Friday, December 24, 2004

The Surly Chef

I learned from my parents, devotees of the Food Channel, that there has been some kind of contest on there where you submit a video so you can get your very own cooking show.

Mine would be The Surly Chef.

The Surly Chef has big plans. She likes to cook for friends and make elegant weeknight meals. She loves her kitchen and cooking makes her feel like a contributor.

Alas, the Surly Chef's kitchen is not like those you see on the Food Channel. It sports a normal-size refrigerator, and removing ingredients from it requires squatting down and digging through the things at the front. Also, opening the freezer usually means that the ice cream falls out before she can get the ziploc baggie of pecans that she has stashed there for future use. When she is looking for a pan in the cupboard, a chunk of monologue is lost beneath the clatter from the tower of collapsing pans. Then occasionally she has to scrape off the little crusted bits of food that escaped the dishwasher's eye. The Surly Chef must sometimes explain that the burning smell comes not from the baking food but from the crap on the bottom of the oven, from last week's show. And frequently she will find that she lacks the appropriate piece of kitchen equipment, so she and her fearless assistant must construct a substitute for, say, a roasting rack using a large baking pan and an inverted muffin tin.

The Surly Chef would drop things and occasionally, or while delivering a wise and insightful explanation of some cooking method or another, chop off a tiny bit of a finger. Profanity ensues.

The Surly Chef cannot get specialty ingredients, so she offers tips for making do with the grocery store you have. The problem is that she usually forgets something, so every two-three shows, her fearless assistant must make an emergency run for sour cream or more dill seed. Sometimes she will find that despite her best intentions, her green onions or arugula has wilted, her cheese gone moldy.

Plus while the Surly Chef is demonstrating a very complicated stage of a cooking process, someone wanders in to get a fresh cup of coffee or make a sandwich.

And when the Surly Chef tries to present a 30-minute meals episode, she doesn't quite make it in time, with the result that at the show's end, the squash is still too solid on the inside and the roast is going to need a few more minutes.

And sometimes on the show, the dish just won't turn out.

But we have already started filming, and I can promise you an exciting first season. Until then, I remind you that Jarrett pointed out that vacation means never having to say "sorry for not blogging." And I wish you and yours a merry vacation of your own, wherever it takes you and whatever family melodrama ensues.

Me? I'll be at the MLA, which, I'm sad to say, is not short for Major League Archery, whose competition I would vastly prefer.

1 comment:

mtnRoughneck said...


I can relate in the kitchen- big ideas, rarely executed without some flaw.

Have fun in Philly. Perhaps you won't have to cook so much;I hear they got some kinda special sandwich there.