TV watching – How to make Top Chef better and a Julia Child surprise

I’m addicted to Top Chef, not for the drama, but to see what dishes people will come up with limited ingredients, time or knowledge. 

I also understand the need for the product placement – these same companies are presumably the ones ponying up for the cash prize the contestants are playing for.

But the one product placement that’s the worst is that for the boxed Swanson stock they all use.  I’d really like to see the producers force the contestants to behave like they would in their own kitchens and have them at least making chicken and veal stock in addition to cooking their own food.  How it gets done and who makes it should be left up for the contestants to figure out.

I’ve sat there watching and wondering what some of those sauces taste like with that watery and tasteless piss that comes out of those boxes.


The other day I was flipping through and saw Julia Child on the new Cooking Network (a network that really is what the Food Network used to be, it’s ok but it’s not great), so I decided to watch her make some chicken dish that Napoleon ate after the battle (specifically Chicken Marengo). 

Chicken Marengo – for those who don’t know, which included me a couple of days ago – is a dish made entirely with what Napoleon’s chef had on hand after the battle:  chicken, eggs, olive oil, a type of crayfish local to the region, tomatoes, onion, garlic and some herbs.  What’s also kind of cool is that the chef reportedly had to use a sabre to break the chicken down since he lacked even the most basic of kitchen supplies. 

Anyway, onto my surprise when I watched Julia not season the chicken before she browned it, and when she did season anything she just poured iodized salt straight out of its cylindrical container.  No kosher salt, no pepper.  I admit I was almost horrified.  I now want to tune in to more of these old episodes to see if this was just a one off or is this something she did repeatedly.

Not that it’s that huge of a deal, but I still found it of interest.


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