Writer: Bill Golliher
Pencils: Bill Golliher
Inking: Rudy Lapick
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Mindy Eisman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom Special, No. 4
Cover Date: 1996
Length: 18 pages (including 10 pages of reprints)
*Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the PEP Digital #45: The Best of Cheryl Blossom e-book, since this is one of the few issues of any Cheryl Blossom series for which there’s no digital edition. The credits come from Grand Comics Database. The digital edition has the credits: Golliher/Goldberg/Lapick/Yoshida/Grossman, seemingly combining the credits of the new story and the 1980s reprint (the latter of which GCDb doesn’t have credits for) but leaving out Eisman. I don’t know how the credits appear in the physical printed story.
Cheryl walks into Pop’s. She has an upside-down “u” nose in this story instead of her usual triangle nose. Anyway, Archie and Betty are happy to see Cheryl, but Veronica isn’t. Cheryl greets her “little townie friends” and asks what they’re talking about. Ronnie explains Pop is sponsoring a recipe contest to put a new item on his menu. Betty adds they’re entering. Archie, smug asshole that he is, says he’s going to be a judge, like that makes him some hot shit. Cheryl sees Jughead making something behind the counter and asks if he’s entering the contest, adding he knows his food.
Jughead says he can’t be a judge, because he plans to win. He then promptly fucks up whatever he was cooking, causing an explosion, startling Cheryl. Cheryl then plans to win the contest herself. Ronnie and Betty are amused. Betty gets in a dig at Cheryl’s supposed lack of cooking skills. Cheryl claims to know “the best recipe in the world”, angering Ronnie. Cheryl then lightly flirts with Archie, angering Betty. Cheryl leaves to cook. Betty gets in another dig before Cheryl’s out the door.
At home, Jason is shocked to hear what Cheryl did. We learn she didn’t learn to boil water until she was fifteen. Cheryl needs Jason’s help, but Jason doesn’t know anything about cooking. Cheryl wants Jason’s help with “this computer thingy”. Um, I seriously doubt, in 1996, Cheryl wouldn’t have already taken computer classes at school. Hell, by that point, I’d already taken two years of Computer Programming, and I’d learned how to get on the Internet. Granted, these were Macs, and they sucked ass (“There is not enough memory to open the hard drive.”), but the classes were being taught. Anyway, Cheryl is smart enough to want to search for the tastiest recipe on the Internet. She also wants to get one “from the most remote corner of the world”, which seems highly unnecessary, but whatever. After some discussion of who Cheryl’s up against, Cheryl brings up an incident from the past.
The next 10 pages are a reprint of the 1980s story, “The Great All-American Pembrooke-Riverdale Food-Eating Contest!“, presented as a flashback from Cheryl’s perspective. I assume Jane filled her in on some of the stuff at some point.
Cheryl tells Jason to tell “the head butler” to hire a few extra chefs to try out the new recipes, since she isn’t going to prepare them herself.
The chefs prepare various dishes, which Cheryl and Jason taste. Cheryl mentions one more recipe that she wanted, but “he” doesn’t give it out. Jason asks about it.
According to Cheryl’s research, the tastiest dish in the world is yak stew made by a Tibetan monk, but he isn’t online and hasn’t shared his recipe with anyone. Jason is disgusted. Clifford overhears and regales Cheryl with his tale of trekking through Tibet and stopping at a monk’s house for a meal, which turned out to be the best thing that he ever tasted, but he refused to give Clifford the recipe. Cheryl decides to fly to Tibet to convince the monk.
In Tibet, Cheryl’s guide leads her to the monk’s house, which can only be described as a TARDIS outhouse. Cheryl knocks. The monk answers. Cheryl asks for the recipe. The monk lets her in but doesn’t reply. Her guide explains the monk has taken a vow of silence for the last twenty years. Cheryl is incredulous, not imagining going twenty minutes without talking; she started when she was a year old and hasn’t stopped since.
As the hours pass, Cheryl talks the monk’s ears off about shit (as he prays to maintain control). He finally has enough of her yapping and screams out in frustration – in English. Well, isn’t that convenient?
He gives her a cup of stew to go and shoves her out the door. Cheryl wants the recipe, but her guide advises her to not push it, lest the monk break his non-violence vow. Cheryl waves goodbye to the monk, who’s still pissed.
On the plane, Cheryl decides she’ll get one of her dad’s scientists to analyze the contents of the cup, and “the secret yak stew recipe will be [hers]!”
The day before the contest, Cheryl’s in the kitchen with a chef. She has all of the ingredients that she needs: carrots, herbs, sprouts, and one medium-sized yak (which the chef holds still with one hand while clutching an axe with the other hand). The yak seems nervous as it chews on greenery.
On the big day, at Pop’s (by the way, Archie and Moose are two of the judges), Pop announces the clear winner: Cheryl’s yak stew. Betty is surprised (even though the dishes should have already been announced by this point) and asks Cheryl about it. Pop shakes Cheryl’s hand and congratulates her, but he doesn’t know where he’ll get the yak to put this on the menu. Then why’d you even accept her entry, asshole?! Cheryl tells him that she substituted with hamburger, because she “couldn’t whack the yak”. Rather than be relieved on multiple fronts, Pop is aghast. Ronnie tells Cheryl that substituting is against the rules, pointing out the fine print. Cheryl had no idea. Pop says the new winner is Jughead Jones’ Chili Surprise. Jughead rubs salt in Cheryl’s wounds by declaring it’s “real chili”. Cheryl complains to Jason about the townies beating her on a technical error. Jughead gets in front of a microphone and gives his acceptance speech. Jason makes a stupid pun. Cheryl threatens physical violence if Jason doesn’t shut the fuck up. Jason tells his sister to look on the bright side: she got a new pet out of the deal.
Outside Pop’s, where Cheryl had tied the yak to the fire hydrant (um, I guess she brought him along to use for a potential photo op), the yak has yanked the fire hydrant out of the sidewalk (causing water to gush everywhere) and gone across the street to munch bush.
This story was pretty funny, but Cheryl losing was bullshit. No substitutions on a recipe of their own choosing? What in the actual fuck? Also, does the winner of the contest actually get anything?
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