Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moral Celery Battle

The room is dark. The only light came from a few torches placed at regular intervals. The flame light outlines vague, uneven shapes but the shadows cluster too thickly to make out any detail. It is an atmosphere of total stillness and silence. A light- from whence it came, no one knew- begins to brighten the enclosure. The shadows battle briefly and then flee into full scale retreat.

It is an arena. But could men have built such a thing? Surely not, surely this must be the domain of the Gods! Smooth planes of stainless steel glitter with mirrored perfection. Rows upon rows of tables, littered with curiously shaped implements dot the landscape. Between the tables and ovens stands a battalion of men. Clad in the purest of white, they stand at rigid attention.

A man, thin, and saturnine surveys the scene. In contrast to the austere exactness of the arena, the man is dressed…flamboyantly. A black cape, with a cream colored inner lining is thrown casually over one shoulder. He wears a Mao suit, sprinkled liberally with rhinestones and a choice assortment of glitter.

The man’s gaze shifts to a basket filled with peppers. With an elegantly gloved hand, he selects a yellow pepper. He raises the pepper to his mouth and takes a bite…

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Brillat-Savarin

Nearly a decade ago, a man's fantasy became reality in a form never seen before, Kitchen Stadium, a giant cooking arena. The motivation for spending his fortune to create kitchen stadium was to encounter new, original cuisine, which could be called true, artistic creations. To realize his dream, he started choosing the top chefs of various styles of cooking, and he named his men the Iron Chefs, the invincible men of culinary skill. Iron Chef Japanese is Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef French is Hiroyuki Sakai, Iron Chef Chinese is Chen Kenichi, and Masahiko Kobe is Iron Chef Italian. Kitchen stadium is the arena where Iron Chefs await the challenges of master chefs from all over the world. Both the Iron Chef and challenger have one hour to tackle the theme ingredient of the day. Using all their senses, skills, creativity, they're to prepare artistic dishes never tasted before. And if ever a challenger wins over the Iron Chefs, He or she will gain the people's ovation, and fame forever. Every battle, reputations are on the line in Kitchen Stadium, where master chefs pit their artistic creations against each other. What inspiration will today's challenger bring, and how will the Iron Chefs fight back? The heat will be on!

Announcer 1: Good evening folks! We’ve got an exciting show for you tonight! The challenger is Chef Richard Rahl, owner and head chef at the D’Haran’s People’s Food Court.

Announcer 2: Richard Rahl’s restaurant received an impressive 19 on the Gault Millau scale. Rumor has it that Chef Rahl was so angered at not receiving a 20 out of 20 he tracked down every food critic in the tri-county area and had them summarily beheaded.

Announcer 1: Haha! That story is of course apocryphal. I have it on good authority that he first had his wife Kahlan force them to cut off and eat their testicles before they were executed. As we all know, Chef Rahl is know far and wide for his moral clarity and thus would never execute someone summarily.

Announcer 2: Haha, yes, speaking of moral clarity, Chef Rahl has made himself famous in the culinary world for his meals focused on promoting objectivist philosophy and a “no mercy” approach to food preparation.

Cut to a video clip of chef Rahl, speaking into a microphone at an interview in his restaurant’s kitchen.

“I have always liked to say that my foods will purge you of your collectivist impulses faster than prune juice will purge you of crap. On countless occasions, after tasting my flambé ala Rand, my customers have told me that all their charity and compassion shriveled up and died.”

Video clip ends

Announcer 1: Making Chef Rahl’s story even more dramatic is the fact that he changed the entire focus of his restaurant in the middle of the season. Before, Chef Rahl’s Food Court was focused entirely on vegetarian cuisine. Then just recently he announced he would focus his efforts on producing only meatbased food.

Announcer 2: As I understand it, many of his customers were angry and confused over Chef Rahl’s abrupt about-face.

Announcer 1: Yeah, Chef Rahl had them all put to death. He saved the corpses and is planning a cannibal extravaganza when he reopens the Food Court this spring. He is going to unveil a whole slew of exotic dishes he learned while studying the culinary arts among the Mud People.

Announcer 2: Wow, that should be some treat! I’m going to be placing my reservation now!

Announcer 1: Haha, nice try, but Chef Rahl’s restaurant doesn’t accept reservations. Seats in his restaurant are awarded only to be people who can demonstrate their moral clarity. I’ve driven past the Food Court on numerous times, and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. Pandemonium left and right, people kicking in jaws and slitting throats just to get a seat in Chef Rahl’s Food Court. It looks like a scene straight out of a George Romero movie.

Announcer 2: Haha, talk about survival of the fittest. Oh, I think Chef Rahl is here now!

The doors to kitchen stadium were thrown open and a gaggle of Agiel wielding Mord-Sith flounced into the arena. Announcers, guests, assistant chefs, and even Chairman Kaga himself strained to catch a glimpse of Chef Rahl. But it was no use, though their eyes flew all about, they could not see Chef Rahl among his Mord-Sith, despite the fact Chef Rahl was reputedly a big man.

The party of dominatrixes halted before Kaga’s dais and suddenly parted. The crowd began to mutter in confusion when they saw nothing. But then the crowd gasped. The air itself seem to part and revealed the imposing form of Chef Rahl.

Dressed from head to foot in his black leather form hugging war chef outfit, Richard cut a masculine figure. Covered in buckles and zippers, the outfit shone with the twin glisten of glossy leather and polished metal. Years of sampling his own objectivist ambrosia had left Richard with an ample gut. His excess weight combined with his leather outfit was making Richard perspire profusely. Ropes of sweat crawled down his cheeks and forehead and beaded on his upper lip. His broad face had a florid complexion which would darken to a deep purple on the frequent occasions when he lost his temper.

Richard surveyed the arena with his raptor like gaze, and hooked his thumbs between his belt while gritting his teeth.

Announcer 1: Wow, that was some entrance.

Announcer 2: Haha, yes. I’ve been at Kitchen Stadium for years and that was the most dramatic- ah! It looks like Chef Rahl is about to choose an Iron Chef!

Chairman Kaga gestured with his hands and a section of the floor slide open to reveal a large pit. As they all watched a large platform began to rise from the pit. Standing atop the platform were several men in different colored outfits.

Richard’s eye’s widened when he saw the man on the end of the platform.

“Jagang!” Richard hissed between his teeth.

Announcer 1: It looks like Chef Rahl has just discovered the Chairman’s surprise!

Announcer 2: To really heat things up for today’s competition, Chairman Kaga made Jagang and honorary iron chef.

Announcer 1: And Chef Ralh has just thrown down the gauntlet to Iron Chef Jagang! This will be a battle of Titans!

Announcer 2: Not just a battle of food, but a battle of Philosophy!

Announcer 1: In contrast to Chef Rahl, Chef Jagang is a master of Collectivist Cuisine. During the course of his career, Chef Jagang has studied cooking at the sides of Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, and Chea Guevera.

Announcer 2: In addition to his formal cooking instruction, Jagang was able to unearth ten tomes of Stalin’s secret recipes, among them the much celebrated 1001 Ways to Cook Borscht Behind the Iron Curtain and Cookin’ in the Kremlin.

Announcer 1: This will be a battle for the ages!

Announcer 2: It looks like the Chairman is about to unveil today’s theme ingredient!

Chairman Kaga had ascended the steps to a large table strewn with metal containers. With a gesture, the Chariman had an assistant cook lift one the lids from the containers to reveal…


Announcer 1: Great Caesar’s Ghost! Iron Chef Jagang didn’t look to pleased with that announcement!

Announcer 2: I doubt Chef Rahl could be happier.

Silence rang through Kitchen Stadium.

“Allez Cuisine!!!” screamed Chairman Kaga.

Richard wore a smug grin as he lumbered up the steps and selected a number of choice pieces of celery. Jagang followed reluctantly.

Announcer 1: Each of our contestants will have one hour to cook an assortment of different meals. At the end of the hour, their dishes will vie for the favor of our five judges.

Announcer 2: Lets ask our floor reporter if can get the contestants to answer a few questions.

Richard had unslung the Sword of Truth, which he was using to slice some celery.

Floor Reporter: Squeeze On! Rahl-San, could you give us an idea of how you think this kitchen battle is going to go?

Richard still wore his smug smirk as he began to expound his ideas at length through his clenched teeth.

“You see,” said Richard, “the theme ingredient will naturally work to my advantage. Iron Chef Jagang is going to have to scramble if he expects to score half as well as I will. But even if the ingredient hadn’t been in my favor I still would have one the battle.”

Floor Reporter: You’re talking almost if you have already won-

“I am,” interrupted Richard. “You see, Jagang comes from the collectivist school of cooking, where they try to make the ingredients work with each other in harmony. According to the collectivists, you must blend the ingredients so that their flavors will work with each other to create something greater than the sum of their parts. In a way, this is an advantage. They taste like a collective mass, a collective element, like one big centipede.”

Floor Reporter: I’m, uh, not sure I get the analogy-

Richard’s smirk disappeared and he glared, raptor like, at the floor reporter, his huge manbreasts straining against his black leather war chef outfit as his breathing increased.

Richard ground his teeth. “I don’t cook a “meal”. I cook individual pieces of food. I cook according to the principals of Truth. Each piece of food is a complete individual. I do not blend any of the ingredients together to dilute their personality. Every bite from one of my dishes will scythe through your taste buds or explode in your mouth, leaving a melon sized hole.”

The Floor Reporter could see that Richard was becoming angry so he tried to switch subject.

Floor Reporter: I noticed that you’re not wearing a hat or any sort of hairnet-

“I do not believe in providing support for my hair. If one of my follicles should fall, then it was weak, and clearly unprepared to live life as an individual.”

The reporter tried to lighten the mood with a joke: Well, I hope you at least wash your hands before you cook-

Richard affixed the reporter with his raptor like gaze but said nothing. Silence rang.

Floor Reporter: Well, uh, er, I better be going-

“Where the Hell do you think your going?” demanded Richard. Chef Rahl stopped slicing celery with his sword and grabbed the reporter.

Floor Reporter: I wanted to let you cook. I was just going to go interview Iron Chef Jagang.

“Like Hell you are,” said Richard, who then began one of his long assed speeches that he was so famous for.

55 minuets later

Announcer 1 (whispering): Is Chef Ralh still talking?

Announcer 2: Yes, and I don’t thinks he’s cooked anything yet either.

Announcer 1: I think we better tell him his time is almost up.

An assistant cook was sent onto the floor to prod Richard with a spatula until he stopped talking.

“Wha…?” asked Richard as the assistant cook whispered in his ear. “Five minuets ! F*ck!” Richard released the floor reporter from his iron grasp and let him slump to the ground.

Richard knew that he was going to have to pull something out of ass, and fast, otherwise his goose was cooked. He picked up his sword.

“Blade, be true this day,” whispered Richard as he dropped into a cooking stance.

Preparer of Food.

Richard’s blade spun through the air like a pinwheel on PCP. Celery flew every which way. For Richard, time stood still, and all he could hear was the beating of his own heart. Richard knew that somehow Jagang had tricked him into frittering away his time. But Richard was not unduly concerned. Using his powers of moral clarity, he saw a way to still salvage the situation.

Preparer of Food.

Richard screamed out orders from between his clenched teeth. As he spoke, assistant cooks began to haul in Richard's secret weapon. The only way to counter Jagang’s scheming was to use only ingredients that possessed moral clarity. Richard hollered in bloodlust as he saw the caged Animals of Truth.

Preparer of Food.

The sword left a metallic blur through the air as it descended on a pack of noble timber wolves. Their whimpers of pain and fear were cut off almost as soon as they were uttered.

Preparer of Food.

The goats went next. Their bleating was no match for Richard’s whirlwind of death. Without hesitation, Richard gutted them from nose to their tiny wagging tails.

Preparer of Food.

And finally there was the walrus. Whirling like a dervish, Richard cut through blubber, bones, and muscle like so much butter.

Preparer of Food.

A bell rang, and the red mist that clouded Richard’s eyes disappeared. It was only then that Richard realized that he was standing in a pool of blood and entrails.

Richard wiped the ropes of sweat from his brow, hooked his thumbs behind his belt and surveyed his handiwork with satisfaction. There was no time to gloat, however, since the assistant cooks had already started to collect the dishes and bring them before the judges.

Richard waited nervously while the judges began to sample Jangang’s dishes.

“This dish is as light as a cloud!” exclaimed a pleased judge. “It reminds me of autumn leaves drifting in the wind!” Jangang murmured his thanks and brought on the next dishes. Each one earned appreciative comments from the judges until finally Richard’s turned arrived.

Steaming and stinking, Richard’s dishes were plopped down in front of the judges.

“Uh, what exactly IS this?” asked one female judge.

“It is timber wolf tartare sprinkling with celery.” The judges gazed at the food with undisguised horror. “Basically, every dish I prepared today is tartare.” The judges began to nibble at the dishes while under Richard’s raptor glare. By the time the final dish arrived, only one of the five judges was still conscious, although his complexion was now a disturbing shade of green.

“My piec de resistance is raw celery wrapped in walrus blubber.” The judge valiantly tried to consume Richard final culinary grotesquery but it was too much. Within moments the judge dropped to the floor stone dead after choking on the blubber.

In the end Chairman Kaga awarded Richard zero points and banished him from Kitchen Stadium.

Richard’s face darkened. “I warn you, Chairman, by awarding this victory to Jagang you are siding with the jackals of evil against moral clarity….”

12 hours later

“… and you can put that in your pipe and smoke it!” Richard declared. It was only then that he realized that he was standing alone in the middle of a darkened stadium.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” asked Richard.
In the distance he could here some crickets chirping. A lone tumble weed blew across the floor.

- Zap Rowsdower


Blogger Unknown said...

I wonder if objectivism is even compatible with cooking?
How do you make each ingredient stand out in it's own way?

4:09 am  

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