Let’s imagine that you have been captured by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, and your freedom hinges on your ability to correctly identify the dish pictured above, which I cooked for a group of my friends several years ago. Your captors, pacing the grimy linoleum floor where they hold you, bark instructions in a tone of voice that simultaneously communicates their intention to bring death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people and that you really do have to tell them what this food is.
Your eyes, bloodshot from sleeplessness, scan the photograph. Why are there tongs?
Why scissors? What are those pink flecks? Are those mouse feet?
“Stop stalling,” snaps a flinty woman who has identified herself to you only as Tania. “What is it?” You fall to your knees, begging for a hint. Your captors confer for a moment. They are willing to give you the following information:
-This food is vegetarian.
-It is not—as my colleague Joanna Rothkopf rudely guessed—baked grapefruit.
-It is also not “Broccoli under a thick blanket of cheese with shallots,” as my other colleague, Tom Scocca guessed—also offensively.
-Nor is it a prop from Ridley Scott’s film Food, Bobby Finger.
-It’s not the crawfish, “murdered” eggplant, or owl pellets, that Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Emma Carmichael, and Brendan O’Connor guessed, respectively.
-There is no “mold of some sort” anywhere on that, despite what J.K. Trotter guessed. This is fresh out of the oven.
Reunion with your loved ones and perhaps even your life, depend on your answer. What the fuck is this food? Leave your guesses in the comments.
Update 5pm: It is hash browns. I made them the traditional way. I don’t know what happened. Congratulations to all who guessed correctly. As for the rest of you, enjoy your new life in the back closet of a revolutionary crash pad.