The four remaining chefs in "The Next Iron Chef" competition on the Food Network went to Japan. This show allows a young chef an opportunity to become a regular on "The Iron Chef."
They went to Japan to make dishes with rice as the main ingredient. They were supposed to make something that is sweet, sour, salty and bitter that had the element of umami. That's one of those words that's the in thing.
A few years ago, editorial page editor Dusty Nix came up to me and said, "What the hell is chipotle? Every time I turn around, it's chipotle this and chipotle that. What is it?"
I told him it's dried, smoked jalapenos.
For the last year or so, it's umami. It's roughly translated to mean "deliciousness." They cooked at a famous Japanese cooking school, Hattori Nutrition College, that's overseen by Yukio Hattori. Hattori sensei was the original commentator on "Iron Chef," a Fuji Television series.
Anyway, the four chefs cooked for an hour and put five little dishes into lacquered bento boxes.
My mother's question? "Do they even know what a bento is?"
I shrugged. I had no idea.
My mother has a specific idea of what goes into a bento box. So she was wondering what they would make.
Of course, it was not anything she'd put in a bento box, but some of the dishes looked good.
The final judging was in a large tatami room.
And the chefs looked like they had shoes on.
Oh, the sacrilege! You never, ever wear shoes inside, especially in a tatami room.
They may have been wearing black socks. I hope so.