I love cooking shows. I mean, I love cooking, which is likely obvious. Hopefully it’s also obvious I never make any of the disgusting retro recipes I post on here. Except for Big Mac Casserole, which I make for Jay and my Dad. Apparently a lot of other people love Big Mac Casserole, too, cuz according to my blog stats, people are constantly searching for Big Mac Casserole recipes. Shudder.
Part of the fun of cooking is making food for the people you love. At least it is for me. My sisters and I started cooking when we could reach the stove. Not out of love, but because it was on the Chore List. We were actually making stuff like homemade spaghetti sauce at about age 10. I think the first meal we ever made was breakfast in bed for our parents on their wedding anniversary. What kid in the ’70s didn’t try that at least once? I’m sure everyone made the same thing … weak coffee and burnt toast – with the morning newspaper set on the tray to make it fancy.
When it comes to cooking, I have a basic rotation I’m comfortable with, featuring the usual suspects like enchiladas, stir-fries, soups, pastas and what-not. I certainly don’t attempt Beef Wellington or Lobster Thermidor like some Julia Child-wannabe; I just make what Jay and I like. But I do like to watch all the fancy cooking shows for inspiration. I’ve learned how to make a meal in under 30 minutes (thanks “Rachael”), chop onions with oven mitts on (thanks “Cutthroat Kitchen”) and create a delectable appetizer with a box of mystery ingredients featuring dandelion greens, jicama, pickled plums and Rocky Mountain oysters (thanks “Chopped”).
But for this bona fide germaphobe (that’s me), it’s difficult watching a bunch of frantic, perspiring pseudo-chefs on a competition cooking show trying to beat the clock. I mean, some of those people are seriously dripping with sweat. There’s nothing worse than watching a bead of sweat hanging off a chef’s nose when their head is positioned right over the food. I feel like Brian Doyle-Murray’s character during the end scene in “Caddyshack” … watching and waiting for the ball to drop in the hole – only that outcome was a good one.
And it’s not just the piles of bodily fluids pouring off their foreheads, it’s also the other disgusting things the chefs do. They’ll take a sip out of a bottle of some soda or wine or something, and then pour some in their dish. They’ll rub their ear and nose with their fingers and then grab a pinch of salt to add to their masterpiece. And hey, I never see them wash their hands. Well, sometimes I watch a chef who has their own cooking show dissect a chicken and then say, “Gotta wash my hands.” Then they’ll cut to a close-up of the faucet spout (Why??!! Who cares??!!) while the chef rubs their hands under the water for 1.5 seconds. Yes, that certainly killed off all the salmonella.
Anyway, some of these competition cooking shows are starting to get on my nerves. At least the judges are. Plus, the melodrama and music scores of some of the shows are also tough to watch and listen to. If they don’t lighten up a bit, I may have to stop watching cooking shows altogether. But I think the profusion of sweat may make me stop watching first. Then again, if the condescending judges are the only ones that have to eat that perspiration-drenched, contaminated food, I say, “Sweat away, Sweaty.”