I like IRON CHEF. You need nerves and guts of steel to watch the Japanese version because they are always doing things like blending lobster brains into their soups for a bit of extra flavor. Then people actually eat it. That show was probably the inspiration for FEAR FACTOR. The dubbing on that version is awful too. The woman who always dubs the voice of the actress-judge of the week always gives them this little “tee hee hee” laugh. I’m sure not every Japanese actress has the same laugh.

There is a new American version now. It’s hosted by Alton Brown who has my favorite show on Food Network, GOOD EATS, so I’d watch just for that. I was also hoping they’d tone down the gross food for our delicate American palates. The first one was trout. They had pretty live trout in a fishtank. They had to murder them first so I changed the channel for a while. The thing that has amazed me about this show has been the talking. On the Japanese show they don’t translate what the chefs are saying as they cook. The first time I heard a chef talk to a helper I was amazed. What did I think they were doing – communicating telepathically? The other thing I don’t understand is where all the ingredients come from? How do they magically have what the chefs want? One person wants things as diverse as banana leafs, coconuts, assorted chiles, plantains, and pomegranates. Is each area stocked with everything known to man or do they request stuff they like to cook with and then hope it fits their secret ingredient? They had shark fin available? Who has shark fin just hanging around?

Personally, I’m waiting for the vegetarian battles. Forget the trout and buffalo. Let’s see what you can do with artichokes and red peppers and oranges.