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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    Awards season is here for food journalists

    Thanksgiving and Black Friday are already in the rearview mirror and the Holiday Season has blasted into sustained focus like a team of flying reindeer fortified by Walter White.

    Already I can already smell the magical and comingling scents of evergreen boughs, baking cookies, and candles scented to smell like evergreen boughs and baking cookies — and those fragrances are emanating from YOUR house down the block!

    BUT! For those of us who are Professional Writers About Food (PWAF), this time of year can be a bit anxious. Because, any day, we’ll hear from the Professional Writers About Food Governing Chamber (PWAFGC) concerning their annual awards.

    I’m particularly nervous because, ah, I’ve been nominated in several categories. Yes, the competition is one in which writers self-nominate, but still...

    It’s been a few years since I won anything. Y’all will probably remember it, of course. It was a first-place certificate in the Worst Description, Dining Review category for a piece I crafted during the COVID lockdown. Writing about a convenience store microwave burrito, I wrote:

    “The savory tasted antiseptically of the crime scene disinfectant I scrubbed on the delicacy to kill plague.” One of the judges, the always supportive and positive Parisian food critic Simone “The Eviscerator” Goudaleaux, commented, “What idiot wrote this?!”

    Hold on! Here’s an envelope with this year’s results now! Ordinarily, it’s the sort of thing I’d like to read in private, but what the hell. Here we go!

    Cool! First place, Ridiculously Indulgent category. From the committee’s ballot:

    “Koster’s 4,000-word footnote explaining the origins of the term ‘piping hot’ — referring to his description of a pea casserole -- is so indulgent that, by comparison, ‘Finnegans Wake’ comes off like a ‘Family Circus’ cartoon.”

    More triumph! Honorable mention for the “What is This Person Talking About?” category. The judge opined:

    “Koster’s review of ice machines in Michelin-starred restaurants is not only snore-inducing, it’s of zero interest to virtually anyone. However, I’ve seen few sentences as poignantly tender as, ”My favorite ice goes through a metastable rhombohedral phase, the formation of which can occur by heating high-density amorphous ice slowly at a pressure of 810 MPa. Try THIS in your Cuba Libre!“

    Finally, this last bit isn’t from the PRAFGC but rather the local police department and is an excerpt from their warrant for my arrest.

    “Koster (herinafter referred to as ”suspect“) attended seminar on ‘How to Become a Sushi Chef in One Afternoon’ pursuant to writing a newspaper story about the experience. He ‘forgot’ to bring the requisite set of sanitized sushi knives to the class and insisted on using a Phillips head screwdriver and some dental floss he found in the company break room garbage.

    “The instructor, Jumbo Corcoran, was poisoned by suspect’s puffer fish and avocado creation and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Suspect claimed innocence but requested that any funds earmarked for his defense fund instead be utilized to provide flowers for Corocoran’s funeral service.”

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