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Was it just us, or did everything about last night's Iron Chef America match-up scream "a lamb led to slaughter"? We were trying our hardest not to judge a book by its cover -- er, an eager challenger by her appearance -- really, we were.
But from the instant the producers threw up the hand-drawn visage of the night's competitors -- the little-girl-next-door-ish Dena Marino, wearing a dainty little bob and a downturned pout to match, versus the streamlined, intense stare of reigning Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto -- we had a bad, bad feeling.
When The Chairman announced the night's secret ingredient -- figs! -- Marino looked like a fearful little puppy who was about to get spanked with a newspaper. The contrast continued as the chefs got down to business: While Marino was gingerly slicing fig meats from their skins, Morimoto was crucifying an eel, driving a spike through its head and fastening it to the cutting board so he could better get at its flesh. Let's just say something told us this challenge wasn't going to be a fair fight.