Judge John Hodgman Episode 105: To the Victor Goes the Spoiled

Alton Brown

It's the final week of MaxFunDrive! Help support your favorite MaximumFun shows by becoming a monthly donor. Visit MaximumFun.org/donate. We're getting close to our goal of a thousand new donors – help push us over the edge!

Natalie brings the case against her husband Hugo. She wants to throw food away when she decides it's spoiled or too old. Hugo hates waste, and is aghast that Natalie throws away moldy but "perfectly usable" items. Who is right? Who is wrong? Only one man can decide.

This week, the Judge is joined by television host, chef, and expert witness Alton Brown. Alton continues to host a number of shows for the Food Network, including Good Eats and Next Iron Chef. He's currently working on a podcast of his own, called The Browncast.


Special thanks to listener Miles Taber for suggesting this episode's title!


Submitted by Natalie:

"Attached is some recent evidence of a photo of before and after of an item that my husband deemed OK to eat. The dessert was left in his car by accident for a week so instead of letting me throw it away, he just "cleaned it up" by removing the small moldy parts so its good as new and then ate it. He also argues that cheese is a mold and we eat that all the time."

The dessert before Hugo's cleaning.

The dessert after Hugo's "preparation".


Disturbing precedent

Let me get this straight: did the honorable judge overturn his previous precedent of not eating food out of the garbage, e.g. The Pizza Pauper? As I recall this was more an issue of personal dignity and not appearing to be an animal-like sub-human to others rather then an issue of hygiene.

The LOLs flow.

I LOLed many times during this podcast, during a week that many of us needed a good laugh. Thanks, guys.

Waste Not, Won Ton

I am in Hugo's corner. Wasting food is an economic and moral failure. However, one thing you don't want to mess with is vintage seafood. And licking your plate in a restaurant is bad, but so is obsessively scraping your plate with the silverware. Don't be that guy. Use a bread roll.

Improvement on throwing out food: feed the worms

I sympathize with Hugo hating to see food go to waste. But moldy food can feed worms and be turned into fertilizer for the garden. They also eat any peels and trimmings from vegetable prep.

Do a web search for vermiculture or vermicompost, but here are some to start with




Walking to the movies

To add info to an afterhours case, the movie theater I was walking to was The Grove. I live over by La Cienaga. Safer than Koreatown, and yet I feel sufficiently shamed not to do it.



I had to repeat this part a few times to catch all the lyrics:

Floridian House of Food That is Garbage
A place of bad smells and dispute over food
Maison Floridienne de la Nourriture Avarié
Natalie et Hugo sont e-poste combattants
Et la difference entre un collectionneur et un hoarder
Une refrigerateur ou une poubelle?
Une poubelle?

Not only, but also...

I noted that it was sung to the tune of "I bet you they won't play this song on the radio" by Monty Python

Henrik Hansen
Battersea, UK