Who is the Eater of the Year?

Each year, Endless Simmer asks our loyal readers to vote on which person deserves the coveted title Eater of the Year. Past winners include Anthony Bourdain, Hezbollah Tofu, This is Why You’re Fat and Ruth Bourdain. So who made the biggest splash in the food world in 2011? The nominees are…

Herman Cain

Maybe it didn’t work out in the end, but you have to admit, there’s something admirable about a man who isn’t afraid to say that running the nation’s 36th best pizza chain qualifies you to run for president. In fact, there isn’t much at all Herman Cain is afraid to say. In a world where presidential politicians deep-throat corn dogs in public and then retreat to their campaign bus for lobster thermidor, it was refreshing to have an honest eater in the race, at least for awhile. Herman Cain wasn’t afraid to sing about his love for crappy fast food, or to declare that only sissy men put vegetables on their pizza. He wasn’t afraid to eat chicken wings win Michele Bachmann, or to propse that poor people don’t need food stamps because they can just buy used food. How is this man not already eater-in-chief? Just hope he never asks you to dinner. (Photo: Broward Palm Beach New Times)

Epic Meal Time

We can all acknowledge that the Food Network is pure shite nowadays, and there hasn’t been a food show worth watching since Cookin’ with Coolio. What the teevee execs don’t seem to get is that Americans don’t want 30 minute meals or cutesy casserole recipes. We want WORLD RECORD BREAKING FOOD.

Enter Epic Meal Time, the web TV show that ate all of the other web TV shows and then burped them up. Fancy an 84-egg sandwich? Meatloaf made out of McDonald’s? A Christmas tree crafted from bacon? EMT’s outrageous creations make state fair food look like a tea party hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow, and we just can’t look away. The ultra-American eaters dirty little secret? They’re Canadian.

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project

When Julia Child said she was going to use television to teach Americans how to cook French cuisine properly, people laughed at her, but she became a foodie legend. When Julie Powell said she was going to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and record it all on something called a weblog, people just thought she was weird, but she became a blog-to-book-to-big-screen phenomenon. When college student Lawrence Dai decided he was going to watch Julie & Julia every day for a year, people immediately realized he was a genius. Yes, the Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project had all the hallmarks of a jokey web project that wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes, but Lawrence actually did it, watching J&J a full 365 times, and firmly proving that online journalism does indeed have a purpose.

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Presents for Foodies: Food Network Star Book

This time of year I am always scrambling for holiday gift ideas. It’s not that I’m not a generous person… it’s just that sometimes, come on, people are hard as hell to buy for. Being a food-minded individual, I often solve this dilemma by throwing a cookbook their way and calling it good. In this case, here is something to please the masses: Food Network Star: The Official Insider’s Guide to America’s Hottest Food Show. It’s chock full of recipes and television gossip. We all know people who love Food Network, so there! One gift to cross off the list.

How good is this cookbook? Well, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. FNS:TOIGTAHFS, as I like to call it to save time, offers a wide array of recipes, from the laughably simple (Carissa Seward’s Shrimp Puffs), to the reasonable (Eggs en Cocotte from Amy Finley), to the elegantly involved (Alex Hernandez’s Beignets with Rosemary Caramel). It’s fun because recipes from basically every cheftestant from every season of the show are featured, so it’s easy to pick a selection from one’s favorite. I, for example, eagerly sought out recipes from the Hearty Boys. Then, upon seeing that their featured item was lobster pot pie and reminding myself I was supposed to be saving money for other presents, decided to go with something a bit more pedestrian.

I would hardly call Guy Fieri my favorite “chef” but hey, he is probably the ultimate Next Food Network Star winner. This dude is everywhere! How’s his food? There’s only one way to find out, and that is to make one of the recipes that catapulted him to stardom.

Chipotle Pasta

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Attack of the Meme: Suri Cruise, Gossip Columnist

Do you like celeb babies? Do you like celeb gossip? Do you like all things bitchy, catty and totally ridiculous? Welcome to Suri’s Burn Book, a running commentary “from” Suri Cruise about other celeb offspring.

Suri dishes about Cruz Beckham‘s afternoon at Color Me Mine, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett‘s ginger baby (eek recessive genes!)  and – above – how unappetizing Adam Sandler‘s little girl, Sadie, looks while downing a muffin. Showing by example, Suri posts proof that it’s possible to eat while still looking adorable. Oh, Suri.

Hat Tip: Kiki Ryan
(Photo: Suri’s Burn Book)

UPDATED—Endless Questions: Giada Talks Clinton, WillKat and Mike Isabella


UPDATED: Giada is right. Giada told Endless Simmer’s Russell Warnick that Top Chef Alum Mike Isabella planned to open a new restaurant in Georgetown. Simmer’s Stefanie Gans (gansie) called Isabella for confirmation. He denied it. Turns out, the scoop was meant for Washington Post’s dining critic Tom Sietsema and the restaurant is actually in the works.

Eater has the dramatic play-by-play of the restaurant announcement.

— — —

This past weekend DC hosted the 6th annual Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, a collection of salsas, olive oils and oddly, British cashmere scarves. Not only is it an opportunity for small businesses to present their products to the masses, it’s also a chance for your favorite celebrity chefs to hawk a few books. Guy Fieri was presented to 2,500 military spouses by Dr. Jill Biden while Paula Deen pimped out her Caribbean cruise and Smithfield Ham. The envy of every straight guy out there, I got to speak with Giada De Laurentiis, and yes, she’s as hot in person as she is on TV, even with the cold she was suffering at the time.

Giada spoke of her time cooking for Prince William and Kate, what she’d cook for Bill Clinton and a little gossip about DC’s very own Mike Isabella…

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Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Plate It: Stacker Mallows

We’re usually not partial to Rachel Ray-esque products that dumb down food to the lowest common denominator, but anything that gets s’mores in our mouths quicker is fine by us.

Hate It: Paula Deen’s Butter-Flavored Lip Balm

If you felt the need for a taste in your mouth to remind you all day long that you are an insatiable glutton. (Photo: Holly Bailey, via Grub Street)

Plate It: Ramen to the Rescue

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Bustin’ a Move With Jamaican Jerk Kale Chips

photo: Matthew Wexler

For me, in the battle of savory versus sweet, a bag of chips will trump a pint of ice cream any day. But a recent annual check-up revealed a cholesterol level inching toward the danger zone. While I like to think that I have a sophisticated palette, I’m not beyond polishing off an order of chicken wings during an episode of Dancing with the Stars. (It’s either that or jump out of my 3rd floor window in sheer sequined horror.)

So in an effort to kick off a healthy start to the holidays, I’ve been baking kale chips at home. Kale chips satisfy my savory cravings and are an incredible source of vitamins A, C and K—ack! Vitamin K? This underdog vitamin is important for blood-clotting and bone strength. Two important things for when I’m dancing around my apartment to the monotone musings of Brooke Burke.

Now, we’ve had our fair share of problems mastering kale chips here on ES, so please pay attention.

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