Over the years, I've learned great tips from cooking shows, from smashing garlic to saving some cooking water from the pasta. I've summoned courage to try out things which failed before, like Christmas Stollen. This year mine was kick-ass. I've become acquainted with new ingredients, techniques and products. Hello, immersion blender!
What I haven't done is to hang up my apron for good. Surely you've noticed that no one on a cooking show wears an apron. If I forget, whatever I'm wearing goes into the laundry after the meal. The other thing is, why aren't the counters and the stove a mess during the show? I imagine an army of wipers and polishers between each "take," cleaning everything including the pots and pans which go into the sink and then miraculously disappear. Would that it happened in our kitchen.
Have you observed that some of these cooks are wasteful? Scallions get half the white part chopped off with the roots. The mixing bowls are never really scraped to get out what remains. No one ever stops to wipe a counter or run the garbage disposal. The ingredients disappear between takes, too. The grunge work is taken care of off-screen. Would that this happened in our kitchen.
Nothing spatters! These chefs deep fry and the kitchen stays neat. No one ever turns on the fan to get rid of smoke or cooking odors. Saute as they might, nothing ever sets off the smoke alarm, a regular occurrence at our house. The oven always sparkles--no burned bits on the bottom and there is always an empty shelf in the fridge for that big bowl that needs to chill. Would that it happened it our kitchen.
I propose a REAL cooking show with a real kitchen and a cook who isn't perfect, one that the ordinary kitchen doofus can relate to. Maybe I will even volunteer with my mismatched potholders and my weird collection of skillets and pots. I DO have a wonderful Le Cruset Dutch oven, but it's no longer pristine like the ones on the food network. They must use a new one on every show.
On a REAL cooking show, I would grate my knuckle like yesterday when the lemon was really dry and the rind hard to grate. The viewer would see me grope through the spices for the vintage Band Aid box, an old-timey metal one that I resupply with bandages. She would also see the damn bandage fall off the instant my finger got wet. Oh well, it had stopped bleeding anyhow.
And no one ever drops or spills stuff on the kitchen floor. Nor do they swear. Sometimes our kitchen turns blue because the cook just gets SO frustrated when someone drank the last of the buttermilk that is required for the recipe, or the garlic has sprouted, and the onion is soft and squishy or the whole wheat flour is still in the basement fridge or the cat jumps on the counter to explore what might be interesting to sniff. She never tastes anything. Well, except shrimp and we have a pact that I chop up a couple for her while I'm removing shells and deveining.
On a cooking show the telemarketer never calls when the cooks hands are dripping with dough or salad dressing or she is dicing very hot peppers. Nor does the UPS man come to the door at an inopportune time. Sometimes, even when you like to cook, getting a meal on the table is a horror show. On television, no family member ever decides to make a snack in the middle of dinner preparations. A cooking show is not a reality show.
Mine would be, and it would console everyday cooks with the minor disasters which plague many meals and a cook who swears and grates knuckles and chops off the end of her thumb (frequently, but it always grows back) and can't find the curry powder. Is that you? It is definitely me, and my kitchen is, alas, not like the Food Network. Too bad the title Kitchen Confidential is already taken. Can you think of another one? Maybe Dirty Dishes and Smoke Alarm Disasters or The Grated Knuckle. Let me know if you think of a good title for our show.
|In my sister-in-laws kitchen in the days of yore.|