Cooking with Fire

By Jeffrey Carl and Paul Caputo

University of Richmond Collegian,
March 9 1995

Paul Caputo and I began writing humor columns together for the University of Richmond Collegian at the beginning of my Junior year. Paul had started his term as The Collegian’s opinion section editor that year, or maybe he hadn’t. I don’t really remember. Maybe it was me, or possibly Scott Shepard. I know it happened sometime during college. At any rate, Paul and I started writing together and later with Shepard as well. It was the start of a writing partnership that would last years and ultimately result in no tangible lasting value except for some free baseball tickets. I originally had something much more positive in mind when I started writing this introduction.

with your hosts: Paul “Chef” Prudhomme and Julia Child

All right.

We’ve had it up to here with all these whiny Collegian “The Greek system sucks/the Jepson School sucks/Libertarians rule the universe/ and there aren’t enough sidewalks here” columns. We’ve decided that we’re going to just hand the whole Opinion section over to public access. We figure, being seniors about to be thrust out into the real world where food is not just made for us and slapped onto trays like in elementary school apple-sauce-and-salisbury-steak-with-ketchup-leftover-surprise, the first order of business is food, and how to make it. Damned if we know, but we’ll try to squeeze some cheap jokes out of it. For you’re reading pleasure, here are Julia Child and Paul Prudhomme, with “Cooking With Fire.”Editor’s Note: The persons herein identified have nothing to do with theoretically actual persons who might exist named something crazy like “Julia Child” or “Paul Prudhomme” and so we really hope they don’t sue us. This is called a disclaimer, common to nervous newspapers everywhere.

Julia Child

Julia Child: Welcome to “Cooking with Fire.” Tonight we’ll be showing you how to prepare several fine dishes, most of which are non-carcinogenic. First is soufflé du jambon vert. First we will need three liters of wine…

Paul “Chef” Prudhomme: You need three liters?

JC: The soufflé gets four ounces. I get the rest. [begins drinking]

PCP: I see. Did you drive here?Editor’s Note: This attempt at a humorous look at alcoholism is obviously in bad taste and frankly not the sort of thing condoned by this newspaper ever at all even once even the slightest tiny bit, except during Christmas parties and weeknights. Kids, don’t try this at home. Please continue.

JC: As I was saying, we marinate the jambon vert and add just a dash of thyme … a squirt of vanilla … and a sprinkle of fairy dust. [drinks]

PCP: Fairy dust? What the Hell is fairy dust?

JC: Never you mind. I stole it from those damn Keebler Elves. I won’t even tell you what I had to do to get it. But they won’t be bothering us anymore.  Ha ha ha ha. Anyway… [drinks] Then I heat the skillet to 450 degrees and leave some old, oily rags sitting on top of it. While that is cooking, Paul, why don’t you show us something else that you’ve whipped up?

PCP: Well, this in this pot here is called Chicken Pot Pie…

JC: Ooh. Exotic.

PCP: And this is … this can’t be right. The teleprompter here says this is called “Baked Tauntaun.”

JC:What the Hell is a tauntaun?

Teleprompter Guy: [runs, crazed onto the stage and exits] You’ll freeze before you reach the first marker, Captain Solo!  I welcome our new ant masters!

JC and PCP: Yeah. Whatever.

PCP: Anyhoo, I have a great little bundle of taste explosion here called Corned Beef Hash O’Brien-style.

JC: And how much sherry do you need for that dish?

PCP: Umm, well, you really don’t need any, I suppose…

JC: In that case I’ll just drink the rest myself. [oily rags begin to smolder]

PCP: Whatever floats your boat … Well, the first step in making an absolutely smashing Chicken Pot Pie is to remove it from the little tinfoil thingy it is encased in …

JC: Ooh. Space-age technology.

PCP: And then you put it into the microwave here, like so…

JC: Really? [chug-a-lugs gin] Never would have occurred to me…

PCP: And then comes the especially tricky part: You’ve got these two settings on the microwave here. It is absolutely imperative that you use “defrost.” If you put it on “cook,” your brain will explode into thousands of tiny, smoking little bits.

JC: Hmm. And that’s an important safety tip for our viewers at home, isn’t it?

PCP: Right-O. So while that’s cooking, let’s turn to the Corned Beef Hash. You take it out of the can like this … and then you just gulp it down right out of the can.

JC: I see. What is the “O’ Brien” part for?

PCP: Not sure. Never got that far. Anyway, this stuff gives me gas like an Exxon station.

JC: Which is a great time for us to turn here to this neat little treat I’m preparing here. 

PCP: What’s it called?

JC:“Harvey Wallbanger à la carte.”Editor’s Note: Did you see that one coming? This is what is known in cheap joke terms as a “running gag.” This not only follows federal guidelines for recycling, but also creates humor through repetition as well as freeing the writers from having to make up any new jokes. Please do go on.

JC: And after you add the Sloe Gin you stir, and gulp it all down in one shot. Ignore occasional vomiting afterwards.

PCP: This little tangy taste treat I’ve got here is perfect for accompanying a nice dry white wine or…

JC: Sounds great.  [drinks]

PCP: Whatever … Well, it’s called Cream of Wheat. What do you think?

JC: It’s as good as I remember.

PCP: Yes, but wait until I add my secret ingredient.

JC: Vodka? [drinks]

PCP: No, it’s our friend the mongoose! Mongoose, “the other red meat,” is available at your friendly neighborhood grocery outlet, I’m sure, and adds a tangy spice of exotic flavor-splosion-liciousness to the most mundane of dishes! Mongoose paté, anyone? Mongoose and truffles? Treat the kids when they come home from school to a zesty surprise of Mongoose and jelly sandwiches. Plus they make great pets.

JC: Those bastards at the National Mongoose Council got to you, didn’t they?

PCP:You can’t prove that.

JC: OK, look. You know you can’t cook, and I know you can’t cook. So why don’t we just forget about all this “You take the stuff and you throw it in the bowl and put it on the stove” stuff and get down to business?

PCP:What are you saying, Julia?

JC:Ithink that you’re a beautiful, beautiful man.

PCP:Thank you. Stop touching me.

JC: [whispering, with her hand on Paul’s leg] I think Ilove you.

PCP: Thank you.

JC: Are you in a fraternity?

PCP: No.

JC:Oh, forget it then. Let’s get back to cooking. Do we have any Ramen Noodles?

PCP: Well, I’ve got a little surprise I call “Boar for One.”

JC: One?[now searching the cabinets for Ny-Quil to drink]

PCP: Well, the full name is “Boar for one Really Fat Guy.” But I digress. Anyhoo, we need a boar. 

JC: In the newspaper? We’ve got several. But I digress. 

PCP: Nobody noticed. Anyway, I happen to have a boar here … what’s that smell?

JC: Is it the boar? It’s a wee bit musky.

PCP: No … never mind. [oily rags burst into flame, killing three and wounding six]

JC: So what do we do with the boar?

PCP: We kill it first.

JC: That’s disgusting.

PCP: No, what’s disgusting is when I get really hungry and don’t kill it.

JC: Okay, let me do it.

PCP:Iwas just kidding, we’re not going to … Oh my God … What are you doing?! No!

JC: Ooh! Is that part supposed to be squishy?

PCP:Oh, dear God. Well, we gotta a dead boar here, so we might as well cook it. But just for the record, I was kidding.

JC:I’ll go collect all of its bits. [starts drinking again]

PCP:OK, so you take its … umm … Well, you take all the bits that don’t have hair on them and throw them into a big ol’ pot.

JC:I’ll do it.

PCP:Ifigured. Now, umm … Iguess you should go ahead and boil them. 

JC: Whoo-hoo! [passes out]

PCP: We turn now to the Chicken and Bacon à la D-Hall — incidentally this is French for “fiery kiln explosion” — which are being cooked in these two pans. Please note that they are separate entrées. Julia, will you…? Well, Julia is vomiting right now, so I will add the dash of…

JC: [revived] Booooot and raaaaaally!  [begins drinking leftover vinegar]

PCP: Gotcha. Anyway, I’m going to sample the chicken, which has been marinated in pepper and acetone, to give it that proper “breaded masking tape” taste. I’ll just take a bit here … and a bit here … Hell, I’ll eat the whole damned thing. Julia won’t notice, she’s funneling spare cooking grease for the alcohol content, and we won’t tell her, will we?

JC: Missss Tessmacherrrrr! Bring me the head of Steve Gutenberg on a silver platter! Marinate it lightly! Damn the torpedoes! [vomits repeatedly]

PCP: Oh, dear. I knew Ishould have thrown away that old Turkey Tetrazzini weeks ago. Let’s move on to another dish. And I mean that in a strictly professional way.

PCP: Well, it looks like all we have time for is boxed mac and cheese.

JC: Takes me back…

PCP: The first step in cooking gourmet mac and cheese is to remove all of the boars’ hair from the boiling water.

JC: I’ll do that. Owwwwwwwwww!

PCP: But not with your hand. Once you’ve done that, you dump the mac and cheese into the water and pray that this segment will end soon. While it boils, you want to stir the mac and cheese noodles with a blunt object, preferrably an old copy of the Web.Editor’s Note: This fictitious journal theoretically called “The Web” has nothing to do with any possible actual publications which might, under certain circumstances, be called “The Web” or something. Please don’t sue us. Now back to the column.

JC: I knew they were good for something.

PCP: Now you want to wait for seven minutes. After you mix the milk, butter and cheese powder in a bowl — if you run out of cheese powder, sawdust makes a fine replacement— you can pass the time watching Knight Rider on USA because, chances are, they’re running that episode with the evil KITT named KARR, and Michael Knight’s twin tries to kidnap…

JC: Shut up, pretzel boy, and get back to cooking!

PCP: OK, it should be ready by now. Taste these noodles Julia…

JC: [Crunching down] Oh, my God, I lost a tooth.

PCP: OK, they’re not quite ready yet. Let’s move on to something else before it’s too late.

JC: We got carrot sticks!

PCP: You can’t cook carrot sticks.

JC: Loooooove me some carrot sticks.

PCP: You’re drunk.

JC: [shouting] Show ’em how to make puddin’! People loooooove puddin’!

PCP: Our next dish is…

JC: Brad Pitt!

PCP:Shut up! OK, we’re going to make a big heap of mushroom-sauerkraut casserole. First you take a handful of mushrooms.

JC: I’ll show you a handful of mushroomsh. Shay … you, the fat guy … you review moviesh or shomethin’, dontcha?

PCP: [swallowing handfuls of soufflé] I think you’ve got me confused with…

JC: Waita shecond. Paul Prudhomme my assh. You’re Dom Deluise! You shon of a bitschhh…

PCP: Oh, dear … looks like we gotta go.

JC: [singing, in her best John Denver voice] Rocky Mountain Hiiiigh … youuu gotta know when to hoooold ’em…

PCP: Seeya next week everybody!