Friday, November 17, 2006

A Boy Like That: Amuse-Biatch Tête-à-Tête with Elia Aboumrad

Elia, querida, do you remember that little tête-à-tête you had with Marcel in the firehouse where you counseled him on how he was going wrong?

Well, come sit next to us in the gray La-Z-Boy, because it's your turn. You know we love you, paisana, and most of the time you seem sweet, and caring and balanced (e.g., during that flamingo, stand-on-one-foot yoga move). But, frankly, what we saw in this week's episode worries us, and we need to talk. It's for your own good.

During the Quickfire Challenge, after having your kidneys Latina-dissed by Chef Michelle Bernstein, the Mexican spitfire in you came out, and you said, "Ees thees woe-man for reel?!" And then you did the patented Marcel eye-roll, and our heads went back into the antimacassars with horror.

Mind you, we totally understand how you might have felt. Chef Bernstein was kind of a bitch, coming in with her big Sandra Bernhard lips, Echo-Park-homegirl dark lipliner, frizzy hair, wrinkled linen dress, and a shit-eating grin that said "I get all the advantages of calling myself a Latina but none of the disadvantages that might come with actually having a Latin name or a dark complexion." (Girl, por favor. Shakira was right; hips don't lie.) We could see, dear Elia, that you wanted to throttle her like Thalia wants to throttle Paulina Rubio, in a curly-hair-pulling, Telemundo-worthy kerfuffle.

But the thing is, she kind of had a point. You did blow it during the Quickfire Challenge, and it didn't have to be that way, since you had a natural advantage going on. A lot of Mexican cooking involves offal, and you had the chance to hit it out of the park. For example--honeycomb tripe. Hello!? That's menudo, Mexico's national dish, Sunday-morning staple, and (not incidentally) hangover cure extraordinaire. Or veal tongue. Again, hello!? You could have come up with some great tacos de lengua. Even the kidneys you went with could have been turned into riñones en chilito, in a tomatillo and guajillo-chile sauce.

We get little Marxist thoughts in our heads. It used to be the case that rich people in Mexico never ate Mexican food because it was considered the servants' food. Real food could only be French. Darling, that's the very reason it took Diana Kennedy to come in and "rescue" the cuisine. Might your privileged upbringing have something to do with this? We wonder.

And, in fact, we've wondered ever since you chose to use red wine instead of tequila during the flambé challenge. Now, we're not saying that just because you're Mexican you have to use Mexican ingredients or techniques. Far from it. But it just seems like such a pigheaded waste to squander those ingredients or techniques when you could use them to your advantage. And you could have gone all Joël Robuchon with them.

But really, the thing that worries us the most is that you may be spending too much time with Marcel, that his arrogance and condescension might be rubbing off on you. We have no doubt that you learned the eye-roll from him. We see a little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. When your hair is pulled back and you wear those cute little retro eyeglasses, you're sweet, and thoughtful, and say adorable things like "Me, I lov pie. I theenk I’m a beeg keed somehow, yeah." But then when you hang around Marcel, take the glasses off, and borrow the mousse from him and puff your hair out, watch out!

Honey, he's trouble. That boy is sheer trouble. You need to stay away from him. We never thought it would come to this, but we're afraid we're going to have to appeal to a higher Hispanic authority, none other than Miss Rita Moreno in West Side Story. "A boy like that will give you sorrow, you'll meet another boy tomorrow, one of your own kind, stick to your own kind." By which we mean nice, heterosexual, non-alliterative, and not sprouting DSM-IV diagnoses from every gelled follicle.

Oh, and remember that moment during the Quickfire Challenge when you indicated on your neck where sweetbreads are located? Well, we think it may be just a mite ill-advised if what Spice Rack says is true about Marcel, and he is in fact a vampire. No sense drawing him a map, is there?


Lou said...

Elia, like quite a few Mexicans (Merida has tons of Lebanese Mexican restaurants), seems to be of Lebanese descent. wonder if that has anything to do with it? what's the Lebanese take on offal?
but loved your advice to her!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I just don't get it, you two. Your blog should be attracting comments like flies on offal.

BTW, kerfuffle is one of my all time favorite words. Just love your command of the Queen's English.

Anonymous said...

I adore this blog! Hee-ster-i-cal, and well-written.

In response to Ms. Place's comment about your blog not attracting more comments, my sense is that there are probably a lot of lurkers during this season of Top Chef as the number of blogs builds and each gets on its feet in developing its own style. It takes a while for audience participation to build. (BPR in particular developed its audience over 3 show seasons and a much longer [real-]time frame. To the point where they’re probably relieved PR3 is over and they can get back to real life and less hate mail . . .)

Please keep up the great work, and know that what you do is appreciated!!!

And if I could offer a suggestion of another place to find fine TC recaps, check out
I found her before this TC season started, and always look forward to her comments. She knows from cooking (and baking), and has a very observant eye when it comes to reality TV. I also always look forward to Eric3000’s “quotes” and cut-to-the-chase style. I’m glad there are a variety of blogging styles and talented observers following this show.


Willa Frank said...

what's wrong with the world today? not enough antimacassars to go around, i say!

your fairy godmother