Monday, January 4, 2010

Worst Cooks In America Makes Me Want To Be A Bad Cook!

So I'm not an Iron Chef, and I'm probably not good enough to try out for Next Food Network Star or anything, but I do alright. I have a few recipes up my sleeve people would probably pay for. :D Certainly alot of recipes that people are glad to see when I make them.

Worst Cooks In America makes me wish I sucked!

Worst Cooks In America, for those that haven't been throttled by the commercials on Food Network, is sort of like Top Chef, except the cooks suck. Yes, really. They took 12 of the worst cooks that they could find, and they bring them to "kitchen boot camp" with Chef Anne Burrell and Chef Beau MacMillan.

"Kitchen Boot Camp" appears to consist of "I'll explain the recipe, I'll write it down, and then you do it.", which is risk, especially for a guy that considers condensed tomato soup to be a fine statement of his culinary skills. Serious. Could not make that up.

So Chef Beau and Chef Anne start out with a group of 24 contestants, and the contestants have to make a meal that is a genuine statement to their culinary abilities. Which Chef Beau and Chef Anne then have to eat.

They montaged it so we didn't have to watch it all, but we saw a boiled whole chicken, chocolate pancakes that probably would have broken a window if they'd thrown them, a lady who made soup by combining lots of other cans of soup, and a guy who didn't actually cook anything because he believed that food wasn't meant to be "good", it was meant to be "functional". Ooh, and a girl that made a "three cheese maccaroni and cheese" with one of the cheeses being COTTAGE cheese. Man I wish that was a joke, and Chef Anne did too. After the girl said that cottage cheese was one of the cheeses, Chef Anne let out a dismayed "Cottage!", which was plain to anyone was her attempt at covering up what she really wanted to say, which was "Are you kidding me right now?!"

So then Chef Beau and Chef Anne had to each pick out who they believed to be the six worst cooks in the group - but the trick to that part was - the cooks they picked didn't stay with them. Chef Anne took the cooks Chef Beau picked, and the reverse.

In the end, when they've whittled it down to two, the final two must cook a meal for a panel of judges, including the notoriously hard to please Jeffery Steingarten. The judges though, are of the impression that Chef Beau and Chef Anne are the ones cooking the dinner. So it's important that they whip them into shape successfully, otherwise "their reputations are on the line". I don't know if it's THAT big of a deal, but they seem to think it's a big gig, so who knows?

I, like I said, am not a bad cook. I even fancy myself to be pretty good at it. Truthfully, Worst Cooks In America (which is getting modest reviews) makes me wish I was worst, because what I wouldn't give for a 10 day boot camp with Chef Beau and Chef Anne!

And I've already learned one valuable lesson about dealing with Chef Beau - do not unnecessarily garnish a dish. One of the guys tried that last night (he claimed to not understand that they were to copy the dish, but what did he think they were doing?!), and Chef Beau just got unnecessarily angry about it. Do not unecessarily garnish your dishes with Chef Beau!

Culinary Good Deeds

I baked like a woman possessed over Christmas break. Homemade noodles, no bake cookies, scones, chocolate chip cookies, fantasy fudge, and the list goes on. My oven shut off when I was asleep, and that was about it.

So, when Christmas ended, I found myself scared to put on pants with a real waist for fear of finding out they wouldn't fit anymore, and with a freezer full of the leftovers from all my pre-christmas baking.

I knew for sure I didn't want to eat them, and I knew for sure I didn't want to waste them, but what on earth was I going to do with them?

As odd as it sounds, I placed an ad on Craigs List. Yes, really.

I was amazed and in awe of the responses that I got. A woman that was layed off and her husband was laid off and her brother in law just moved in with them because he was diagnosed with some health problems. A retired Marine that lived alone (believe you me, I'd fill a freezer for him if he'd let me), a college girl that wanted to be a better baker but couldn't afford it, and the list went on. There was a guy that I'm not quite sure was above board, and a woman that was too busy to bake for her ladies group at church, and more.

The woman that was laid off was the first response I got, and so the goods went to her. I was so amazed by the responses, that I ended up making extra stuff for her. :) It was really kind of awesome to give them to her too - because I could tell that she was a person who really needed her day brightened up by a cookie.

I had such a great time doing it, that as soon as I replenish my supply of gladware, I intend to do it again!