Sunday, October 11, 2009


Mom and Dad got back from Lusby, MD around 8:45PM. According to Dad, Mom was pretty quiet the entire time, but the Korean ladies kept her in the action, even teaching her some knitting techniques. Mom has apparently been tasked with knitting something or other; I asked her what it might be, and she didn't know. When I ventured that it might be a scarf, she nodded, but only vaguely. We'll see whether Mom continues with the knitting; the ladies gave her yarn and knitting needles to work with. I hope Mom does continue; knitting is a great way to engage her senses and her hands, along with various parts of her brain.

Right now, Mom's still quiet. She and I have been watching the Food Network since about 9PM; her Korean channel, MBC America, didn't have anything substantive scheduled this evening, so we first enjoyed an episode of "The Next Iron Chef," and are now watching Iron Chef Bobby Flay face a challenger in "Battle Berry."

Soon, it'll be time for Mom to go to bed. She had a big day today; socializing is always tiring for her. I hope she rests well: tomorrow, she visits her neurologist, Dr. Benson. Yes, we have an appointment despite it being a national holiday.



Charles said...

Random comment: my wife and I religiously followed Iron Chef when they showed it here on one of the cable channels. A week or so ago, the season ended and they started showing the original Japanese Iron Chef. We were excited about that, but when we turned on the first episode we discovered that it was dubbed into Korean, which made it sound ridiculous.

The American version of Iron Chef was all in English with subtitles, so why dub the Japanese version? Hyunjin thinks that there is some law in place that doesn't allow Japanese language programs on Korean channels. I would like to say that this would surprise me, but it wouldn't. Whatever the case, we decided not to watch the Japanese version because we just can't stand the dubbing.

I want Alton Brown back.

Kevin Kim said...

Desultory response follows.

Alton Brown just celebrated ten years of "Good Eats" the other night, doing a show in front of a gigantic audience. Like the comedian Gallagher, he required the people in the two rows closest to the stage to wear ponchos.

Also of note: although Brown was never that fat, he's lost a ton of weight (well, not a ton, but about 45 pounds) on a new diet and exercise regime. The new Alton Brown began appearing in ads for "The Next Iron Chef" at least two months ago; I was shocked at his hollow-cheeked gauntness and wondered whether he was having some sort of problem. As it turns out, he's been working out. Or so he says.

I must say, the new season of "The Next Iron Chef" isn't as entertaining as the previous season was. I hadn't seen the previous season when it aired (I think I was still in Korea when Michael Symon became the newest Iron Chef), but before the newest season of TNIC began, the Food Network rebroadcast the previous season in a day-long marathon. I recorded the episodes and caught up on them pretty quickly at night.

What impressed me about the previous season was that, unlike other high-pressure reality shows devoted to cooking, this wasn't about backbiting and mind games-- it was pure professionalism, mixed with a great deal of camaraderie. A lot of the challengers already knew each other: Michael Symon, for example, was already (and remains) friends with fellow competitors Aaron Sanchez and John Besh (both of whom nearly went the distance with Symon; Besh was a co-finalist), and many of the chefs became friends during the competition. Even during the "private" commentaries, when the contestants had the chance to bitch to the camera about the other competitors or about the nature of the challenges, they kept their cool and generally stayed professional. This made TNIC markedly different from painful-to-watch shows like "Chopped," which is easily my least favorite show on the Food Network.

But this season, the contestants don't know each other, and the challenges seem geared as much toward strategy (i.e., people have to screw each other over to get ahead) as toward raw skill and creativity. Chefs this season have had the chance to judge each others' food, and unlike last season, it's not about the compliments: they're all gleefully tearing each other apart, with only one or two contestants remembering their humanity and saying a few kind words.

Personally, I'm rooting for the lone Frenchwoman, Dominique Crenn. She was nearly eliminated in the first episode, but tonight she redeemed herself quite nicely. There's a catty dynamic developing between her and another female chef, Amanda Freitag (often seen as a judge on "Chopped" and once as a challenger on "Iron Chef"). Freitag's got a lot of personality, but I hope she loses. Meanwhile, Allez, la France!

Charles said...

Huh. That sounds like a very different show from the one we've been watching (I don't know which version it is, but the ICs were Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Morimoto Masaharu). I'm not sure if I would enjoy that nearly enough. Like you said, we get enough of the backbiting on other programs.

Kevin Kim said...


re: "Iron Chef America" vs. "The Next Iron Chef"

Different, indeed. "The Next Iron Chef" is a series about contestants who are vying to become an Iron Chef on the same team as Cora, Morimoto, et al. Thus far, TNIC has had only two seasons; Season One is what gave us Michael Symon, in late 2007, as the fifth Iron Chef.* It's too early to say who the sixth will be; only two episodes of Season Two have aired as of Sunday.

I'm kind of hoping that the Food Network stops trying to add to the stable of Iron Chefs. Six ought to be plenty, don't you think?


*Symon's win/loss record is now second only to Mario Batali, if we don't count Wolfgang Puck's one-off participation and win.