Tag Archives: food network

An Application for Flavortown

Given the amount of time I spend looking at employment ads, I think I now qualify as an expert in terms of reading job descriptions. Sometimes I see one and think, “This sounds like it was written especially for me!” which I assume is what happened to the people listed below:

Job: Food Network Personality

Are you someone who could best be described as the personification of Comic Sans font in all caps lock? Do you bleach your hair on a monthly basis and like eat at dives? If so, we’re looking for YOU to host 75 percent of the shows on our network and be “the face of Food Network.”

guy

Uniform includes loud bowling shirts, massive amounts of bling and sunglasses turned backwards on your head. Must be committed to mentioning fictional Flavortown and phrases like, “Out of bounds” “Bananas!” and “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” at least six times every episode.

Candidate: Guy Fieri

Job: Fabric Softener Mascot

Fresh-smelling, forward-thinking detergent company seeking cuddly mascot to represent our brand and soften hearts as well as the laundry.

While we could go with the traditional teddy bear, we’re looking to think outside the fabric softener sheet box for a bear with small, beady eyes and a sinister grin that says, “I can make your laundry smell fresh right after I get back from my most recent mauling” or “Your pillowcase might smell nice but be sure to sleep with one eye open.”

Candidate: The Snuggle Bear

Job: Explorer

Young Latino girl needed to fill role of bilingual “explorer” willing to forego traditional education in favor of spending her days in the woods with an anthropomorphic monkey, map and talking backpack trying to solve puzzles and riddles and find objects that are right behind her.

Must be comfortable encountering thieving foxes and grumpy old trolls while maintaining a positive attitude and traveling the world without parents. Uniform includes a T-shirt that will fit over even the most oversized football-shaped head, shorts and pristine white shoes.

Candidate: Dora

Job: TV Doctor/Talk Show Host

Do you wake up every morning and look forward to asking people about their bowel movements and telling them everything everyone is doing is wrong? Do you embrace endorsing every fad diet, supplement and dubious health claim? Then we’re looking for you to host our afternoon talk show.

A science background preferred for legal reasons, but a pseudoscience background will also be considered.  Must buy into our cult, I mean culture of belief that gluten is the cause of all world problems, everything has toxins making the world obese and green tea extract and Reiki can give cats an additional nine lives.

Candidate: Dr. Oz

Job: Doll/Reluctant Role Model

Successful applicant will be tall, blonde and in shape so that a variety of wardrobe options can be fitted accordingly and appeal to millions of girls and women worldwide.

Only applicants with more than 150 careers spanning everything from registered nurse, rock star and veterinarian to aerobics instructor, pilot and police officer will be considered. Must be prepared to be held up to unrealistic standards of being a role model based solely on looks and not education or professional history. Will be working closely with a male equivalent with a mystery profession and various sports cars who never takes off his underwear.

Candidate: Barbie

Job: Journeyman/Book Character

Seeking male to fill role as traveling book icon physically capable of carrying items like a walking stick, kettle, mallet, cup, backpack, sleeping bag, binoculars, camera, snorkel, belt, bag and shovel while hiking around the world.

Must be comfortable in large crowds and around dogs. Uniform includes red and white striped shirt, blue jeans, brown boots, black-framed glasses and a red and white bobbled hat—no exceptions or deviations allowed.

Anyone with a history of paranoia need not apply.

Candidate: Waldo

I think my work here is done. 

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My Reality Bites

I was carbo-loading on the couch in preparation for a “Chopped” marathon on Food Network when I realized that as much as I love my food competition shows, they’re not exactly “reality” shows.

Considering my smoke alarm often doubles as a kitchen timer, it probably comes as no surprise that they’re the opposite of the “reality” of my kitchen:

If there are more than five steps or ingredients, I’m out.

If a recipe requires me to incorporate another recipe or let something sit for more than 30 minutes before including it, I’m out.

If it relies on me trusting my appliances, I’m out.

My non-stick pans are questionable on the understanding of their job description, and I’ve learned a watched pot never boils, but if I turn my back for .4 seconds it will spill out and onto the stove.

And my toaster?

Sometimes the handle won’t stay down, therefore negating the actual toasting it is pressed into service to do. So I stand there muttering something along the lines of, “Well, aren’t WE the defiant little bastard today” until my bread comes out unevenly browned and bitter at the forced interaction.

(I’ve tried a different approach with, “Yes, take your time. I’ll just hold the handle down while you decide what you’d like to do with this bread.” That worked a bit better, but now the crumb tray refuses to stay securely fastened to the bottom.)

Even though it rarely takes me more than 15 minutes to make a meal anyway, everything on these shows is about being timed. Can’t find a knife? Use your teeth to separate that raw chicken! There are only 10 SECONDS LEFT!!!

Whereas I make an emergency run to the store when I get down to one head of broccoli, these cooks never have the ingredients they—or any normal person rooted in reality—would normally use together.

“For the dessert round, you have to use unicorn horn, pancetta, pink currants and crème fraiche.”

Really? I couldn’t make a great dessert if I was given anything other than the recipe, the ingredients and possibly Florian Bellanger, “Cupcake Wars” judge/pastry expert who expects contestants to make 1,000 cupcakes in two hours.

And seeing the less-than-hygienic things that go on in these kitchens makes me twitchy.

No, the secret ingredient is not elephant garlic. It’s sweat. And I wonder how anyone can eat anything presented.

Then there’s the dialogue.

I might talk to myself—and occasionally the testy toaster—but the judges on these shows flap their hands around in the final seconds of a round yelling, “Just get something on the plate!” while the hosts tries to talk to contestants moving really fast in an attempt to “just get something on the plate!”

Then there’s the judging itself in which the meal made from the juice of exotic olives and chocolate from Pluto in less than 20 minutes on a grill (plot twist!) results in them being told they’re on the chopping block and not the Next Top Iron Master Chef.

All that work and pressure and they don’t even eat what they make, which might not be a bad thing if they seasoned it with perspiration and possibly snot.

At any rate, it’s a good thing I like my food simple and fresh. It leaves me more time to sit on the couch yelling at the TV in my best Gordon Ramsay accent about how NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO MAKE RISOTTO while fishing out a piece of asparagus I dropped in the cushion.

couchasparagus

I actually found this in the couch a couple days ago.

Call me Food Network. Let’s talk.

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A Day in the Life

Sometimes I envy bloggers who live super exciting lives filled with travel and social engagements that make for great stories. Then I remember that I don’t really enjoy traveling and only like being social in limited doses, so that envy gets wiped away with my Wet Jet on “Swiffer Saturday.”

excited-having-plans-break-weekend-ecards-someecards

But I thought I would humor myself and the dozens who read this with a hypothetical “day in the life” post.*

*Some of the logistics are a bit fuzzy, but that’s only because the day was so full and enriching that details fell by the wayside. Or maybe it’s because of the Vodka. Don’t judge.

5 a.m. Alarm rings for work.

5:01 a.m. Remember I’m working from home, seeing as I got that great gig writing a “Dear Abby”-type column. Throw alarm across the room.

8 a.m. Wake up again on my own.

8: 15 a.m. Remind hot hockey player boy toy to lock the door as he leaves. Thank him for his services the night before (I could never have cleaned the gutters on my roof without his help.)

8:30 a.m. Be grateful I can wake up and do exactly what I love—eat—and do just that, enjoying the first of many feedings for the day. 

8:45 a.m. Go online. Read that the Tigers have continued their 82-game winning streak and see my inbox is filled with fan mail, freelance writing opportunities that require minimal thinking/maximum pay and coupons for all my favorite products.

9 a.m. Work out. Learn that anyone—male or female—who marinates in perfume, refuses to wipe off the machine or wears shorts so short and tight they would be considered in bad taste at a gay Mardi Gras parade will be asked to leave.

gym-lotion

10 a.m. Go home to shower and snack. Delight in the fact that for once, my hair doesn’t make me look homeless.

10:30 a.m. Flip on the big screen TV. Discover reality shows involving dating and entertainment “news” are all cancelled. Forever.

11 a.m. Forget to be productive.

11:30 a.m. Jump in the car and speed out to meet Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell for lunch at a great vegan restaurant.

11:35 a.m. Celebrate the local police department honoring National “Give Only a Warning” Day and avoid a ticket.

Noon Enjoy lunch. Laugh a lot. Forget to offer to pay.

12: 30 p.m. Learn anyone who starts their tweets “That moment that…” or uses more than two hashtags per tweet has been banned from Twitter. Smile.

1 p.m. Serve as a guest judge for a veggie episode of “Chopped” where I pull my best Gordon Ramsey impression and throw things around the set.

2 p.m. Get offered a full-time position with the show.

2:30 p.m. Go on a shopping spree through Trader Joes on the Food Network tab—I had that written into my contract—and hop on a plane for Detroit.

3:30  p.m. Actually answer my phone and hear that my lawsuit against Comcast for emotional distress has been settled for millions.

4 p.m. This announcement becomes public and I learn I’ve become Queen to the millions of people who have suffered similar psychological damage via Comcast.

Request tiara.

5 p.m. Arrive in Detroit for dinner with Buster Olney and Scott VanPelt (ESPN people). Talk a lot of sports. Forget to offer to pay.

6 p.m. Agree to co-write several features with Buster for “Baseball Tonight” before taking my seat at the game.

9 p.m. Celebrate Tiger victory and head home, snacking and sipping a Vodka gimlet on the plane with Eminem while discussing how badass I look in my tiara . (Or how I went the whole day without realizing a dryer sheet was stuck in the leg of my pants. Again, the details are fuzzy.)

10:00 p.m. Arrive home, forget to floss and hit the hay. After all, tomorrow is still “Swiffer Saturday.”

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This begs the question, “If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?”

To be honest, I probably couldn’t decide and would end up staying home to eat in my dining room while watching a bird gang bang under my bird feeder, but whatever. Play along.

If You Can’t Take The Heat

Despite the fact that my cooking style is not a style at all, I love food shows like “Restaurant: Impossible,” “Unwrapped” and those that are competition-related.

I admit I enjoy seeing people running around kitchens and getting judged on things that will never happen in real life—like creating 1,000 cupcakes in two hours or seeing the Iron Chef chairman back-flip into the kitchen with a sword and orders to cook a whole meal with a walnut.

I also realize they’re bit ridiculous, so I’ve included a few things you can expect to see almost every episode from a couple of them that I watch.

hells-kitchen

When it comes to American Gordon Ramsay shows, I prefer “Kitchen Nightmares,” but the new season of “Hell’s Kitchen” just started.  The gist is 18 competitors subject themselves to verbal abuse and backstabbing manipulation in an attempt to cook their way into a head chef position at one of Ramsay’s restaurants.

With his reputation on the line, Gordon doesn’t take any of the bull crap. This produces a lot of colorful dialogue, gourmet dishes and the illusion that the cooks have learned something other than British profanity.

  • When actually asked to cook, contestants suddenly forget how to boil water and Gordon will throw things at them.
  • Someone will overcook fish and undercook rice, crimes ranking second only to “being a cow” in the world of Ramsay.
  • Gordon will yell, “Shut it down!” in the middle of the service.
  • Gordon will yell, “This is raw! You’re going to kill somebody!”
  • Gordon will yell that every service is “the worst dinner service in history!”
  • Contestants will sell out their mother in a dramatic tribal counsel-like elimination ceremony in an effort to not have their picture burned as the show fades to the closing credits.
  • When dramatically forced to give over their apron, the eliminated chef will say, “you haven’t seen the last of me.” You will have seen the last of them.

Moral of the story: It’s scripted and over the top, but until the British versions of Ramsay’s shows are available OnDemand, I take what I can get.

Also, don’t ever make a mistake or Gordon will throw it at you.

chopped

Four chefs compete before a panel of three expert judges to create a three-course meal in under 30 minutes or so with “mystery ingredients” found in a basket. Once they’re done, they present each course to the unenthused judges and one chef gets chopped. The winner gets $10,000.

  • First of all, the secret ingredient in every single dish is sweat. Although entertaining to watch, you’ll be completely grossed out and wonder how anyone can eat anything presented.
  • Whoever creates the basket is a sadistic bastard. “For the dessert round, you have to use unicorn horn, pancetta, pink currants, crème fraiche.” Really?
  • At least one contestant will bring up the fact they’re self-taught, are competing for a dying relative or that they “didn’t come here to lose.” (That’s probably a good competition strategy.)
  • One of the judges will flap their hands around in the final seconds of a round yelling, “just get something on the plate!” and then bitch about whatever ended up on the plate.
  • The host—Ted Allen—will inevitably try to talk to a contestant while they are moving really fast, get in their way and stress them out even more.
  • After forgetting to use a required ingredient or stabbing Ted when he tried to talk to them, a contestant will angrily blame the judges, the oven or the contestants for losing.
  • When interviewed, they will say, “you haven’t seen the last of me.” You will have seen the last of them.

Moral of the story: The only way I could compete on this show is if the basket ingredients were avocado, sprouted grain bread and Bobby Flay himself.

So spill it—do you watch any food shows? If not, what’s the one thing you would cook if you were put on the spot?

 

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