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I WANNA BE A CHEF
16 December 2015
Like many people I know, I watch far too much Food Network. I remember when the Food Network was full of the likes of Emeril Lagasse and Julia Child and high fallutin' chefs who made gorgeous food that took hours to fix and pages of instructions. There's just something about cooking shows. I've been watching them for most of my adult life. I enjoy them as much as I enjoy doctor shows.
Joyce Chen was one of the many who preceded The Food Network and was lots of fun to watch, but my word you couldn't make any of her recipes. What she did to a duck for Peking Duck shouldn't happen to...well...a duck. Chinese cooking became more accessible when Martin Yan (from whom I took two courses) came along and made Chinese cooking fun.
Now cooking shows are big business. They have figured out that the audience is drawn to personalities who make food that any reasonably competent home cook can make. Heck, there is even a show for people who can't boil water (Worst Cooks in America). Anthony Bourdain may think this is the death of good cooking (he once called Paula Deen the most dangerous woman in America), but there are an awful lot of us out there watching the parade of cooks making foods that we decide is easy enough for us to try.
There are cooks I relate to, cooks I could never relate to, and cooks I aspire to be. I could never be Giada de Laurentis. For one thing she's Hollywood royalty, with Grandaddy Dino a famous director and all. She's also impossibly thin in spite of all that pasta. And the toothy grin...well, it's just too much.
The food is always impeccably prepared and looks good, but Italian is not my favorite food, so I'm rarely tempted to try anything.
Ina Garden (The Barefoot Contessa--she had me at "barefoot") is more my speed. Zaftig and soft spoken, but an impressive chef. Bourdain feels she's the only real chef left on the Food Network.
I like her food too, though I haven't tried much of it myself. Anybody who knows how to work with filo dough is ok in my book.
There are a lot of other chefs I enjoy for one reason or another. Aarti Sequeira is very cute and I enjoy her--and rooted for her when she was a contestant on "The Next Food Network Star"
I haven't tried any of her food because she mostly cooks Indian and while I love Indian food, a lot of the ingredients she uses are things that I don't have in my kitchen so if something strikes my fancy, it requires a special trip to the store
There's Trisha Yearwood, when she's not on the road singing, and Demaris Phillips, another contestant I was happy to see win but whose down home southern drawl and militant perkiness drives me nuts sometimes (I'm too old to relate to the excitement of a young new bride). There's Nancy Whats-her-name another zaftig grandmother whose really down home cooking looks tasty and I've tried some of her stuff.
But in my heart of hearts, I want to be...
Here is a woman who has parlayed a simple blog into a TV career...and now she has her own set of cookware on sale at Walmart and I see she has started doing commercials and has published at least two books. I read her blog for years before she was given a 3-show trial on Food Network, which is now in it's ?3rd? year. She wrote about wonderful recipes that she used her photography skills to document in incredible detail so you couldn't make a mistake following her instructions. She lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her cowboy husband, four children (whom she home schools), and 2 basset hounds.
Who wouldn't like to live somewhere with a big house and a separate house just for cooking? Who wouldn't like to have the right bowl in the right color for every recipe you make (yeah, Martha Stewart does too, but she's obnoxious about it). Who wouldn't love to have a pantry the size of a walk-in closet filled with every ingredient you could ever need for anything you might ever want to cook. Who wouldn't like to go to the store and have enough money to load up on three different carts of food (and not even need to buy beef because you can go out to the front yard and cut it off the hoof, so to speak!)
This is a woman I would like to shadow for a week to find out how she does it and how many unseen hands help her that we can't see on camera. How does she do so many TV programs and home school her kids and deliver goodies to everyone in town and remodel an old office building at the same time and still look good on camera.
I ran across a discussion group one day of women who detest this woman for being too perfect. Amazing the terrible things they said about her, but anybody who isn't afraid to be a little messy and make mistakes--and admit them--is OK on my book.
So Rea Drummond is my idol. When I grow up, I'd like
to be just like her (especially with her money)
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