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An Excerpt from the Upcoming Book: Liver and Let Die

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Welcome to Inside The Stoves by Jason Kessler. Each week Kessler will look deep within the soul of food media and come out with fake excerpts from fake books that are absolutely, positively not real. Basically, it's foodie fan fiction.

At this point in the competition, nobody believed that a full lobe of foie gras would still be in the running to be The Next Food Network Star. Then again, nobody believed a full lobe of foie gras could talk, either. Effie was an enigma and the other contestants didn’t know whether to get on her good side or try to turn her into a terrine. She didn’t care. All Effie cared about was making good food and not accidentally searing herself. That’s why the next challenge was going to really put Effie to the test.

Kitchen Stadium was imposing. Bright lights, cameras everywhere, and Alton Brown staring out at the contestants from his smarty-pants glasses. Effie looked around, taking it all in. Some would say that only being thirty ounces was a disadvantage, but not to her. It made her feel the magnitude of the moment more than her opponents. While the Sandwich King, the pretty Mexicana, and the ‘roided-out “Mama’s Boy” stood attentively waiting for further instructions, Effie took a deep breath and got her game face on -- well, as much as a faceless lobe of foie gras can have a game face.

What happened next remains one of the cruelest moments ever filmed on a reality cooking show. If you ask Effie, she’ll tell you she doesn’t remember any of it. That’s a lie. She remembers everything. It’s just too painful to talk about. From the video, it’s clear that a few things are indisputable:

1. Alton Brown glared at Effie and smiled a little as he revealed the secret ingredient.
2. As soon as she heard the secret ingredient, Effie fainted.
3. The secret ingredient was foie gras.

They didn’t show this on TV, but the producers and medics spent half an hour trying to revive Effie. When they finally did, Effie was so disoriented she thought she was back in the Hudson Valley. After a few minutes, though, she came to her senses and apologized for disrupting the show and then insisted on starting the challenge right away. The producers objected, but Effie assured them she was ready to go. It took some convincing, but Effie can be incredibly persuasive – especially for a lobe of foie.

For weeks, the judges had been urging Effie to put more of herself in her cooking and now she was going to show them just serious she was about winning this thing. When the director yelled action, Effie closed her eyes, swallowed hard, and sliced off four perfect two-ounce portions from herself. With a flick of her wrist, she thrust the medallions into a cast iron pan full of sizzling clarified butter. Game on.
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— Jason Kessler

*Jason Kessler writes The Nitpicker column for as well as "Heart Attack" for He also writes things for television.