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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Beka, You Had Me At Heavy Stainless Steel

filled crepe

Crêpes will always be one of my everlasting French food memories. I had been addicted to stopping at the Strasbourg Marché de Noël after school to get a crêpe filled with Nutella and some vin chaud. To be sure, it’s quite difficult to avoid the Christmas market as it has taken over the entire city of Strasbourg in November and December since the year 1570 with miles of gifts, drinks, and gosh darn delicious food. Um, French women don’t get fat, right?

Despite stuffing crêpes, eclairs, croissants, chocolates, and cream sauces into my face (stopping just short of bathing in butter), I somehow returned home to America from my studies abroad lighter than when I had left. Think about that for a moment.

Given all of the crêpe gorging studying that I had done in France, I thought I would be as qualified as anyone to review a crêpe pan.

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What The Hell Is A Damson?


I sometimes buy things because I don’t know what the hell they are. It’s palate education. My friend Julia Child says you should always be educating. Never let your palate go slack. Don’t get comfortable with peanut butter & jelly and Cheerios. From Julia’s Menu Cookbook:

Eat out. Drink good wine. It doesn’t have to be often, but your palate becomes dulled if you go too long without stimulus or without quality. That’s when an otherwise excellent cook will begin to overseason.

Thanks, Julia. Overseasoning, bad. Tasting lots of shit, good.

Enter damson. No, not daaaamn son! but damson: a purple oval fruit; a subspecies of the plum tree. It can also be used as a descriptor for red wines. OK, I like it even more. And given my Czech heritage, at some point I would love to get my hands on this fermented damson they speak of called slivovitz for an evening of drunken shenanigans palate education.

I ran into this ($7 jar) of damson jam at a small specialty grocery. For today’s lesson, we will spread this lovely damson on some strong, soft cheese as the label suggests. Damson + Brie = ahhmazing. Try it.

Culinary School Day One: Over Easy

Over Easy

Editor’s Note: As you may remember, ES contributor forkitude has given up the corporate life to take the plunge into culinary school. Here are her thoughts from day one.

Day number one: Culinary Foundations.

  • Knife skills: my fingers are valuable. It is a bloody lesson, but one I have learned. Got it. My knife skills are a work in progress.
  • Mirepoix: 50% onion, 25% carrots, 25% celery. The basic building block of soups, stocks, and sauces. Simple enough.
  • Eggs: better known as the devil. Eggs are easy to make and easy to screw up, and I have screwed up my share of eggs. Therefore, I get excited to learn the correct way to do things because screwing up is a pain in the ass. Eggs were my favorite part of the day:
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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Makeover Edition


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Wait…if Gordon Ramsay gets a facelift, does that make him more or less scary than before?  (Note:  The above photo is not an artist’s rendering of the surgery.)

– Suffering from Julia Child overload yet?  Never fear — there’s a new book coming out.

After the jump…a chef you’ve never heard of on a show you’ll never see, a food show that you can watch between episodes of Stargate and showings of Blade Runner and we get to see what Adam Gertler is willing to eat in exchange for having his own show.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: New Toy


In my never-ending battle to make myself even chubbier, I am proud to say that I have a new weapon.

I finally broke out the ice cream maker that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while. This baby is super-simple to use and gives you soft-serve type ice cream in about 40 minutes. And you can pop the output in the freezer to let it set harder.  I suppose you can make sorbet with this thing, too, but that would be verging on the healthy, and we don’t want that, do we?

Batch number one was a “control,” as the scientists would say, and I was happy with the process and my ability to not screw it up.  I went with a simple french-style (i.e. eggs) vanilla to which I added roasted almonds at the very end.

You and I know that this will not end with a simple vanilla, right?  I think it’s about time we made ice cream dangerous!

Look for more of that in the coming weeks…for now, you’ll have to tide yourself over with some smörg.

Grub Street spots a missed opportunity for Anthony Bourdain during a recent episode of his show.  Funny, Bourdain doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would take a shot at Guy Fieri. </sarcasm>

– Guess who’s back on top:  Julia Child!  This is fantastic news…now a whole new generation can get into the kitchen and find ways to screw up omelets.

After the jump…Alton Brown in full-geek mode, Tom keeps cashing in and everyone loves Lidia.

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