Cooking show that goes the whole hog
REMEMBER Triple D, the food network show also known as Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? Of course you do. It’s probably the best television food show available. Trust me. I’m a reviewer. Staying with the trust, let me tell you about a show that’s pretty close in content and quality to Triple D. This is Man Fire
Food, which sounds like the words you find on a traditional tattoo. Presented by the extraordinarily personable Roger Mooking, which in itself is a name to conjure with, Man Fire Food involves Mooking travelling the US, sampling and commenting on the powerful interactions between regional cuisines and raw fire. It’s one hell of a show.
America – and you can quote me – is a huge country. Not only that, but thanks to generations of immigrants, some voluntary, others not, the food is as varied as the national DNA. The episode that grabbed me by that part of my brain linked directly to my taste buds began with a meeting between Mooking and his host, the smokehouse masterchef who runs Scotts Pit Cook. This extraordinary place is found in Hemingway, South Carolina, and cooks whole pigs up to 28 at a time.
The statistics are unbelievable, but completely true. In Hemingway, pigs are called hogs, a two-letter change that carries with it a lexical universe of meaning. Now Scotts, from the outside anyway, is just another corner store, in a downbeat part of a downbeat town. But once you get inside – with the generous company of Mooking – the most extraordinary industry is revealed. We start in the backyard. There homemade and homewelded ovens slowly burn local hardwoods such as hickory, oak and pecan. The coals that result from this combustion are carried in long handled fire spades into the smoke house, where giant braais hold the headless vertically split carcasses of hogs. These are basted in a secret sauce, just one of the secret sauces that anoint the slow cooked hogs. Then, say 12 hours later, the pig meat is picked off the bones and served to an adoring audience who just can’t get enough of the stuff.
But wait, there’s more!
Staying with Mooking we hit an oyster roast in the Low Country of South Carolina. Sufficient to say there’s a stainless steel highly finished oyster roasting device than runs on real fire. Oysters are shovelled onto the massive hotplate, 15 minutes elapses and scores of diners each wield their personal oysteropening knives fall on the dazzling mountain of steaming oysters.
Finally, I need to share my feelings about Jessica Jones’s mom. Sadly, and when I say sadly I mean sadly, Jessica’s mother is a total monster, the (yawn) tragic victim of (yawn) the same nutcase doctor who fried Jessica herself. In the case of Jessica, the Marvel superpowers she obtained allow her to operate in the normal world as a partially successful private investigator and totally successful full-time booze hound. And oh yes, she’s a kinda role model in the Marvel universe.
But her mom! What a horrible mess she’s made of the final episodes of Jessica Jones Series 2, streaming on Netflix. Bald but wigged, she is a murderous loony and has successfully hijacked the entire show. Moderation? Gone. Complexity of narrative? Down the tube. I have no idea how series 3 (if it ever happens) will pull itself out of this long drop of… Oh well, dear reader, feel free to write the last word yourself.