Saturday, September 1, 2007

Iron Chef: U.S. or Japanese version?

Here's a reader-response question: Which "Iron Chef" do you prefer--the U.S. or the Japanese version--and why? (Also curious if you've never seen either, or don't like either, as long as you're willing to explain your position.)

We were watching one of the Japanese episodes earlier this week; the ingredient was black pig (or "black pork," as the episode title has it, but it's the animal that looks black because of its hair, not the meat itself). There was a lot to love about this episode. It began with a contrived nostalgic trip by Sakai to his hometown, leading up to a cooking challenge by a former schoolmate turned professional chef, which was clearly not elaborately set up in any way whatsoever, no sir. The cooking was quite fun, but I thought the funniest moment was during the tasting, when the male celebrity guest (whose name escapes me), who had been offering awkward commentary all the way through, at one point said, "I sweat a lot, so I don't usually like to eat pork." Our immediate reaction: WTF? On further thought, I realize that there is a lot of information about how certain kinds of foods affect health and bodily function, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda and the like; this isn't such a nonsequitur as we thought. But that hasn't stopped us from making jokes about it all week. "I got a bad haircut, so I don't want any coffee." I have an ingrown toenail, so I can't have white flour." "I'm nearsighted, so I don't like bell peppers."

5 comments:

Scott Bateman said...

My nose hairs are slightly overgrown, so I can't eat fish.

helenme2k said...

I have an inner ear problem so I can't eat bok choy.

My favorite Iron Chef ever was the squid episode. I believe it was the foreign one as it was dubbed and it had the cute actress woman who giggles a lot. Anyway--one of the chefs made squid ice cream with the black squid ink. It was an inspired moment!

Or did I dream that episode? I hallucinate Iron Chef episodes so I can't eat butter.

sally said...

My grey is showing so I'm limited to chocolate.

I prefer the Japanese version. It doesn't seem to take itself as seriously as the American version, which, the one or two times I watched it, was all about the testosterone (the real secret ingredient, apparently).

Helen, the squid episode is indeed real. I remember it.

Samatakah said...

I like the Japanese one better too, as it is so over the top in every respect... and I hate hate Kevin Brausch (though he knows more about food than he used to). Also, I don't like that they spend so much time introducing the judges (especially that grumpy white haired guy) when I have tuned in to see the g/d cooking!

I tend to watch it only if I run across an episode with Mario Batali or Cat Cora.

I miss the ice cream made out of all kinds of stuff like they do on the original IC.

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