Quick! First, think of the worst (but funniest!) possible food or beverage around which to stage a cook-off.
Now, imagine the worst (but, again, funniest) place to hold said cook-off.
Now, imagine the one celebrity chef on earth who should stay far, far away from such a debacle in the making--a guy who has worked his ass off for years in all manner of strange positions until achieving the honor of being a sort of elder statesman of French and American gastronomy.
Now, put those three things together, and what do you have?
You have the fourth annual Manischewitz Cook-Off being organized out of Secaucus, New Jersey, and hosted this year by none other than Jacques Pepin -- one of my all-time culinary heroes and a man who really ought to know better.
Here's part of the announcement:
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Secaucus, NJ (December 2009): Your family's favorite homemade recipe could land you a spot in the live Manischewitz Cook-off held in NYC in March 2010. Submit an original kosher dish made with the new all-natural Manischewitz broth (available in Chicken, Reduced Sodium Chicken and Beef flavors) for a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize that includes GE Profile kitchen appliances and cash. For official contest details and to register, log onto manischewitz.com.
And yeah, I know. You don't have to cook with Manischewitz wine (which, granted, would have been funnier), but still, it's a pretty hilarious holiday cooking contest. And the fact that they got Pepin to judge the thing? Well, that's just gravy...delicious, Manischewitz gravy.
Which, of course, is going to be the recipe that I enter.
Last year, Denverite Deborah Leebove and her meatloaf reached the finals of this contest, as Tyler Nemkov reported here. Want to enter? The deadline is January 31, so get cracking...