Food Fight: A Real Chef Goes Head-to-Head With Nintendo DS's America's Test Kitchen
When Dan and I begin cooking, we wash our hands, fill our wineglasses, and turn on some music—preferably something old-timey that makes you want to drink (think Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan). The Nintendo starts off by asking you to fill out personal information and blaring some sort of clown-car Muzak. Completing census information and hearing an oboe die is a bad start.
Here the Nintendo is actually pretty sweet. The top half of the screen gives you tips and advice ("to prevent the crust from being soggy, bake it through before adding the tomatoes") while the bottom half lets you select ingredients, view steps, and start cooking. Dan usually barks, "chop this, rinse that, shut the fuck up about Lost."
By the time we're ready to start cooking, Dan is typically drunk and Texas Football Dad-ing me ("the way you oil a pan is a disgrace!") The DS was much friendlier and almost hilariously idiot-proof. Step one was lightly beating an egg in the bowl. In case you'd never seen an egg or a bowl, there are helpful pictures. You simply click through the steps and follow the instructions. The process was really well designed.
The tart came out great. The crust was flaky, the tomatoes and mozzarella had formed a glorious union of soft and juicy textures.
Yet, there wasn't much room for creativity, whereas with Dan, he's liable to (drunkenly) suggest stuffing chicken with goat cheese or heading to the spice rack to "flavorfy this motherfucker." Cooking with Dan offers curse words, improv, and free booze—he's not in journalism so he has actual money—but Nintendo DS worked pretty perfectly for the tart, because there's not much free-styling you can do with this dish. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top next week when we move onto pork chops. Round one, however, goes to the machine!
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