meal twelve: bacon-wrapped shrimp with chipotle bbq sauce, guid-moc-shoe, big bud's beer can chicken

Chris: I shouldn’t be shocked, but more than two months into this project, Guy still finds ways to surprise me. It’s like a marriage—you gotta mix things up or it’s going to get stale. It’s the little things he does: the way he hides typos in a recipe, the subtle way he can sneak bacon into any dish, and despite all of our time together, he still finds new ways to make me laugh. No, laugh isn’t right, what’s the word I’m thinking of? Oh--cry. This time, he made me rethink everything I thought I knew about cooking.

First, we started with bacon-wrapped shrimp with chipotle BBQ sauce. This is one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever made. Not because it was good (it was fine) but because it was super easy: 1) we already made the chipotle BBQ sauce for the hot links Cajun pasta thing. Because we are cool geniuses with tons of forethought WE FROZE SOME OF IT. And then we were able to use to it for this recipe. 2) We needed shrimp for our orange soda/ketchup shrimp cocktail/lobotomy and for this dish so WE BOUGHT EXTRA AND LEFT IT IN THE FREEZER FOR A COUPLE WEEKS. 3) Finally, because every dish needs bacon anyway, WE ALREADY HAD SOME BACON ON HAND. I mean, it wasn’t enough (between the 3 recipes we made, we needed a pound and a half of bacon), but it was a start. In conclusion, this was exactly like that show that used to be on, Semi Home Made with Sandra Lee, and I shoddily wrapped bacon around shrimp and doused them with BBQ sauce in a grill pan and ate it. It was easy, and for the first time ever, I think, our preparedness actually paid off. Chris’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5 nuggets of forethought

Allie: Man, any recipe that involves wrapping shrimp in bacon and smothering it in a super-spicy sauce might as well be called "Sorry, Jews, You Should Find Another Appetizer; I Think There's A Cheese Plate Around Here Somewhere", but little does Guy Fieri know, one time I ate a bacon egg and cheese sandwich on Yom Kippur, so I am basically the least kosher Jew on the face of the planet. Then again, Guy Fieri's version of matzo ball soup probably involves mounds of crushed-up Bugles floating in a puddle of Tang, so who cares. My expectations for this were astonishingly low, which paid off, because I really enjoyed it. This is the first meal we've made where the bacon has actually complemented the rest of the food, as its fattiness worked well against both the texture of the shrimp and the spiciness of the sauce. I definitely felt like Sandra Lee, because we used pre-cooked shrimp in this recipe, and one time Sandra Lee made a tapenade recipe in which the main ingredient was store-bought tapenade (not a joke). I guess the moral of the story is to have standards so low that you're pleasantly surprised whenever something you put in your mouth doesn't taste like you're licking a stop sign. Allie's rating: 4 out of 5 tang puddles

Chris: Next, we made Guid-Moc-Shoe. Look, I know I sound like a broken record here, but I was really excited to make this! For weeks, Allie would ask what I wanted to cook, and I would sing this amazing song I wrote where all the words are “Guid Moc Shoe.” It’s to the tune of Witch Doctor by Alvin and the Chipmunks and it’s super catchy. Both my wife and Allie pretended to hate it, but I would hear them humming it sometimes. Anyway, this was full of tons of fresh, summer vegetables and I expected it to taste kind of like cowboy caviar, if you’ve ever had that. Just a bunch of chopped up onion, corn, bell peppers, jalepeno and a little bacon. But when we made it, it came out super heavy and kind of had the consistency of wallpaper paste. It was a stunning disappointment in a blog full of them, but it hardly prepared me for the Beer Can Chicken. Chris’s Rating: 2 out of 5 ruined amazing parody songs

Allie: One of my favorite foods is corn, because I'm part turtle! Growing up, my mom wouldn't let us eat corn unless it was during the four-day span in August she decided was "corn season", so it carried a lot of mystique in our house (at least for me, but I'll save that for my upcoming Billy Crystal-esque one-woman show, "700 Corndays"). When I went to college, I realized that you could buy frozen corn ANY TIME OF THE YEAR so while everyone else was drinking rum out of water bottles I was microwaving bowls of frozen corn in a bowl I later found out was NOT microwave-safe. It was totally nuts, you guys. I was also very popular and had a lot of friends!!! Now I have a stupid Guy Fieri blog where I buy corn and ruin it.

For this dish, we had to grill the corn and the peppers and then cut them up and cook them in bacon grease with a bunch of other stuff. Chopping all of the ingredients took approximately four thousand centuries. Apparently this dish is Guy's version of "corn maque choux", a dish I had never heard of and now have googled one hundred times in my quest for answers. Most of the other recipes I found just involved sauteing veggies and adding some cream, but Guy's version calls for three tablespoons of flour, which created a texture that was as grainy as a sepia-tinged photograph of a man with a mustache. I knew it was going to be bad when I said "I don't see how this dish could be bad!" There was absolutely no reason to grill the corn and peppers beforehand. We're 12 meals in and I'm running out of ways to say "I thought this meal was extremely disappointing", so instead, I'll say, what are the Indigo Girls up to? Has anyone heard from them recently? Allie's rating: 2 out of 5 wishes that this meal was closer to fine

Chris: OK, so we made beer can chicken. This is one of the most “Guy” dishes I think we’ve made yet. Like when you think of Guy Fieri you probably picture him there, sunburned skin and frosted tips, jamming a can of beer up a chicken’s butt. And even though that seems kind of crazy, beer can chicken is a thing I’ve heard of and have always been sort of curious to try. I mean, the New York Times has written about it. I even wrote an amazing song to the tune of the Folgers jingle that went “the best part of waking up, is putting beer in a chicken’s butt.” But this chicken just broke me. It basically gaslighted me. It made me not know what to believe anymore.

Allie: I was also kind of excited for this, because I've never cooked beer can chicken before, and I was excited to find a recipe that combined my two favorite activities, which are drinking and worrying about things catching on fire. So we bought a little tiny chicken for $4 at Jewel and brought it home and got to work ruining it. First, we made a paste of every spice in the world and spread half of it under the chicken's skin and the other half on the inside of the chicken. I thought that was a weird place to season the chicken, but what the hell do I know, I don't have a PhD in spicy chickens. Then, Guy said to pour out half the beer and stick the can containing the remaining beer inside the chicken. Chris somehow became convinced that meant he had to pour half of the beer in the pan containing the chicken, but I wasn't really able to debate that point with him because I was busy chopping seven hundred onions to make guid-moc-shoe and also I didn't care. Finally, we had to drape bacon all around the chicken, for no apparent reason other than that Guy is incapable of not doing that. When we were done, we had a little chicken perched on a beer can with tendrils of bacon streaming out of its neck cavity, like a horrific redneck bouquet or something the eye-hands monster from Pan's Labyrinth would bring to a BBQ. Then we cooked the chicken and the real fun began!

Chris: When the chicken came out, the bacon was burned to a crisp. I took a piece off and ate it and it tasted disgusting and so I told Allie, “don’t eat that.” But she didn’t listen to me and ate it anyway and said, “that was disgusting.” But most importantly, I still, days later, do not know whether this chicken was done or not. I know that’s not really a subjective thing. Like I can hear you saying chicken is either cooked or it’s not, this shouldn’t be a question. But all my senses and experience in-fought with each other, leaving me stumped. I made a chart.

After weighing the evidence, I have no idea whether this chicken was cooked. In the end, we both had a few bites, but we didn’t want to risk food poisoning for this dumb blog, and so we mostly stayed away. It’s entirely possible that we just screwed up, and this chicken is delicious if prepared properly, but I really do think we attempted to follow this recipe very closely. We used an oven thermometer and an instant read to double check safe temperatures. I really can’t imagine what we made is what Guy envisioned for this recipe. Maybe this one was on us, but you know what, if it’s okay with everyone I’m just gonna blame Guy. Chris’s rating: 0 out of 5 chicken brain teasers.

Allie: When this chicken came out of the oven, I decided to google other beer can chicken recipes and I noticed a bunch of things. First of all, many angry internet people were claiming that putting beer cans inside chicken may not be good for you because of chemicals (?). I have literally no idea whether this is true or not, but the fact that neither Chris nor I paused for even a single second to wonder whether it was a good idea to give a chicken a metal endoskeleton tells me that we don't have very good survival instincts. Also, many of the pictures of beer can chicken on the internet looked golden brown and crispy. Guy's recipe called for the chicken to be draped in bacon and cooked at a pretty low heat, which meant that the resulting chicken wasn't brown and crispy. It was just pale and wet. It was the wettest chicken I have ever eaten.

Like Chris said, it was impossible to tell whether this chicken was soggy or raw, but I don't know, because I don't have a PhD in wet chickens. It was also super bland; it's kind of amazing how many spices we can add to these dishes and still have them taste like we're just chewing on the liner notes of a Sublime CD. The best part of this meal was when I didn't eat any of it, and then my roommate and I ordered Domino's when I got home, and it was the best Domino's I've ever eaten. IT HAD SO MUCH FLAVOR!! Allie's rating: 0.5 out of 5 little soggy chickens (the 0.5 is because I got to order pizza)

Final Summary:

Total dishes made: 32/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "This recipe began with a good ol' American Budweiser--one for the bird, one for me. So the name stuck!"

What happens when you google "wet chicken": You end up on a message board for owners of chickens who are unsure if it's OK to leave chickens outside when it rains. Spoiler alert: OF COURSE IT IS

Chris: Beer can chicken is fake news

Allie: We named the chicken Reginald; he died for nothing

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meal eleven: pizza dough, cajun crab and asparagus pie, the french pig pizza, kale with roasted beets and bacon, cherry cobbler pizza

Allie: For our next cooking nightmare, we decided to devote a rainy Saturday to knocking out a bunch of Guy's pizzas. Chris was insistent that we cook all of the pizzas at once, "like a pizza party", even though parties are traditionally fun things that people like and not joyless parades through mundane hellscapes that are full of orange soda, like if David Lynch directed a Burger King commercial. For example, the greatest party anthem of all time, "This Is How We Do It", is mostly about feeling happy and hanging out with friends, not cooking Cajun pastas and holding in farts. Anyway, I naively blundered into our cooking session thinking that we were relatively safe, because how could Guy ruin pizza?? That was a dumb thing to think. OF COURSE Guy Fieri can ruin pizza!!

We decided to commemorate our "pizza" "party" by bringing aboard our very first guest cook/contributor! Our friend Heather is a very smart lawyer who also once ate a plate of ribs at an art museum, so we knew she'd be down for spending a big chunk of her weekend pouring a can of pie filling onto a pizza crust. She's also a great cook, and we've included some of her well-reasoned critiques of Guy's food below, underneath all the dumb jokes I wrote about Billy Zane and all the dumb jokes Chris will probably write about Paul Giamatti.

Chris:  Spoiler alert: this pizza tasted as saggy as Paul Giamatti’s face looks.

I was excited to have Heather guest on the blog, because she is a talented, classy chef and if I've learned anything from Paula Abdul, it's that opposites attract! A few weeks ago, Heather had us over and made us several Ina Garten recipes. which were loaded with fresh ingredients and simple, elegant flavors. It was like the antidote to Guy Fieri. Like if Guy Fieri was a disease… like I said, it was like the antidote to Guy Fieri. Anyway, I wanted to see how someone who knows how to cook good, normal food would react to the future bathroom disaster that is all Guy Fieri cuisine. Would her circuits overload like a robot who had orange soda poured on it? Or would she be able to elevate Guy Fieri food like some sort of Flavortown Brobot powered by orange soda?

The asscrabus/crabsparagus pizza

The asscrabus/crabsparagus pizza

Allie: We made two savory pizzas using Guy's prime-time pizza crust: the French pig pizza and a Cajun crab and asparagus pizza. We also made a cherry cobbler pizza and kale with roasted beets and bacon. Two days ago I just wrote "the savory pizzas were bad" in a draft and saved it and then I saw it again tonight and now I just keep staring at it and nodding. The sweet pizza was also bad. The crabsparagus pizza (cook it, live it, love it) (Chris: I prefer “asscrabus” pizza) was the best pizza we made, which is kind of like saying that mud is better than wet dirt. The Cajun sauce was super bland, and I could barely taste the crab. The French Pig pizza was barely a pizza. For example, it didn't have a sauce. It was just leeks and apples and pancetta and brie loosely piled on a mound of chewy dough. Call me crazy, but to me a pizza without a sauce is just a flatbread, just like Titanic without Billy Zane is just a movie about a leaky boat.

The kale with roasted beets and bacon was fine, but Guy weirdly refuses to call it a salad and it is classified as a "side dish" instead of as a "salad" in this book. I genuinely don't know when something stops being a pile of leafy greens and starts being a salad, but I hope it's when it stops being polite and starts getting real. The cherry cobbler pizza is perfect for anyone who can't decide between eating a cherry cobbler and eating a pizza but just knows that they want to be disappointed. The best thing I can say is that if this pizza were any more forgettable, it would be Sam Worthington. I keep forgetting about it mid-sentence.

Allie's ratings:

Crabsparagus Pizza: 2.5 out of 5 remember Sam Worthingtons?
French Pig pizza: 2 out of 5 he was in that Terminator movie
Cherry Cobbler Pizza: 1 out of 5 and Avatar
Kale with roasted beets and bacon: 2.5 out of 5 and Everest, which I watched when I went through a phase where I only watched movies about mountaineering disasters; it was fine

The French pig

The French pig

Chris: The best thing I can say about these pizzas is that we checked a bunch of recipes off the list. 

I had high hopes for these doughs! Oh boy did I! I keep getting my hopes up, only to have them crushed over and over again. It must be the Cubs fan in me. The whole wheat dough recipe was basically incomprehensible. I would say it seems like it was edited by a horse wearing a bandanna, but that would be insulting to bandannas, which are a good fashion accessory, and horses, which are a good source of glue. Specifically, the whole wheat dough called for 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1.5 cups of all purpose flour, and 1.5 cups of water. Later, the recipe changed its mind and only called for 1 cup of all purpose flour. But if you only added one cup of flour, it was way too watery. OK, we figured, that must be a typo, and he really meant 1.5 cups like he originally said. Nope. When you added 1.5 cups it came out super dry--basically the consistency and flavor of low tide. I resisted the temptation to just jump out the window (neither my first nor my last mistake of the day), and added a little flour and a little water until it resembled dough. And it seemed like it might be OK, but really that was just the eye of the storm.

First, we made the asscrabus pizza, which is the next insult in Guy's never-ending quest to make Cajun cream sauce a staple. It didn't taste like crab, or Cajun food. It did kind of taste like asparagus and cheese. The French pig one was really an insult to French people, who make nice wine, and pigs, whose feet make a fine source of gelatin. It had like 100 ingredients on it, which all canceled each other out. Like when you mix all the paints together and make brown. This tasted brown. The dessert pizza was pizza crust, cherry pie filling, and oatmeal. And it tasted like less than the sum of its parts, which is a true accomplishment. The topping was incredibly dry. It tasted like when they cover puke with sawdust at Disneyland, but there was mascarpone cheese on the top.

Overall, these three pizzas sucked. Sometimes, when I rate these recipes I think, "Would I like this dish more than nothing?i.e., if there was no food in the house except for Guy Fieri food, would I eat that? And that very scenario happened to me with the French pig. We had a couple slices left over in the fridge, and we were trying to clean out the fridge before we left for vacation. All we had in the fridge was like 2 slices of awful Guy Fieri pizza, a jar of jalapenos, and some batteries. And I thought about eating the batteries, but instead I decided to try the French Pig again, and it was so bad I just went to bed hungry instead of eating. 

Chris' Ratings:

Asscrabus Pizza: 2 out of 5 cheesy ass crabs
French Pig: 1.5 out of 5 brown
Cherry Cobbler Pizza: 2 out of 5 sawdust pies

As I wrote these ratings, I realized I forgot to talk about the beet and kale thing. It was fine. I'm writing this significantly after our cooking date and I can't remember really anything about it. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it wasn't really healthy or heavy, it just was. 

Chris's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 beige Switzerlands  

Cherry cobbler pizza

Cherry cobbler pizza

Heather: I came into this experience with a very open mind. I know how how deep in the experience you guys are and thought maybe I could be a positive influence to make you rethink some criticisms. But it wasn’t long before I was saying “it will be fine” as much as you guys. In fact, I’ve never in my life heard/used the phrase “it will be fine” so many times in a day. The thing is (and I cook a lot and I interact with a lot of new recipes from a variety of chefs), in normal cooking you don’t need constant reassurance from your friends because a recipe is supposed to walk you through any moment where you may wonder “is this right?”

Both pizzas had a lot of ingredients and not a lot of flavor. I know this is a theme in the blog, but I really experienced it firsthand. First of all, this should never be a problem with anything labeled “Cajun”, like the sauce for the crabsparagus pizza. You couldn’t even taste the sauce (which I almost, to my demise, thought was hummus with olive oil drizzled on top as it sat and coagulated on the counter and ate some on a cracker. Bullet dodged, though I probably wouldn’t have tasted it enough to tell the difference.).

The leek and apple pizza felt like it had to be good because it had a lot of things I like and might combine in an appetizer (and not in a really heavy slice of pizza), but it was also VERY BLAND. I think that Guy doesn’t understand how to balance flavors along the way, because while this should have been well-rounded and intriguing, cooking leeks and apples in pancetta grease actually sucked out the brightness that they were supposed to contribute to cut through the buttery brie just like this experience sucked the joy out of a casual Saturday with friends.

I don’t even want to talk about the dessert pizza, except to say that if this is what a “pizza payday” looks like, as Guy mentions in the description, then sign me up for unemployment because I would like to quit whatever job leads to this payday. 

I also forgot about the kale thing, but I think it was on us for using baby kale. It just can't stand up to heat like regular kale and it wilts like spinach or arugula would. But the bacon here again detracted from what could be a nice, bright side dish. Altogether, and especially if you use regular kale, this could be OK. If I were rewriting this, I would make it a plain, uncooked kale salad with beets and replace the salty bite of bacon with something like feta. Even with our poor choices on the kale, I would never make it again, even with Guy's compelling argument that "kale, beets and bacon sounds like a cool band playing in the Flavortown Civic Auditorium" because not only do I not think that is true, but because I have officially exercised my right to vote with my feet and moved out of Flavortown, which I believe is engaged in a race to the bottom. 

Overall, this experience left me with no recipes I'd go back to, but I feel closer to my friends because that's often a byproduct of collective trauma. 

Kale and beets and stuff

Kale and beets and stuff

Final thoughts:

Total dishes made: 29/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "Come on now, I could put pancetta, Brie, leeks, and apples on a flip flop and you would love it..." (That may have tasted better than the actual pizza)

Places I've had pizza that tasted better than Guy Fieri pizza: Terminal A at Washington-Reagan Airport, Chimpy's Pizza Safari in Libertyville, IL, an old pizza lunchable I found

Allie: I just read the wikipedia article for the Sam Worthington movie where Octavia Spencer plays God and it was way more fun than eating any of these pizzas

Chris: I'm sorry Heather

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meal ten: fire-roasted shrimp cocktail, penne with cajun hot links and chipotle shrimp

Chris: Ah yes, meal ten, in which I was required to mix ketchup with orange soda. This feels like something I'm not coming back from.

But before we get to that, I want to tell you about one of our sponsors, Dude Apron. Dude Apron is a meal service that ships low-quality ingredients, in all the wrong proportions, with poorly copy edited Guy Fieri recipes, directly to your door. All you have to add is your own garbage and your own alcohol, and you're all set for a frustrating evening shouting obscenities as you slave over a hot stove to make bland, disappointing food. If you go to Dude Apron's website, click on the barbed wire tattoo and enter the offer code: "kill me please," you will get $10 off your first Dude Apron Box. Dude Apron: What's the opposite of farm to table? Factory to TGI Fridays leftover container? That's us.

And now back to the blog.

Chris: Allie and I decided to buy as much cheap frozen shrimp as possible and knock out a few of these shrimp dishes. The fire-roasted shrimp cocktail required us to marinate the shrimp in seasoning for an hour and then make a cocktail sauce. First, Guy tried to make us make "grilled ketchup." I saw grilled ketchup referenced in the recipe and didn't realize that GUY HAS A RECIPE FOR KETCHUP IN THIS COOKBOOK. He'd referenced this "grilled ketchup" on a previous occasion, but I just disregarded it, like when a dude tries to give you a "free" rap CD on the subway, because I don't have time to listen to the ramblings of a crazy person, and if you take it, you'll probably have to pay like $20. But grilled ketchup is a real recipe I'm supposed to make. No big deal, I figure, I'll just make it next time a recipe calls for it. But the only other recipe that requires grilled ketchup is FRIES, a dish I already had to make! Plus, I didn't have the time or ingredients to make it for this shrimp cocktail, so it looks like I'm going to have to make grilled ketchup sometime later this year for no reason at all! I'm just gonna be sitting there on the subway, listening to my $20 free rap CD, eating a big ole bowl of grilled ketchup, thinking "I deserve this."

Surprisingly, this wasn't the worst revelation I had that evening, because, yup, this cocktail sauce starts with a base of ketchup and orange soda. And Guy doesn't even apologize for it or anything. He doesn't say "Look folks, I know this is weird, but stick with me." He just slips it in there like it's no big deal. But it is a big deal. As soon as I poured that orange soda into the ketchup, I knew that my life would never be the same. I just felt somehow different. Like from now on I'd have to disclose this on job applications.

Allie: As my mom told me after she read our blog post about how we ate garbage, "Chris is so MELODRAMATIC." But yeah, it was gross mixing ketchup with orange soda. I actually had never eaten shrimp cocktail before this, because I was too busy spending my childhood getting trashed on Shirley Temples at Bat Mitzvahs to develop a lasting love of seafood. Apparently other people like shrimp cocktail, so it bums me out that my first introduction to a thing people like was through the demon's palate of a spiky-haired he-crab. That would be like if you had never been to Disney World before, and then you got there and realized that it was just a bowl of ketchup mixed with orange soda. Like all classy food, we ended up pouring it into a martini glass and jamming a bunch of crackers into it. Then we yelled "WELCOME TO HELL, SHRIMP", because if someone murdered me and all of my friends and poured us into a martini glass full of orange ketchup soda sauce I would be FURIOUS.

Chris: The ketchup didn't really fully dissolve in the orange soda, so it was just kind of red and chunky. I ate a spoonful of it because nothing matters anymore and I can say unequivocally it was the worst thing I've eaten for this blog. The idea of orange soda with ketchup sounded so awful and disgusting I kind of thought that it might be unexpectedly good. Like when two terrible things come together to somehow make something great (see for example that time Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers teamed up). But this wasn't one of those times. This was more like that time Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow teamed up.

However, I have to admit that once we added in the marinated shrimp, it cut through the crazy sweetness of the orange soda and ketchup slurry, and it actually was pretty good. I mean it wasn't great, but even a dead cat will bounce. Chris's rating: 2.5 out of 5 crappy duets.

Allie: I just spent a lot of time reading the comments on Guy's online recipe for this, and apparently the key is to specifically use Fanta-brand orange soda? We didn't get that memo, so we used Refreshe-brand orange soda, which we bought because it was like 40 cents and it looked lonely. It tasted like a family of moths died in a glass of Tang. We mixed it with red wine to make Lazy Sangria, which is the rare cocktail that is a waste of both wine and orange soda. Later, when I got home, I mixed the leftover orange soda with a little bit of gin and yelled at my roommate's cat for a while because she was trying to eat my deep-dish pizza. What was I talking about? This shrimp stuff was fine. Describing it is hard, like trying to keep a cat away from deep-dish pizza. Like Chris said, it was way too sweet until we added the shrimp, which was pretty well-seasoned. Every week I can feel my standards for edible food sliding down, lower and lower, until eventually I'll just be eating cat food out of a shoe, like a cartoon dog. Allie's rating: 2.5 out of 5 "how dare you describe National Treasure Dolly Parton as 'terrible', sir, I will fight you"s

Chris: We also made ANOTHER spicy Cajun pasta. I'm not sure why Guy thinks that all pastas must be Cajun, but now it is I who is the caged 'un. (OK, Allie wrote that joke and said if I didn't include it she would quit the blog, and I hate the idea of doing this alone even more than I hate that joke). No word as to whether this pasta helped Guy get laid one time, but my gut says no. Also, after eating this pasta my gut just kept saying NOOOO because it was creamy and really spicy. 

I don't have much to say about this. Allie and I ate this while watching the last 45 minutes of The Italian Job on AMC. They were both of similar quality. So if you want pasta that has basically the same value as a mid-tier Marky Mark project, this is it. Chris's rating: 3 out of 5 members of the funky bunch

Allie: I can't believe Chris glossed over the main issue we had with this pasta, which is that the recipe was TERRIBLE. The food itself was fine; I was worried that it wouldn't be spicy enough, so I made it way too spicy, and then everyone was mad at me, just like they were Mark Wahlberg and I was Edward Norton! But trying to follow this recipe was like trying to remember something that happened during the last Winter Olympics (i.e., impossible; please do not tell me things about snowboarding, I do not care). The pasta recipe contained a separate recipe for chipotle sauce that made twice as much sauce as was required for the pasta! Also, all the steps were out of order: Step 1 had approximately twenty-five steps, including "add the cooked pasta to the sauce", but Step 2 was "cook the pasta"!! (Step 3 was "add a garnish", but who do I look like, J.D. Rockefeller?) If this is how Guy lives his life, I feel like he spends a lot of time calling people and asking for help because he tried to put his pants on while wearing shoes. This recipe supports my secret theory that the bandanna-wearing horse editor was going to proof-read this cookbook, but then he dropped it in a hot tub and was too embarrassed to ask for a second copy. That kooky imaginary horse and his wacky adventures! Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 canceled sitcoms about a hot-tubbing horse

Final Summary:

Total dishes made: 24/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: It's a tie between "This is the culinary intersection of Crazy Tasty and Gonna Rock Your World!" and "A view from the high dive at the flavortown pool."

Chris: I got through this whole write up without mentioning Kel!


Allie: I'm not helping you come up with another joke. Now you are the caged 'un

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meal nine: blackened sesame salmon with cellophane noodle salad, tequila lime tart

Allie: This week, Chris and I decided to embrace the fact that we are slowly turning into sassy fridge magnets, so we drank margaritas while we cooked! We tried to treat ourselves by buying the cheapest tequila and the cheapest tequila mix we could find, which was kind of a mixed bag, results-wise. On the one hand, the tequila smelled like paint thinner and I started to go blind during my second margarita. On the other hand, the drinking made all of our pre-dinner conversation more tolerable, because Chris has recently been obsessed with asking me if I would like to have all the powers of Shazam (the music app, not a cool genie) in exchange for barking like a dog for fifteen seconds every day at noon, and then he keeps getting mad when I say that I don't use Shazam and I don't want to bark like a dog every day for any period of time. In case you thought we were smart and cool people, we also argued for 10 minutes the other day about whether we would want the power to point to anything and say "now you're eating" and have that object turn into a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza. I think that's too much power for one person to have, but what do I know, my parents didn't raise me to want to turn people into pizzas.

Chris: OK, I have a lot of feelings about all the stuff you just said.

1. The name of the genie you're thinking of is Kazaam, played by Oscar winner Shaquille O'Neal.

2. Shazam may also refer to Captain Marvel's catchphrase

3. I think it was also Foxxy Cleopatra's (played by Beyoncé) catchphrase in Austin Powers in Goldmember 

4. What were we talking about?

5. Oh yea. It wasn't barking like a dog for fifteen seconds at 12:00, it was barking like a dog for ten seconds at 12:15. Big difference.  

6. I can't believe you're so blasé about deciding not to accept all the powers of Shazam (the music app) and all you'd have to do is bark like a dog for ten seconds a day, which is something your body needs anyway. I also don't think you've considered that Jamie Foxx (the actor, not Foxxy Cleopatra, the Austin Powers character) has a new show on Fox (the TV network), where you have to beat Shazam and if you had all the powers of Shazam, that would presumably be helpful, and you could win money.

7. If you could turn things into personal pan pizzas just by pointing at them and saying "now you're eating" you could always have a back up meal ready to go when we inevitably have to make terrible Guy Fieri food.

Allie: Hardest pass of all time, buddy. Anyway, we made blackened sesame salmon with cellophane noodle salad this week. I rarely eat seafood, because the ocean is a watery murderous trash pile, and also we just didn't eat it growing up so I'm not super comfortable cooking it. I was even less enthused because this blog has destroyed my standards for edible food. For example, I accidentally ate some aluminum foil in my dinner the other night, and I just thought, well, at least it's a step up from eating garbage, I'm basically a robot now, this is fine. However, this meal was actually really good. The salmon was well-cooked and had a good flavor to it; the noodle salad had carrot, apple, and mango and complemented the salmon really nicely. The vinaigrette was light and flavorful and didn't contain any mayonnaise, and an abject lack of mayonnaise is now a thing I look for in all of my food. Maybe it's just the metal forming my new Wolverine skeleton talking, but I really liked this meal and I would 100% make it again, and I am JUST AS SHOCKED AS YOU ARE that GUY FIERI made me enjoy eating a food that was probably an adorable minor character in Finding NemoAllie's rating: 5 out of 5 tasty things that came out of a watery murderous trash pile

Chris: Yup, this was shockingly good and shockingly non-crazy. I was ready not to like this, because like two years ago I got the flu right after eating a bunch of salmon and then threw up a lot. The salmon didn't cause the illness, but I associate the two, so I have mostly avoided it. Like how after this project, I think I'll have to avoid all mayonnaise. But this was really good.

Usually, Allie reads through the recipe and I make a shopping list. Allie will say we don't need half the ingredients, because she hates buying obscure items, and insists every time that even without the ingredients, the food will turn out "fine." I'm on the side of trying to preserve an ounce of integrity with this blog and you know, trying to follow the recipe. But this time she was right. There were some unique ingredients we needed, including agave nectar (we didn't have it, we just used honey), black sesame seeds (we just skipped these), and wasabi powder (couldn't find it, used a spoonful of horseradish in its stead). Even with these changes, this came out tasty, and it was easy.

One minor-ish existential crisis I've now having with this blog is, "what if all this food is actually good, and we just suck at cooking?" I mean, this meal was good. Maybe we have just gotten better at cooking, and now we will be able to successfully make all of the rest of the dishes in this book and they will all be delicious. I'm not gonna say that's definitely the case, but I'm like 95% sure that's what's gonna happen. Chris's rating: 5 out of 5 existential crises 

Allie: I was flying pretty high after our successful salmon experience, so I was pretty excited to make Guy's tequila lime tart. But I forgot about the cautionary tale of Icarus, who also decided to whip up a mixture of tequila and condensed milk and egg yolks and ended up getting burned alive by the sun, which notoriously hates cheap tequila. I am fully aware that I was biased against this tart from the beginning because I don't love citrus desserts and I'm not a big tequila fan, but I thought this was genuinely revolting. It tasted like limes soaked in gasoline. The crust is made of Nilla wafers mixed with pine nuts, which is insane. I actually think if this had been a lime pudding base with some whipped cream folded into it, it would have been pretty refreshing and airy, like a key lime pie with a subtle hint of tequila to give it some edge. But instead, eating this was like trying to choke down a wet pile of leaves who had had too much to drink the night before. You can tell that I overbaked it in the picture below, but I actually don't think I baked it long enough. I should have kept going until this tart was just a pile of ashes. This tart is the Curious Case of Benjamin Button of food. I hated it. Allie's rating: 1 out of 5 bastardizations of Greek myths

Chris: Allie took this pie thing out of the oven and told me not to eat it because it was hot, but I didn't get this far in life by listening to other people, so I ate it anyway and it burned the inside of my mouth. I couldn't really taste anything and I thought it was pretty good. Then Allie and my wife talked about how crappy it was and I was like "I liked it! Y'all are haters." And to prove my point I had a second slice, and it was not good. I guess the moral of the story is that I should start burning my mouth before I eat any of the food for the rest of this blog.

I really like citrus-based desserts--my favorite pie is lemon meringue. This wasn't as much citrus-based as it was tequila-based (as was I, at this point in the evening). It really had a weird taste that I can't put my finger on. Oh, well I guess that's a lie, the weird taste was the $8 bottle of tequila we poured into it. I tried pointing at it and repeatedly yelling "now you're eating" but it didn't turn into a personal pan pizza. It just stayed as a family size, all-inclusive "resort" in Cancun, tequila tart. Chris's rating: 2 out of 5 cheap cocktail dump truck pies (5 out of 5 if you burn your mouth first). 

Final summary:

Total dishes made: 22/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor."

Good cooking tips: Apparently, just drink $8 tequila and burn all the taste buds off your mouth and all this food tastes good. Just like Ina Garten recommends!

Allie: I would gladly bark like a dog every day at noon for 15 seconds if I never have to eat a tequila-based dessert ever again

Chris: I'm gonna hold you to that. 

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meal eight: baltimore beef bad boy, double-fried french fries

Chris: I’ve been trying to get ahead of these recipes a little bit so I’m not so damn exhausted after cooking every time. Usually, our schedule has been, I come home from work and then Allie comes over a few minutes after. We spend some time picking out the recipe and then go to the store, and we don’t start cooking until after seven. It takes us an hour to an hour and a half to cook, so we’re not eating until 8:30. By that time I’m hungry, tired, and grouchy. Truly, it’s a trifecta of self-inflicted awfulness; it’s like watching all of the Star Wars prequels because you lost your remote and your TV is stuck on Spike.

Chris: This week I picked out the recipes a couple days in advance and went to the store. The first thing we decided to make was this Baltimore beef sandwich thing. I bought the beef and it had to be marinated in the fridge for several hours so I put a reminder in my phone for 6:45am that said “beef.” That way, when I woke up, I already knew it was going to be a crappy day. I stumbled out of bed and still half asleep, tried to find the recipe in the cookbook. I forgot to dog ear the page, so I went to the truly awful index of this book. First I looked under sandwich, but there was no entry. I looked under beef, and there were subheadings. I checked under “Baltimore” but there wasn’t anything there. No, the sandwich was under “Bad Boy”, for this sandwich’s full name is the Baltimore Beef Bad Boy. I mean, isn’t the point of an index that it’s supposed to help you find things in a book? Who would look under Bad Boy even if they remembered that was the dumb name for this dumb sandwich? I'm almost surprised that the whole index wasn't under G, for garbage, and then all the foods were listed under that (see for ex. Garbage, Salad, Waka, Waka).

I’m not familiar with a Baltimore Beef sandwich, but apparently it’s a thing. Guy’s version appears to be essentially a roast beef sandwich on rye with horseradish sauce. Seems pretty innocuous. I don’t so much marinade the beef roast in the fridge as much as I just cover it in every spice I have in my spice cabinet and let it sit there, all cold and spicy in the fridge all day while I go to work. Then, we grill it in the grill pan. Honestly, it seems like I could have just bought lean roast beef from the deli, but I sold my soul to the frosted tip devil, and I must pay the consequences.

Allie: A fun thing about this recipe is that it doesn't have a lot of things that recipes normally have, like details! For example, the recipe calls for a certain cut of beef, but doesn't specify how thick it should be or how much it should weigh. I don't know a lot about beef and I don't know how to use a meat thermometer, so I just kept setting arbitrary time limits on when I thought the beef should be done and then getting mad when the laws of thermodynamics refused to bend to my will. We also had to make a horseradish sauce for this sandwich, which, in true Guy fashion, involved mixing fifteen ingredients into a bowlful of mayonnaise and then letting it sit in the fridge for two hours. When we tasted it, it just tasted like horseradish. Every recipe in this book requires the most work for little to no payoff, like if every training montage in Rocky ended with Rocky falling down and breaking his leg and the movie instantly ending.

Chris: Also, this sandwich basically sucked. Guy recommended slicing the beef with a meat slicer after cooking it (even going as far as suggesting we mortgage our house to do so; this is how housing crises start). But I’m not gonna take financial advice from Guy Fieri, so we just cut it with a knife. The resulting meat was pretty tough, pretty bland, and not at all worth the effort. This may be my least favorite thing we have made yet. Just the combination of lots of effort, for a totally unimaginative dish, and so little payoff. It’s another awfulness trifecta; it’s like watching all of the Big Momma’s House movies because you lost your remote and your TV is stuck on FX. Chris’s Rating: 2 out of 5 calendar reminders that just say “beef.”

Allie: I ended up slicing this pretty haphazardly and just grilling the slices until they were no longer raw, so the toughness of the meat is 100% my fault. Chris didn't care because he wasn't paying attention. He was angrily making fries and just kind of staring into the big pot of bubbling oil like he was the old lady at the end of Titanic. This blog is turning us into an old married couple but not like, a happy one with lots of fond memories, more like a bitter couple that's just staying together for the sake of their child, who is a Guy Fieri blog, even though everyone knows they'd be better off apart. Anyway, this sandwich was boring and it mostly tasted like horseradish and poorly cooked meat. Even though it had every spice in the world on it, it was less flavorful than pretty much anything I've ever eaten, and I ate an unseasoned bowl of brown rice for lunch last week. Also, two nights later I was watching tiny baby children grill steaks to perfection on Masterchef Jr and I was furious! How did they cook the meat so well on their first try? Can they teach a 28-year-old lady how to do that? Call me, children!! Allie's Rating: 2 out of 5 sincere, desperate pleas to children under six

Chris: We also made fries. We were supposed to make baked potatoes, because I wanted to pick a really easy side, and I even bought the potatoes with several days to spare. But despite my best laid plans to be prepared, I didn’t realize that Guy’s baked potatoes had to be brined for several hours in the fridge. Because nothing can be easy and normal and my day to day life is being controlled by the love child of Sammy Hagar and the lead singer of Smashmouth.

Anyway, Guy has a fry recipe and it was extremely similar to the only other fry recipe I have ever made. I think these came out really good. Fries are my wife’s favorite food, as she tells me all the time. While I was making these, she told me that her least favorite food is cold fries, which is pretty amazing. I think that shows the fragility of life or something—a thing you love so much can so easily slip into something you hate. Like how I used to love cooking. Chris’s Rating: 5 out of 5 tenuous metaphors.

Allie: Chris and I were enjoying a nice meal of pre-dinner nachos when I flipped through the cookbook and said, "it's weird that you have to brine these baked potatoes for eight hours before cooking them" and Chris gave me a look that I instantly knew meant he had not read the recipe and had no idea that this was supposed to happen, and it was the closest my life has ever come to featuring a record scratch sound effect. Anyway, we made these fries. They were good, because there was no mayonnaise involved and they were otherwise pretty straightforward. I mean, they're fries. I have to give Guy credit where credit's due. He is good at frying potatoes in oil and then adding salt to them and he didn't even call them "Starch Rockets" or "Tater Blasters" or something crazy. Allie's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 STARCH ROCKETS

Final Summary

Total dishes made: 20/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: “Fries—when they’re good they’re really good, and when they’re bad…well, yep, you’ll still eat ‘em. But when they’re off da hook—well, they’re probably double fried.”

Another terrible film trilogy I bet you forgot about: Look Who's Talking!

Chris: I think this proves definitively that you can’t plan your way into a successful Guy Fieri meal. The food just exists in a permanent state of awfulness with no beginning, middle or end.

Allie: So is your TV broken or what

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meal seven: oak town garlic vinegar chicken, mambo rice, s'more pizza

Allie: The other day was Chris's birthday, as you probably gathered by my weird rant on the last post! Weirdly, when I asked him what disgusting cocktail he wanted to make for his party, he was like, "I'm having a real party with a theme and food that tastes good" and I was like "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT" and then I got mad at him. I also got mad at him because I made the pun "money nut Cheerios" and he didn't think it was funny. I am officially one pair of Dockers away from turning into my dad!

I let Chris choose the meal this week, under the guise of "it's your birthday, you get to decide what to cook!" but it was really because I didn't want to spend another 20 minutes of my life flipping dejectedly through this cookbook trying to pick a recipe that sounds good but not TOO good so we don't use up all the recipes that look good too early in the year. Anyway, Chris chose some chicken and rice and we shoved our expectations deep down as far as they would go, like they were the Ark of the Covenant and we were the dudes who ran the warehouse where they hid the Ark of the Covenant. Stay tuned for the next Indiana Jones movie, where he goes to look for the fabled lost city of Flavertown and everyone hates it!

Allie: For our main course, we made something called "Oak Town Garlic Vinegar Chicken". The connection between this chicken and Oakland appears to be essentially nonexistent, but Guy again seems to like naming his recipes after people and things and places he just sees lying around. Speaking of things that are just lying around, this recipe contains a can of Miller Lite. Chris and I approached this chicken with the world-weariness of Cate Blanchett in Carol. The recipe required a bunch of weird steps that I'll let Chris talk about, since I'm busy thinking about Carol now. Anyway, this was actually pretty good! I liked the flavors a lot, and it didn't take six hours to make. It actually went really well with the rice we made (see below). I do think it's important to note that between the two recipes we made, we used almost an entire squeeze bottle of minced garlic. That's... you guys, that's so much garlic. Allie's rating: 4.5 out of 5 thousand pounds of garlic

Chris: I don't know what Carol is. I assume it's about two people who make good decisions about what kind of blog to have and now use the bathroom normally.

I picked this recipe because it seemed pretty safe and I already had most of the ingredients, and for once this basically paid off. Look, this wasn't amazing. Really, this never rose above "solid" on the quality scale. But, on the sliding scale of this cookbook, this registers as basically Citizen Kane. Honestly, I have no idea if we even made this right. There was no picture or anything in the cookbook and the name "Oak Town Garlic Vinegar Chicken" doesn't exactly paint word pictures. Basically, we stewed onions and poblano peppers (We were supposed to use Anaheim Chilis, but after half-heartedly looking for them in the produce section for like 15 seconds, I googled substitutions), then added chicken thighs. Next, we rubbed a chili-garlic paste we made onto the chicken and boiled the chicken in Miller Light. One of the best parts of this recipe is that there was left over Miller Light and I had to drink it. The chicken came out tender, and there was actually nice flavor to it. Look this was pretty good. I'm not gonna make it again, because I'm busy making normal food, but yea it wasn't bad. Chris's rating: 4.5 out of 5 partially drank cans of Miller Light.

Allie: We also made "mambo rice", which is where you cook rice in a rice cooker and mix it with garlic and parsley. It was super easy, because a machine did all the cooking for us! I have learned nothing from any of the Terminator movies. This rice is basically a rip-off of Chipotle's cilantro-lime rice, except we nixed the cilantro, because cilantro is disgusting. This rice actually went really well with the chicken, I think because the parsley really accentuated the undertones of the Miller Lite in the chicken. I do have one major critique and that is that the recipe in the cookbook calls for two and a half teaspoons of salt which is HOLY MOLY a lot of salt. Like, we were all kind of choking this down after a few bites. The bandana-wearing horse editor strikes again! Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 I don't even have any jokes here just please season the rice to taste

Chris: Holy Moly indeed. This was salty. Not only was there the added kosher salt, we also cooked the rice in chicken stock, not to mention all of our tears that inevitably fell into the rice cooker. It tasted almost like we boiled a pot of salt, and added rice to taste. Setting aside the crazy saltiness of the rice, this has to be one of the lamest recipes in the entire book. It's basically just rice with garlic and lime. I mean, I'm surprised I'm complaining about this, too, but I kind of wanted Guy to add some crazy ingredients and mix things up. Like two spoonfuls of Tang and a splash of Red Bull or something. I don't know, just kind of feels like Guy phoned it in on this one a little bit. Chris's rating:  2.5 out of 5 stars (see Guy, I can phone it in, too).

Allie: Finally, we made a s'mores pizza. We bought all the ingredients for this literally a month ago and have been putting this off FOREVER and now that we've made it, I don't really know why, because it took like eight minutes to make and it was solidly fine. It's literally just pizza dough covered in chocolate and marshmallows and graham crackers that are mixed with cayenne and chili powder for some reason. Guy said he did this because he likes that it adds some pizzazz and flair to the dish. As a counterpoint, I would argue that adding cayenne powder to s'mores is stupid. I get that Guy is driven by a need to always be innovating but dude, sometimes... s'more is s'less. Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 resigned shrugs

Chris: Why is S'mores pizza even a thing? It's not like Guy invented it. This is a thing you can find out in the wild. And it doesn't even seem like a natural pairing. S'mores is a camping food! Why does it need to be melted onto pizza crust? Like Allie said, we've had these ingredients for several weeks. I brought them over to Allie's a couple weeks ago, where they sat for a while. Now, they've returned home to my apartment. I just watched Homeward Bound on Netflix, and these ingredients have faced just as many dangers as those pets. Where's their movie? Too bad Don Ameche is dead or he could play the wise, but gruff pizza dough. Guy has a pizza crust recipe in this book, but perhaps sensing that anyone cooking this would be worn down by having to cook a Guy Fieri main course, he says to just use a store bought crust for the S'mores Pizza. So yea, we melted some shit on a pizza crust and then crumbled graham crackers on it. It kind of tasted like S'mores. Also it was spicy for some reason. I'm glad we don't have to keep storing these ingredients, so that's a plus. Chris's rating: 3 out of 5 spicy dessert pizzas

Final summary:

Total dishes made: 18/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "This rice has flair, some spice, and really dances in your mouth. Just the reason I called it mambo. Lyyyyyeeea...lyyyeaaaaaah! (Inspirational cheer!)"

Allie: A cool pro tip is that if you give up early on, you too can make a s'mores pizza that looks like Australia

Chris: Another cool pro tip is that beer makes these recipes better. You don't even have to add it to the dish! 

meal six: asian fried quinoa "c. r. bipim delight," firecracker wings

Chris: Well, it took six meals, folks, but it finally happened. Allie and I literally ate garbage.

When we were shopping for the Waka Waka salad, and buying every cabbage known to man, we realized we also needed cabbage for this quinoa thing. We're planning ahead! But after the arduous process of making potstickers (and the resulting sweaty/grouchy frustration) Allie held up half a head of cabbage and said "Are you and Becca gonna eat this?" And of course I said, "HELL NO!" Because I'm a normal person who doesn't just go around eating half a head of cabbage like an apple and also I ignore all those things you post on Facebook about how wasting food is destroying the planet. So Allie pitched the cabbage into the garbage. Like five minutes later I realized our mistake, and I saw two paths in front of me: one involved going back to the store and buying more cabbage and one involved taking cabbage out of the trash. As my dignity has already been completely stripped from me, I chose the latter. And you know what? I stand by that choice. I'm already a garbage person, making garbage food, on a garbage blog. Why not just start eating garbage?!

The beautiful presentation of this dish really sets it apart

The beautiful presentation of this dish really sets it apart

Sticking with our Asian theme, we decided to make Firecracker Wings and Asian Fried Quinoa "C.R. Bipim Delight." First, the quinoa. Look. I know how stupid the name is, but I just can't deal with it right now. Allie, please handle it.

Allie: Got it. First of all, I think it's important to note that Chris wrote that paragraph on his birthday, which is very sad. Back in Classical Greece, if you turned 28, that meant that you were probably nearing the end of a meaningful, prosperous life filled with participating in lengthy philosophical discussions, painting clay jars, and watching homoerotic Olympics. Now if you turn 28, it means that you're probably spending a lot of time writing gimmicky blogs and reading the Wikipedia pages for "life expectancy" and "Classical Greece." Anyway, this quinoa has a weird name, because it's named after Guy's sister, whose nickname is "C. R. Bipim Delight." Look, no judgment here. I love nicknames. My nickname throughout all of middle school was Jim, for some reason! But the very essence of a nickname is that it is shorter than the person's actual name, and the only way "C. R. Bipim Delight" is an appropriate nickname is if your real name is "Charles Reilly Bipimowitz Delightington" and the only way I can see this scenario playing out is if someone from Narnia came over to America and they shortened their magical name at Ellis Island. To summarize: this is a wacky name for a dish.

Chris: This was essentially fried rice that subbed in quinoa. According to Guy, we were supposed to lightly toast the quinoa in a cast iron skillet before boiling it, but something emboldened me to say "NOT TODAY GUY!" Perhaps it was the fact that I had resigned myself to eating literal garbage. Perhaps it was the half bottle of wine I had recently drank. But Allie and I just put that quinoa in a rice cooker. I don't want to compare my plight to that of Rosa Parks, but we are basically Rosa Parks and have suffered just as much by having to do this blog, and we finally said ENOUGH. Anyway, we also had to cut like a hundred vegetables and add them into the quinoa in a certain order which we screwed up 7 or 8 times, and then we put eggs in it. Despite all of our shortcuts, I kind of liked this. Really I did. Barely even tasted like garbage. Chris's Rating: 4 out of 5 pieces of literal garbage. 

Allie: Guy talks a big game about FLAVOR and FLAVORTOWN and you'd kind of expect everything he makes to be just a massive dickpunch of flavor, right? But the only seasoning for this quinoa - which is basically just a cabbage-heavy stir-fry - is three tablespoons of soy sauce. And that's exactly what it tastes like: vegetables and quinoa with some soy sauce on it. Chris loved this, and he especially loved that we added an egg to it. He kept saying "the egg makes the dish!" just like I used to say "bandanas will never go out of style!" but, in the end, I thought that this was just kind of a bland dish. Allie's Rating: 3 out of 5 cabbage trash lids (...that's a pun on the phrase 'cabbage patch kids' but I didn't think anyone would get it if I didn't clarify that)

Chris: We also made firecracker wings. The sauce was sort of Asian. These wings started with Allie and I buying the cheapest chicken they had at the supermarket. As Papa Guy's slogan goes "Terrible Ingredients. Terrible Pizza. Papa Guy's." Also, we didn't make pizza we made wings. Also I'm losing my mind. I was kind of sort of looking forward to cooking these wings (I should stop doing that) because I love wings and I've never really found a perfect wing recipe. And for a brief fleeting moment I thought "These could be it." But they were not "it," reader. They were not. These wings were just kind of there. The marinade was pretty thin, and super sweet, like some sort of brown Kool Aid. I followed Guy's cooking instructions exactly, and they were still under cooked. And I mean, they weren't terrible. They just weren't good. And my expectations were too high. I should have remembered the slogan of this blog: "Lower your Expectations." Chris's rating: 2 out of 5 cups of brown Kool Aid.

Allie: Chris kind of glossed over the fact that these wings were undercooked, which is like writing a review of your stay at the Overlook Hotel and only focusing on the design of the carpet and not all the ghosts who tried to murder you. We ate a bunch of these wings and then finally decided to grill them a little bit longer so they'd be fully cooked, but we definitely ate some chicken that was still pretty pink. In olden times, this probably would have killed us, but luckily we had boosted our immune systems earlier that night by eating vegetables out of the trash. I also thought the marinade was sweet, but I kind of liked it; I don't usually make wings, or other foods that come in buckets, so I don't think I'll ever make these again, but I'd certainly eat them again. Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 the Shin-wings (that's a pun on the phrase "The Shining" which I mentioned earlier in this paragraph! You're welcome)

Final Summary:

Total recipes made: 15/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "A lot of the healthy dishes in my repertory have stemmed from cooking for my sister, Morgan (C.R. Bipim Delight is my nickname for her). She's been vegetarian as long as I can remember, and I'm not a fan of just handling someone some steamed broccoli while I go eat turkey and all the fixins."

Chris: I am become garbage, destroyer of worlds.

Allie: But seriously why didn't those Narnia kids have to go through customs on both sides of the wardrobe those books are so unrealistic

meal five: ginger pork potstickers, waka waka salad

Allie: Chris and I finally decided to expand our Guy Fieri cuisine from "vaguely Italian" to "vaguely Asian". Have you ever been to P.F. Chang's and thought, this food is pretty good, but I wish I could have spent a very long time making this instead of having a nice person bring it to me in a reasonable amount of time? I think you know where I'm going with this.

Chris: Allie and I were texting earlier this week about when we were going to do our next meal. And I told Allie something along the lines of "can we cook early, because I don't want this to ruin my entire Saturday." So of course, we procrastinated, couldn't pick a recipe we wanted to make, and ended up cooking all evening. Another perfectly good Saturday ruined by Guy Fieri. 

Allie: First, we made something called Waka Waka Salad. Whenever I have to say that phrase to another grown person, my face curls up in disgust, just like my roommate's cat does when I sing "I will never be cat-isfied" (from "Cat-ilton") at her. This recipe is preceded by the longest two paragraphs you've ever read about the time Guy's mom made him a salad, and he didn't think he would like it, and then he did, but then he forgot to name it, and then he made up a name for it, and it was "Waka Waka Salad". Reading the stories behind Guy's recipes is like listening to someone describe the plot of a Seinfeld episode in graphic detail, but without any of the jokes, so it's just a story where nothing really happens and everyone involved in it sounds like a terrible person.

This salad is crazy. It involves crumbling three packets of uncooked ramen noodles over the salad, which is essentially coleslaw in a vinaigrette that's piled high atop a small mountain of homemade fried wonton crisps. Crumbling uncooked ramen over a salad is one of those ingredients that makes you say "hmm... this might just be crazy enough to work!" But I didn't think it worked all that great, and crumbling the ramen noodles hurt my delicate baby hands. Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 realizations that eating a salad covered in uncooked noodles doesn't even faze me anymore, I have become comfortably numb, etc.

Chris: I think this salad (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense. Like calling Jason Lee an "actor" and not "guy who yells at cartoon chipmunks professionally") is truly representative of what I thought the recipes in this project would be like. Just a bunch of fried shit, with crumbled up garbage food on top. Foolishly, I got my hopes up for this dumb salad. Like I fried up the wontons, and put salt on them and they were pretty delicious, and I too was like, "this salad may be crazy enough to work!" But it wasn't crazy enough to work. It was just normal, everyday, homeless guy singing The Flintstones theme with his hands in his pants on the subway, crazy. I had to chop like every type of cabbage ever made. There were like six types of cabbage we had to buy. And then we dumped them on what is essentially Asian tortilla chips and added uncooked dorm food on top. But you know what? In the end, this salad wasn't terrible. It wasn't good, but it wasn't as bad as it sounds. Chris's rating: 2.5 out of 5 Asian tortilla chips.

Allie: We also made Guy's ginger pork potstickers. I love potstickers! I eat them all the time, because they're little delicious little meat purses and I don't see why I should ever have to eat anything else. (I live in a state of permanent scurvy, like a pirate, but one who can't actually go in the water because I get seasick when it rains too hard.) Anyway, I was excited to make these, because I figured it would be kind of hard for even Guy to mess up basic potstickers, and I was right. Well, I should say that Chris and I almost messed these up, because we got square wonton wrappers and the recipe called for round ones, but instead of coping like normal people, we just kind of smushed everything together and then Chris got mad at me when some of the potstickers opened in the boiling water and then we had hot cloudy pork water and we were both sweating and grouchy. Anyway, these were pretty good. I wanted some more spice in them but everyone shouted me down when I said that so I just ate them in silence while we watched Inception without the sound on for some reason. Cooking this food is so weirdly exhausting. Allie's rating: 4 out of 5 small blessings that this recipe doesn't have a terrible name

Chris: I'm watching Mulan on TV while writing this. Is that racist? I don't even know anymore. I'd never made potstickers before and actually kind of enjoyed making these! Allie described the process as "sweaty and grouchy" which I think was the original name my parents had on my birth certificate ("Unclaimed Sweaty and Grouchy Boy"). But yea, these are really labor intensive and standing over a pot of boiling water making these was a super frustrating time. Thanks, Guy! 

This being my first time making potstickers, I wondered silently to myself, "do potstickers stick to the pot? Is that why they are called potstickers?" At the end of the night I learned that, yea, they stick to the pot. It was kind of life-affirming, but also kind of ruined my pot and now there's brown gunk stuck on there I can't get off. Maybe that's representative of what I thought this project would be like.

And, I really liked these! Allie was being a total potsticker snob and was like "In Davis, they have the best potstickers that are not made by a white-haired, anthropomorphic croc." But as someone who likes potstickers a normal amount, I thought these were tasty and I'd maybe even make them again. I mean probably not, but maybe. Chris's rating: 4.5 out of 5 sweaty grumps.

Allie: Apparently saying "there is a restaurant with dumplings that I like" makes me a "potsticker snob" but IT WAS JUST SMALL TALK CHRIS AND BY THE WAY I THOUGHT JASON LEE WAS GOOD IN ALMOST FAMOUS LEAVE HIM ALONE

Final summary:

Total recipes made: 13?/153? Can we do a recount? How could we only be at 13 dishes? It has been an eternity.

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: [just because it's so needlessly detailed and pointless] "Long before I was on Food Network, I helped a Japanese restaurant owner with her business, and she wanted to pay me. I told her I didn't want money, but that I'd like to learn firsthand how to make some traditional Japanese dishes. She said she didn't know because she was raised in the States, but she introduced me to a friend who did. Her friend, who spoke very limited English, came over and we proceeded to make potstickers together."

Movie that I always forget Jason Lee is in: The Incredibles!

Allie: In my mind, Shakira wrote her waka waka song about this salad, and I will continue to believe that until she herself tells me otherwise.

Chris: This time for Africa. Take that Africa. You complained about being hungry, now you have to eat ramen noodles crumbled over chips.

meal four: sangria perea, 3p: pepperoni pizza partay

Chris: Allie's birthday celebration continues! Allie told me she was having people over to celebrate her birthday this past Friday, and I thought, how can I both add a lot of additional work for the hostess, and make the party markedly less enjoyable for the guests? You guessed it. Not to mention the added insult of making us have to explain to all of our friends that we are cooking all of Guy Fieri's recipes. 

Allie and I spent what felt like several hours trying to find a not ridiculous cocktail from the cookbook to make for this party. Every single one required obscure flavored liquors. There was one that required something like melon liquor, coffee-infused vodka, Chanel No 5, and that stuff you use to remove the registration sticker from your license plate. We settled on some sangria. I don't have the book in front of me as I write this, so I can't tell you the exact name, but it was something like "Bodacious Wine Blaster" or "Shark Bite Sangria." We mostly picked it because the main ingredient was red wine and the only insane liquor was peach brandy. It also had grapes floating in it, which is kind of like eating a steak with a glass of milk on the side if you ask me.

Allie: This sangria recipe is actually called "Sangria Perea", which is named after a "true flair bartender" who Guy met once and demanded sangria from. This cookbook is lousy with recipes named after people who seem to live pretty far on the outskirts of Guy's life.

I ended up going to the Jewel by myself on a Friday afternoon and spending about ten minutes pacing the liquor aisle like a lunatic, because they had apple brandy and peach schnapps but not peach brandy. I asked an employee if they had peach brandy and she kind of looked at me like I had asked her if I could pay for my groceries with gold bars, or if she knew where I could get a spare monocle. Only rich old dudes who donate to the opera drink brandy, is what I'm saying. I went with the peach schnapps because it was $6.

Chris: This was pretty inoffensive, but it also wasn't good. I would have rather just had red wine, or basically any other sangria I have ever had. I do feel bad giving this a bad review because we didn't have peach brandy. I kind of feel like a food network dot com commenter, but whatever. Chris's Score: 2 out of 5 grapes drowned in the blood of their parents.

Allie: Guy's recipe specifies that "[he] didn't want anything typical" in this sangria. Sure enough, it includes a very special ingredient... love. Just kidding, it's 7-Up. I had to get pretty solidly tipsy on real wine before I was ready to drink wine mixed with 7-Up, so I thought this was pretty good but you probably shouldn't take my word for it. Allie's score: 3?? out of 5???? glasses of red wine I drank before getting around to this, shut up, it was my birthday

For a while, we assumed this was a very elaborate recipe for a plate of cold cuts

For a while, we assumed this was a very elaborate recipe for a plate of cold cuts

Chris: We also made 3P: Pepperoni Pizza Partay. Yea, that's the name of the dish. The picture (inset) is of two kids (one appears to be Guy as a child) holding a plate of cheese and crackers. There is no explanation given for what kind of food 3P is. Is it a pizza? Some kind of lasagna? The instructions make reference to many "layers" that we will be making. The dish is in the appe-tapas (kill me) section of the book, so we think maybe it's some sort of appetizer or tapa? There is literally no definition. I guess Guy just assumes that Pepperoni Pizza Partay is so self-explanatory, he doesn't need to add an explanation. Eventually, we google it and discover it's some sort of pizza dip. 

Allie: Once we figured out that it was a dip, I decided to go to the store and buy all the ingredients BY MYSELF and lug them home, like a train or a horse. I don't want to be dramatic, but my bag of groceries was very heavy and I am pretty out of shape because I have a Guy Fieri blog, so it took me a long time to walk home and I had to keep stopping and pretending to text people on the sidewalk. ANYWAY, after this incredible sacrifice on my part, no one thanked me or anything but they DID yell at me all night because of my choice of chips.

OK, I like chips! A lot! But I didn't know what kind of chips to get for this pizza dip, because I don't usually dip chips into my pizza. Guy wanted us to slice up some pizza dough and cook up some pizza dough strips and reader, I said no thank you to that kind suggestion. Instead, I looked for pita chips, but I couldn't find them, so I got kettle-cooked potato chips, thinking that they'd be a) sturdy enough for pizza dip and b) a delicious stand-alone snack in case the pizza dip tasted like gross pizza soup. When Chris and his wife saw that I had gotten potato chips, they lost their goddamn minds because they thought that chips were somehow inappropriate for something as wholesome and pure as 3P: Pepperoni Pizza Partay. Anyway, I had started drinking my pre-sangria wine at that point, so I just stood in my kitchen yelling "chips and dip! Chips and dip!" until everyone gave up. It was a big controversy but I moved on pretty quickly, because when I'm drunk I only like to talk about Charles Manson and musicals.

Chris: I can't believe you got potato chips, Allie. I think literally any other type of chip would have better. I'm just gonna start naming chips and stop me when I pick one that would not be better than potato chips.



Uhhh, Cool Ranch Doritos? Shit. I guess I'll stop there. Like I said, there are at least TWO types of chips that would have been better than potato.

This dish was actually the biggest surprise for me so far. It looked disgusting when we were cooking it, but once it was done, it still looked disgusting. However, it was kind of a hit with the group. This was disappointing in itself because now I don't think people believe us that most of his recipes are terrible. Guy, even when you succeed you somehow find ways to make my life crappier. Chris's Score: 3.5 out of 5 P's. 

Allie: I was shocked by how much this tasted like pizza, and I was also shocked by how much I liked this. It was just like eating pizza, but with less of the crust that makes eating pizza such a chore! I ate it like a civilized person at my party but when everyone else was gone I sat on my couch and ate the final bites of it with a spoon, like a monster. Allie's Score: 4 out of 5 chips don't lie

Final summary:

Total recipes made: 11/153

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "I dig takin' the food we all enjoy and servin' it in different formats and styles. Call it deconstruction, crazy, whatever - the 3P rocks!" This is the only description of the 3P and this is why we did not know that it was a dip.

Saddest comment on the Food recipes: It's a tie between "Pretty close.....The Sangria in Barcelona was a bit more fruity" and "My daughter is a vegetarian, so we used turkey pepperoni...delicious."

Allie: Someone at the party said "why didn't you just get bread for the dip?" and I literally gasped because I forgot about bread.

Chris: Allie, I'm glad your birthday is over

meal three: guy's caesar salad, cajun chicken alfredo

Allie: The other day was my birthday! At first I was excited, but then I realized I would probably have to spend it making Guy Fieri food, and then I got pretty bummed out. It turns out I'm kind of a judgmental douchebag, though, because this was actually a pretty good meal! However, it also made me go into a rage spiral (see below). Having to do this blog is so emotional and overwhelming, it's like going through a second puberty. A second puberty where everything is covered in Ed Hardy tattoos.

I made it a point to pick recipes that didn't sound overtly terrible, because I didn't want to spend my birthday eating something called "No Can Beato This Taquito." I know that's selfish of me, but I don't want my grandchildren to think I'm weird and sad when I tell them about the time I cooked 153 Guy Fieri recipes in a year and they don't understand because their money is made of lasers and their wallpaper is made of mustaches or whatever. So we stuck with food that sounded vaguely Italian, which seems to be the way to go with Guy.

Chris: We have been picking and choosing recipes that sound "good." Which is kind of amazing, because things have not been good! Also, that means on the back half of this project we will be left only with recipes that do not sound "good." So that's a nice shit sandwich to look forward to in the waning days of 2017. 

Allie: OK, first things first: my rage spiral. Something that I have discovered while cooking from this cookbook is that "Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It" appears to have been proofread and edited by a horse wearing a bandanna. This became very apparent when we were making Guy's Caesar salad, which called for "1 coddled egg". How do you coddle an egg? According to Guy Fieri, you drop an uncracked egg in a pot of boiling water for ten minutes. I am a professionally trained isotope geochemist, which means that I follow written directions like my goddamn life depends on it. I had my doubts but I followed the directions! You may be shocked to learn that the egg was hard-boiled. We googled it. You're not supposed to boil an egg for more than SIXTY SECONDS to coddle it. I trusted Guy Fieri with my egg and he broke my heart with his garbage directions. The online recipe doesn't even call for a coddled egg! It's raw! WHAT MADNESS IS THIS!!!

The Caesar salad was pretty good. I would've used a little less oil. Allie's score: 3.5 out of 5 hard, miserable eggs

Chris: I actually make my own Caesar Salad pretty often. The recipe I use is mayo-based for a creamier dressing, and uses full anchovy filets, instead of paste. There are also like 50 ingredients in my recipe, and it comes out pretty heavy. I'm about to commit some blasphemy here: I actually really liked Guy's Caesar dressing. It was easy to make (all egg disasters aside) and tasted pretty light and fresh. Allie said it was kind of oily--I think that may have been because we didn't put in enough lettuce for the amount of dressing. I still like my recipe better, but this seems like a win for Guy.

So there you go. Guy has cracked even the toughest cynic to reveal the overcooked, hard-boiled interior of my heart. Chris's score: 4.5 out of 5 slightly eaten crows.

Allie: After the salad, we made Guy's Blackened Chicken Alfredo. My expectations were pretty low, but it turns out it's impossible to make a sauce that's 98% heavy cream taste bad. It was even relatively easy to make! And it didn't have bacon! I would happily make this again in my real life (which I try to keep separate from this blog). Just don't read Guy's intro to the recipe, which is pretty cryptic but we think is an allusion to when Guy lost his virginity (see below)? Which makes sense, because a surefire way to please a lady is to make her eat a big bowl of what is literally the heaviest pasta on earth before trying to get into it on an extra-long twin bed in a UNLV dorm room. Allie's score: 4.5 out of 5 gross euphemisms for this pasta

Chris: They say Alfredo sauce is like sex: even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. This meal was nothing special, but hey, it's still Alfredo sauce. It's hard to go wrong with cream+butter+cheese. It would have been better if I didn't have the bad taste of me thinking about how this dish got Guy laid one time, apparently, in my mouth. (I retyped that sentence like 20 times trying to make it sound like this didn't happen "in my mouth" but couldn't figure it out. Rest assured, that happened in a UNLV dorm room NOT MY MOUTH.) Really, I can think of fewer foods that are less sexy than chicken Alfredo. Words that come to mind when I think Alfredo: heavy, bloated, farts. Well, come to think about it, words I would use to describe (I'd imagine) having sex with Guy Fieri: heavy, bloated, farts. So I guess it adds up.

One of the best parts of this whole recipe is that it's actually two recipes in one: the Cajun seasoning is a whole separate entry in the cookbook. We're beating the system! One of the worst parts of the whole recipe is that the Cajun seasoning recipe makes a third of a cup of seasoning, but the Cajun fettuccine Alfredo calls for a half cup of seasoning. No other recipe in the whole book uses the Cajun seasoning recipe. So like just about everything else in this cookbook, as soon as you think you're getting ahead, Guy trips you with his dog-shit-covered flip-flop. Anyway, like I said, this was cream and butter and cheese and I remembered to take a lactaid so this was fine. Chris's score: 7 out of 5 cups of cajun seasoning (you figure out the conversion rate)

Final summary:

Total recipes made: 9/153, including the Cajun seasoning

Grossest sentence in one of these recipes: the intro to the Cajun chicken Alfredo recipe, which cryptically reads "Everyone has a 'first' they remember. This will always hold a special place in my repertoire - the one that saved my skin and sent me to heaven in 367... Go Rebels!" That is literally the ONLY introduction to this recipe, in case you're thinking of making it for dinner or something. You get no more context than that. Enjoy your virginity pasta.

Where does this rank in Allie's birthdays?: Well, one time my little sister literally gave me a bag of trash for my birthday, so this definitely wasn't the worst. Thanks, virginity pasta.

Allie: I worked on this blog post in my bed and now the Guy Fieri cookbook has been in my bed and I wish I didn't do that.

Chris: You know what I like to do after eating too much Fettuccine Alfredo? Have a warm glass of milk and listen to some John Philip Sousa marches.

meal two: pepperoni burger, goody girl championship potatoes

Chris: Allie and I decided to cook on a Sunday morning. It took a lot of shuffling of people's plans to make this happen, which is pretty sad. This is already starting to feel like work, but instead of being paid, you have to eat Guy Fieri food. After sort of a mixed bag first meal, we decided to at least try to play it safe: a burger and potato salad. But of course nothing can be simple with Guy, everything has to be off the chain. Can't we have one meal that is firmly planted on the chain?

First, we made the Goody Girl Championship Potatoes. This recipe starts with a half page story of Guy meeting the "Goody Girls," a BBQ team. Like all of Guy's stories, nothing happens. Literally, nothing of consequence. He just goes on and on about the various times he met them and was then like, oh yea, they had a good potato salad recipe. It would be nice if Guy's stories had a point, or at least were funny or interesting. They have none of that. It's truly miraculous. 

This recipe starts with boiling the potatoes in crab boil. Crab boil, if you don't know (I didn't know), is like a bag of spices and shit, that you boil crab (and apparently potatoes sometimes) in. They keep it in a weird corner of the store, like they were ashamed to sell it. As soon as we put the crab boil into the water, we started coughing and didn't stop until we took it out of the water. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it felt like God punishing me for making this blog. 

Allie: I'm sure everyone who was in the supermarket on a Sunday morning was thrilled about the two idiot millennials who were running around like Keanu Reeves in Speed yelling about crab boil. I wanted to tell them that I wished I was at brunch just as much as they wished I was at brunch. It was physically painful to cook while the crab boil was... boiling. Crab boil: why add seasoning to your food when you could add seasoning to the AIR? Crab boil: try submerging yourself in a cloud of hazy pepper smoke that makes you cough and cry! Crab boil: we pepper-sprayed ourselves and now I can't stop saying crab boil! These are some new slogans I came up with for crab boil. Crab boil, crab boil, crab boil. Craaaaaaaaaaab booooooooil.

Chris: The potatoes also had bacon (it's the amino acids of Guy's DNA), sour cream, a ton of cheese, and entire stick of butter. So, being lactose intolerant, I ate a huge portion and then spent about a half hour on the floor rolling around in pain. That may have been God punishing me, too. Despite the intense stomach cramps, I would say this is probably the best thing we've made so far. Chris's rating: 4 out of 5 forgotten lactaid pills.

Allie: I have spent the last week and a half in mortal fear that Chris's lactose intolerance is going to kill him before the end of this project, mostly because a) if Chris dies, do I have to finish this project myself?!?! and b) mostly the first thing, actually. Also, I kind of disagree. The potatoes were fine, but my mouth was so full of crab boil that this basically just tasted like a bowl of cheesy potatoes. Which is fine, but it was mostly just kind of heavy and bland. This seems to be a trend with Guy Fieri's food. Allie's rating: 3 out of 5 Crabbes and Boyles, Draco Malfoy's friends.

Chris: We also made a pepperoni burger. Legend has it that one time Guy's stupid kid couldn't decide between having a pizza or having a burger. And instead of Guy telling the kid to make a decision, he appeased the kid and made the kid an unholy marriage of both. Dammit, Guy you are both a shitty chef and a shitty parent. 

In the surprise of the century, this recipe does not start with bacon. It does start with cooking a bunch of pepperoni "matchsticks" (PLEASE JUST CALL THINGS BY NORMAL NAMES YOU WHITE HAIRED GOON), which I still had to drain on a paper towel, per standard Guy ritual. Not wanting you to miss out on that sweet swine flavor, the recipe calls for ground pork to be mixed into the 80/20 ground beef. So these burgers were definitely greasy. There were also some tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Despite the name and sob story, these things didn't really taste like a pizza. They just tasted like an ok burger with some toppings. I mean a burger's a burger, so it wasn't terrible, but I would have rather just had a normal burger that wasn't also trying to be pizza. Overall, I was pretty disappointed. I bet Guy's son was too. But that's probably an emotion he's used to. Chris's rating: 2.5 out of 5 petulant children.

Allie: This recipe was CRYING OUT for marinara sauce. Why would you make a PIZZA BURGER and not put some sauce on it? That's insanity. The burger itself was fine, but it certainly didn't taste like a pizza. It would be kind of like if I couldn't decide if I wanted a milkshake or a salad, and then someone gave me a milkshake with a picture of a salad on it. I also like that, one week into this project, we are already taking Guy Fieri to task for his subpar hamburger-based parenting. I really have nothing else to say about this hamburger. I ate it in silence. Allie's rating: 2.5 out of 5 milkshakes with pictures of salads on them

Final Summary

Total dishes made: 6/153 

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "I made this burger for Boo (Hunter's nickname)"

Total number of interesting anecdotes in this cookbook so far: 0

Chris: My stomach feels like it's full of Fieri and Brimstone

Allie: crab boil crab boil crab boil

meal one: dirty bird sketti, grilled romaine with blue cheese-bacon vinaigrette, garlic bread

Allie: Meal one got off to a rollicking start when we met up to cook dinner and realized that we hadn't planned what we were going to make and hadn't done any grocery shopping and didn't even have a website or anything. It was truly a spectacular culmination of months of planning. We selected these meals because they seemed fairly innocuous and easy to make. The highlight of my night was when the cashier at the supermarket asked, "do you want a wine bag?" and I said "no, I AM a wine bag!" and the cashier seemed genuinely delighted even though that made no sense. Also, it was a $4 bottle of wine. We didn't need a wine bag.

Chris: I think the cashier laughing at Allie's wine bag joke completely justified her move to Chicago. Flipping through the cookbook, we were struck by how few things I actually wanted to make. There are literally hundreds of dishes in here, and nothing really seemed particularly appetizing.  I didn't expect this project to exactly lead to me cooking haute cuisine, but I thought the food would at least sound appetizing.  Guy couldn't even give me that one.  

We ended up settling on a sort of an Italian theme. 

Allie: First, we made Jimmy's Favorite Garlic Bread. Jimmy is one of the producers on Guy's show and he loves this garlic bread so much, Guy named it after him. It seems weird and unfair that you could have something named after you just because you like it a lot, and not because you had a hand in its making. If that were the case, we would all be walking around saying, "Pass me those Allie's Favorite Oreos" and "can you please turn down Allie's Favorite Jesus Christ Superstar Original Broadway Soundtrack." This garlic bread was surprisingly good, even though it required mashing 2 sticks of warm butter into a bowl of mayonnaise. The sun-dried tomatoes were an unexpectedly tasty touch that cut the richness of the rest of the bread. Allie's score: 4 out of 5 bowls of mayonnaise

Chris: Allie left out the best/most horrifying part of this dish; Guy Fieri repeatedly refers to mayonnaise as "food lube" throughout his book. Yea, you can't unknow that.

I should also say that this was the first dish we ever made, and we already started cutting corners. The recipe called for the garlic to be roasted for an hour before being mixed with the mayo/butter. Maybe Guy Fieri has hours of free time to be spending roasting garlic to make garlic bread but we have places to be. 

I thought this was pretty solid garlic bread.  It wasn't the best garlic bread I ever had, but I mean, not a bad start by any stretch.  I can see why it's Jimmy's favorite. Chris's Score: 3.5 out of 5 food lubes.

Allie: Then, we grilled up Guy's grilled romaine with blue cheese-bacon vinaigrette, because there's nothing more delicious and comforting than a piping hot salad. It's pretty easy to make - you saute some bacon and onion together, mix it with a balsamic reduction, and drizzle it over some grilled romaine lettuce. It was actually good! I thought the blue cheese was going to overpower everything else, but either the salad achieved a nice balance or we accidentally lucked out by buying the cheapest blue cheese they had at Jewel. Ultimately, while good, it was a little heavy for my taste; if I were making this as a side again I'd probably do half-sized portions. Allie's score: 3.5 out of 5 hot salads

Chris: I burned my hand grilling this salad. That's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever need to type, but I guess this is my life now.

I thought this was pretty good, but I think it would have been just as good if we didn't grill the actual leaves and just had warm bacon, blue cheese, lettuce and dressing. Chris's score: 3 out of 5 burned salad hands.

Allie, I guess this is as good a time to ask as any: should I be rating these dishes against real food, or on a sliding scale because they are in this Guy Fieri cook book.

Allie: I would say follow your heart, but we've already eaten a ton of bacon so far and it might be dangerous to put any more stress on your heart. I'm mostly judging the food compared to real food, with a slight curve to reflect my very low expectations.

Allie: Then we made something called "dirty bird sketti". I resent that phrase because I'm a grown-up, and because it's PASTA and PASTA doesn't need to be infantilized. This is a super weird dish, which I know because every person we served it to stared pensively at their bowl for a long time while they were eating. This dish involves cooking chicken in an aggressive blend of spices and then adding some marinara dipping sauce and bacon and spaghetti. The resulting dish isn't bad, it's just mysterious, and kind of bland. It's the National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets of pasta. Like all great dishes, this pasta is based on a song called "Dirty Bird." I don't regret making it, but I will never make it again. Allie's score: 2.5 out of 5 misspellings of the word 'spaghetti'

Chris: I admire Guy's restraint in not calling this dish, puhsketti. 

I make my own marinara sauce a lot and it tends to be pretty bland unless you add some sort of depth: meat, garlic, anchovies: something.  Guy's sauce recipe was mostly just canned tomatoes (and not even good ones).  It ended up tasting like, yea, marinara dipping sauce you'd get with mozzarella sticks. I thought maybe after adding all the bacon, the heavily seasoned chicken, the garlic, the onions, etc it would be more flavorful. No dice. It ended up tasting kind of like skyline chili (kind of), but not good. Sort of sweet, pretty bland, nothing special. 

After listening to that song, I think this dish fits it perfectly: they are both entirely unmemorable. But, my wife ate 3 bowls of it, so what do I know. Chris's score: 2.5 out of 5 sad hours I spent making this.

Final summary:

Total dishes made: 4/153 (we had to make Guy's tomato sauce for the DBS)

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "Cookin', jammin' the tunes, and hangin' with friends and family, that's what I'm talkin' about."

Number of foods that should be named after songs called "Dirty Bird": zero

Chris: My biggest take away from these 3 recipes is that they were all pretty labor intensive, with lots of chopping and lots of steps. All together we were cooking for like 2.5 hours, and it didn't really add up to anything special. This is going to be a loooonnngg project. 

Allie: I would rather drink a bowl of paint than ever have to say the word 'sketti' again.

intro: cookin' it, livin' it, lovin' it, bloggin' it

Welcome to Fieri and Brimstone! We are Allie and Chris, two glamorous, successful role models who decided to start a Guy Fieri food blog because we were tired of being respected by our friends and loved ones. Here are the rules of the road, as Guy might say (because he likes cars):

  1. We have one year (until March 25, 2018) to cook all 153 recipes in Guy Fieri's "Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It", and write about them on this website.
  2. We have to try to embrace the tenets of Guy's philosophy by cookin' it (cooking all the recipes), livin' it (embracing flames and motorcycles), and lovin' it (we'll see).
  3. We have to cook all the recipes by following them as closely as possible. We can omit cilantro and pickles, because those are the devil's food.
  4. We have to make sure the ACA never gets repealed, because this blog will count as a pre-existing condition and our insurance premiums will skyrocket.
  5. We have to have fun!!! Just kidding. We have to stick with this, no matter what, because we're stubborn people and we like to commit to stupid ideas.

You may be thinking, doesn't this sound just like Julie and Julia? The answer is yes, it does, except with more yelling, and it all takes place in Flavortown. Also, when they make a movie about this project, Stanley Tucci will play both of our parts. The part of Guy Fieri will be played by a hungry wolf wearing bleached tips and a Smash Mouth t-shirt. The part of our disappointed parents will also be played by Stanley Tucci. The part of Stanley Tucci will be played by Guy Fieri!!

We're not here to rake Guy Fieri over the coals - we're just hoping to discover whether his food deserves its terrible reputation, and whether the man deserves his status as a walking punchline. Our goal is to provide a fair and impartial assessment of his cookbook, and to hopefully figure out why and how he's so popular. Basically, this blog is meant to be a fun, lighthearted look at a man who has a recipe called "Holla 4 Chicken Marsala." As Guy Fieri would say... "radical" (?)

-Allie and Chris