Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer Scenes 2007

My fine friend Chef Bill up in Chicago earned the award last weekend for Best Use of a Cell Phone. He called me up as he was enjoying the sunshine and summer at Wrigley Field watching his beloved Cubs battle the Brewers. The score, while important to the overall game, is not that important while actually watching the game live. I switched my TV over to WGN to watch as we talked and just about then the crowd began their traditional Take Me Out To The Ballgame singalong and Chef Bill just said "listen" and held the phone aloft while the crowd sang a summer classic.

Chef Bill also just finished his first year in an honest-to-Pete chef school last week, so big congrats for his achievement.

Wrigley Field is just one place I want to visit when I actually make the time and effort for a trip to Chicago. It is a holy place in baseball, built on grounds which were once home to a seminary, and having a hot dog and some beer while watching the Cubs on a summer's day sounds like perfection to me.

Speaking of food and chefs and summer, I must confess here that I have become over the last few summers rather addicted to a "reality show" called Hell's Kitchen which airs on Monday nights. Wannabe chefs compete for actual jobs in five-star restaurants and they compete not with oddball tasks and contests, but by performance in the kitchen. You just can't fake your way through the game, you either perform at your best or you're gone.

Chef Ramsey holds all the power in the contest and curses and swears at the wannabe chefs with a savage intensity and a pinpoint accuracy. Being an excellent cook working despite the failures of teammates and grueling pressure from Chef Ramsey is no task for the timid or the unprepared. So it isn't really a game - it's a real-world scenario in which you must compete at the job you want to have.

An angry Scotsman in the kitchen is always entertaining.

Also this week for the 4th of July, the 91st Annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held at Coney Island and it looks to be one of the best matches ever. American Joey Chestnut will try again to defeat the astonishing Takeru Kobayashi who has won the contest for the last six years in a row, snarfing down nearly 54 hot dogs last year.

The record, until Kobayashi arrived, held steady at around 20 to 25 hot dogs and buns. He blew that away in 2000 by wolfing down 50 hot dogs and buns. In June of this year at a preliminary competition, Chestnut gobbled down 59 hot dogs and buns, so the mark for this week's big event may well top 60 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

Legend -- I mean WikiPedia - says:

According to legend, on July 4, 1916 four immigrants had a hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous stand in Coney Island to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic. After twelve minutes, James Mullen had eaten thirteen hot dogs and was crowned the victor."


  1. Cinemonkey3:19 PM

    Joey Chestnut sounds like a Mob name.
    Go Cubs & go Chef Bill!!

  2. paige7:48 AM

    Agreed on best use of a cell phone. Don't watch the cooking shows, but many congrats to our Chef Bill for finishing up his first year in school!

  3. I have a mad crush on Gordon Ramsey.