I’ve been stuck in the house most of the Winter and, like many, I’ve turned more and more often to a guilty pleasure. You know the one I mean. They call it Food Porn. Cooking Shows. They come with impossible standards, only attainable by professionals with lighting teams, makeup artists, and an army to do the prep work and washing up afterwards. I know it’s bad for me. I’m ashamed to admit but I tune in and lustfully admire the creative recipes, the beautifully-prepared ingredients, and the final artistically-crafted presentations.
One of my favorites is still the old Japanese version of Iron Chef. I pretend I’m competing against Iron Chef Morimoto. “Let’s see what she can do with a handful of old tater tots, a dozen eggs, and half bag of frozen corn! Can she make a meal for 4? How will she handle the pressure of this challenge? Let’s not forget the time limit.” Oh, yes. Good times. Good times, indeed. Lately, I’ve been watching the British Baking Show, something called Cupcake Wars, and the Gordon Ramsay show where he screams at restaurant people until they cry or yell back at him.
But, I think I should stop; I’ve begun comparing myself to them and consistently coming up severely short. My meals have no subtly, no starters, and the kitchen ambiance is thrift store meets laundry room chic. There are few matching plates and hardly any matching silverware. The maitre de is cranky and stressed; the chef is hormonal. No stars in my establishment. Plus, there’s not enough room for the studio audience, announcers, or film crew.
Then, I pour a glass of wine, laugh at myself and think, “I’d like to see these guys stock their pantry on my budget, come home from teaching every day, and put a meal on the table every night. Sure they have training and charisma, a script and editors. But, I have….what do I have? I have a handful of tater tots, half a bag of frozen corn, and a dozen eggs. I also have a half bottle of red wine.”
So, now we have a lovely meal of a potato/corn frittata served adjacent to the dishwasher and overlooking the laundry baskets. Our side dishes include toast and sliced apples. Chairman Takeshi Kaga and Gordon Ramsey would not approve, I’m sure. But, they are not invited.