Saturday, December 31, 2011

The You Suck Awards: 2011

It seems everybody is putting out lists before the year wraps out in a few hours. But instead of "bests" I'm going with worsts, because I'm a pill. Swallow. I present to you the 2011 You Suck Awards.

For those that can't hardboil an egg.
10. Unitasker kitchen tools: Everybody who spends a good majority of their free time in the kitchen dreads the inevitable gifts from friends at birthdays or Christmas that will result with another piece of clutter lying around the kitchen that a) either never gets used because it's for a specific dish that you never make or b) kind of assumes that you're a flaming moron. Kitchens are inherently hard to keep tidy, because you have to have a lot of clunky tools that aren't exactly shaped for neat storage. But man, some of those tools that they advertise as "As Seen on TV" are just amazing. So at number ten, we have meaningless kitchen unitaskers. Need an example? Consider Eggies. For people that can't peel or cook hard boiled eggs.
You're not allergic to gluten.
9. Gluten free diets: Now, I really do feel for the poor people that have a serious, uncomfortable gluten allergy. That sucks, and I'm right there with you. But the assholes that seem to have penetrated restaurants lately that proclaim that they either a) have a gluten allergy when they actually don't or b) are simply on a gluten free diet where they avoid anything that might have a hint of gluten, carbs, or flavor are really driving me up a frigging wall. I know I shouldn't care that much about what people do with their lives, but this is a hell of a fad. I know it's hard to lose weight, but this has sparked a gluten free revolution that's showing up on menus and all over packages at the grocery store. Again, I'm sorry for those who have a serious allergy. To the rest of you, you're fat because you had that extra bag of Snickers. Leave gluten out of this.
8. The Cheesecake Factory: Why do people love this restaurant so much? It's a chain restaurant that brings in a whole heap of their pre-prepared food and then warms it up. I've heard tell that they treat their employees like crap, and frankly I could never tell during my one visit who my server was anyway. None of the food trips that crucial line between mediocre and good, and everything is a little pricey for what it is... just enough to make this a "going out to eat" occasion, I guess. PS - If you're going to call yourself Cheesecake Factory, you should make a frigging end all be all of cheesecake. But I've had and made better. PSS - The cheesecake and the gluten are getting to your thunder thighs.
Howard Dean impression
7. Guy Fieri - What the f*ck? Sure, I admit that I watch Dx3 because there's basically nothing else on on Food Network. But that voice? That hair? Those flippy floppies? It has to end somewhere. I recently watched some sort of a reuinion special where he dug up a recipe for red neck sushi. This is insulting to both red necks and Asians, and I will tolerate it no more! The bleach blond phenom is also going to be hosting a show with my other favorite "can live without" personality, the one, the only Rachel Ray, featuring has been celebrities in a cooking competition. It's a drinking game waiting to happen.
6. Finicky eaters who get grossed out at dinner and basically ruin the meal for everyone: We all have people we have been out to dinner with who get grossed out at various things and then proceed to tell everyone how disgusting everyone else's meal is. Whatever it may be that has set them off: tripe, liver, bacon, raw fish, roe, or lobster tomalley, just to name a few greatest hits, they are going to say that they are going to sit there and just enjoy their own meal, but they never ever do. There is a grimace, then some fun fact about how whatever you're eating is bad for you, then the inevitable "oh, it's just not for me." I can't eat like that! I've had people completely ruin a beauteous thing like a lobster dinner or some grandma-slaved-over tripe tacos, and I say now, no more. No more restaurants or special meals ruined by people that just aren't adventurous or willing to inhale a few extra calories. Oh, and to boot, I also really hate it when you're eating a delicacy that comes at a high price, and then somebody tries it, thereby taking away from the amount of whatever thing you're eating that you really love, proceeds to make a face, and then out comes the "well, at least I tried it." Thanks, asshole. You just ate a quarter of my caviar that I get about once a year if the market went up.
5. Truffle oil drizzled over everything: Ever walk into a restaurant, fancy or aspiring to be fancy, and all you can smell is truffle oil because it's basically drizzled over everything? Yo, 2003 called and it wants its frigging fad back.
Fake cheese
4. Vegan (fake) cheese: If you read any of this blog, you know that I love vegetables, and am totally cool with cooking things that taste like the way that they're meant to taste. Asparagus at the height of spring time, or sweet English shelling peas, fresh tomatoes, fantastic potatoes, etc etc. My biggest problem with vegans and vegetarians is that a lot of time they are obsessed with things made to mimic the flavors of food. Like fake cheese, which I made a deadly mistake of grabbing instead of the real mozzarella in the midst of putting together a basket of ingredients for a lasagna. Fake shrimp is another big you suck ingredient. Guess what? If you're craving cheese, you should eat cheese. Your body is telling you to eat a little cheese. And you ruined my god damn lasagna.
3. Cupcakes: Cupcakes are fantastic! So fun! I really loved them in 1985 when my mom would bring Better Crocker mix with confetti frosting treats to birthday parties to feed the hoards of other sugar craving brats that I hung out with. Guess what? That was 1985! And despite being cake, and occasionally a lovely throwback treat, the  cupcake craze a couple thing has really run its course. They're not that frigging interesting, and definitely not interesting enough to justify the need for a show called "Cupcake Wars" on Food Network. I swear to god, it's either Cupcake Wars of that Fieri jerk off 24 hours a day.
Kid judges? Really? When I was
a kid I ate mud and thought it was
2. Cooking competitions featuring kids as the judges: Every person on the planet knows that when they themselves were children, their palates were not nearly as trained as they currently are. Kids are finicky, and they crave one thing: sugar. Have you ever noticed that when the kids are brought on Top Chef, the chefs basically cook either chicken tenders or a big bag of marshmallow sugar coated, "destroy the museum" rampage fuel? You know what I'm talking about. That's why kids should not be judging these competitions, and I'm sure they're brought on the shows for one of two reasons a) Mom and dad think their kid is a future Guy Fieri b) to royally piss off the chefs that have slaved over sodium alginate and sous vide machines for the past few weeks in order to barely get the better hand over one of the Voltaggio brothers, only to discover that the guest judge is my little nephew who hates everything but apple sauce, gummy worms and chocolate.
Yo, kill yourself.
1. Classic, regional sandwiches served on a brioche bun: Got a sandwich that means something to someone? Slap it on a brioche. Instantly trendy and way mo' better, right? Lobster rolls? Check. Better add some avocado spread, just in case. French dip? Get it in a brioche. Pass me the truffle oil. Cheeseburger? You got it; brioche, it is. Nice and stale and toasty. Let's not forget po' boys and cheesesteak, and hot dogs, and pulled pork. These have all fallen victim to the "put it on a brioche" trap. Just so that we're clear on this, brioche is delicious, but only when it's very fresh. And I would be hard pressed to find a restaurant that's throwing a dish that people will fight to the death over onto a brioche, and see them actually baking up their own brioche. Brioche that is not minutes from the oven sucks balls! It's yucky! It ruins our precious, beloved lobster rolls, which have their rightful place in a split top roll somewhere far far away... probably held at knife point by other brioche that are really angry about being so stale and left for things like Gordon Ramsey's bread pudding. He's so mean. Stay clear of the brioche. Do our local sandwiches proud, and avoid yourself the douchebag badge of suckage.

And that concludes our You Suck Awards of 2011. Happy New Year, folks. 

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