Raptortouille

The heat is on and it’s finally time to start cooking. Actually, as I write this, all the players are taking sexy pictures with vaseline artfully applied to the lenses, producing a season’s supply of promotional shots that will end up in the papers and websites, as well as on the new scoreboard screen; all in the attempt to get us as excited as the kind of food-porn cooked-up by Nigella or Rachel or Ingrid. But the head chefs at chez ACC have hopefully put together the right ingredients that will feed us all well beyond media day.

Going right back to when Chef Colangelo first arrived, he immediately saw the need to season up the venison that was still a little too rare in the play of Chris Bosh. A big dash of playmaking from TJ Ford really helped bring out the complexity of the main ingredient. Rasho’s starchy presence helped the Bosh beef from getting too overcooked and falling apart. And of course there was all the european herbs topping it all off a la Jamie Oliver. Luvverly-Jubberly. Or was he more cutting edge than that? An Iron Chef Morimoto? Of course his willingness to surround himself with friends and make decisions by consensus makes him resemble that french-canadian guy named Ricardo, proving a little overly satisfied with his meagre tweaking with the addition of Kapono. And picking Bargnani at number one made it seem that he was aspiring to be in Lidia’s Kitchen, or Giada’s bust-line (if only Andrea could prove to be that kind of a bust).

Whatever the case, he has chosen his ingredients fairly wisely over the years, and left the pot to be stirred by Gordon Ramsay as played by Sam Mitchell. Last season, things got a little bitter with Garbajosa feeling as though he was being burnt, and then all the salt provided by TJ just wasn’t needed in as many dashes. It got tough to keep all the ingredients in just the right balance, no matter how many f-words got tossed around. The initial introduction of TJ had enhanced Bosh’s gaminess, but also brought out the best flavors in the more standard potatoes and carrots supplied by Rasho and Humps. But eventually all the herbs and seasonings weren’t coming through enough. It was time to see how Bosh could work best as the main ingredient, with Jose adding his expensive designer salt. Was a wing the answer to make it all complete? A beautiful wing delicately protruding out from a golden side of quail? That might have been a nice side-dish. Certainly it would have improved upon the standard hot-and-cold chicken wings that were already in place. But I think our head chef did well to add the JO gravy, and settle on a stew that allows for strengths to come in every spoonful.

Where TJ was able to raise the profiles of some of the weaker elements in the mix, Jermaine O’Neal is going to help bring out more reliability in some of the other ingredients that were good on their own, but wilted like overcooked greens when stuck in the heat to long. Parker, Kapono, and Moon are all going to benefit from being smothered in O’Neal’s rich sauce (I know - the metaphor is really dying now). Even some of the new guys like Adams, Ukic and Solomon, have a good chance of finding themselves as tasty comfort food.

It all starts in making the right statement. Last season’s soup could pack a punch, but the flavor didn’t always stand up from start to finish. Too often the attempt to finish things up on one end of the court in order to enhance the taste of the offensive palette, just fell a little flat. This dish still needed more body. A frontcourt mix of Rasho, Bosh, Bargnani, and Humphries, just couldn’t hold everything together enough in the less-sweet parts of the game. They too often ended up boiling over around the opponent’s basket, batting the ball around without being able to own the required amount of space. There was too much over-stirring by everyone in the mix, just to get some control of each night’s fare. If the opposing team turned up the gas on the boards, then the Raptor cuisine would likely fall apart. Now with Jermaine taking up more space in the mix than a Rasho ever could, all the other ingredients can let their flavors leak out on offense and leave the opposing teams getting burned. Bosh will not have to work extra hard to try to facilitate the odd break by first securing the rebound, and he’ll be able to beat his own guy down the court more often, where he can then really turn it on like a Kitchen-Maid mixer. And all the meat on all our wings can just slide off the bone and compliment the whole dish rather than show up as a strong counterpart on the side.

That’s the meal I’m looking for. I think that’s the menu drawn-up by Colangelo and Mitchell. They’ve gone high-end with this stew, but not forgotten the pleasures of down-home. Unlike, last season, we shouldn’t be desperate to see the dessert table to quell our hunger. And we shouldn’t need constant servings of individual appetizers to keep us aware of the promise of what’s cooking. I look forward to just letting it all simmer, and let the masters figure out what to add to make it just so. Luvverly.

This article courtesy of •LX•.

Click here to discuss this blog post!