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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