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.
I actually found this in the couch a couple days ago.
Call me Food Network. Let’s talk.
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