Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Black as your soul, I'd rather die than give you control:
Capps and Catherine represented a Punk Rock Kitchen playing an away game. Susan, she of the broken foot, had her gastronomic muscles massaged by Capps's excellent meatloaf, mac-and-cheese and mashed combination, finished alongside Catherine's delightful citrus-walnut-feta & mesclun salad. Really perfect stuff on a blustery, bollocksed-up evening. Kanishka, Becks and I had a great meal. Until.

Until, that is, tonight's Top Chef. Yet again, the episode was defined by a juvenile flare-up courtesy of Betty Fraser. This awful creature, a decrepit 44, is the worst of all worlds: dishonest -- that was not an honest mistake on the calorie-counter challenge -- a mediocre chef, and the only person on the planet capable of making Marcel sympathetic. It's true that Marcel is hard to take, but he's not actively malicious. Betty, who is twice Marcel's age, is. To call someone selfish who helped you on your awful creme brulee is beneath the dignity of a teenager; to attempt to shift responsibility for the execution of your dish onto him is inexcusable.

Worse yet, I suspect the producers are keeping her on because of the drama factor. About Carlos -- sure, he made a pedestrian salad. But, goddamn it, the team decided on a salad course, and he was given the task of execution. No human being can reasonably be expected to slave for four hours over salad for nine people. So that leaves Betty, whose dish was a train wreck. She should have been removed on general principle for deflecting her failures onto Marcel and (I believe) Elia; and instead she remains on the show to torment all of us. I don't need to eat her "comfort food" to know I don't want to.
--Spencer Ackerman
The important thing here is that salads are a culinary death trap. Have you ever eaten a salad that you really remember? Ever eaten one worth paying more than seven or eight dollars for? The movement of the salad course from post-meat to the beginning of the meal reflects American faddery, not good food sense.
Blogger TheWaldganger | 2:36 PM

I don't know. The Duplex on 18th & U Street does a steak salad that's worth walking to Adams-Morgan for. I generally agree that salads should be seen as foreplay or cool-down for the palate, but there are some memorable salads out there.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 6:59 AM