Cooking Show


Last night I watched a special cooking show. One woman was doing the cooking while an entire panel watched her, taunted her, cheered her, and generally chattered away. She was given various challenges and each challenge had a time limit. She seemed totally stressed out, but she never lost her nerve and successfully met all challenges.

She made: jello desserts out of marshmallows; fake beer out of jello; a mesh omelette a couple millimeters thick. However, the best of all was the fake takoyaki (たこ焼き); not because of the preparation, but the delivery.

Takoyaki are made by dicing or cubing cooked octopus, dipping them in a doughy batter, and frying them into perfectly round balls with the aid of an iron that looks like an egg crate. Generally they are: laid in two neat rows in a clear plastic container; basted with a little konomi sauce; squirted with beautiful, thin, zig-zagging lines of mayo; dashed with a few small slices of ginger (dyed crimson); and sprinkled with fine pieces of nori seaweed. Lastly, one toothpick is poked into each of the end balls, the package is closed, and wrapped with one thin rubber band.

Fake takoyaki are made with shuukuriimu, aka creme puff, basted with chocolate sauce, drizzled with fresh cream, dashed with slices of maraschino cherry, and sprinkled with green tea powder. After the ubiquitous toothpicks and rubber band were added, they took the treat out for delivery in some studio. First the chef hit a famous comedian, Shimura Ken, while he was relaxing in a tatami room. His reaction was amusing to say the least. Once he recovered from the shock; enjoying a good joke, he demanded her secret and set about making his own package of treats.

They stalked the most serious and high-level anchor at the studio. As he left the sound stage from ‘The Wide’, a popular news show, they gently lured Kusano-san into trying a sample. His reaction was almost non-existant, after which he explained that he really likes sweet things.

The jello beer was also fun. It looked so real that, when the chef tipped it near one of the spectators, he jumped back to avoid the spill. This happened even though he watched her make it, so he received plenty of teasing. He explained, somewhat convincingly, that he was afraid the whole jello block might slide out on him.

Nisemono (偽物) is the Japanese word for a fake, phony, or imitation item.


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