame or more Food Network shows?)
That's my perfect idea of relaxing after a busy hour in the kitchen chopping and dicing for dinner- to watch others do the same in high definition TV to feed the viewers' needs for drama.

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