In one corner, a DJ will attempt to spin his grandma’s recipe into gold. In the other corner, a professional Strawberry Shortcake will try applying her considerable sweet-making abilities. The two contestants slave away in a cozy Bucktown kitchen as ten hungry judges sit in anticipation, attempting to ignore the savory smells wafting through the apartment by making up meatloaf lore and pounding wine.
“Meatloaf was initially created in the Dark Ages, when a widespread famine forced bakers to substitute pieces of meat from their beasts of burden for grains,” bullshits one judge.
“Meatloaf was used by the ancient Aztecs to honor the coming of Quetzalcoatl,” deadpans another. “The ancient art of meatloaf was chronicled by the ancient Sumerians in the Loafonomicon.”
Thankfully, the riff session ends with the serving of two very different loafs of meat—one, more traditional, with sweet tenderizing onions and a glorious red sauce, and the other an innovative creation of ground turkey, mushrooms and carrots. Lip smacking and chewing replaces conversation, until impersonations of the dubbed voice-overs from the original “Iron Chef” surface. “I find it… em… a bit salty, but the presentation was at least adequate,” syncopates one judge channeling that bitter old bag who seems unhappy with everything. “Yeah, the old show was the shit, but this new one? Mark Dacascos?! And Alton Brown…”
“Hey—I actually like Alton Brown,” mushmouths another judge through her food. Scores will be given, a winner will be declared and the outcome will trigger controversy. But for the time being, in the dead of a Chicago winter, you’d be hard pressed to find a better stay-in activity that judging the loafing of meat. Next up: Pork Loin battle. (Duke Shin)