Prepare to be surprised followers of Gourmet Survivor 2004. I know I was!
Let’s start at the beginning. A week and a half ago I assigned Michelle, Andrea and Nick their final challenge: prepare some kind of baked good (or anything that won’t spoil) and ship it to me. I will eat it and judge it. This will be your final challenge.
Time crept by. The due date was today, October 20th. And when I went to get my mail today there was only one package. ONE PACKAGE. So I said to myself, “Uh oh—two of our contestants have failed miserably. Who are they? What’s happened?”
And then I went upstairs and opened the package. I was greeted with this note (which I will transcribe below the picture so don’t hurt your eyes):
Dear Amateur Gourmet,
All three of us, the remaining Gourmet Survivor competitors, felt we should do something special to commemorate our achievement. In order to celebrate and honor our success, we gathered together in your traditional ancestral home: Oceanside, NY.
There we creamed, beat and baked our way through one long, delicious Sunday afternoon. The results are what you hold in your hands now.
Thank you for making this possible, Amateur Gourmet. We look forward to the exciting finale.
Andrea, Michelle & Nick
I flipped the note over and there’s a picture of all three competitors together in my hometown, Oceanside, NY:
How did this happen! Who arranged this? Michelle lives in Seattle! Nick lives in Philadelphia! Andrea lives in…New York! Were plane tickets purchased to bake pastries? Were these people faking their whereabouts all along? Am I on Candid Camera?
While these questions have yet to be answered, I turn to the pastry. Presented in three lovely packages were an assortment of treats that I greeted hungrily. Clockwise from the top there’s: Michelle’s homemade cinnamon rolls; Nick’s “Cafeteria” brownies; and Andrea’s Cranberry-Orange Drop Cookies.
Each package contained a note and pictures of the cooking process (which didn’t come out when I tried to photograph the photograph. Maybe Nick, Michelle and Andrea can link to their photos in the comments section?).
Michelle’s note read:
Enclosed are two hopefully yummy homemade cinnamon rolls. For best eating results, microwave rolls for 10-15 sec and drizzle with icing (enclosed separately). The icing was shipped frozen and is cream-cheese based. It should still be cold enough to safely eat. Use your own judgment. Enjoy! Michelle.”
Here’s the cream cheese frosting which tasted fine:
Nick’s note read:
Ya had to be there to understand how much I realize these are “cafeteria brownies.” They taste like them, look like them, and for all intents and purposes ARE cafeteria brownies. My shame cannot be expressed in words. Sincerely, NSA (nick)”
And then Andrea’s note:
“Cranpberry-Orange Drop Cookies (1 dozen)
The bread end is for freshness purposes only, please do not eat it. Enjoy it! Sincerely, Andrea.”
(She had placed a piece of bread in the box to keep the cookies fresh apparently).
So after recovering from the shock of this strange turn of events, and arranging the food on the plate…
I sat down and began to eat judiciously. Meaning, I took bites of each item until I lost interest. I figured this final photograph of the plate post-eating would serve as an appropriate judgment on the quality of the food baked, packaged and shipped. It is no reflection on the gratitude I have for all three contestants for the huge effort they put into this. It simply reflects what I thought tasted good:
With that done, now, it’s time for you–the Amateur Gourmet reading audience–to vote off either Nick, Andrea or Michelle. Once that’s done, the two remainders will write a mission statement of why they want to be Gourmet Survivor 2004 and then those who’ve been voted off in the last nine rounds will vote on the winner.
So ready set vote, America. And thanks, once again, to Nick, Michelle and Andrea—you’re all survivors in my heart.