FOOD NETWORK ADDICTION – ELLIN CURLEY

I love Food Network. Not the informative, “how to” shows. I only watch cooking competitions, like Masterchef, Top Chef, Food Network Star, The Taste, Food Truck Race, Chopped, Worst Cook in America, Cupcake Wars, Cake Wars, etc. I think my obsession with cooking competitions comes from my basic approach to cooking.

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Most meals for me are along the lines of Chopped. Here’s what I have in my kitchen. What can I make in under an hour that my family will eat and maybe even like? It’s all about improvising on the fly. Inventing things, putting things together that don’t normally go and making it work.

For me, every night has the intellectual and technical challenges of a cooking competition. I’m always racing the clock with limited ingredients trying to please the tough and brutally honest critics and judges I call my family. I think that’s why I really get off watching other people, usually more knowledgeable and skilled than I am, doing the same thing.

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One of my favorite shows is Masterchef Jr. and I even got my husband hooked on this one. Here 8-14 year olds do everything the adults do but with better attitudes and sportsmanship, less arrogance and a cuteness quotient that is off the charts.

What I can’t wrap my head around is how a child that young has had enough hours in their short lives to learn how to make souffle, macaroons, beef Wellington and fancy fresh pasta dishes in one hour and without a recipe. Granted a kid’s brain is not clogged with all the esoteric information, to do lists, worries and song lyrics that fill adult brains. It means that the complex recipes don’t have to fight through a hoarder’s nightmare of irrelevant data to come to the surface.

Other than an hour or two of homework only part of the year, nothing is stopping these kids from spending 11 hours a day reading cookbooks, working in the kitchen and watching Food Network. To be fair to myself, this is not an option for me.

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When I watch these kids, I feel inadequate and embarrassed for me and my kids, who had no such superpowers when they were that age. But I also feel pride and hope. It’s wonderful to know that some kids today have discipline, drive and passion and can become experts in any field that interests them. That gives me hope for humanity’s future.

As for my cooking competition addiction; that serves no higher purpose than to give me something with some redeeming value to watch while my husband plays video games. I may get a few ideas for recipes or learn a new technique here and there. But basically I’m okay with just calling this “my guilty pleasure.”

THE WGAS CHALLENGE SPONSORED BY EVIL SQUIRREL’S NEST

My good buddy, Evil Squirrel of Evil Squirrel’s Nest fame (his name is not really “Evil”) has decided to take the plunge into sponsoring the WGAS Challenge. Been there, done that, but hey, if he wants to give it a go, sign me up.

So, in his own words: “To receive the WGAS Award, all one has to do is link back to my blog (Please make sure to spell it correctly!) and then list 13 tidbits about their life that nobody could really care less about. Did you once get a letter from Ed McMahon saying you might already be a winner? Tell the world! Does your cat-like to hump your bowling ball? Everyone’s just dying to know! Did your significant other just come home with another STD? Hey, three down, 10 more stupid facts to go! Don’t forget to pass it along to all your favorite bloggers you want to get revenge on! This award is gonna be YUGE!”

He even has (gasp!) a logo! I love the logo so much, I cannot help but participate.

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Thirteen tidbits. Okay.

  1. I can’t roller skate. Not at all. I fall right over.
  2. I hate olives.
  3. I loathe anchovies.
  4. I also hate the taste of milk, unless heavily laced with chocolate.
  5. I took ice-skating lessons. My mother made me do it. I couldn’t figure out how to skate backwards. Thus ended my promising career as a figure skater.
  6. I tried ballet classes, but I was tossed out at the advanced age of seven for being hopelessly uncoördinated.
  7. I have a great sense of rhythm, just not on my feet.
  8. My hair turned gray before I was thirty. I finally gave up dying it when it went fully white in 2007.
  9. I have been very fat. I have been unhealthily thin. Now, I’m in the middle. The people who are my friends have been with me through thick and thin. In the end, it’s not about your body shape.
  10. I’ve known my husband for 57 years, which is longer than anyone who isn’t actually related to me … and there aren’t many of them left walking this earth.
  11. My first dog was an Afghan Hound. I thought he was really a person in a dog suit.
  12. I first married at 18. I have always been married or about to be married.
  13. I’m really running out of tidbits. That’s the big problem with blogging. Anything I can think to tell anyone, I’ve probably put in a post. I’ve got more than 4,000 posts and I have no idea what most of them were about. Really. I don’t remember what I said. More important, I have no idea why I said whatever it was. No jury would convict me. Now I call that a tidbit!

NO!

Actually, there are a lot of possible challenges including at least one which requires you not do anything, especially blog. I will do my best to jump on this bandwagon. Really. Honest, I will. In fact, this is my first contribution to the Nero My Hero! challenge. I’m going to promise to participate in all of these challenges, but I already know it ain’t gonna happen. So. There ya go!