Learn which crazy culinary creations were Adam Richman's favorites on Fandemonium and for what he is a super fan.
Richman visited Memphis, Tennessee for the World Barbecue Cooking Championships and actually uncovered a couple great barbecue tricks from the competitors. "I spoke to members of the team that actually had the winning ribs a few years ago," explains Richman. "They actually steamed the ribs with apple and pineapple juice, and threw whole onions and bulbs of garlic into the smoker and burned them right along with the wood. [These are] two great but simple tricks."
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The Danish National Barbecue Team prepared an usual dish that even shocked Richman. The team "turn[ed] out restaurant-quality dishes using only grills and smokers," he explains. "They even found a way to do smoked cream cheese, [which] they actually served inside a terra-cotta pot with crumbled, toasted bread as dirt and vegetables so it looked like a potted plant."
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The most unusual food food Richman encountered on Fandemonium was "easily moose nose," he says. "I don't want to malign it because I know it's a delicacy in some cultures, but it's not what I would call 'tasty' or 'delicious' or 'something I would ever eat again.'"
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Still, the most shocking thing Richman found on the road wasn't in the form of food. "I think for me, the most surprising aspect of fan culture that I discovered was that regardless of what these people were fans of, regardless of what part of the country they hailed from, or what they did for a job, they never thought twice about spending unbelievable amounts of money and time to create the ultimate celebration," he explains. "People start planning for next year's event the minute this year's ends."
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Food and drink are intrinsically tied in with big events and parties. "When people celebrate, they eat, drink and rejoice," says Richman. "Plus, the social environments that these events create, outside of the event itself, tend to be much more 'kick up your heels and get a little bit crazy,' [and] with good drinks often comes good food."
There is also a component of pride when it comes to these events that makes them so food-centric. "Since most of these events also have a significant amount of regional pride attached to them, whatever the most iconic dishes for that region are will be served in great abundance."
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Richman has different criteria with which he judges the craziest fans he met during filming. "Honestly, I saw passion everywhere," he admits. "In terms of people just raging and seeing just how far they can push themselves, that would have to be either the Kentucky Derby festivities that lead up to the Derby itself or the infield at Daytona."
On the other hand, "in terms of sheer imagination, I would have to say the fans of the Renaissance Festival. In terms of sheer financial expenditure, I would probably be torn between the motorcycle enthusiasts at Laconia bike week and some of the more elaborate campers at Indianapolis or Daytona. In terms of carrying on tradition, the Milwaukee Brewers' fans (bearing in mind their franchise only dates back to 1970) are impassioned keepers of Brewers history and folklore."
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Richman met so many fans during his new show, but what is he a super fan of?
"I'm a pretty big New York Yankees fan," he notes. "Recently, while in Boston, I walked around in my Yankees cap asking people if they liked my hat. Crazy, yes and probably more than a little stupid."
Adam Richman has always been curious. He has long pondered food stories and histories, from why marinara is named for fishermen, even though there is no fish in it, to why "chicken mull" is only made within a 20 mile radius of a town in North Carolina.
He recalls, "I once saw a culinary anthropologist on a program on public television. As someone who has a background in political science, history and sociology, I loved the idea that food could be much more than nourishment or sustenance. It could be part of the story of a people or a subset within them. A dish, a crop, a particular type of fowl, fish or livestock could be [not just] something that we consume, but rather part of the double helix that makes up the DNA and cultural DNA of a people."
With this in mind, Richman writes about these food histories in his book, America the Edible and now takes on a new genre of food stories in his new show, Fandemonium. On Fandemonium, the culinary culture of fans differ around the country from event to event. Richman tells the food stories of some of America's biggest super fans and explores the lengths to which the fans go to celebrate at their event of choice.
Check out the slideshow above to learn about the crazy culinary creations Richman encountered on the show.