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.


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.


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.

corn in kitchen

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.”

Categories: #Food, #Recipes, Humor

Tags: , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I also share one of your obsessions, NCIS, though I’m not as much of an aficionado as you . I still like the original the best and still enjoy watching the characters interact and solve crimes. My husband dropped the original and now watches LA more regularly. I like LA too but I can’t stand New Orleans. I feel the writing and acting are way too cheesy and predictable and the characters are merely knockoffs of the originals.


    • We’re still stuck on Gibbs, though New Orleans is pretty good. We aren’t terribly fond of LA because it’s really just a cop show and not at all like the original, but in the end, we watch a LOT of cop shows and in a pinch, anything will do 🙂

      You’re a great cook. I hope you know I know.


  2. The thing that bothers me is how some of those master chiefs shout at their underlings. How can anyone produce a meal under the threat of terror?


    • I don’t work well under pressure but some people do. I think those are the people you want working in your professional kitchen so the theory may be to make the training as stressful as possible to weed out the weaker souls. You know the phrase “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great piece, Ellin. We all have our “addictions”. As you know, I’m drawn to old movies, westerns and baseball. Your “guilty pleasure” actually is very constructive in reality. Your meals, always innovative and delicious, are evidence that your “obsession” (?) really is a wondrous thing.


  4. I’m with you. Another addict though I’m definitely no masterchef myself.


  5. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.


  6. Another addict here. Family TV time is often spent watching Chopped or Iron Chef. Fave show to watch while running on the treadmill? Diners, Drive-in, and Dives. Go figure.

    Your reasoning behind the obsession makes total sense to me.


    • Food network is my treadmill network of choice too! I think it’s just easy to watch and not too mentally taxing. Why exercise your brain and your body at the same time?
      I also love watching food competitions with friends and family. Maybe that’s because they are generally friendly and civilized, not cutthroat like other reality competitions and shows. They fall into the category of “entertainment”, not “drama”.

      Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: