Lest you should begin to think the Food Network and the internet are the only places to unearth horrifying recipes, I bring you a creation of my own imagining. Last night I had a dream that I was the challenger contestant on a new show called Iron Chef Amateur. As my opponent, I chose a large, boisterous, carnivorous fictional blogger (think Mario Batali with a Macbook, except mean and more pompous).

Just like the actual Iron Chef shows, we were given access to every ingredient, gadget, and method imaginable. But, because this was the amateur version, there was no secret ingredient, the show was thirty minutes long, and you needed only to complete one dish.

On the other side of Kitchen Stadium, there stood a rotund and bombastic man, armed with a meat mallet, three pounds of veal, and a vat of oil. I cowered in my corner, tempted by some wild asparagus, beautiful morels, a huge basket of lemons, and among a plethora of other options, a veritable garden of herbs.

Soon I heard the slamming of the baby cow flesh on the butcher block, I smelled the oil starting to cook, I heard Alton Brown’s voice out of my left ear, and Kevin Brauch came over to bother me. I was paralyzed with fear. I could feel my confidence shrinking with each crash of the mallet and each glimpse of the dredged meat. And the next thing I knew, ten minutes had elapsed and I hadn’t even so much as lifted my knife.

Somehow I pulled myself together, and pulled out what seemed at the time, to be a simple and fresh answer to Big-Bad-Blogger’s Weiner Schnitzel. I put on a pot of water, chopped up a handful of parsley, threw in a handful of salt and boiled the hell out of it for ten minutes. Then I came to my senses, and realized this was going to be the foulest thing to have ever graced the lips of any of the esteemed judges, so I threw in a minced carrot. I don’t even remember if I washed it. But wait! I should also add that I also toasted some sliced bread in another salvage attempt; at this point, it is pretty clear that I was unredeemable.

Now it was time for judgment. The arbiters were a Ted Allen impressionist, the actual Jeffrey Steingarten, and some other forgettable airhead. After attempting to sample the platter of schnitzel laid before them, Steingarten overturned the judge’s table, sending schnitzel pucks and wine goblets all about, stood up and bellowed, ‘This is not cuisine, this is a breaded hockey puck! Never before have I been so disgusted by the maltreatment of an animal!’ This outburst ate up a good portion of time, so I was miraculously saved from public ridicule, and the outcome of the battle was ruled a first in Iron Chef history: a draw by inedibility.

Salted Parsley and Boiled Carrot Soup

Recipe courtesy of my imagination, insecurities, and some unconscious trauma

6 cups water
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 generous handful sea salt (approximately .5 cups)

1 carrot, possibly unwashed, minced

Boil water, parsley, and salt for 10-15 minutes.

For the last 5 minutes, add the carrot.

Serve with sliced bread toast.
Recoil with embarrassment.

comic by hannah



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