Every so often we have a food stunt that is so gross that one or more of our contestants simply decides to quit. Eating brains was one of those stunts.
Brains are a delicacy in many parts of the world. Samoans eat pig brains wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in a ground oven. Austrians eat calf brains fried with eggs, while Indonesians like them simmered in coconut cream. Germans eat them in soup and well, you get the idea.
Americans, on the other hand, tend to be kind of resistant to eating brains. So, of course, we set out to find some of the biggest animal brains that we could get our hands on and then cooked them up for some unlucky Fear Factor contestants.
Finding just the right brains took a bit of searching. Lamb and pork brains had a pretty good look to them but they just didn't seem big enough. Then we found beef brains. They were big and white and mushy and, well, just plain nasty looking. It didn't take a rocket scientist to know which way we needed to go on this one.
We rounded up a bunch of beef brains from a meat purveyor and began to cook
some samples. It's always important to remember that the key to preparing
any kind of organ meat on Fear Factor is to keep it simple. No fancy spices,
no frying, no nothing. Just a simple poaching will do.
We invited one of our trusted food testers, Johnny Tong, to come to our offices and sample a few specimens. We knew Johnny could handle it. After all, this is the same guy who'd been in earlier to try a couple of rectums for us.
Johnny seemed ready for the task. He grabbed a moist half a brain in his hand and bit off a good-sized chunk. Boy, did he bite off more than he could chew. Between the mushy texture and the rich, fatty taste, he wound up having a pretty tough time getting through it. That's all we needed to see. It was determined that each contestant would eat a brain or two - or maybe even three - to prove they had what it takes to be a winner.
We came up with a poker game that put the contestants' fates right into their own hands. They were each dealt four specially made cards with the potential of eating as many as three brains.
As it turned out, none of our contestants wound up with three brains on their plate. But one unlucky contestant did come pretty damn close. Did he make it? You'll just have to watch to find out. Oh, and don't forget to bring your barf bag.
by RICH BROWN