5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Tom Pizzica may have not won season six of The Next Food Network Star – but don’t go throwing a pity party. He received a pretty sweet consolation prize out of the ordeal - namely his own show.
When Outrageous Food premieres on the Food Network tomorrow night (10 p.m. ET), it's sure to deliver all sorts of unhinged, gravity-defying, exorbitant eats.
But first, a few ground rules on outrageousness from Mr. Pizzica:
In order for something to be considered outrageous, it doesn't necessarily need to be the biggest, spiciest or the priciest. Sometimes we have memories about a particular story of culinary mayhem,or the first time you eat something that becomes a lifelong favorite, and I consider those to be outrageous as well. Here are five of those memories.
Five Outrageous Food Memories: Tom Pizzica
1. Feast in Houston, Texas: The brined and fried pig face
"This is a dish that will be featured on Outrageous Food but I had to put it in here because the idea is completely outrageous. These two chaps from England take an entire pig face - I’m talking straight off the skull, crazy horror movie mask pig face - and roll the tongue up inside. They truss it and then cut off the snout (don’t worry - they use that in another dish, nothing goes to waste).
The whole thing is brined for three days, then braised for a few hours. After it has cooled for 24 hours, they take thin slices of it and fry them on a flat-top griddle. When you eat it, the whole thing melts in your mouth and is unbelievably delicious. It's like the most outrageous bacon you've ever had. The recipe alone is outrageous, and for a pork lover like myself, I’m kind of jealous I never thought of it!"
2. My first Cadbury Easter egg
"This is a story I remember from my childhood, and while I consider the concept of the Cadbury egg outrageous enough alone, it’s how I went about obtaining one that could also be considered outrageous.
When I was about four years old, I saw a commercial for this brand new candy called a Cadbury Easter Egg, and absolutely had to have one! It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I mean it looks like an egg, complete with the whites and the yolk, but its chocolate and nougat!
I pleaded with my mother to buy me that egg to the point that I didn’t go to sleep. I just sat up and complained and cried until my mother put on her quilted vest (they were cool back then), drove to the store and bought me one. I must have fallen asleep while she was gone because the next flashbulb memory I have is of my mother coming onto my room (in her sweet vest) with a look of complete anger/defeat and told me I couldn’t eat it until the morning.
Well, I woke up at 6 a.m. to eat that sucker, and it was the most outrageous thing this 4-year-old had ever seen or put into his mouth! I couldn’t understand how they made it look so much like an egg and taste so sweet and delicious! I was hooked and to this day, it is an Easter tradition for me."
3. Cooking wild geese for hunters in Maryland
"When I was a chef at my family’s hotel/restaurant on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, I created a lot of wonderful dishes using wild game as the star. All were farm-raised and came in nice little packages from the meat purveyor.
On one particular November weekend, my kitchen became full of wild geese that had been freshly hunted and plucked. There was this group of hunters who got together every year to hunt geese and ducks and they always stayed in the hotel. On the way out, they asked me if I would cook their game if they got any. I agreed but had never in my life cooked a goose nor did I worry because it was very dreary outside and didn’t think they would have any success. I was dead wrong.
These guys came back with bags and bags of geese that were still warm from being alive two hours ago! Yuck! So, not only did these guys expect dinner that night, but I had enough to feed them for two nights. I had no idea what I was going to prepare and I found the texture of the meat and the scrawny little bodies not appealing at all. I found myself doing everything to these geese! I confited, grilled, roasted, pan-seared, fried, brined, marinated, smoked - I mean everything I could think of. In the end the hunters were very pleased, or just very polite."
4. Outlaw Catering, Texas
"This is another segment from "Outrageous Food." I had to include it because I truly consider this completely outrageous, hence the name of the show. Picture a city boy on a north Texas cattle ranch cooking out of a 160-year-old chuck wagon in handmade cast iron pans over an open flame for a bunch of real deal cowboys! Yeah, I felt about as out-of-place as, well, a city boy in the middle of a north Texas cattle ranch.
The characters I was with were outrageous enough, but just being out there, in the pouring rain, making great food the same way they did in the days of the Pony Express was awesome. The whole time I felt like a kid with his first Cadbury Easter egg!"
5. Crisping duck confit in hot oil for 500 people
"I mean the title to this one should tell you how outrageous it really was. This, again, goes back to my Maryland days, but this time we find our hero in the first ever 'Taste of the Town' festival in a little town called Chestertown, Maryland - which is the town in which I had my hotel/restaurant.
I had to come out guns blazing because there was a competition that was crowning the best taste of the town. What do I do? I thought that making my crispy duck confit with shaved Brussels sprouts and grapefruit marmalade would definitely be a winner. I was right - however, I didn't know what crisping 500 confited duck legs would entail. I will never try it again. I had a turkey fryer blazing at 450 degrees, and I spent five hours that day dipping duck legs into it trying not to burn my skin off and trying to keep the soft duck legs from falling apart. I accomplished one of those feats.
I have the crown but still have scars. It was so much fun but a completely outrageous way to try to make your mark on a small town."
Fancy a pig face? Got a over-the-top grubbing memory? Share with us in the comments.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
Memories associated with food are so prevalent in my family I compiled a cookbook that is as much memoir as recipe collection. Each recipe is accompanied by a story (many of them really outrageous) about the dish. I printed out several copies, placed each page in a sheet protector (to make spills easy to wipe off), “bound” it in 3-ring binders and entitled it “My Memories Are Made Like This”.
The books were given to family members and friends as Christmas, wedding and “leaving home” presents and, although I’m sure some are never used, many recipients have told me how much they (and their friends) love to read the stories as well as use the recipes. Most of the comments I received were about the recipes and stories I HADN’T included, so the cookbook became a computer file that is constantly updated and made available through email. I recommend this as a fun and useful way to keep family stories alive for the next generation.
Glad to see Tom got his own show. I was crushed when he didn't win. LIke a previous poster said, I wouldn't watch Artie and her "party" if she were the only show on the FN.
I've eaten foods from many cultures as I grew up in the Foreign Service and then married into the military. Blood sausage, "mountain oysters", etc. I didn't think of most foods from these countries as outrageous because I was young and that's what you ate there. Looking back, probably the most "outrageous" thing I ever ate was pigeon, which in itself isn't outrageous, but the way it was obtained was. It was our first overseas tour, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, 1966, and we lived on the ground floor of a 3-story apartment building. There was a small flock of pigeons roosting on the roof right over the door leading out to the patio, and you never knew if you were going to be bombed with pigeon poo or not whenever one of us walked outside. Finally, one of the neighbors offered to get rid of them for us (it was a very neighborly building with only 5 apartments and families living there – we all knew one another). He shot them all and then plucked them and cooked them for us. As a 7-year old, I remember it was utterly delicious, even though the little legs were like doll-size chicken legs.
Interesting article. I enjoy hearing/reading other people tell of their experiences with memorable food. Here's 2 of my memories:
#1 – Muskrat. That's right, muskrat. My Dutch ex mother-in-law was an intimidating hulk of a woman who was quite possibly the worst cook ever to lift a frying pan. She lived in rural Indiana, and (having been raised in Holland during WW2 and experiencing near starvation at the hand of the Nazis) she took advantage of the considerable bounty right outside her back door – which included muskrat. I don't know how she managed to accidentally cook it to perfection, but it was the most amazing meat I have ever eaten. Period.
#2 – Doves and Dumplings. My southern parents were both my culinary heroes. Dad? The man could not cook to save his life, but he knew good stuff when he ate it, for certain. He's the one who introduced me to sardines, as well as brains, testicles, wild greens, wild game, offal, and countless other delights. My mother was a fantastic cook, as was her mother, and so on. I'll never forget my dad and I bringing home a bunch of doves from our hunting trip, and my mother making chicken and dumplings – but using doves instead of chicken. Outrageously good.
Instead of having one identifiable food memory – it simply started in my childhood and adolescence, and has lasted into adulthood. Thanks Mom, thanks Dad.
I love the caramel Cadbury eggs. Yummy.
I love Cadbury eggs
Don't know what that dish is – but it looks like some horrible appetizer from Ruby Tuesday – guacamole, sour cream, nachos, and velveeta. I have never seen the appeal to guacamole – it has zero taste. I'm from the south – and I know zero taste – just try grits – that will get you zero taste and flavor.
He's right, Cadbury eggs are my favorite candies for their magical quality. Only the ones that look like whites and yolks inside though, the others are nice, but ordinary. Unlike Pizzaca, I didn't discover them till I was like 21, a boyfriend brought me some and it remains the fondest memory I have of that relationship.
In other food outrageousness though, I like trying new things. So once at my deli, I picked up a little salad, I think it was some kind of Greek thing, or Italian antipasto. It's a shame I can't recall, exactly what it was because I have never been so – uh – gassy, in my LIFE. I'm not prone to this problem, even with foods famous for it, but it was awful, I offended myself, it wasn't even real flatulence, it was like this horrible, intense kind of sweet smell that OOZED from my pores.
Thank god I ate it on a Friday night so I could barricade myself indoors all day Saturday.
Not very appetizing I know, but it WAS outrageous. I haven't touched a deli salad since.
Wild goose = yuck?? That's absurd. I marinade wild goose breasts in sesame, orange, and ginger then grill them to medium rare on the grill on kabobs. It would probably help if he identified which type of geese they were. Were they Canadas or Snow Geese? Snow Geese are disgusting, I'll concur with that.
It's tough to beat eating leaning, fresh meat free from antibiotics, added hormones, etc.
JEM! Truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous!
I'm soooo glad they gave Tom his own show. He deserved to win NFNS. My bf and I have both agreed, we have NO desire to watch Artie and her 'party'.
@rebel thank you so well said!
500 Duck confit at 450 degrees, all in 5 hours?! hehehe... Google duck confit, the whole point of the dish is to slow cook the duck in it's own fat, at a low temperature, around 200-250F. What he was making was just deep fried duck....
fried chicken feet and fried sea anemone at a stall in Pusan Korea. Many an OB before and with. Mmmmm
the cadbury easter egg...yes! I hope your kids put you through the same torment, pain an eventual surrender as you put your mom! ( and they will love you for it, haha:)
1. Eating my first Big Mac and getting it everywhere and loving every second of it.
2. Mushroom soup in Paris. I've never eaten Campbell's since. It was beautiful and mushroomy and delicious.
3. My grandmother's baking powder biscuits straight out of the oven with butter dripping down and homemade jam. I can still smell them.
I know what you mean about the Big Mac, I'll never forget my first one.
My first Big Mac made me sick. How about the first REAL burger you had?
I love your baking powder biscuits memory!
My great-grandmother used to make biscuits from scratch- literally took handfuls of flour, poured in milk haphazardly- I would watch awestruck at someone cooking without a recipe or measuring cups (or Bisquick, hi mom!) Every time they came out perfectly. I was too young to have thought to have taken notes, even if I had, they could never be as good as hers were.
Tom is entertaining and for me, eating pig face would be outrageous. Some of us out here have not had some of the dishes he is making. I wanted him to win the FN challenge and I'm very pleased he got his own show. I hope his unique approach to his show grows just as it did for Guy and other very talented people they feature. Not all folks are going to be stars and thankfully the FN knows when to pull the plug on a show. The FN has a nice variety and they have changed the way many people entertain with food. It's a great network. You rock Tom and your fiance is a doll too!
The most outrageous thing I've experienced is an all you can eat cheese cart with 15-20 different types of Roquefort cheese. I was in a small town right outside of Roquefort and the cheese was the 5th course of a 6 course meal.
Dear Tom, I love you.
The original Cadbury Creme Egg is heavenly! I get excited every year before Easter when they are put out for sale. <3 I remember discovering CCE vending machines in the London Underground. I lost a quid in one of those machines and I was crushed.
Seriously? They have this guy on here? Someone who couldn't even win that joke of a show Next foodnetwork star...FN has gotten so bad it's un-watcable. They caught lightening in a bottle with Guy and they keep rolling out these nobody's who's shows get cancelled within 2 weeks. PBS has the only good cooking shows.
OMG ... CADBURY EGGS are amazing! I buy at least a dozen (or more) at easter and savor them all year long ... one a month, that's about all i can handle but seriously those things are outrageous!
Some of you are so angry and bitter, take some anti-depressants or get therapy
A lot of people seem bitter over what other people eat. Get over it people.
And lol @ "pig face is not outrageous" Well excuse me if I'm not yet a citizen of the world and have yet to experience many cultures (though I would like to someday..), but to me and my culture, that's fairly outrageous. Sounds tasty though!
Well said, Matt!
Of course you can't forget the macaroni noodles and the peas!!!
Chestertown, MD? My son went to school at WaC for two years. Sorry to have missed your restaurant...would have enjoyed the variety... and can't imagine what you did with geese...always a puzzle.
Pig's face sounds outstanding.
I don't see any of these stories as "outrageous" food memories. Even the pig face dish is not unusual. Animal tissue is animal tissue, and I say that as a vegetarian. Doesn't matter where it comes from. And although the duck confit dish sounds wonderful (I used to love to eat duck), I'm pretty sure deep frying the legs is not how you crisp them up (not the way I did it, anyway). Cooking for cowboys? II's called camping - no big deal. Mom giving into a tantrum? It's called spoiling. Cooking shot geese? If that upsets you, maybe you should question whether you should cook that any of that meat that comes in "nice little packages from the meat purveyor." Outrageous is...your Aunt Mona's chicken marshmallow tuna surprise.
"Cooking for cowboys? II's called camping – no big deal."
Really? Camping is when you cook for a handful of people at the most. Chuck Wagon cooking is when you cook a full four course meal outdoors for a full crew of hungry cowboys, sometimes for several dozen very hungry men. There's a world of difference between the two.
Pig face really isn't anything extreme or revolutionary. It might be "weird" to somebody who has a really mundane palate, but swine products made from head are nothing new.
Exactly. You only have to check the closest neighbors south (Mexico) and enjoy their "tacos de cabeza". Awesome stuff and just the intro. to how most cultures use the "whole hog".
Outrageous seems to be his favorite word because he uses it to describe a lot of different things.
He's no Adam Richman.
Cadbury Easter eggs were created by the devil, easily the worst candy ever made with Peeps one step behind.
If you say Peeps are a step behind in evilness, is that because Peeps have no fat, unlike the chocolatey goodness of the Cadbury Creme Egg? I think that Peeps can be just as bad as they are addictive – I always say "Just one row, just one row" but I usually kid myself and eat way too many of those deceptively delicious sugared marshmallows in a sitting. Pure sugary Peep goodness – ah, my fave. But Cadbury chocolate tastes like Easter to me, it's THE chocolate for Easter bunnies. Mmmmm.
Potato chip tuna casserole who my sister got from her mother-in-law in Kansas. Large can light tuna, bag potato chips, cream of mushroom soup mixed with milk. Layer everything in a dutch oven casserole dish and bake in the oven about 40 min. My son used to beg me for this one.
Oh my goodness! I remember eating casseroles like that back in the 1970's! Cream of Mushroom Soup...the universal binder.
Of course you can't forget the macaroni noodles and the peas!
This is not news.
you come to CNN for news? try NPR
LOL NPR is not news either. It's depression in a can. :-)
What's ironic is that I used to be a staff member at an NPR radio affiliate.
Agree this is not new. Its just another show showing food that will make you fat fat fat. Gotta love TV these days
LUV YOU, Tom, and can't wait to see you succeed in your new show. My family thought you were great on the NFNS show. And btw...also agree about the Cadbury egg. I remember the first year it came out and I have been eating them ever year since.
I LOVE those Cadbury Eggs and that cute bunny from the commercial!
One of the best things I ever ate was a steak with calvados (apple brandy) sauce at The Precinct in Cincinnati. I still remember it decades later.
I also have many memories of eating the world's best pizza at Pepe's in New Haven CT. One time, one pizza that was about to be served to us had a soda spilled on it, so they made it again. The 2nd pizza had a bubble in the crust and exploded in the oven. Finally, we ate the 3rd pizza about 1.5 hours later, and it was gratis.
Everything's bigger (and better) in Texas. ;P
Especially the women and their muffin tops...:)
They should have given Brad Sorenson his own show...
I'd hit that...
This is becoming a tradition on 5@5. =)
I keep waiting for a story on Kelly Choi (Top Chef Masters)
OMG–are you the real deal Guy Fieri? Love, love, love your show. Seriously are you the real Guy?
It all sounds good. However, the guacamole and sour cream in the pic = BARF. Odd how I'll eat Menudo, chicken hearts and gizzards while sour cream and guacamole make me gag.
Sour cream I LOVE. Guac I don't. We agree half and half. I also love half&half. And white russians.
The dish in the photo looks like a pile of plate scrapings. In other words....garbage. It makes me cringe to look at it.
In our family, 6 out of 8 of us are allergic to dairy and eggs. So I discovered sourdough!! Sourdough starter is a wonderful egg replacer. I'm always experimenting with sourdough and adding it to anything...pecan pie, cakes, squash casseroles, etc. It's outragious...but delicious. Btw ~ I think the nachos in the picture look delicious!
Anyone who doesn't like guacamole (pronounced "WOCKA", not "GWOCKA") hasn't had good and simple guacamole. I love sour cream, but can see how that can be off-putting to some of you sissy girls.
Check yer shivvies fer skid marks, you jock closet case.
Chicken hearts make an amazing addition to tacos, soups, stir fries, etc. They're my favourite part of the bird.
You always seem to manage to get this pitch in for these cookbooks, don't you?? Don't you think people realize by now that you're selling these here just as blatantly as if you were standing on the street corner with a stack of books, yelling "Cookbook for sale!!"??
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