Monday, September 27, 2010

This last weekend I made the trip down to beautiful NashVegas, where my brother and his family live.  Ted Kluck, world-famous author/speaker/screenwriter/publishing mogul, was the featured speaker at the men's retreat hosted by my brother's church.  So off went Ted and Jeff to do Very Manly Things, leaving Catha and I to corral 6 squirrely kids.  It was a great weekend, with some great food.  Catha has perfected a recipe for this unique sourdough pizza -- it's totally amazing.  And I would share the recipe with all of you -- except that you have to start with this special sourdough starter, and you can't share that over a blog. So we'll all just have to content ourselves with the boring yeast dough pizza crust recipe in my cookbook.

Speaking of cookbooks!!!  My brainchild, my Magnum Opus, just moments ago was forwarded on to Gut
Check Press's own copy and layout editor-extraordinare: Nicole LaChance, the Intern!  What does that mean to you, you ask?  It means that soon, very soon, you will be able to get your grubby little paws on your very own copy of Saucy Broad!  Yes, the wait is almost over -- all my secret recipes will soon be yours.  Begin salivating now.

Ahem.  I got a little off topic there.  That's bound to happen, I guess.  My whole point with that long lead up was to talk about the Food Network show Chopped.  I started with all of that because we don't currently get the Food Network at our humble abode, so I only have the opportunity to watch it when I'm someplace that does (like Jeff and Catha's house.)  I have a love/hate relationship with Chopped.  It is true that almost any show on TV (sports excepted, commercials included) will keep me glued to the tube, unable to do anything else, including complete a sentance.  I blame this on my mom, who limited my childhood TV watching so much that the forbidden fruit element is just too tantalizing, to this day.  Moms, you better let the kiddies watch a little, or they might turn out like me! 

I digress again.  Chopped, from the very first time I saw it, was even more riviting than the average TV drivel.  I love the food element, of course, and the creativity that is a part of each show.  But the judging is insane!  The first few times I watched it (obsessively, several shows in a row, one night this summer while holed up in a hotel room with a sweet cable package) I actually got personally nervous as the judges picked apart each chef's offering!  As in, heart pounding, palms sweating, trouble breathing, the whole works!  I couldn't sleep that night, laying awake wondering just what I would have made from sardines, papaya and ginger snaps.  In case you've never seen the show - 4 chefs come in and have 30 minutes to prepare an appetizer, then entree, then dessert encorporating 4 mystery ingredients that are totally random.  After each round, the judges taste the food, make a bunch of snobby critiques (such as "he didn't appreciate the texture of the tortilla!"), and elimate one of the chefs.  By the time it's the dessert round, only 2 chefs are left, and it's pretty intense.  I always feel so bad for these poor chefs, who have to come up with a dish off the fly encorporating ingredients they have often never cooked with or tasted, only to have their efforts ripped by these food snobs.  Yet there is something about it that makes me itch to try it!  I'm sure I'd crumple under the pressure, but yet it's all so intriguing.

I've always had a weird problem with competition.  I hate the Olympics -- it seems so sad and injust to me that the absolute fastest people in the world get together, and then somebody lives and dies over 1/100th of a second.  I mean, most people can't run a mile in less than 7 minutes, much less 4 something.  I just sort of feel like they should all get medals.  Ted assures me that this is the deeply buried Commie in me coming out.  I guess I feel the same way about Chopped.  I mean, these people show up and whip up something fabulous under the craziest of circumstances, and then these judges have the nerve to criticize?  It makes me crazy!  But you better believe I'll be there, glued to the tube, pulse pounding, mind racing, the very next chance I get.