I love watching cooking shows. I don’t know why. I’m not a foodie. I’d rather spend $50 on eight shirts from Target than mushrooms. I don’t really cook. I make like three meals from a cookbook I found in my mom’s pantry that has the word “Easy” in the title (classy). I don’t particularly like being reminded that there’s tasty awesome food out there that I could be eating right now and I’m not for whatever reason…it doesn’t make sense.
But I will watch cooking shows for hours on end. I think it’s because my dad watched them when I was little and (much like the smell of bourbon) it reminds me of my childhood.
Oh God. I just read that sentence and it makes my father seem like a deadbeat dad who drank and watched TV all the time while toddler me sat in a pile of dirty clothes on the floor playing with a paper towel roll while Bobby Flay blared in the background. And that’s SO NOT how it happened. I just mean my dad likes cooking shows and we went to a lot of distilleries when I was little. Totally normal. Right?
Anyway. My current favorite is America’s Test Kitchen. Mostly because it lacks any and all of what made the Food Network so popular- interesting sets, interesting people, interesting food. None of that. Just boring old skinny guys and cooks who look like they’re genuinely unhappy to be there most of the time.
“Yes, Chris. We’re adding simple syrup to the egg whites. This cooks them and makes them rise. I’m pretty sure my husband is cheating on me and I woke up in the walk-in pantry over there covered in chocolate chip cookie crumbs this morning. I want to die a little bit.”
And at first I loved that they were doing actual meals that people in the United States eat. I don’t care how many times the Neelys show me how to throw a Hawaiian-themed barbecue party, I am much more interested in chocolate layer cake.
They also use real ingredients, which I’m a huge fan of. I’m a big supporter of real food- I think most of the problem is that people don’t realize that all calories are not equal. And while calorie-counting is obviously important, especially if you need to lose weight, the vast majority of people would be far better off if they just ate real food. Now I get that I’m lucky in that I’m young and healthy and am not trying to lose weight, but it’s easier for me because I have to think less about it. And I’m all about the thinking less.
(I probably should have thought about that half a cake thing yesterday. But…it was tasty.)
But then I realized that while they were using actual foodstuffs as ingredients, they were using unbelievable amounts of them and then saying ridiculous things like, “We’re using twelve egg yolks because we wanted this shortbread to have a lot of richness.”
Uh. Yeah. Of course it’s the best recipe ever. That’s what happens when you use A DOZEN EGGS.
Seriously, their recipes are ridiculous. A full 16 oz loaf of bread for an 8×8 bread pudding. Gallon of heavy cream- we want this to be really creamy! A dozen egg yolks- just the yolks! We wouldn’t want it to actually taste like egg!
In fact, you know what? Just gnaw on this stick of butter. Just like Grandma used to make.