"Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale." —Elsa Schiaparelli
"Upscale people are fixated with food simply because they are now able to eat so much of it without getting fat, and the reason they don't get fat is that they maintain a profligate level of calorie expenditure. The very same people whose evenings begin with melted goats cheese… get up at dawn to run, break for a mid-morning aerobics class, and watch the evening news while racing on a stationary bicycle." —Barbara Ehrenreich
Food Network, Cooking Channel, and The Chew are staples on my apartment's television set, which is usually on all the time, day or night. (It may be background noise while life goes on around us.)
The shows that I enjoy are The Chew, Chopped, Iron Chef America, Hell's Kitchen, Rachel Ray (when she doesn't talk so much about makeovers and women's fashions), MasterChef, and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Since I like these shows, friends have come to label me a “foodie." I still have debates with family and friends over why this or that chef should get chopped before Ted Allen lifts the lid from this plate and sees which one is leaving.
Note: I like to cook. When I get into a kitchen, I feel like an artist with a blank canvas. Meats and spices are my brushes and paints. I love to eat and am always looking for a new way to cook something differently. (You also should know I hate to clean up the dishes, pans, and pots after I am done cooking.)
However, have you ever noticed that most of the chefs on these cooking shows seem to make enough food to feed Pharaoh's army, not a family of four? Their pots, pans and bowls are so large. For example, Rachel Ray's cookware almost looks bottomless. It looks like you can feed the Waltons from one pot.
Also, ever notice these chefs have a million little dishes with spices and stuff while they're cooking? If we used those little dishes, we would be cleaning for hours after the meal. I remember on an episode of The Chew, Iron Chef Micheal Symon had ten dishes of stuff which he added to one recipe. I'd hate to be the people cleaning up after each episode.
And have you ever read some of these shows' recipes? They seem to take on a quality of rocket science calculations, forcing us to decipher ingredients and measurements. It looks so easy on TV when they make the dish in five minutes. Maybe that's why they send you to the show's website to read the recipe and see what you really have to do.
Nowadays, there are so many specialty and unique items—lemon curd, for example. I once watched Paula Deen make a lemon tart, and it looked so easy for once. "I could do that!" I boasted.
So I went my local Safeway and asked where I could find the special ingredient of lemon curd. Four different store personnel showed me four different places in the store, and three of them were wrong. I don't blame Safeway staff; all of their suggestions made sense. But if three of their people can't find it, why do we think anyone else can? Plus, I saw the lemon curd on TV for about five to ten seconds. How heck was I supposed to know what section it was in!
The fourth person, a wise veteran who seemed as if she had worked in that store forever, said in her lovely southern accent, “Oh, you watched Paula Deen's show on Food Network didn't you?" I sheepishly nodded. “I saw that recipe too.” She smiled and pointed me to the highest shelf of the jelly and jam aisle, where I found a small mason-like jar with the words in script "Lemon Curd." I reached, and the small jar fell into my hand. From the layer of dust on top, it must have been there forever, hidden from view.
Ever notice the grocery stores do not give their customers grabbers to get items that are so high on their shelves? They also do not have foot stools or mini-ladders so a person can reach something on the top shelf. Now, I stand five feet ten inches, so my arm reach is pretty good. Usually if I stretch, I can get an item on the top shelf. I truly pity a man or woman five feet or under who cannot reach the heights that some of these items are placed.
I went home with my lemon curd in tow. I decoded the recipe from the Food Network website directions. I made this Paula Deen lemon tart—and my mouth puckered! It was the sourest thing I ever had in my life! The hard fact that I realized is that no one gave you an idea what to do if the tart was sour.
I think I will just watch Food Network from now on and not try to make what I see on TV. I will leave that to the television chefs.