Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Ostentatious Showing

He would go to Halifax for half a chance to show off and he would go to hell for a whole one - Mark Twain

I love watching chefs strutting their stuff – in and out of the kitchen. It becomes so obvious that it is the end result of hard work, long hours and excruciating repetition. Sometimes the demonstration is strictly for show. Think Teppenyaki House. There are practical applications as well. Watching Martin Yan disjoint a chicken in 18 seconds, or Jacques Pepin literally ripping the flesh off a chicken caravans for a galantine in moments (I believe it’s a part of Jacques and Julia “Cooking in Concert”).

It’s a little different, of course, when a cook is appearing on a late-night entertainment venue. The viewership demands that the chef give them a spectacle. So when Alton Brown showed up on Craig Ferguson, I expected a hoot. And I got one. Cotton candy wars, a taffy pull and liquid nitrogen games – you can’t beat that.
In December, Mario Batali was on Jimmy Fallon and a show was to be expected. He flamed grappa in a hollowed out wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano to make Fettuccine Alfredo. A whole wheel. Hollowed out. You can fill a whole lot of tabletop shakers with what was removed.

I save my cheese rind too - it's a great addition Italian soups like minestrone. But, mine look more like this:

It put me off. It wasn’t the excess, per se. I’m sure all of the cheese residue found a home in one of the restaurants in Mr. Batali’s empire (likely the one where the Ecuadorians who hollowed it out toil while avoiding immigration authorities). But somehow watching Alton was entertaining where Mario just grated. I think it’s because while I have a hand mixer, I am not likely to be making cotton candy. It is near certain that liquid nitrogen will not be a kitchen accessory anytime soon.

I do make Alfredo from time to time. With ordinary kitchen equipment.

If you are demoing it on TV, you should do the same. If that makes me un-fun, sue me. In the mean time, enjoy Alton and Craig. It's a hoot!

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -