I've always said I'll try anything once.
So, when I got an email from Marjorie Pomeroy here in Portland with an "important recipe request," I had to stop. You see, Marjorie is fresh out of school and is participating for the first time in GISHWHES, the ugly acronymed "Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen."
She's on a team with some Canadians, other people from across the U.S., and maybe someone in London who may or may not have dropped out. The goal is for participants to complete as many tasks as possible for points, and the winners, Marjorie says, get to spend a week on a Pirate boat in what I think she said was Sweden, but don't exactly remember because I wasn't taking notes. Contestants have until tonight to finish.
I met Marjorie at lunch Wednesday because I could help with No. 38 on this year's list:
"It's time the Internet's bourgeoning Culinary Master was recognized... or panned. Prepare West Collins' "Pasta with Jam Sauce" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90tZUltzRBc) and have a noted food critic review it. It must be a qualified, published critic. If they're not a published critic, don't submit."
I don't know about the noted part, but I am published. So, despite the fact that this recipe calls for strawberry jam, carrot juice, Goldfish crackers, popcorn, tomato sauce, pasta and chocolate chips, I thought this would a) be good blog fodder and b) allow me to boost my karma rating. (This review was not required to be published as part of the hunt—this blog is just for my, and your, benefit).
I thought this could also count as my Worst Night Ever because I wasn't invited to play. #poutyface
I started watching the vid, in which an adorable little imp is armed with a grocery cart and unlimited imagination points. I stopped about two minutes in, fearing this would make me unable to eat this so-called Jam Pasta. I also pondered whether I was getting punked, but looking over the list from last year's hunt, I think it's safe to say this is an actual thing. (Although I was peeved to find out this was also a subtle promo for Misha Collins, who is an organizer of the hunt and is also the Dad in these videos).
At any rate, dear Marjorie arrived at noon on the dot with a steaming tupperware of Jam Pasta.
She even brought me a proper bowl and spoon by which to eat it. By sight, it's actually the right colors of pasta with marinara, a reddy-orange with Rotelle pasta. The half red delicious apple, Goldfish and popcorn, however, throw it.
I raised the spoon to my lips and took a full bite. The sweet, thick yet runny sauce coated my tongue, providing no escape for the senses. The tomato was there, but even more present was a strong jammy-chocolate taste, providing a flavor of something similar to what a pureed sandwich from the PB&J cart might taste like. The only textural addition was the popcorn.
Marjorie said she wasn't crazy about the aftertaste; I didn't mind it, I think because it meant that bite was over. I did two more pasta bites to make sure I wasn't missing any hidden notes of culinary greatness—I wasn't. Then, I bit into the half apple. With your eyes closed, you can *almost* pretend it is a baked apple dessert. Then, the thick skin caught halfway down my throat. It was not a dessert. It was a dish dreamed up by some asshole four year old designed to make me hate my life.
I tried that thing once. I won't try it again. That being said: Good luck on this scavenger hunt, Marjorie. There are Swedish pirates waiting for you!