Monday, July 27, 2009

The Gross Food Movement

I'm surprised not to have seen an article on this subject before: The combination of Web 2.0 and the eternal appeal of, well, gross food has blossomed (eructated?) into an identifiable trend that we've probably all seen part of. These are the sites that get forwarded around, after all. Quick quiz: which of these links has been forwarded to you most often? Which are you more likely to forward to someone? Exhibit A, or Exhibit B?

Favorite quote from the article: "It’s a middle finger to the Michael Pollan and Alice Waters types, an assertion of the American birthright to consume in deadly quantities."

My own experience with the, er, movement, is more hands-on than some of you might expect. Never mind that I am still utterly convinced that my idea for deep-fried butter is a good idea [1], I am more reminded of my adventures in grad school with deep fat frying. The pinnacle of that was my lab's Iron Chef contests, particularly the "Fake Cheese Battle", which I handily won. I have to admit, though, that it's not the only bad culinary idea I've benefited from.

So that's my confession. Surely some of you can top that?

[1] The idea of deep fried butter is this: you freeze half-sticks of butter, then dust in flour or corn starch, batter, and deep fry. Then you set it on the table at dinner, and crack it open to spread on bread. Then pretend not to notice when people start snacking on the leftover breading.


  1. So there's this thing that's gone around called a "war crime" that involves taking a whole variety of meats (sausage, bacon, burger patties, etc), wrapping them in one another, deep frying, and generally doing anything you can think of to make it less healthy. Some friends of mine decided that there must be a corresponding "dessert war crime" and have endeavored to invent it. Preliminary experiments involved using a baster to inject jelly into twinkies, wrapping in pancakes, and frying. Evidently they had problems with everything falling apart; research continues.

  2. Deep frying dessert is the wrong way to go, I think -- no, the dessert war crime seems to me to be like revenge, a dish best served cold and soaked in alcohol.

    I'd start with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby, deep frozen. Cut the container off it, shave off the corners, then roll it in good cocoa powder and wrap it with thin strips of bourbon fudge, then back into the freezer to re-solidify. Take it back out, and coat it in salted caramel and chopped nuts. Refreeze a little while, then wrap it carefully in strips of cookie dough to a thickness of oh say an inch. (You may need to specially formulate the cookie dough to make it pliable enough for this to work. Add carrageenan?) Roll the result in slightly toasted cake crumbs, then spritz it with a spray bottle full of rum.

    Separately, make a batch of baklava. Cut it into squares and array the squares in a large bowl, in a bowl shape. Put the ice cream... thing... in the baklava nest with a ton of whipped cream, crushed Heath bars, and maraschino cherries.

    Serve with Irish coffee and insulin.