According to E!Online, the internet has been inundated this week with “thousands of people around the world forming teams of 15 and performing weird, random and fun tasks in the name of breaking some Guinness World Records…and donating tens of thousands of dollars to the charity Random Acts.” You don’t have to tell me.
Emails began turning up in my inbox last Saturday with subject lines like “Food critic needed” and “Unusual request.” The messages were virtually the same: “I am participating in an International Scavenger Hunt called GISHWHES,” they began. The item required:
Prepare West Collins’ “Pasta with Jam Sauce” and have a noted food critic review it. It must be a qualified, published critic. Submit video or image. 102 points”
A quick internet search turned up the website for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen and the hilarious video of three-year-old West Collins shopping for and making “Pasta with Jam Sauce,” with his father, actor Misha Collins, doing a straight-faced, Alton-Brownish narration.
I was hooked— but not as crazy-hooked as the three Bothell scavenger hunters I met from Team Falkor (named for the luckdragon in “The NeverEnding Story”). Rachelle and Tony Adams and Sarah Bernhardt (yes, that’s her real name) are doing GISHWHES for the second year. Two of them even took a vacation week from their jobs so they could focus on the task of helping their team (11 people in this area and four in Joplin, Missouri, where they used to live) complete as many of the 185 items as possible in the one week required. “There’s little sleep, long days, lots of running around, but it’s a fun week,” says Rachelle.
They like getting out of their comfort zone and meeting people but they don’t really expect to win first prize– a trip to Croatia (one of the locations where “Game of Thrones” is filmed) with “Supernatural” star Misha Collins (are you sensing a theme here?). But they do hope to increase the quality of their entries this year. Extra points are awarded for creativity and imagination–hence the team t-shirts, monkey hats and the wig and boa they provided so they could include me in the photo above.
Okay guys, here’s your review:
Team Falkor faithfully reproduced Pasta with Jam Sauce for me to taste, right down to the gnawed-on whole apple and the popcorn garnish. The sauce was pleasingly robust, fruity but not too sweet. (Chef Boyardee take note!) The pasta had softened, perhaps a bit too much, by long simmering in the sauce. It’s many ingredients were well balanced, although I failed to detect much cheesy flavor from the Goldfish crackers. I particularly liked the chocolate and orange notes. Overall, the dish tasted much better than I expected, though my expectations were admittedly low.
Kim Remien of Team Blame Misha dropped off a sample of their version for me to critique as well. It tasted fruitier, and wasn’t as saucy, but the noodles had a nice al dente texture. Again, surprisingly edible. Way to go Chef West!
Thanks to both teams for letting me play. And good luck tracking down a bestselling author or Tony-winning actor willing to read from the California driving manual.