I don't know if I mentioned it before, but, I'm a foodie. I love food. Ok, I'm not up for head cheese and sweet meats yet, but a lot of other food is fair game. I also love to cook -- mostly because I figure that if you love to eat, you should know how to make what you like.
So, after watching the inimitable Alton Brown prepare crepes (one of Girlfriend S.'s favorite foods) on Good Eats, I happened upon Food TV's foray into the world of reality television: Date Plate. The premise of the show is rather simple. Two bachelors each plan (for less than $50) and prepare (in less than 2 hours) a meal with the assitance of a professional chef, and, both meals are served to a bachelorette who doesn't know anything about either bachelor except the meals put before her. The bachelorette then picks which meal she likes better and goes on a date with the bachelor that cooked it.
In this particular episode, a roller coaster designer and a theme park MC compete for the hand of a fitness model in Orlando, Florida. Bachelor A went with pork tenderloin with mango salsa for an entree and some coconut pinapple sorbet and fruit cocktail. Bachelor B made turkey stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and herbs for an entree with a "dessert pizza" topped with fruit and cream cheese frosting for dessert. The fitness model was clearly not a foodie and didn't seem to be heavily taken with either offering... but in the end, chose Bachelor B, the theme park MC.
As soon as I saw the show, I got into it -- and began thinking about the menu I would prepare. The fitness model was on a reasonably low carb, 6 small-meals-a-day diet. Since I pursue a diet along similar lines myself, I felt I immediately had some insight into what she might like. I knew immediately (as the contestants did) that lean meat was going to figure heavily into the menu. My inspirations leaned more heavily toward bachelor A: a pork tenderloin. Rather than serve it up with a mango salsa however, I would aim for a richer, nuttier approach. I think I would encase the tenderloin in an herb/sesame seed crust, and then serve it with a liqueur/red wine/port-based sauce. The philosophy here is to provide the most flavorful punch with a small, medallion-sized serving of protein. To accompany that, perhaps a very small serving of garlic mashed pototoes and some steamed vegetables with a balsamic roasted almond vinegrette.
For dessert, I think both guys got it completely wrong. I've known enough people around the gym who obsesses about food in relation to fitness to know that dessert was going to be a tough sell for a fitness model on even philosophical grounds. The best approach is to go with something very light with the pretense of some nutritive value: home made fruit sorbet. I figure that had some chance in hell of actually being well received.
In the end, I think the show needs to work on its screening methods for contestants. Finding people who look good on camera is probably important, yes, but, finding people who relish food and enjoy eating is also probably equally important. Using a fitness model who satisfies the former requirement, but takes a purely utilitarian approach to eating in order to service her career is probably not the best choice.
But hey, that's just me.
on 2003-05-01 at 10:47 a.m.
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