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Bluff The Listener

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Josh Gondelman, Brian Babylon and Faith Salie. And here again is your host, a man who got one of each vaccine just to be safe, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you so much, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

MICHAEL SUIT: Hi. This is Michael Suit (ph) from Tampa Bay, Fla.

SAGAL: Hey. How are things in Tampa Bay? I love that place.

SUIT: Oh, it's interesting. It's going pretty well.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yeah. It's one of the reasons why I love it, because it's so interesting. What do you do there?

SUIT: I'm a firefighter paramedic in the city of Dunedin.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. I'm going to guess that in your time working as an EMT in Florida, you have seen some interesting things.

SUIT: Oh, yes. I have seen a lot of interesting things.

SAGAL: Is the whole Florida man, shall we say, stereotype true in your experience?

SUIT: Oh, no. That's 100% real.

SAGAL: Really?

SUIT: They are everywhere.

SAGAL: All right. Michael, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Michael's topic?

KURTIS: The joy of cooking.

SAGAL: You have probably been cooking a lot this year and probably have gotten bored with what you have been cooking. Well, we have good news for you. We heard about an amazing new cookbook that came out just recently that will revolutionize your time in the kitchen. Each of our panelists are going to tell you about it, but sadly, only one of them is telling the truth. Pick that, you'll win our prize, the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

SUIT: I'm ready. Let's do this.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: It's been about a year since we all went bananas for banana bread recipes, but we can do better than that. According to MacArthur Murad (ph), author of a new cookbook inspired by all the food we watched decompose during this pandemic, everyone embraced rotten bananas like they were the second coming. What about all the other rancid food we're so quick to throw away? Murad challenges, which is why his cookbook is called "Garbage Out, Garbage In" (ph).

Diet gurus always tell you to stop eating garbage in your body, but I say dig in, says Murad, who's finishing his senior year at Vermont's Middlebury College. Why do we let the man dictate expiration dates? "Garbage Out, Garbage In" includes recipes for candied, putrid lime rind and for something Murad calls American haggis, which is diced, decaying things mixed with oatmeal.

But the cookbook really hits its stride in the dairy section, where Murad reminds us that all cheese comes from bacteria like streptococcus. I don't mean to sound cheesy, he says, but going around naming some stuff good bacteria, but other stuff bad bacteria shows a lot of hegemonic microbial bias.

SAGAL: "Garbage In, Garbage Out," a cookbook that teaches you how to make delicious food out of all the stuff that's accumulating in the back corners of your fridge. Your next story of revolutionary recipes comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: The surprise hit of the 2021 virtual Comic-Con was the launch of "Inside Bizarro's Belly" (ph), a new cookbook by Superman's nemesis, Bizarro. Bizarro, if you're not familiar, comes from the dimension where everything is opposite of our dimension. So, for example, in Bizarro's world, old people understand TikTok videos. Bizarro cooking means doing things opposite of you would normally do in the kitchen. The top recipes include steak slices - you don't cook the steak; you freeze it - and crunchy wings. These are chicken wings, but you eat the bones and leave the chicken. Craziest of all, their pineapple upside-down cake is served right-side up.

The recipes are fun and for the most part, delicious. But DC had to reprint the book with a disclaimer. Even though recipes are opposite, do not consume them the opposite way. Use your mouth.

SAGAL: "Inside Bizarro's Belly," recipes from the opposite zone. And your last story of a current cookbook comes from Josh Gondelman.

JOSH GONDELMAN: Great news for anyone who is intrigued by the smell of their cat's food but is too much of a coward to actually try it. Fancy Feast, the Purina brand, has released a cookbook for humans. Yes, the recipes are for us, but according to Fancy Feast, they are, quote, "inspired by cat food," not a phrase normally associated with human cuisine. Dishes in the cookbook include chicken and ramen with tomato honey butter sauce and honey sriracha grilled chicken. They wisely omitted recipes for other tastes all cats love, such as ball of hair and their own butts.

Like the cat food, the human recipes are single serving, which seems a little cruel. It's as if they're saying, hey, you have a cat. We'll just assume you're lonely. A statement from Fancy Feast says that the recipes are for humans but were created in honor of the dishes you'll be serving your cat. And what an honor. Although to really honor your cat, you should simply make direct eye contact with them and push your own dish off the table and onto the floor.

SAGAL: All right. You can go out and get one of these cookbooks that'll help you with your next level of cuisine. Is it from Faith Salie, "Garbage In, Garbage Out," a cookbook for all that food that you should have thrown away a long time ago but fortunately still have; from Brian Babylon, "Inside Bizarro's Belly," a cookbook from the world of Bizzaro, the comic book character who does everything backwards; or from Josh Gondelman, the cat food cookbook from the good people at Fancy Feast, so you can chow down right next to your own cat on similar food? Which of these is the real cookbook we found in the news?

SUIT: Oh, this one's hard. As a resident of Florida, I'm going to go with a lack in faith of humanity and pick option A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Faith's story, food that you should throw out but the cookbook author thinks you can make into a delicious meal.

SUIT: I'm going to go with my gut here and go with A.

SAGAL: Well, your gut would be appropriate, I guess, in this case. You're choosing Faith's story of "Garbage In, Garbage Out." Well, we actually spoke to one of the authors of the real cookbook.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMANDA HASSNER: It is a cookbook of human food that is inspired by the elevated experience that your cat has when she eats Fancy Feast.

SAGAL: That was Amanda Hassner, who is the in-house chef for Purina. By the way, Purina has chefs. I'm sorry. As you have now figured out, it was Josh who was telling the truth. You were fooled by Faith - not the first, and not the last.

SALIE: (Laughter) Thank you, Michael. You are my Florida man. Thank you.

SUIT: You're welcome.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, and stay safe out there.

SUIT: Yeah, I will. Thanks. Good bye.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FANCY")

REBA MCENTIRE: (Singing) Here's your one chance, Fancy. Don't let me down. Here's your one chance, Fancy. Don't let me down. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.