Chop This!


My wife likes this show. Sometimes I sit and watch with her and I get swept into the excitement of the competition. It took me a while to figure out that I would really hate to taste any of their dishes. Here are some people who are supposed to be great chefs. What they want the competitors to do is create amazing (according to them) dishes. I look at that mystery basket and it reveals pickled pig’s feet, jicama and culantro. I could really work with it. I love jicama and I love culantro, but then the bomb fell: decorated tres leches cake Somehow, the competitors manage to make something out of this. One of them goes home. O.K and what’s next?

The entree! The basket reveals: goat chops, churros, tequila, and huitlacoche. I don’t know what huitlacoche is but I don’t much care. What I do care about is churros. I like churros, they are sweet and have a nice texture and they are cheap and I buy them for my grandchildren sometimes. I also think that goat chops, when cooked correctly can be very tasty. But goat chops and churros?

So I stopped watching. Watched some other episodes only to realize that there always some kind of ridiculous combination of ingredients in the mix. For example: beef kidneys and pignoli cookies. Or:

1 yak steaks, mesquite syrup, peanut butter sandwich cookies, Tuscan kale.
2 sardines, corn on the cob, xtabentun, canned sloppy joe filling.
3 standing rib roast, guava paste, smoked mozzarella, bok choy.

I could go on, but I think these examples will be enough to make my make my point. Which is that I will avoid any restaurant that says something like: chef so and so has won the Chopped competition and used the $10,000 to start his/her own restaurant. Regardless of the popular following, I think that this show is convincing the viewers that if you are a good chef, you can basically put any kind of dreck into your food and it tastes amazing.

I am somewhat of an amateur chef and I admit that I could never make a dish like the ones they show within that time period, nor would I want to. Actually, sometimes I feel like they are cheating. How is it that most of the chefs finish their dishes just in the nick of time. You never see one finishing ten minutes early and going out a smoke and a glass of wine. Be that as it may, I insist on using the best ingredients that I can possibly find. Sometimes I might use prepackaged, or precooked ingredients. For example beef or chicken broth, beer, wine or brandy. I do however insist that my ingredients include nothing that industrially manufactured, like high fructose corn syrup, MSG, preservatives and so on. Watching this silly travesty of a cooking show, I wonder … What is in the pickled pig’s feet? What ingredients are in the churros or pignoli?

Martha Stewart has joined the show lately. I used to think that she was one smart cookie. Perhaps she still is, I just did not think that she made her fortune by peddling shit, which is what Chopped is doing. No wonder that most of the world has such a crappy opinion of Americans. We seem to be idiots.

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