On being judgemental – why I could never sit at an Iron Chef’s table

I don’t really watch TV. I am too busy scouring the world for ideas and inspiration, and I find most of what is on television these days to be of little value.  That’s a personal belief and not a judgement on those of you who do enjoy watching the picture box. If it provides an uplifting moment to an otherwise dreary day, makes you laugh, or you find some measure of education in its offerings, more the power to you.

I do get collateral exposure to the telly’s contents when my wife does watch it. She’s a huge fan of all the home renovation, decorating, and cooking shows out there. One indelible impression that I have been left with is that I would be a terrible cooking competition judge. When I see the likes of Mr. Ben-Israel or Mr. Steingarten slam into people who have put their hearts out on their plates, I have to grant them some measure of respect, despite their frequent appearance as insufferable jerks as they render judgement upon the people that stand before them. Were I in a similar position, the moment one of those dishes would be laid out on the table in front of me, it would disappear in a puff of cake shrapnel or splashes of savoury sauce. “Omnomomonomonom!”

Artist’s rendition of Max Shields as a Food Channel judge.

Before the cameras would have had time to pan back fro the Chairman for the chef to explain his magnificent creation, only crumbs would remain on my plate. I like food, you see. I’d probably beg forgiveness the first time, and ask for seconds that I may properly judge. But after the third or fourth time, they’d probably be on to me, so I’d be reduced to picking food off of the other judges’ plates for a while. Even though I’m a nice guy and not really one to degrade the people that hand me food, I am a right proper savage when someone tries to take something away from me without my permission, particularly when food is at stake. Any attempts by the other judges to keep me from accessing their plates would be met with vicious snarling, drooling, and a flashing of fangs. Hungry wolves have got nothing on me.

You think he’s scary? Just you try and take food away from me!

This may somewhat affect the panel’s ability to provide a full review of the meals that have been laid out before them, but I think I can handle that with a “too right!” to one and an “attaboy!” to the other competitor, perhaps an invite out for a beer after the show, because if you’ve put food on my plate, you’re awesome in which way I look at it. We can all be winners, so long as you feed me.

Viewers would probably be more entertained as a wrestling match ensues behind the table, which would probably be good for the show, too. It’s all about the ratings, baby!


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